The Auctioneers Act regulates the sale of most items and property sold by auction. Unless specifically exempted, an auction must be conducted by provincially-licensed auction companies and auctioneers.
For information about auctions select from the options below.
- Conditions of sale are the terms of the auction sales contract, which may include the acceptable methods of payment, terms, buyer’s premium, or reserve bids.
- Reserve bid is a minimum selling price for the item. If the price is not met, the item does not have to be sold.
- Opening bid is the starting bid amount. One does not have to bid that amount.
- Minimum bid is the lowest acceptable amount at which bidding must start.
- Buyer’s premium is a flat fee or percentage of the accepted bid added to the bid to determine the price to be paid.
General auction rules
According to Section 57 of The Sale of Goods Act:
- Where goods are put up for sale at auction in lots, the sale of each lot constitutes a separate contract of sale;
- A sale by auction is complete when the auctioneer announces that the sale is complete, by the fall of the hammer or in another customary manner. Until the announcement is made a bidder may retract a bid;
- Unless an auction announces the right of the property owner to participate in the auction, it is illegal for the seller to bid, or to have someone bid on the seller`s behalf, at an auction. It is also illegal for the auctioneer knowingly to take a bid from the seller or a representative. A sale contravening the rule may be treated as fraudulent;
- A seller at auction may set a reserve bid or upset price on the seller`s goods. Where a reserve bid is set, the seller, or someone on the seller`s behalf, may bid at the auction.
Selling or consigning goods at auctions
Consumers or business operators selling or consigning goods for auction should obtain a written contract that outlines the terms of the auction agreement. As a minimum, the contract should include:
- Details of the items being sold or consigned
- Items subject to a reserve bid, if any
- Auctioneer’s commissions and/or costs
- When net proceeds are paid and how
- What happens to unsold items
- Who picks up and delivers items
Internet sales contract legislation
The Consumer Protection and Business Practices Act establishes rules for internet sellers and provides some protection for Saskatchewan consumers who buy goods or services online. When purchasing online, including from online auctions, consumers are strongly encouraged to use a credit card or a reputable internet payment service that offers protection for non-delivery. Credit card companies have certain refund obligations if services purchased online are not received or goods are not delivered. Read the Internet Sales Contracts bulletin for more information.
Vehicles consigned for auction by a licensed dealer
All vehicle sales that a licensed motor dealer consigns to an auction are also subject to various regulations.
If a licensed dealer consigns a motor vehicle at auction, the purchaser is entitled to be informed of the name of the dealer consigning the goods. In addition, auctioned vehicles must be “roadworthy,” or fit to drive pursuant to The Traffic Safety Act, unless the vehicle was specifically described as not “roadworthy” in the written contract for sale.
Indicating either verbally or in writing, that the dealer’s vehicle is sold “as is” is not sufficient.
If required, consumers who purchase personal-use vehicles “as is” from dealers at auction may also pursue claims for breaches of the warranty provisions of The Consumer Protection and Business Practices Act.
- Buyers do not have a right to return goods purchased at an auction unless informed that goods may be returned.
- GST is payable on most auctioned items.
- Internet auctions held outside of Saskatchewan, especially internationally, may not be subject to Saskatchewan rules. Look into the terms of an online auction before participating. For more information, consult The Consumer Handbook.
When purchasing goods internationally, check the Canada Border Services Agency website regarding admissibility requirements, and visit the Canadian Standards Association’s international website to ensure they meet Canadian safety standards.
Exclusions list in The Auctioneers Act
If the only items being sold at auction are specifically excluded from the The Act, the auction does not have to be conducted by a licensed auctioneer and auction company.
Some items that are specifically excluded from the licensing requirement include:
- Property sold on behalf of a religious, charitable, non-profit, or similar organizations, provided that the person conducting the bidding is not paid;
- Property sold under a court order, such as a judicial sale, or under a power of sale contained in a mortgage;
- Property sold by a municipality; and
- Agricultural products sold under the sponsorship of the Extension Department of the College of Agriculture at The University of Saskatchewan or of the Probreeders’ Association.