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Conduct of an Auction

468.388 Conduct of an auction.—

(1) Prior to conducting an auction in this state, an auctioneer or auction business shall

execute a written agreement with the owner, or the agent of the owner, of any property to be

offered for sale, stating:

(a) The name and address of the owner of the property;

(b) The name and address of the person employing the auctioneer or auction business, if

different from the owner; and

(c) The terms or conditions upon which the auctioneer or auction business will receive the

property for sale and remit the sales proceeds to the owner.

(2) The auctioneer or auction business shall give the owner one copy of the agreement and

shall keep one copy for 2 years after the date of the auction.

(3) Each auctioneer or auction business shall maintain a record book of all sales. The record

book shall be open to inspection by the board at reasonable times.

(4) Each auction must be conducted by an auctioneer who has an active license or by an

apprentice who has an active apprentice auctioneer license and who has received prior written

sponsor consent. Each auction must be conducted under the auspices of a licensed auction

business. Any auctioneer or apprentice auctioneer conducting an auction, and any auction

business under whose auspices such auction is held, shall be responsible for determining that any

auctioneer, apprentice, or auction business with whom they are associated in conducting such

auction has an active Florida auctioneer, apprentice, or auction business license.

(5) The principal auctioneer shall prominently display at the auction site the licenses of the

principal auctioneer, the auction business, and any other licensed auctioneers or apprentices who

are actively participating in the auction. If such a display is not practicable, then an oral

announcement at the beginning of the auction or a prominent written announcement that 

these licenses are available for inspection at the auction site must be made. 

(6) The premium or surcharge must be announced at the beginning of the auction and a written notice

of this information must be conspicuously displayed or distributed to the public at the auction


(7) At the beginning of an auction must be announced the terms of bidding and sale and

whether the sale is with reserve, without reserve, or absolute or if a minimum bid is required. If

the sale is absolute and has been announced or advertised as such, an article or lot may not be

withdrawn from sale once a bid has been accepted. If no bid is received within a reasonable time,

the item or lot may be withdrawn.

(8) If an auction has been advertised as absolute, no bid shall be accepted from the owner of

the property or from someone acting on behalf of the owner unless the right to bid is specifically

permitted by law.

(9) The auction business under which the auction is conducted is responsible for all other

aspects of the auction as required by board rule. The auction business may delegate in whole, or

in part, different aspects of the auction only to the extent that such delegation is permitted by law

and that such delegation will not impede the principal auctioneer’s ability to ensure the proper

conduct of his or her independent responsibility for the auction. The auction business under

whose auspices the auction is conducted is responsible for ensuring compliance as required by

board rule.

(10)(a) When settlement is not made immediately after an auction, all sale proceeds received

for another person must be deposited in an escrow or trust account in an insured bank or savings

and loan association located in this state within 2 working days after the auction. A maximum of

$100 may be kept in the escrow account for administrative purposes.

(b) Each auction business shall maintain, for not less than 2 years, a separate ledger showing

the funds held for another person deposited and disbursed by the auction business for each

auction. The escrow or trust account must be reconciled monthly with the bank statement. A

signed and dated record shall be maintained for a 2-year period and be available for inspection

by the department or at the request of the board.

(c) Any interest which accrues to sale proceeds on deposit shall be the property of the seller

for whom the funds were received unless the parties have agreed otherwise by written agreement executed prior to the auction.

(d) Unless otherwise provided by written agreement executed prior to the auction, funds

received by a licensee from the seller or his or her agent for expenses, including advertising,

must be expended for the purposes advanced or refunded to the seller at the time of final

settlement. Any funds so received shall be maintained in an escrow or trust account in an insured

bank or savings and loan association located in this state. However, this does not prohibit

advanced payment of a flat fee.

(11)(a) All advertising by an auctioneer or auction business shall include the name and

Florida license number of such auctioneer and auction business. The term “advertising” shall not

include articles of clothing, directional signs, or other promotional novelty items.

(b) No licensed auctioneer, apprentice, or auction business may disseminate or cause to be

disseminated any advertisement or advertising which is false, deceptive, misleading, or

untruthful. Any advertisement or advertising shall be deemed to be false, deceptive, misleading,

or untruthful if it:

 1. Contains misrepresentations of facts.

2. Is misleading or deceptive because, in its content or in the context in which it is presented,

it makes only a partial disclosure of relevant facts.

3. Creates false or unjustified expectations of the services to be performed.

4. Contains any representation or claim which the advertising licensee fails to perform.

5. Fails to include the name and license number of the principal auctioneer and the auction


6. Fails to include the name and license number of the sponsor if an apprentice is acting as

the principal auctioneer.

7. Advertises an auction as absolute without specifying any and all items to be sold with

reserve or with minimum bids.

8. Fails to include the percentage amount of any buyer’s premium or surcharge which is a

condition to sale.

(c) The provisions of this subsection apply to media exposure of any nature, regardless of

whether it is in the form of paid advertising.

(d) The auction business shall be responsible for the content of all advertising disseminated

in preparation for an auction.

History.—ss. 8, 14, ch. 86-119; s. 62, ch. 91-137; s. 11, ch. 91-156; s. 5, ch. 91-207; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 302, ch.

97-103; s. 13, ch. 2000-356.