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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority

Requirement to be Licensed

The Auctioneers Act regulates the sale of most items or property sold by auction. Unless specifically exempted, an auction must be conducted by provincially licensed auction companies and auctioneers.

Exemptions from the Requirement to use a Licensed Auctioneer (section 4)

If the only items being sold at auction are specifically excluded from the provisions of The Auctioneers Act by a provincial act or regulation, the auction does not have to be conducted by a licensed auctioneer and auction company.

Items that are specifically excluded are:

a. property sold at auction on behalf of a religious, charitable, non-profit or similar organization, provided that the person conducting the bidding is not paid;
b. property sold under a court order, such as a judicial sale, or under a power of sale contained in a mortgage;
c. property sold by a municipality;
d. livestock sold at auctions that are not part of a farm dispersal sale, if the seller is licensed under The Livestock Dealers Regulations; and
e. agricultural products sold under the sponsorship of the Extension Department of the College of Agriculture of The University of Saskatchewan or of the Probreeders’ Association.

General Auction Rules under The Sale of Goods Act (section 57)

Section 57 of The Sale of Goods Act reads:

57 In the case of a sale by auction:

1   Where goods are put up for sale by auction in lots each lot is … deemed to be the subject of a separate contract of sale;
2   A sale by auction is complete when the auctioneer announces its completion by the fall of the hammer or in other customary manner. Until such announcement is made a bidder may retract his bid;
3   Where a sale by auction is not notified to be subject to a right to bid on behalf of the seller it shall not be lawful for the seller to bid himself or to employ any person to bid at the sale or for the auctioneer knowingly to take a bid from the seller or any such person. A sale contravening this rule may be treated as fraudulent by the buyer;
4   A sale by auction may be notified to be subject to a reserve or upset price and the right to bid may also be reserved expressly by or on behalf of the seller. Where a right to bid is expressly reserved but not otherwise the seller or any one person on his behalf may bid at the auction.

Selling or Consigning Goods at Auctions

Consumers or business operators selling or consigning goods for auction, should obtain a written contract that outlines the terms of the auction agreement. As a minimum, the contract should include:

1. Details of the items being sold or consigned
2. Items subject to a reserve bid - if any
3. Auctioneer’s commissions and/or costs
4. When net proceeds are paid and how
5. What happens to unsold items
6. Who picks up and delivers items.

Internet Sales Contract Legislation

Internet Sales Contract legislation under The Consumer Protection and Business Practices Act establishes rules for internet sellers and provides some protection for Saskatchewan consumers who buy goods or services online.

When purchasing on-line, consumers are strongly recommended to use a credit card or a reputable internet payment service that offers protection for non-delivery. Certain refund obligations are required of the credit card company if services purchased on-line are not received or goods delivered.

Vehicles Consigned for Auction by a Licensed Dealer

All vehicle sales consigned to an auction by a licensed motor dealer are also subject to the provisions in the Vehicle Dealer Regulations. 

If a motor vehicle is consigned by a licensed motor dealer, the purchaser is entitled to be informed of the name of the dealer consigning the goods. In addition, such vehicles must be “roadworthy” or fit to drive pursuant to The Traffic Safety Act, unless the vehicle was specifically identified to the buyer in the written contract for sale that it was not “roadworthy” or fit to drive.

Indicating either verbally or in writing that the dealer’s vehicle is sold “as is” is not sufficient.

If required, consumers who purchase a personal-use vehicle that was consigned by a motor dealer may also pursue a claim for breaches of the warranty provisions under the statutory and express warranties provided under The Consumer Protection and Business Practices Act.

Excerpts from the Consumer Handbook

Internet auctions held outside of Saskatchewan may not be subject to Saskatchewan rules. Be cautious. Note the following excerpts from The Consumer Handbook (a federal government publication).

Online Auctions
Online auctions can be risky if you have not had a chance to inspect the item. Know what you're buying and get a description of the item in writing in case the product does not meet your expectations.

When you are buying from a private individual, consumer protection laws may not protect you. Read the rules of the auction site; better sites will keep records of customer satisfaction and should also have dispute resolution mechanisms.

• Buying Internationally
… buying internationally involves more risk. Different laws and standards apply, often making it difficult to resolve potential conflicts to your satisfaction if a problem arises.

Check the Canada Border Services Agency Web site regarding the admissibility requirements of certain goods.

When calculating the price, factor in shipping and handling costs, taxes, duty and currency conversion.

Check that products meet Canadian safety standards…visit the Canadian Standards Association’s International Web site.

Common Auction Terms

Conditions of sale are the terms of the auction sales contract may include the acceptable methods of payment, terms, buyer’s premium, or reserve bids.

Reserve bid is a minimum selling price for the item. If that price is not met, the item does not have to be sold.

Opening bid is the starting bid amount. One does not have to bid that amount.

Minimum bid is the lowest acceptable amount at which bidding must start

Buyer’s premium is a flat fee or percentage of the accepted bid added to the bid to determine the price to be paid.

Consumer Awareness

Be aware:

•   Buyers do not have a right to return goods purchased at an auction unless informed that goods may be returned.

•   GST is payable on most auctioned items.

•   Know which currency is being used for that particular sale.



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