A tutorial on Online-Only auctions

Thursday, February 22, 2018

In late 2017 we began our experiment with online-only auctions.  An Online-Only auction is basically one where there is no live auction sale with an auctioneer...  Of course that means you have to fend for yourself for dinner... sorry, none of Bahni's great eats at the snack bar! 

So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive.  Folks like to simply place bids on items they want and then come fetch them on pickup day if they are the high bidder.  It really is THAT easy.  However, with anything new there's a learning curve, odd glitches, misunderstandings and the like.  This blog will hopefully take some of the mystery out of this remarkably easy process.  I'll post it in the form of a Q&A

How do I register?

Simple.  Either click on the big gray bar on our homepage or follow any link to our online sale listing.  There will be a gray bar at the bottom of the listing where you can register.  Simply enter the required info and the system will save it for you for the next time you register for another auction.  Note: Each auction requires a separate registration.  You WILL be asked for credit card info. 

Why must I provide a credit card? 

To make the process super easy for everyone, all winning bidders at the end of the auction are AUTOMATICALLY charged for their purchases and an invoice with the breakdown of winning bids is emailed.  This means nobody needs to bother with payment while picking up.  Just grab and go.  We accept the big 4 cards...Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover. 

We also use credit card info to verify identity.  This is all done on a secure encrypted server.  Nobody at Auction Orange has access to your card info.  It is stored encrypted and we can't alter card info or update it.  You must do it on your end.  PLEASE be sure your card and e-mail info is current or it may bounce or decline which causes problems and blacklisting.  You may use a debit card as long as it can draw on the entire amount of your invoice. 

Can I register and bid on my mobile device?

Yes.  Of course it's always easier when you can see the full screen of a computer, but our system is configured to be viewed and operate on most mobile devices, including those using Apple iOS and Android.

Can I personally view the items being sold online?

Sure.  You must contact us if want to view items since this is typically done by appointment.  Although we try to provide as much info as possible, you must understand that bidding on items without viewing them constitutes acceptance of the item should you win.  If there's ever an error in the description that would materially change a bidders mind on how much to bid, let us know and we'll make it right.

OK..so I've bid on items, now what?

The system uses e-bay style bidding.  This means that if you bid on an item for say, $20 and the current bid displayed was $5, the system will bid only to $7.50 if the previous bidder's high bid was $5.  You are not advanced further UNLESS the previous bidder had a higher max bid than the $5 displayed.  If you are outbid at $20, then the previous bidder may have entered $30 as his max.  Hopefully that makes sense.

DEFENDING YOUR HIGH BID- This is the biggest area of confusion.  Just because you are the high bidder all the way to closing day doesn't mean it's assured you'll win.  Most of the bidding action occurs in the closing minutes of the auction and it is important that you sign in right before the first lots close in order to watch and defend your bid. If you sign in in the few minutes before closing, there will be a flashing bar that says "Live Catalog."  Click it.

What is the Live Catalog?

This is a feature of our system that enables the bidder to watch in real time as bids come in over the internet and lots close.  We highly recommend watching bids in the Live Catalog view so you can see what is happening in REAL TIME.  Watching the regular catalog list DOES NOT enable bidding or watching in real time and you might get outbid and not know it.  The Live Catalog has a tiled view with a live countdown as well as a quick bid button for each lot.  NOTE:  Although the Live Catalog is shown in real time, the bidding is only as good as your internet connection at the time.  Sometimes the net lags or your wifi may drop out at a crucial time. That's just a fact of life with the internet, so bids sometimes delay updating or registering.  It is recommended that you don't wait until the final seconds to bid, just in case there's a delay in your bid registering.Also, if your mobile device or computer goes into sleep mode, you'll have to reload the Live Catalog.  Besides there's no advantage to bidding in the final seconds because.....

What is Soft Close?

This is a unique feature of all our online auctions.  Unlike eBay, where someone can snatch an item in the final seconds before you have a chance to bid again, our system adds time if a bid comes in within a few minutes of the closing time.  This has the effect of allowing other bidders or yourself to bid again should there be a desire to do so.  There's no worrying about the dreaded "snipe" because the clock resets with a few more minutes of time.  As a result, there is no strategic advantage to bidding in the last seconds since it simply prolongs the time to the closing of that lot, giving everyone a fair chance to bid again.

What is "staggered close?"

We don't have all lots closing at the same moment.  Instead we utilize a "staggered close" whereby the first lot closes at a given time, then the next lot closes perhaps 20 seconds later and so on.  This enables the closing of an auction to occur almost like a live, open outcry auction where lots are sold and close in succession, one after another.  Of course, bids coming in close to the closing time will extend the time on that particular lot through the soft close feature.  This creates a fun, competitive closing as bids come in and lots close.  It's like a live, in person auction without the auctioneer!

I believe I won a bunch of items.  Now what?

We'll automatically charge your credit card on file and email you an invoice.   All you need to do is show up at the designated pick up time and claim your items.  All you need is your ID.

I can't pick up at the designated pickup time?  What do I do?

That depends on the terms of the auction which you should ALWAYS, ALWAYS read.  If pick up is at the gallery, just call us and we'll do our best to work out an alternative time to pick up.  If you don't call us or leave items for more than a few days without any word from you, well...you might be out of luck.  Don't let things sit or they may be gone.  If a pick up is at an alternate location and not the gallery, we often have very tight windows for pickup times.  Please read and know when pickup is.  When in doubt, call us.

Help!  I bid the wrong amount or on the wrong item!

If you contact us before the close of the sale, we can make adjustments for you.  After the sale is over, this is much harder and can be problematic since your high bid is a legal contract for purchase.  Call, text or e-mail and we'll do our best to help.

I thought I bid but it didn't register and I got outbid at the end.  What can be done?

Unfortunately, not much since a winning bid is a contract that we cannot unilaterally change.  This is why we encourage you to get your bids in before the final seconds so you can at least try again if you get outbid or there's an internet problem.  Your bidding experience is only as good as your internet connection, so just know that any lag, anywhere in the system (even if it isn't yours) can cause a bid to reach our server late.  Every bid is logged at the moment it is received, so we have a full record of all bids and when they came in.  When the auction closes, this log becomes a permanent record of bidding and cannot be changed if a bid didn't reach our server.  Again, this is life with the (imperfect) internet.

Hopefully, this tutorial has helped build your confidence about online bidding.  If you have any questions, just contact us and we'll try to help you along.  Expect to see more online-only auctions from us in the future...we wish you HAPPY BIDDING!

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