North Dakota May Require Internet Auctioneer License Bond

The state of North Dakota is reviewing current auctioneer licensing requirements. For more traditional auctioneers, the license must be filed with a $5,000 surety bond. The state is questioning whether the licenses should be required of Internet auctioneers (ie eBay).

The license would not be required of individuals selling their personal goods online, but of retailers that are selling others’ goods for a fee. Some auctioneers are complaining the license and surety bond would only create more red tape, but would provide no benefit.

I can see how honest auctioneers would be a little upset about the requirement. They are required to pay for consumer protection for the minority bad apple auctioneers. These auctioneers are looking at the requirement the wrong way. The bond requirement would provide a guarantee to their clients, which could create more business for them. Liberty Mutual’s buySAFE program has been promoted by many eBay sellers as a great tool for increasing sales. North Dakota could earn a reputation for having “safer” Internet sales due to their licensing and bond requirements. This would in effect give online auctioneers a leg up on their competition, which would easily pay for the annual premium of the small bond requirement.

I believe the bond requirement should be done on a sliding scale. How much good will a $5,000 bond be if an auctioneer has sales well over the bond limit? I am sure that is not too popular of statement with the auctioneers, but I think the general public would agree with it.

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