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What Is An Absentee Bid?

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

You can bid on an item at an auction even if you are not able to be there yourself by placing an absentee bid. An absentee bidder places their bid with the auctioneer prior to the beginning of the auction. These offers can be submitted in written or verbal form, depending on the terms set by the auction house. It is important to understand how absentee bidding works before using this method to buy items at an auction.

The basics of absentee bidding

The absentee bid is given to the auctioneer, but it is not disclosed at the auction. Only the auctioneer knows how much you have agreed to pay so he conducts the auction under normal procedures. When the highest offer is given, and it is some distance from your offer, the auctioneer enters the absentee bid to see if anyone wants to increase. The bidding will continue if live bidders add to the amount and the auctioneer can add bids until they reach the limit you have set. If the auction ends under what you agreed, then you have won the item. If bidding continues over your amount, then you have lost the auction. If you have the winning offer, the auction house will contact you to notify you of your winning after the auction.

What happens if your absentee bid matches a live one?

If your offer matches a live bid, the auctioneer can reveal the absentee bid on the item and give the live bidder a chance to increase their offer. This is the fairest method to handle absentee bids for both the seller and the buyer. It is the auctioneer’s responsibility to get the most he or she can for an item, but only through natural auction operations. The auction should begin just as if the absentee bidder were part of the audience.

Make sure you know how your absentee bid will be used

There are some other methods used for absentee bidding which are not as fair to the buyer. When placing an absentee bid, make sure you check with the auctioneer about how they will handle your offer. In some instances the auction will start with your amount and if no one bids higher, you win the item. The problem with this method is you may have been able to obtain the item much cheaper.

For example, if you place an absentee bid of $500 on an item as your highest amount, the auction could start at that price. Had you personally been at the auction, you would have started lower and worked up. Because the auctioneer started with your bid of $500, you did not have the chance to get the item for less.

When placing absentee bids, you should check with the auctioneer on what policy they will use to place your offer. The auctioneer is the one who will set the policy and they may differ from one auction house to another. Ask if the absentee bid will be started at the maximum you give, or only be used once an offer from the floor is received. Another option auctioneer’s use is to start the bidding at half of what you agreed to bid.

The auctioneer’s policy must be agreed upon by the seller. Auctioneers should be up front about whichever method they use. In the case you are not informed, make sure you ask how your absentee bid will be used.

If you would like to learn more about absentee bidding or auctions, contact the experts at High Plains Auctioneers today. Call us at (806) 244-6776 or Contact Us by email for more information about our services. Don’t forget to view our upcoming auctions to see what we currently have available.