Montana Auction Law

Montana is a state in the Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. It is bordered by Idaho to the west; North Dakota and South Dakota to the east; Wyoming to the south; and by the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan to the north. It is the fourth-largest state by area, the seventh-least populous state, and the third-least densely populated state. The western half of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges, while the eastern half is characterized by western prairie terrain and badlands, with more (albeit smaller) mountain ranges found throughout the state. In all, 77 named ranges are part of the Rocky Mountains.

Montana has no official nickname but several unofficial ones, most notably “Big Sky Country”, “The Treasure State”, “Land of the Shining Mountains”, and “The Last Best Place”. The economy is primarily based on agriculture, including ranching and cereal grain farming. Other significant economic resources include oil, gas, coal, mining, and lumber. The health care, service, and government sectors also are significant to the state’s economy. Montana’s fastest-growing sector is tourism; nearly 13 million annual tourists visit Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Beartooth Highway, Flathead Lake, Big Sky Resort, and other attractions.

Sale by auction defined.

A sale by auction is a sale by public outcry to the highest bidder on the spot. 

Sale by auction

  1. In a sale by auction of goods by lot, each lot is the subject of a separate sale. 
  2. A sale by auction is complete when the auctioneer announces the sale by the fall of the hammer or other customary manner. When a bid is made while the hammer is falling in acceptance of a prior bid, the auctioneer may reopen the bidding or declare the goods sold under the bid on which the hammer was falling. 
  3. An auction sale is with reserve unless the goods are in explicit terms put up without reserve. In an auction with reserve, the auctioneer may withdraw the goods at any time until the auctioneer announces completion of the sale. In an auction without reserve, after the auctioneer calls for bids on an article or lot, that article or lot cannot be withdrawn unless a bid is not made within a reasonable time. In either case a bidder may retract a bid until the auctioneer’s announcement of completion of the sale, but a bidder’s retraction does not revive any previous bid. 
  4. If the auctioneer knowingly receives a bid on the seller’s behalf or the seller makes or procures a bid and notice has not been given that liberty for the bidding is reserved, the buyer may avoid the sale or take the goods at the price of the last good faith bid prior to the completion of the sale. This subsection does not apply to any bid at a forced sale. 

Sale under written conditions. 

When a sale by auction is made upon written or printed conditions, those conditions cannot be modified by any oral declaration of the auctioneer except those for the auctioneer’s own protection.

Auctioneer’s memorandum of sale.

When property is sold by auction, an entry made by the auctioneer in the sale book at the time of the sale specifying the name of the person for whom the auctioneer sells, the thing sold, the price, the terms of sale, and the name of the buyer binds both the parties in the same manner as if made by the parties. 

Auctioneer’s authority from the seller. 

An auctioneer, in the absence of special authority or usage, has authority from the seller only as follows: 

  1. to sell by public auction to the highest bidder; 
  2. to sell for cash only, except for articles usually sold on credit at auction; 
  3. to warrant as an agent pursuant to 28-10-421; 
  4. to prescribe reasonable rules and terms of sale; 
  5. to deliver the thing sold upon payment of the price; 
  6. to collect the price; and 
  7. to do whatever else is necessary, proper, and usual in the ordinary course of business for effecting these purposes. 

Auctioneer’s authority from the bidder. 

An auctioneer has authority from a bidder at the auction, as well as from the seller, to bind both by a memorandum of sale as prescribed in 30-11-504. 

Auctioneer — authority and bond. 

A citizen of this state may become an auctioneer and be authorized to sell real or personal property at public auction in any county in this state after giving a bond in accordance with the provisions of this part for the faithful performance of the citizen’s duties. 

Reciprocal privileges to nonresident auctioneers. 

The residency requirements required by this state for an auctioneer are waived for the citizens of any other state to the same extent that the home state of the applicant waives residency requirements for the citizens of this state. 

Bond and sureties — approval — filing. 

(1) Bond must be payable to the state, with one or more sureties, in the sum of $5,000 and approved by the county clerk of the county in which the auctioneer resides and filed in the clerk’s office. 

(2) If the auctioneer is not a resident, the bond must be filed with the county clerk of the county of this state in which the auctioneer carries on the auctioneer’s principal auction business. 

Auctioneers to designate one place of business — partners. 

(1) An auctioneer shall designate in writing with the county clerk one place at which the auctioneer will conduct auctions within any city. 

(2) The auctioneer shall designate in the same document any partners in the business. 

(3) The auctioneer may not offer goods for sale at a place other than that designated unless the goods are in their original packages, are bulky and usually sold in warehouses, or are usually sold on public streets. 

Penalty.

A person convicted of violating a provision of this part shall be fined no more than $500 or imprisoned in the county jail for a term not to exceed 6 months, or both. In addition the person shall be liable for damages incurred by any aggrieved party by reason of the violation. 

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