• DPOR Consumer Guide: Auctions and Auctioneers

    • Use License Lookup to verify the auctioneer's license status and and any past disciplinary actions.
    • Research the reputation of the auctioneer. Do an Internet search and contact the Better Business Bureau.
    • Read the Federal Trade Commission publication, Internet Auctions: A Guide for Buyers and Sellers.
    • Research, inspect, and know the value and quality of what you are buying ahead of time. Do not rely solely on the representation made by the auctioneer.
    • When hiring an auctioneer, READ and UNDERSTAND the contract.
    • Know how to contact the auctioneer after the sale.
    • Research the validity of “estate” or “government” sales. Sometimes they are not what they are represented to be.
    • All advertisements should include the auctioneer’s license number--verify using License Lookup.
    • Be clear on whether an auction is "absolute" or "reserve" and whether there is a “buyer’s premium.” An absolute auction generally means an auction where, at the time of the auction sale, the real or personal property to be sold will pass to the highest bidder regardless of the amount of the highest and last bid. A reserve auction generally means the auctioneer reserves the right to reject any and all bids.
    • Pay attention to the terms and conditions of the auction given by the auctioneer prior to the start of the auction before bidding on an item. Realize that if you arrive late, you may miss the auctioneer’s announcement of the terms and conditions.
    • If you don’t understand the terms and conditions as stated, ask questions.

    Visit the Auctioneers Board website.