South Carolina Auction Law

South Carolina is such a darling state. It’s fabulous beaches and golf courses will give you the impression that this is a well-off community within. Auction industry here is flourishing so it’s worth taking a look at how auction laws are being implemented here.

Auctioneers Commission

There is created the South Carolina Auctioneers’ Commission composed of five members to be appointed by the Governor. The Governor shall consider nominations from any individual, group, or association. The terms of the members are for three years and until their successors are appointed and qualified. A vacancy must be filled in the manner of the original appointment for the unexpired portion of the term only.

At least three members of the commission must be licensed auctioneers and must be active in the auction profession. At least one member must not be connected with the auction business. A majority of the members of the commission constitute a quorum; however, if there is a vacancy on the commission, a majority of the members serving constitutes a quorum and any action taken by the commission must be by a positive majority vote of the members constituting a quorum. 

The members shall elect from among themselves a chairman who serves for one year and until a successor is elected and qualifies. The members of the commission shall receive the same per diem, mileage, and subsistence provided by law for members of state boards, committees, and commissions.

The commission is the sole licensing authority for all licenses issued pursuant to this chapter and has the authority to discipline licensees. A person licensed as an auctioneer shall pay an annual license fee to the commission. Funds derived under this chapter must be paid to the State Treasurer who shall keep them in the manner provided for other agencies and commissions of the State. The commission shall establish license and examination fees by regulation.

License Requirements

Submit a written application on a form approved by the commission naming a licensed auctioneer to serve as the supervisor of the apprentice along with the required fee. Achieve a passing score on a written examination approved by the commission testing the applicant’s understanding of the law relating to auctioneers and auctions, ethical practices for auctioneers, and the mathematics applicable to the auctioneer business. The examination may not be taken more than one time during any six-month period following the second failure of the examination.

Provide a criminal history conviction record from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and affirm that the applicant has not been convicted of a felony or any other crime involving fraud or moral turpitude during the preceding five years. Provide a credit record satisfactory to the commission which must be obtained by the commission. A fee of ten dollars must be paid to the commission for the credit investigation. 

No apprentice auctioneer may enter into an agreement to conduct an auction or conduct an auction without the express written approval of the supervisor of the apprentice auctioneer. The supervisor shall review, at regular intervals, the records that the apprentice auctioneer is required to maintain to ensure they are current and accurate.

Written Consignor Agreement

No licensee may conduct an auction in this State without first having a written agreement with the owner of any property to be sold. The agreement shall contain the terms and conditions upon which the licensee received the goods for sale. The licensee shall provide the owner with a signed copy of the agreement and shall keep at least one copy for three years from the date of the agreement. 

A written agreement is not required for a sale at auction if the sale is made at an auction house or similar place where members of the public are generally offered the opportunity to present goods for sale. Copies of all contracts must be made available to the commission or its designated agent upon request. 

A licensee shall maintain accurate records upon receipt of goods for auction and before their sale, which shall include the name and address of the person who employed the licensee to sell the goods at auction and the name and address of the owner of the goods to be sold. These records must be open for inspection by the commission or its designated agent upon request.  A licensee shall have his pocket card license in his possession at each auction he conducts.

Escrow Fund

A licensee who handles the proceeds of an auction shall maintain a trust or escrow account with an insured bank or savings and loan association and shall deposit in this account within three business days all funds received for the benefit of another person, unless otherwise required by law or the owner or consignor of the property auctioned is paid within three business days.

Upon issuance or renewal of a license, the licensee must provide the commission with the name of the bank and the account number of the trust or escrow account in which the funds of others are maintained and authorization permitting the examination of the account by the commission or its authorized representative, unless the licensee has provided certification to the commission that funds are paid within three business days. A licensee must notify the commission by certified mail, return receipt requested, of a change of bank, account number, or location of the trust or escrow account and, at that time, shall complete the required authorization for examination of the account by the commission or its authorized representative.

A licensee shall maintain complete records for at least three years showing the deposit, maintenance, and withdrawal of trust or escrow funds. These records must be open for inspection by the commission or its designated agent periodically, upon request, and without prior notice.

Real Estate Auction Rule

No property other than the property of a specified deceased person or the property of a specified living person’s estate may be sold at auction if the auction is conducted or advertised only as an “estate auction”. However, property other than those of the specified estate may be sold at the sale if all advertisements of the sale specify which items do not belong to the estate.

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