Frequently Asked Questions about Buying at Auctions

What are the first steps to in becoming a buyer at auction? 
You may want to attend a few auctions without buying anything. Make notes about the registration, the payment required, and the removal plan for your purchases.

Once I am comfortable with buying what should I do? 
When you find an auction of interest go to the auction firm’s website and read the terms and conditions of sale. These will provide details about registration and payment.

What is registration? 
It is the process of providing your identification to the auction firm. Valid picture identification will be required. In many cases your proof of payment will be required. Most auction firms will require the bidder to sign a form stating you agree to abide by the terms and conditions of sale.

What are terms and conditions? 
These are the rules of the auction. The terms define the type of payment required, the timeline for removal of purchases, the method of auction, and all buyers’ obligations. They will state if there are buyer’s premiums, taxes or other surcharges added to the bid.

What if I am not satisfied with the condition of the merchandise I buy? 
Almost all merchandise or goods sold at auction are sold “AS IS”. This is an auction term that means the buyer will accept the merchandise in its present condition. It means you buy the merchandise with all faults and defects.

Can I look at the merchandise prior to bidding? 
Call the auction company or read their auction listing on their website. In most cases there is a time for preview. It is highly advisable to look at the merchandise prior to auction. This is your chance to do your homework or due diligence.

What is an auction catalog? 
This is the list of merchandise and the order of sale. It will list a number for the merchandise being sold and provide a brief description. Use the catalog to identify items you would like to purchase.

How do I bid at auction? 
In a live auction the bidder most often raises their hand to signal their intent to bid.

What if I change my mind after purchasing an item? 
Most often the terms and conditions of auction will state that the buyer cannot return merchandise after becoming the high bidder.

What types of payment is required? 
The terms and conditions will provide details. Payment may vary from one auction to the next. Common types of payment are cash, credit cards and checks. Don’t assume that if one auction company accepts your check that others will.

How do I avoid paying too much? 
Write down your maximum purchase price in your catalog and stick to your maximum amount.