by Tim O’Dwyer M.A., LL.B Queensland Solicitor & Consumer Advocate firstname.lastname@example.org
Queensland’s Auctioneering Practice Code of Conduct is flawed – not only because of its failure to require identification of phone-bidders absent from auction sites and proof of the authority given their representatives, but also because auctioneers have to keep registered bidders’ identities secret. These must not be disclosed to anyone other than a Fair Trading inspector or a court. So there’s really nothing very public about public auctions in the Deep North. What about the sellers’ rights? Well, an auctioneer may give up a bidder’s identity to a seller of an auctioned property only if it is “necessary” for negotiations with that bidder after the property has been passed in, or for “facilitating the sale of the property.”
At the same time the most fundamental defect within this Code of Conduct is the Office of Fair Trading’s long-standing inability to understand that auctioneers are merely hired mouths on the day. The Code may say lots about auctioneers’ duties to clients but sellers are invariably clients only of the estate agents who engage auctioneers to wag their tongues, wave their arms and occasionally bang their hammers. Regretably, there is no specific regulation of the conduct of agents before and during auction performances – in this Code or in the agents’ Code.
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