Bidder Beware: Avoid Auction Scams

Try to find out what is being auctioned and research the value before you attend the auction. Set a limit on what you're willing to spend based on the actual value.

Figure out in advance how you plan to pay for items you buy at auction, especially if you're in the market for a big-ticket item.

More Homework

Make plans for how you will get your merchandise home. Some auctions require you to take your purchases right away. Others make you wait three or four days.

Attend auction previews to examine the merchandise. Take an expert with you, if possible. Be wary of auctions that don't hold previews.

Where to Complain:

If your state licenses auctioneers, complain to the department that handles licensing. If not, contact your county and state consumer protection offices and the Better Business Bureau.

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