When and Where an Auction can be Held - Conditions of Sale - The Sale of Unredeemed Pledges - Mock Bidding
A sale by auction shall not be held on a Sunday, or in a house where there is a covenant in the lease against auctions being held, or under such circumstances as to infringe market rights; but, with these exceptions, an auction may be held at any time and at any place.
A ticket or board bearing the auctioneer's full Christian and surname and address in letters large enough easily to be visible must be placed in some conspicuous part of the auction-rooms under a penalty of E0.
At a Reserve Price
When the sale of land or goods is subject to a reserve price, or when the vendor reserves a right to bid, the fact must be notified before the sale. Notification of a reserve price is not in itself a reservation of the right to bid. In a sale of land, whether the sale is with or without reserve, or whether such right to bid is reserved, must be expressly notified in the particulars and conditions of sale.
It is usual for the auctioneer to settle the particulars and conditions to which the sale of goods are subject, and for the vendor's solicitors to settle such particulars in the case of real property. The conditions of sale must be exhibited legibly in the room, and, in settling them, the auctioneer must act with the skill and knowledge of a properly qualified member of his profession.
The verbal statements made by the auctioneer may or may not be part of the contract according to circumstances. Misstatements by the auctioneer may render him liable to an action for negligence by the vendor for any loss sustained, or to an action by the purchaser for breach of warranty of authority. But no action lies against the auctioneer after the completion of the purchase if the representations were made in good faith.
Before selling unredeemed pledges above the value of 10 on behalf of a pawnbroker, the auctioneer must publish catalogues of the pledges, with the pawnbroker's name and address, the number of each pledge, and the month in which it was pawned. An advertisement, giving notice of the sale and the pawnbroker's name and place of business, and the months in which the pledges were pawned, must be inserted by the auctioneer in some newspaper on two days, the last day to be at least three clear days before the first day of the sale.
At the sale the auctioneer must expose all pledges to public view. After the sale the auctioneer must, within fourteen days, deliver to the pawnbroker a signed copy of the catalogue showing the amount realised for each pledge, and the pawnbroker must preserve this for three years at least after the auction.
For failing to comply with these regulations the auctioneer is liable to a fine of £10.
The advertisement of an auction is nothing more than the intimation of an intention to sell, and, in the absence of fraud, intending purchasers who attend an auction have no right of action against the auctioneer or the vendor if the property is not put up for sale. The Knock-out
An agreement between two or more persons not to bid against each other at an auction, even if amounting to what is called a " knock-out," would not appear to be illegal, and has never yet been held to invalidate the sale. It is perilously near the border of unlawful conspiracy, however, and several of the judges have expressed themselves very strongly with regard to the practice. The auctioneer must exercise ordinary care and diligence in keeping the goods entrusted to him. By the custom of his business, he has a lien on the goods and on the deposit and purchase money for his charges and remuneration.
These duties may be fixed by express agreement, or determined by custom, or calculated by percentage, and is fixed by law in a sale under a distress, etc. Goods delivered to an auctioneer for sale are privileged from distress whilst on the auctioneer's premises. The auctioneer must account for any moneys received by him on the vendor's behalf, and be prepared to pay them over to him personally.
Contract. Dealing with Tradespeople
The wife's contract does not bind the husband unless she acts by his authority. A man, whose wife had left him without his consent, returned after twelve years' separation; but he would not receive her, nor allow her any maintenance, and forbade tradesmen to trust her with any wares. In spite of his prohibition, one firm sold the wife goods at reasonable prices, and of suitable quality, and then sued the husband; but they did not succeed in getting their claim allowed.
The wife of a London lawyer ordered expensive articles of jewellery without her husband's knowledge. The jeweller brought an action against the husband, and argued that the lawyer and his wife were living together in comfortable circumstances, although they might not be rich, and that the husband must have seen his wife wearing the jewels, and have assented to their purchase. Nevertheless, it was held that the goods were not "necessaries," and that the husband could not be made to pay for them. The same lady went to live in the suburbs, where she continued in her extravagant ways, and ran up a bill for scarves, gloves, and other "necessaries" at the local linendraper's. But her husband scored again, because he had always duly furnished his wife with necessary apparel, and knew nothing of her clandestine dealings.
A Welsh Case
A gentleman living in Wales told his-wife that he was not going to pay for any millinery which she or her daughters might choose to buy on credit; they could do well enough on their allowance. The lady thought otherwise, and incurred a big bill with some linendrapers at Bath who knew nothing of her husband's prohibition, but who were careful only to supply necessaries. The wife's authority to bind her husband, however, is a mere question of agency. In this case, therefore, the drapers lost their action.