Pennsylvania Auction Law

The state is famous for its industrial and agricultural outputs. Pennsylvania has been one of the nation’s most important industrial centers for coal, steel and railroads. As progressive as it may seem, the auction business here is ever growing, this is because of the statute that they have for auction businesses.

Licensure Requirements

It is unlawful for any person to engage in the business or profession of an auctioneer, apprentice auctioneer or an auction company to conduct an auction, to hold himself out as an auctioneer or as an apprentice auctioneer, to hold itself out as an auction company or to offer to conduct auctions in this Commonwealth without first obtaining a license from the board as an auctioneer, apprentice auctioneer, auction company or special licensee.

Regardless of whether the computer system or server utilized in connection with an online auction is physically located within this Commonwealth, a license shall be required for any person offering to conduct or agreeing to conduct an online auction, or conducting an online auction, if:

  • The seller is situated in this Commonwealth at the time the offer is made, the agreement is made or the online auction is held.
  • The online auction involves the sale of real property situated in this Commonwealth.
  • The online auction involves the sale of personal property situated in this Commonwealth at the time the offer is made, the agreement is made or the online auction is held.

Any owner, member, officer, employee or independent contractor retained by an auction company who calls bids or engages in other activities requiring licensure under this act must be licensed as an auctioneer or apprentice auctioneer. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a license is not required for an individual, acting as an agent or representative of a licensee under this act, to negotiate or execute contracts on behalf of the licensee. 

Licensees under this act shall be authorized to conduct auctions at any venue within this Commonwealth, including on-site auctions and auctions held at auction houses and temporary venues, and by any method of conducting the sale, including live auctions and online auctions and auctions that are conducted live and online contemporaneously, whether real-time auctions or extended auctions.

-A registration fee of $100 shall be included with each application for registration or renewal. The fee may be established by the board by regulation. 

Surety Bond

No license, including a special license, or registration shall be granted or issued to any person under this act until the applicant has filed with the board an approved bond payable to the Commonwealth in the amount of $5,000. The bond shall be executed by a surety company authorized by the laws of this Commonwealth to transact business in this Commonwealth, and no licensee or registrant shall engage in the businesses regulated under this act without an active bond. The bond shall be for the use of the Commonwealth and for any person or persons who may have a cause of action against a licensee or registrant under this act.

The condition of the bond shall be that the licensee, including a special licensee or registrant, will comply with and abide by the provisions of this act and will pay to the Commonwealth, the board or any person or persons any and all money that may come due to the Commonwealth, the board or the person or persons from a licensee or registrant under and by virtue of this act.

If any person is aggrieved by the misconduct of any licensee, including a special licensee or registrant and recovers judgment against the licensee or registrant therefor, the person may on any execution issued under the judgment maintain an action upon the bond of the licensee or registrant in any court having jurisdiction of the amount claimed. 

Reciprocity

A person who is licensed in good standing as an auctioneer, apprentice auctioneer or auction company in another state may, on application to the board, be granted licensure as an auctioneer, apprentice auctioneer or auction company in this Commonwealth upon the payment by the applicant of the proper application fee and the filing with the board of a properly certified copy of the license issued to the applicant by the applicant’s current licensing state, provided that:

  • The requirements for licensure in the applicant’s current licensing state are, in the determination of the board, commensurate with the requirements for licensure in this Commonwealth.
  • The licensing laws of the applicant’s current licensing state extend to licensees of this Commonwealth the same reciprocal rights and privileges in that state without the necessity of the licensees in this Commonwealth to obtain additional or further licenses or authority from any political subdivision of that state.
  • The applicant satisfies all other requirements of licensees and applicants for licensure in this Commonwealth, including the requirement to furnish a bond. 

Written Contract

Prior to conducting a transaction, a licensee or registrant shall enter into a written contract, in duplicate, with the owner or consignor of the property to be sold, containing the terms and conditions upon which the licensee or registrant agrees to conduct the sale. Each contract shall include the license or registration number of the licensee or registrant conducting the transaction. The contract may be entered into electronically. The contracts shall be kept on file in the office of the licensee or registrant and shall be open to inspection.

Sales Record

Every licensee and registrant under this act who receives or accepts any property for sale at auction or sale through an online trading assistant consignment sale transaction shall maintain a written record which shall contain the following information, provided that, if the transaction is being conducted by an auction company or a trading assistant company, the records shall be maintained by the auction company or trading assistant company:

  • The name and address of the seller of the property to be sold. 
  • A copy of the written or electronic contract authorizing the transaction containing the terms and conditions of the transaction or a copy of the receiving invoice. 
  • A written record of the transaction.

The written records shall be kept on file in the office of the licensee or registrant for a period of not less than two years and, if the licensee or registrant is notified of a complaint against the licensee or registrant, the records shall be maintained until the complaint is finally resolved.

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