Massachusetts Auction Law

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Officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Connecticut to the southwest and Rhode Island to the southeast, New Hampshire to the northeast, Vermont to the northwest, and New York to the west. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. It is home to the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts’s economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.

The entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts has played a powerful scientific, commercial, and cultural role in the history of the United States. Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the abolitionist, temperance, and transcendentalist movements. In the late 19th century, the sports of basketball and volleyball were invented in the western Massachusetts cities of Springfield and Holyoke, respectively. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage as a result of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health. Many prominent American political dynasties have hailed from the state, including the Adams and Kennedy families.

Auction permits

No person shall conduct an auction without a special or annual permit issued by the city or town in which the auction is to be conducted. Application for such a permit shall be filed with the local auction permit agent and shall contain the name of the applicant; the name, address and license number of the auctioneer; the hours between which the auction is to be conducted; the location of the auction; and a general description of the goods to be auctioned. As to a special permit, the estimated value of the goods and the date or dates, not to exceed ten, on which the auction shall be held shall also be included. 

Within six business days of the filing of an application for a special permit, the local auction permit agent shall either approve the permit subject to stated reasonable terms and conditions relating to public safety as he may establish, or deny the application on stated grounds, which must be reasonable grounds relating to public safety. Failure of an agent to act within the six business day period shall constitute approval of the application. Upon approval, express or implied, the applicant shall tender to the city or town treasurer the permit fee established by said agent, which fee shall be reasonable. 

No person shall be eligible for an annual permit unless he maintains a regular place of business for the conduct of auctioneering in the city or town. Said permit shall be issued or denied on the same terms applicable to a special permit, except that an application which is not acted upon within fourteen days of the date of filing with the local auction permit agent shall be deemed approved. Each annual permit issued shall be valid for a term of one year commencing on the date of the express or implied approval of the application therefore. Any applicant for a special or annual permit who is aggrieved by the action of the local auction permit agent on his application shall be entitled to a public hearing by the appointing authority of the agent in accordance with the provisions of chapter thirty A. 

Prohibited practices

No licensee or other person shall: 

(a) sell or offer for sale at auction goods known by him to be owned by a minor; 

(b) advertise an auction or goods for sale at an auction in the commonwealth without including the number of the license issued by the deputy director as a part of the advertisement; 

(c) advertise for sale or sell goods at auction falsely representing that said goods are, in whole or in part, bankrupt or insolvent stock or damaged goods saved from fire, or otherwise falsely represent or mislead any person as to their origin, history or condition; 

(d) sell, offer for sale or give away in connection with an auction, any goods as prize packages, gifts, premiums or bonus or otherwise as an inducement to purchase any other goods; 

(e) sell, offer for sale or dispose of goods at auction by chance or lot, or without first exhibiting to prospective bidders all such goods, including those in packages, bundles or containers, except as to auctions of unclaimed articles; 

(f) employ or knowingly allow, directly or indirectly, any person to act at any auction as a ”capper” or ”by bidder” or in any like capacity, for the purpose of bidding up the price of any goods in competition with bona fide bidders or for the purpose of encouraging or enticing bona fide bidders to purchase, or for the purpose of stimulating competitive bidding or sales; or personally act in such capacity; 

(g) make or knowingly accept any false bid to buy, or pretend to sell or buy goods; or 

(h) knowingly allow any individual who is not licensed to call for bids; provided, however, that an auctioneer may allow an individual who is not licensed to call for bids when such individual is under the direct supervision of an auctioneer licensed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. 

Sale by common carriers at public auction

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Common carriers engaged in the transportation of passengers may sell baggage left unclaimed in their possession for a period of one hundred and twenty days at public auction, after publication of notice of such sale once a week for five successive weeks in a newspaper published in the city or town where said sale is to take place. The net proceeds of such sale, after deducting storage and other charges and all expenses of the sale, shall be paid over to the commonwealth. 

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