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Online Auction Legal Advice - Help Needed

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Good afternoon, 

We find ourselves in quite a bizarre situation and would really appreciate any advice that might be out there. 

- Today we placed bids on an online auction for a BTL property. We won the auction with a bid of £127,000. Once bidding went over £125,000 we received an email and on-screen prompt to confirm that our bid met the reserve price and the property would be sold to the highest bidder.

- At the end of the auction we received an email to confirm that we were the highest bidders and that we had 'won'. 

- The email states that they would try to take our £5000 reservation fee. They appear to have been successful. 

- We subsequently received a call from the auctioneers telling us that in fact we had NOT met the reserve for the property, but that they were giving us the first opportunity to put in a bid of £134k to secure it. They said there had been a 'technical glitch.'

Does anyone know what our legal rights are in this regard? We intend to hold the auctioneers to the contract. 

If the virtual hammer had fallen and we'd cited a technical glitch and tried to secure the property for £7k less, we'd be laughed out of town!

Expecting to discuss this in detail with them tomorrow, so would love any advice or to hear from anyone with experience of this. 




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If you have confirmation of the sale and acceptance then they are held to account - in terms of contract the email notification is liable. When they say technical glitch say you want the exact details of the glitch - record this call with them from start to finish - more than likely its bollocks and if it was a glitch it was human error, which doesnt matter as far as you are concerned as it makes them still liable. The only way they wouldnt be liable after sending out the information would be if they were hacked / cyber criminality.

I went through a problem of contract and agreements via email - then client tried to renege on what I had eveidence they agreed to - court proceedings took less than hour to rule in my favour. Make sure to begin speaking with a lawyer immediatley to ensure you are one step ahead - a good lawyer that has experience in electronic/online and contract  negotiation. 


You should be fine.

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All sounds very strange a makes one wonder about their trust worthiness in general.

Be aware that Modern Method of Auction has the concept of a £5K+VAT reservation fee which is additional to the agreed hammer price.  It is not returnable and is a fee for buying essentially. Auction deposits are normally 10% of the final bid so please ensure you are aware of what kind of auction you are operating in.  

They might be giving you a way out from paying a lot of fees that might make your deal look unattractive?

Do come back to us to let us know what actually is going on if you get to the bottom of it please.


The Nottingham Meetup takes place on the first Thursday of every month, find out more here

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Thanks a lot for this advice. 

By way of an update, the company contacted us the following day to confirm they would honour the reported reserve price and go ahead with the transaction. I assume they have agreed to compensate the vendor with the difference.

The reserve price was manually input incorrectly. 

Suspect that they were trying to wriggle out of it at first, but quickly adjusted when we dug in. 

We're showing some builders round tomorrow for quotes on the work required and hope to complete in the next few weeks. 


Thanks again

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