20 February, 2019

Bidding Online in Auction FAQs

At William George & Co, we want online bidders to have the best experience possible. 

How we achieve is that is through transparency. So, we created this article which is inspired by the questions asked by our online bidders.

If your question still persists then get in touch and we will do our best to help.

Q) How Does a Timed-Online Auction Work?

A timed-online auction is held over the internet and lasts for a specific period of time e.g. several hours or over a week. 

The whole process is automated and bidders are updated via email for the following:

  • If their bid was successful.
  • If they are the leading bidder.
  • If they achieve the reserve.

To ensure the auction is maintained, the auction house can set increments to stop obscure bids being placed.

Q) How Do I Register For Online Auctions?

To register for online auctions, you'll need to have an account with the platform the auction is held on.

You'll be prompted to input personal details such as your name, card details and address. Once this has been completed, you'll be able to register for auctions held on that platform. 

To bid on auctions by William George, you'll need to have an account with the Saleroom, Bidspotter and/or i-Bidder.

Q) Why is My Auction Registration Still Pending?

If you register for an auction but are not confirmed as a bidder, there may be an issue with your account.

These issues can range from personal details not being confirmed to blocks placed on your account by other auction houses.

To ascertain the problem, it's necessary to contact the platform or the auction house you're trying to connect to. Once this has been done and you're aware of the problem, you can then rectify the issue.

Q) What Happens if You Win an Auction and Don’t Pay?

If you win an item and don’t pay the total amount then this can cause serious issues between you, the seller and the auction house.

There's a time limit for you to pay and/or collect the goods and they are expressed in the important information.

There have been high profile disputes involving some of the biggest auction houses in the world such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s. The disadvantage of these disputes is the fact that they can reach the courtroom.

To avoid having a negative auction experience, it’s imperative that you are committed to the item you bid on.

Otherwise, the terms and conditions and important information of the auction you connected to will be the first thing you’ll need to consult.

Q) What Happens if You Bid on the Wrong Item at Auction?

If you bid on the wrong item at auction, it’s imperative that you contact the auction house immediately.

There’s no defined process for situations like this because each auction will have terms and conditions which you need to read before you bid.

If a solution is not found, your bid may likely stand. It’s vital that you are on the correct lot before you place your bid because they are legally binding.

Q) If I Sell in Auction, When Do I Receive The Funds?

As a security measure, we withhold funds to vendors until the winning bidder has received their lot.

When the winning bidder has received their lot and is satisfied, we will begin the process of sending the vendor their funds.

Q) What Happens if I Win An Item in Auction?

We invoice the winning bidder with a payment request on the same day as the close of auction.

The payment request will detail the funds that will need to be paid to us within 2 working days.

Once we have received payment, we will issue a collection notice to put both the vendor and winning bidder in touch. This enables both parties to arrange collection or dispatch. 

Q) If a Bidder Wins An Item, Can They Return it?

No, our auctions are not regulated by the Distance Selling Act.

We can accept returns when the item is materially different from what is described in the auction.

If the lot you won is different from what was described, it's important that you contact us straight away so we can investigate this for you.

Q) What is the VAT For an Auction?

To understand if an auction is VAT applicable, it's necessary to look at the auction's main page.

However, you can also click on a lot and cycle through the tabs at the bottom. You'll learn what the buyer's premium, currency, VAT and supported payment methods are.

Bidders who connect to an auction held by William George will always pay VAT on the Buyer's premium.

Q) How Do I Get My Auction Items? 

We do not keep the lots consigned to us on our premises as all items are kept by the vendor.

Upon winning an item, the buyer is put in touch with the vendor when their payment request is fulfilled - this is communicated in the form of a ‘Collection Note’.

The Collection Note will show the vendor’s name, e-mail address and contact telephone number. 

The buyer can then agree to a collection date (within 7 days of the auction ending), negotiate a delivery fee with the vendor or make their own delivery arrangements.

Q) How Can I Do An Online Auction?

Selling with us is free! and you keep 100% of the hammer!

To understand how we can help you, please get in touch with us to discuss your requirements. 

To register with us, you'll need to go through a free and quick registration process. Once completed, you are allocated an account manager as a central point of contact.

You will then be given access to our selling platform to manage and submit your auction inventory.

Q) How Does a Live Auction Work?

A live auction is held in real time. The location of these auctions can be anywhere. For example, in a gallery, showroom, hall or even the first floor of the Eiffel Tower.

With the benefit of technology like the internet, bidders from around the world can log in to the auction and bid against people who are physically there. Any bid made online is monitored and revealed to the audience.

The length of time a live auction can last will depend on how many lots are in the catalogue and the level of engagement from bidders. For example, when the CTF Pink Star sold in an auction, bidders fought over 5 minutes before it sold for $56m.

Q) What is an Auction Reserve?

Unless stated, all lots will have a reserve. 

A reserve will be the minimum amount that the vendor is willing to sell the item for. 

An item can fail to sell at auction and this is because the reserve has not been met. 

Q) Are all Auction Houses The Same?

Auction houses are not the same. Their biggest distinction can be found in their terms and conditions and also the important information.

Before you connect to an auction, it's necessary to acknowledge the auction house you're bidding with as they will have their own terms for that auction.

Remember that you must commit to the lots you bid on so, take a look at the important information and the terms of the auction. 

Q) Can I Get An Invoice in a Company’s Name?

In order to get an invoice in a company’s name, you will need to pay the invoice and then email our accounts team for a company VAT invoice.

It's important that you include any amendments such as the company name, change of address, VAT, contact number etc in the email.

Q) Is It Safe To Buy From An Online Auction?

It’s safe to bid with William George.

As a member of the NAA (National Auctioneer Association), we operate to a strict code of ethics designed to keep us at the top of the auction world.

Buyers can also be assured that all of our vendors are vetted to ensure they meet our criteria before they can sell with us.

If you have any questions then you can contact us via e-mail, social media or telephone.

Q) Can I Make Payments From Abroad?

Payments outside the UK can be made but they incur a £10 charge.

For more information about this, do not hesitate to get into touch.

Final Words

We hope this article has helped to answer some of your questions.

If your question does persist then you can get in touch with us via social media, e-mail or by calling us. 

We want every bidder to have the best possible experience and want to work with you to make that happen.

Head back to The Journal for more stories.

Online Auctions - Frequently Asked Questions
Online Auctions - Frequently Asked Questions
Online Auctions - Frequently Asked Questions
Online Auctions - Frequently Asked Questions
Online Auctions - Frequently Asked Questions
Online Auctions - Frequently Asked Questions
Online Auctions - Frequently Asked Questions
Online Auctions - Frequently Asked Questions
Online Auctions - Frequently Asked Questions