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  • Writer's pictureMike Brandly, Auctioneer

Auctioneer licensing is a scam? A racket? Really?

Jon Cassidy of suggests in his article for that occupational licensing is a scam … maybe even racketeering. You can read that article here:

Even without reading the article, I suspect I’ll agree with some of what is expressed here. However, I’ll offer up-front that I’ll likely disagree with some what is contained in this article as well.

My initial conclusions are based upon the fact that auctioneer licensing is both good and bad. We wrote as such in 2009:

Of course now that I’ve read the article, I’m able to comment further; and my comments don’t come lightly as I’ve testified to governor-appointed regulatory agencies in more than one state regarding the prudence of auctioneer licensing.

Auctioneer (and all occupational) licensing can be a good thing if managed and administered properly. Likewise, if it is economically prohibitive, largely put in place for protection of the current licensees, or nonsensical as it is in a few states (Pennsylvania and Ohio come to mind) then it’s a bad thing.

Despite Mr. Cassidy’s argument that occupational licensing for the “protection of the public” is absurd, licensing indeed helps to protect the public when such a person in the public is injured. The licensing agency can take action that the injured party may otherwise not be able to pursue nor afford.

As well licensing coupled with required pre-license education and/or training as well as required post-license and/or continuing education help assure the public of a certain level of competence in their appointed “agents.”

Therefore, if auctioneer licensing helps educate auctioneers to prevent harm to the public then it’s arguably better than no such licensing. However, if the licensing agency only wants to prosecute crimes without an eye on prevention, then no licensing may be better. We wrote about this unfortunate situation in some states here:

Lastly, letting “the market” manage occupational services is not impossible, but it is dangerous. By the time enough of the public is harmed that a lawsuit and/or public outcry puts any particular miscreant licensee out of business, the damages could be substantial — and in retrospect (likely) largely preventable with licensing oversight.

Is auctioneer licensing a scam? A racket? I would offer proper, judicious, sensible statewide (or even nationwide) auctioneer licensing is — or would be — a good thing, and aberrant unreasonable perverted auctioneer licensing in any form (and possibly no licensing at all) is a bad thing.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.

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