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  • Writer's pictureMike Brandly, Auctioneer

Honesty in the auction business

On the whole, auctioneers are good people. I know 100’s if not 1,000’s of auctioneers across the United States, and I would gladly work with any one of them.

However, just as there are bad doctors, bad accountants and bad baseball players … there are some bad auctioneers.

Extremely bad if they are are either pathological or habitual in a particular sense.

One can be a pathological drinker, thief, or afraid of heights; pathological suggests medically and/or caused by disease.

One can be a habitual drinker, thief, or afraid of heights; habitual suggests with purpose, and/or mindfully.

In our analysis here, we find one particular trait which is the worst: dishonesty — either pathological or habitual, and it doesn’t matter which.

Some examples:

  1. “Your home is well worth $150,000 …” when it’s worth more like $60,000.

  2. “We’ll contact all collectors …” when no such advertising is done.

  3. “I’m licensed here …” when the auctioneer holds no such license.

  4. “We’ll pay you within 30 days …” when no such payment is planned.

  5. “This is all real bidding …” when the bidding is fictitious.

Such lies (pathological and/or habitual) are problematic for clients, customers and other auctioneers. And such lies damage the auction industry and everyone potentially involved.

We previously wrote about all the duties an auctioneer owes his client:

We previously wrote about all the duties an auctioneer owes essentially everyone else:

Today, we explore how potential clients, customers and other auctioneers can endeavor to work with honest auctioneers. Here are some ways:

  1. Check to see if they are indeed licensed in good standing with the appropriate state agency or regulatory department.

  2. Look to see if they are members in good standing in their state auctioneer association.

  3. Find out if they are members in good standing in the National Auctioneers Association.

  4. Verify if they have any designations or certifications in regard to the auction industry.

  5. Ask for references — past clients and customers, attorneys and other professionals.

  6. Seek out other references — ones not provided by the auctioneer.

While all of these above actions are prudent, the last one might be the most important.

A potential client, customer or other auctioneer who can’t find anyone — who the auctioneer didn’t recommended — to act as a reference, might have enough reason to look elsewhere.

Lastly, have the courts ruled on cases involving the “honesty of an auctioneer?” In fact, many times — and most notably an Irish court just ruled an auctioneer owed substantial sums of money due to his evaluation which was, “hopelessly incorrect.” That article is here:

If you’re working with an honest auctioneer, you’re way ahead. If you’re not, find another one; there’s plenty of honest auctioneers out there.

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, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.

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