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  • Writer's pictureMike Brandly, Auctioneer

“Buy at your price” … or not.

Let’s see … I can buy “this” property for my price so I’m thinking I can determine the price. Of course, if it’s an auction, I’ll probably have to outbid any other bidders? Okay, I’m good with that.

Yet, as I review the auction, there are -0- bids but I can’t bid “my price” since the least opening bid is $45,000. Further even more concerning I note:

This property must meet the reserve in order to sell at auction. The auctioneer may bid on behalf on the seller up to or higher than the reserve.

So … “buy at your price” as long as it’s $45,000 or more, and the seller decides to sell it? Yes, that’s it. Doesn’t sound like I’m buying at “my price” and rather at “the seller’s price.”

Misrepresentation is making false or misleading statements with the intent to deceive. How is “buy at your price” with a minimum bid and seller confirmation (seller bidding) buying at “my price?” How is that not intentionally misleading?

Incidentally, buying at “your price” could be interpreted as an absolute auction, and we note again that an astute attorney noted that if without reserve (absolute) auctions only exist if we say those words:

I believe that that rule is too rigid … and that would afford sellers of property to glean the benefits of auctions without reserve and to tiptoe around those specific words but still otherwise convince participants at the auction that they would be able to walk away with that property on that day provided they tendered bids and to otherwise lend in their mind that a contract would be formed upon by doing so. However, they would be able to avoid liability as long as they didn’t use those specific words.

We have also noted that “buying at your price” is deceiving otherwise as if the buyer can simply suggest a price and owns the property: At an auction, the bidders merely offer and then the auctioneer/seller accepts (or not.)

So can bidders “Buy at your price” at this auction with a minimum bid and seller bidding? Absolutely not. In fact, there’s no auction where the bidder can simply “name the price” and win; [English-increasing] auctions don’t work that way and we feel such advertising constitutes misrepresentation.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Brandly Real Estate & Auction, and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Western College of Auctioneering. He has served as faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.

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