While the scamsters are active across many different online sectors, they have recently begun to target well-known auctioneering companies and stolen their identities to swindle would-be buyers. In tough economic times, it may be that the temptation to save money at all costs is even able to override people’s better judgment.
The South African Institute of Auctioneers (SAIA) proposes buyers run through the following safety tips to ensure that they do not fall victim:
SAIA has a 35-year history as the official body of the South African auctioneering industry. It acts as the mouthpiece of the industry and works with legislators and stakeholders to ensure fair trade and a level playing field.
All members are bound by ethical codes of practice and further compelled by specific legislation to protect all parties involved in the auctioneering process. The institute also encourages the public to contact its offices with questions relating to auctions, to report suspicious auctions or to verify whether companies are members.
SAIA chairman, John Cowing, says auctions play a vital role in the economy as a means for both buyers and sellers to dispose and buy assets at fair, market driven prices through a transparent process. Another benefit is the immediate nature of the transaction which is undertaken on a voetstoots basis.
He cautions buyers that they should do their research upfront and only bid on items that fit their needs and requirements, as well as being in a condition that is acceptable to them.
It is incumbent on a purchaser to familiarise themself with an item on which they bid prior to commencement of the bidding process. Any enquiry or doubt as to the condition of an item that is being bid on should be ascertained in open discussion with the auctioneer beforehand or when the particular item is put up on auction.
The items are available for viewing prior to the auction sale, to do the necessary prechecks and inspections prior to bidding. The Latin “Caveat Emptor” legal definition – Let the buyer beware (a warning that notifies a buyer that the goods he or she is buying are “as is,” or subject to all defects) applies mainly to auctions.
An auction is by nature a situation where a buyer intends to purchase an item with the obvious implication that goods sold on auction are sold as “Voetstoots” (“as is”) which is a standard acceptable practice and the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) regulations makes provision for this. Generally, it is an accepted fact that auctioneers give no guarantees or warranties unless specifically undertaken by the auctioneer in writing.
South African Institute of Auctioneers, Sonja Styger, SAIA Secretary, Tel: (021) 813 6342, Fax: 086 660 5276, Email: email@example.com
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