Board of Licensing of Auctioneers - Frequently Asked Questions - Consumers Questions

Do I need to hire an auctioneer for my charity auction?

Not necessarily. As long as all proceeds except advertising costs are retained by the charity, the person conducting the sale doesn't need to have an auctioneer license. That person must NOT be paid for conducting the charity auction.

Do I need a license to auction my own property?

No. A person does not need a license in order to auction personal or real property that the person has maintained for his own use or property that the person's parents, spouse, or children have maintained for their own use.

Can I check to see if an auctioneer is licensed?

Yes. Click HERE to search for a licensee.

How can I file a complaint against an auctioneer?

Click HERE for information regarding filing complaints against auctioneers.

I have some items I think would sell at auction.  What should I expect when I contact an auctioneer?

Auctioneers licensed by the Board of Licensing of Auctioneers are required to conduct auction sales in compliance with 32 M.R.S.A., Chapter 5-B and the rules adopted by the Board.  At a minimum, prior to the auction the consignor (bona fide owner) and the auctioneer must have a written contract that includes the terms and conditions of the auction, including but not limited to:

1.  The name and license number of the auctioneer;
2.  The date of the auction;
3.  The description of all items to be sold;
4.  Whether the auction is with reserve or without reserve;
5.  The payment schedule;
6.  The commission rate; and
7.  The statement of other charges, including a buyer’s premium.

What should I expect when I attend an auction?

At the beginning of the auction, the auctioneer is required to post for display and describe the conditions of the auction sale.  The conditions must indicate:

1.  Whether the property is sold “as is”;
2.  Whether the highest bidder at the completion of the sale will be acknowledged by the auctioneer;
3.  Whether the auction is with reserve or without reserve and the acceptable manner of bids;
4.  Whether absentee bids are allowed;
5.  Sales tax requirements;       
6.  Whether or not the auctioneer or consignor reserves the right to bid;
7.  A statement that Title 11, section 2-328 (the Uniform Commercial Code) applies to this auction sale;
8.  A statement of the buyer’s premium and any other charges to the bidders or any other persons in attendance; and
9.  The title and address of the Board of Licensing of Auctioneers.

Is the person calling the sale always the auctioneer?

Not necessarily.  The auctioneer is permitted to have unlicensed persons assisting the auctioneer in conducting the auction, including “calling the sale.”  However, the auctioneer is required to sign the consignment contract and to be physically present during the auction and assume full responsibility for the auction sale.

What is a Buyer’s Premium?

A “buyer’s premium” is a percentage of the final bid to be paid by the buyer to the auctioneer as a part of the purchase price. 

What is an auction with reserve?

An “auction with reserve” means that the consignor reserves the right to set a minimum bid, to accept or reject any bid and to withdraw the property at any time prior to the announcement of the completion of the sale by the auctioneer.   

What is an auction without reserve?

An “auction without reserve” means that no minimum opening bid or other condition that limits the sale other than to the highest bidder is required and that the consignor may not modify or nullify the sale by bidding either personally or through a representative.  An auction without reserve is the same as an “absolute auction.”

What does sold “as is” mean?

Sold “as is” means the property is being sold without warranty.   You should inspect all auction property before you bid.

If you cannot find the answer to your question, send an e-mail message to the Board of Licensing of Auctioneers.