Live auctions can be lively affairs, with participants bidding on various goods and services as an auctioneer acts as moderator. Live auctions are conducted by communication, either verbal or with the use of signs, with a single person, the auctioneer, taking bids. Although rules of live auctions vary, there are a number of regulations common to most events.
Before being allowed to bid, all bidders must register with the auction house, presenting identification and often some kind of deposit. These bidders will in turn be issued a number and sometimes a paddle with which to bid.
In events in which participants use paddles to make bids--done so by holding them in a way that's visible to the auctioneer--only those bidders holding paddles will be allowed to place bids.
All items are generally sold "as is," without guarantee made to their value, function or genuineness. For this reason, items are often offered up for inspection for a period prior to bidding.
The auctioneer is the only party allowed to determine that a bid has been placed. If an auctioneer misses a bid, the missed party has no right to have the bid reinstated.
Most items offered at auction are given an estimated value by the auction house. This valuation is only an estimate and is not a guarantee of the object's resale value or its worth.
Once an object has been legally transferred over to the winning bidder, the auction house ceases holding any liability over the object. Any damages incurred due to its use or misuse is not the auction house's responsibility.
Although items may be listed in a catalog as being available for bidding, the auction house generally reserves the right to remove items from bidding at any time, for any reason.
All items successfully purchased by the bidder must be removed by the winning bidder within a time period set out beforehand by the auction house. The expenses incurred in moving the item are the winning bidder's alone.
The auction house reserves the right to disqualify or reject any bids made during or after the auction, for any reason.
Most auction houses require that winning bidders pay all or part of the winning bid immediately after the auction. Failure to do so may result in financial penalties or the forfeiture of the item.
All disputes over matters related to bidding are referred to the auctioneer, who has final say.