Citizens Advice Bureau Jersey

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Consumer - Goods bought/sold at auctions

Extent: Jersey
Updated 23 July 2019

Words you may need to know

Agent – someone doing something on behalf of someone else.

Auction – an auction is a sale of goods where people make offers of money (a ‘bid’) for an item. Each item is called a lot eg. Lot number 9. The person making the highest bid gets the lot unless the person selling it has placed a ‘reserve price’. ( See Auction Sales below)

Auctioneer – person in charge of the auction

Goods  are items of property such as  stamps, furniture, cars, jewellery, clothing, tools or even cattle. Property and land are goods which cannot not sold by auction in the island.

Auction Catalogue – this is a booklet listing lots for sale at the auction with details of what they are and any other information. It also usually has a price that each lot is expected to sell for.

Roadworthy  to be ‘roadworthy' a car has to be fit to be driven in a safe condition on the road. A car which is not safe, is not roadworthy. In the UK cars have a test to check if they are roadworthy  (an MOT ) but there are not MOT tests for all vehicles in Jersey at present.

Forgeries – something which is made out to be something it is not. A copy, a fake.

Goods sold at auction

Goods for sale at an auction are bought at the risk of the buyer and they are not covered by the Supply of Goods & Services (Jersey) Law 2009.

Buyers are supposed to have checked for themselves that the items or lots in an auction are what they say they are, come from where they are supposed to and are of the age, size, quality and condition stated in the auction catalogue.

You cannot rely on what is said by the auction house or in the auction catalogue as any such information is considered to be statements of opinion and not actual facts.

The auctioneers do not have to tell you who the seller is. They act in the sale of the lots as “agents” only and have no responsibility for any problems or faults.

Motor cars (vehicles)

The auctioneer will have already checked that the person selling the car actually owns it from the vehicle registration certificate. The auctioneers sometimes get a signed statement from the seller saying that 'the car is in good mechanical and roadworthy condition and is not subject to a Hire Purchase or other charge'.

If you have bought a car at auction you should take it for a drive straightaway and if you think that it is not roadworthy you should report the matter to the police who will arrange for the car to be inspected by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Department at La Collette ( see 13.5.2).

If the car is found not to be roadworthy you should contact the auctioneer within forty-eight hours of when you bought it.

If you paid for the car with a cheque, you would be have the right to contact your bank and stop the cheque to the auctioneer. (See 13.10.10.L3 Banking and Stopping Cheques)  The auctioneer will not pay the seller until the matter is resolved.

Forgeries (paintings etc)

If a lot in an auction is sold and is then shown to be a forgery or fake the auctioneer can cancel the sale and the person selling would have to pay back the person who bought the lot the full price they have paid for it.

Auction Sales

The Supply of Goods & Services (Jersey) Law 2009 says that:-

a) If goods are put up for sale by auction in lots, each lot is taken to be a separate contract of sale.

b) A sale by auction is complete and the person bidding owns the lot when the auctioneer brings down the hammer to complete the sale, or completes it in any other way which is normal.

c) Until the auctioneer does that the sale is not complete and any bidder can cancel their bid.

d) He or she will usually say ‘sold to’.

e) Sometimes things may have a “ reserve” price on them. This means there is a lower limit which the owner will not sell below.  It is not unknown for a seller (or someone on their behalf) to bid on their own item to try and push the price beyond the reserve price. This is called the sellers ‘right to bid’ but people who are bidding at the auction must be told this is happening. If they or the auctioneer do not know it is happening, or if the auctioneer accepts a bid that he knows is made by or for the seller, the buyer can say the sale was fraudulent and refuse to buy the lot or insist on having  his or her money back.