Auctioneer Tips: Disputing Lot Descriptions


Bidders and auctioneers should follow procedures when disputing lot descriptions. Here are tips for auctioneers. Yesterday we shared pointers for bidders.

If auctioneers want to protect themselves from losing disputes on Proxibid, they need to follow these procedures:

  1. State your standards clearly in service terms. If you accept returns, then explain how and on what condition. If you do not accept returns, state that but remember disputes can still be opened up if you significantly erred when describing a lot.
  2. Do not rely on consignors. We see auction companies state all the time that they are not coin experts. Too bad. You’re still accountable if a consignor describes a coin as gold that is really base metal or if a consignor lists a counterfeit coin.
  3. Create a form for consignors relieving yourself of liability. Such a form should require the consignor to describe the coin accurately and to verify that all lots are authentic. If not, the consignor is responsible–not you or the bidder.
  4. Consider taking back the coin when contacted by the bidder. If it is a return customer, don’t lose him or her over a coin. Take the return and the bidder will return to a future auction.
  5. Inform the bidder to provide evidence. If a bidder opens a dispute with you before providing evidence, generate your own or tell Proxibid that you disagree with the bidder and require him or her to prove the claim.

Mistakes happen. Consignors sometimes do not realize that they are trying to sell a counterfeit. Sometimes your lot description will be wrong but the coin is described in the photo accurately. These are judgment calls. Successful disputes typically must be significant–a fake or altered coin, for instance–rather than a typo.

Nonetheless, describing coins accurately is important. The Unified User Agreement requires accurate descriptions: “Significantly Not as Described” (SNAD) Claim – means an action taken by a Buyer against a Seller when the Buyer has purchased an item that arrived but was significantly different from the item description.

As we mentioned yesterday, Proxiblog has never encountered a problem when we have provided evidence. We worked with auction companies on more than a half dozen fakes and always received refunds. We recently had the same good experience with a coin that was described as a rare variety when it wasn’t.

We find almost all preferred sellers are ethical and considerate businessmen and women. We recommend a reasonable, interpersonal approach for the best results.

Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.


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