Auctioneers and the standard of care


Mike Brandly
14 January 2019 - 10:20am

Sellers routinely hire auctioneers and in doing so — generally — hire one they feel can adequately handle the subject property’s sale in order to maximize net proceeds in the shortest amount of time.

Today, we explore what standard of care any auctioneer has regardless of how they hold themselves out to the public. We answer a question we received in court the other day asking, “Is there a minimum standard?”

Relatedly, we previously wrote about the burden of auctioneer prowess:

As well, we wrote about the legal and common law duties auctioneers owe sellers:

The prevailing standard of care for agents of any type (including auctioneers) is three-fold and as we show here, it’s measured in this fashion:

  • Did they do what they promised?
  • Did they take other actions they should have?
  • How did their performance compare to their contemporaries?

In a sense, any auctioneer is judged by their promises as well as the care, skill, and diligence that are commonly exercised by other auctioneers in similar conditions and circumstances.

If you are an auctioneer how do you know if you’re providing the minimum level of care required, or for that matter, what standard of care you are providing? To answer either, it’s almost mandatory you have discussions with other auctioneers, network, take classes, seminars, attend conventions and conferences.

These classes and seminars include state auctioneer association gatherings as well as the best-of-the-best education opportunities conducted by the National Auctioneers Association including designation classes held around the country including Las Vegas, Nevada each year and the Certified Auctioneer Instituteheld in Bloomington, Indiana.

In this court case in which I testified, an auctioneer made an almost fatal mistake in the witness box when he remarked, “I don’t know or care how any other auctioneer does it. This is how we do it.” Thereon, their chance of winning diminished. On the contrary, we as auctioneers need to know and care.

While many cite the benefits of auctioneer association membership in regard to education and networking, maybe most importantly it provides for all auctioneer members to become aware of customary practice, which is how their minimum level of service will be judged — in part — in a court of law.


This article has been published with permission from the author.

The original article and image can be found here.


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, AuctioneerRES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by the The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.