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Can’t Attend An Auction? Use These 6 Absentee Bidding Tips!

Thursday, April 12th, 2018
how to bid as an absentee bidder at auction

Finding the perfect desk, set of chairs, jewelry, or any favorite item can be difficult. Maybe you saw an item while you were traveling or you spotted something at an auction in a different state. If you look online, you may find many items at auctions in other areas that you cannot make it to. Distance used to be a problem for bidding at an auction and required someone else to go in your place. Today, absentee bidding is an option that is accessible to anyone, rather than only those who can afford a stand-in. The following can help you understand absentee bidding and how it can help you when you can’t attend an auction.

Know the difference between phone and absentee bidding

There are pros and cons to both of these methods of bidding. Phone bidding is more expensive, but it affords you greater control over the process. However, you need to be in a time and place in which you can pay attention and submit bids. Alternatively, with absentee bidding, the auction house takes care of the bids for you. All you have to do is complete paperwork on the items you want with the amount you want to bid and submit that to the auction house. Absentee bidding is ideal if you are not near a phone or cannot devote the necessary time to participate in person.

Ask for condition reports

If you see an item you like online and think it looks good, there are ways you can verify its condition. Call the auction house and ask them to give you a condition report on the items you are interested in. Auction houses do their best to disclose damage or repairs, but they don’t consider some things to be a problem. The condition report will let you know everything that is going on with the item.

Additionally, if you request the condition report, bid on the item, and want to return it, you may be able to depending upon the auction house. If you don’t request the condition report, you cannot return the item. If the report is unclear, specifically ask about damage, repairs, and restorations. You should also ask the auctioneer to examine specific areas of concern, like patterns or articulations. Finally, ask the auction house to provide you with digital photos of every side of the piece.

Review the terms and conditions of the auction

Auction houses will require you to submit a bid form, so you will need to fax, scan, or email it in. Bid forms are binding contracts, so make sure you are ready to pay for the item before the auction starts. You should also fill out the form legibly so the auctioneer can read your maximum bid. Ask all of your questions before the auction to ensure you are bidding on items you actually want. Finally, you should receive a confirmation from the auction house if you won an item, so call them if you don’t.

Ask about shipping

Ask about the shipping methods the auction house uses before you make any bids. Do they do it in-house or contract with a third party? If they use a third-party, like FedEx, call the location they work with and get a quote. Sometimes you can get blindsided by high shipping fees after making an absentee bid if you do not do research beforehand.

Pay for your items as soon as possible

If you are the winning bidder, you should expect an invoice in the next day or two. If you don’t get one, contact the auction house because your name or contact information could have been entered incorrectly. Don’t forget to check your spam folder if you are expecting an email. Never assume the auction house will arrange shipping and payment without confirming with you first. They may expect to confirm that you still want the item before making arrangements to ship your items.

Look out for errors

If, after receiving the item, you believe the auction house made a mistake, contact them immediately on the phone or via email. You should also contact them in writing so there is a written record. Most auction houses have a limited window to return items, so if you want to do this due to attribution or age, you will need an expert’s report. If you think this could be a problem, have an expert review the photos from the description online beforehand. Auction houses will not accept returns on items if the issues are easily seen in photos. Many auctions do not accept returns at all, so be sure to ask before making any bids.

Learn more about absentee bidding

Communication is key if you are engaged in absentee bidding. It is always best to prepare for an auction beforehand by researching the value of the items, their condition, and looking into the auction house’s rules. Talk to the auction house about shipping, payment, returns, auction items, and any concerns you may have.

If you would like to learn more about Bidding or Selling items at auction, contact the experts at High Plains Auctioneers. Call us today at (806) 244-6776 or Contact Us by email for more information. Don’t forget to check out our Upcoming Auctions to see the items we will have available!