View Full Version : Auction house problems

12-21-2011, 09:03 AM
I know this is totally non sports related but does deal with auction house policies. I have been dealing with a local auction house for some time and have on several occasions suspected some foul dealings regarding workers hiding items and misleading uneducated to keep bids low so that they themselves bid on the items and win them for themselves. I personally donít like that since they have time to scour though and research something much longer than the average auction goer. Last auction there was a VERY VERY expensive item that was but in a box lot of garbage. A worker was very interested in not letting what was in that box be seen the best he could and at one point held it in his hands for 30 minutes while acting like he was checking it over with the Auctioneer seeing exactly what was going on . Out of the 200+ people since I was there early knew what he was concealing he would have won the box lot that the auctioneer described wrong something he never does saying it was a box of xxxxx parts and not being specific about the box like he would usually be. The worker made sure it was the first item sold that night and quickly took it out to his car with no one the wiser. He would have had the box for 220 but it I ran it to 2400. Within 1 hour of the end of the auction I found the good item on eBay that he had concealed and has since sold it for over a 10000 profit. Needless to say he played the ignorance card regarding the item functioning correctly and saying he is not an expert. He concealed in his eBay auction that there was internal corrosion and it did have some issues that would have cut the price in half at least. I guess now that I am done with my rant has anyone experienced anything like this? I am totally disgusted with how it was run and feel that it was a setup from square one. Again sorry for the rant

12-21-2011, 09:22 AM
Well, I don't know all state laws but many, if not all, states have Live Auction licensing. If the auctioneer did as you said, you might consider gathering all of your proof together and talking to the authorities in your state. I doubt fraud or collusion to keep prices down is part of the licensing decorum and bylaws. I attend almost 0 live auctions so I am sorry I can't help otherwise. Interesting story though.

12-21-2011, 12:25 PM
This is something that goes on pretty often. It's especially bad with estate sales, where a homeowner might hire a company to help price and sell items in the house. If the person in charge sees something very valuable, and the owner is not aware of it, he will price it really low and make sure one of his employees buys it as soon as the sale opens. He might hide it in an out of the way place and tell the employee where it is. Then they all share the profits. What the OP described happens frequently, and of course it is illegal. But you will have to prove it took place.

Wymers Auction
02-12-2012, 11:03 AM
Barry and JD,
As an auctioneer myself it saddens me to hear of stories such as this. I can tell you through my own experiences that this does happen, but much rarer when you take the business as a whole. JD call the auctioneer out on what you saw do not just sit on the information this does no good. Another thing is JD you can vote with your feet and not attend this auction. There are plenty of honest auctioneers in your area that would love the business. I can say that I never dive something great into a boxlot in any of my auctions my job by definition is to sell the item for the most I can and to the highest bidder. I allow workers to bid and they surely pay like everyone else, but I once had a ringman outbid a customer and then later try to sell the item back to them after the sale saying that they really did not want it after all. Once I got done with my private discussion with this ringman he promptly quit. I like selling $10,000 items that auctioneer seems a bit foolish to me. I can also add that in the auctions I have had people really do turn those boxes upside down and sideways going through them. I would contest that it is harder to hide an item than you may think. You may have been the only one there with enough cash to call him out on that item 2400 is pretty stiff for a damaged piece. I have never been to an auction where a $10000 piece is not a highlight item.

Wymers Auction
02-12-2012, 11:06 AM
Barry please do not paint the whole business with same paint brush. There are probably 50 honest auctioneers to every bad one. Unfortunately, the bad experiences stick in people's mind.

02-12-2012, 11:35 AM
James- I don't know what the real numbers are, but I hear so many bad stories relating to fraud, in all walks of life, that I do become a little cynical. Unfortunately, I've learned not to trust anyone (even though I fully know that most people are indeed honest).

Wymers Auction
02-13-2012, 08:22 PM
In my experience, consignors and bidders do not always tell the truth all the time either. I just believe that most of these problems could be resolved if the auctioneer was confronted on the issue.