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Jack R.
Jack R., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6147
Experience:  Mediator, part of the Ohio Save the Dream Foreclosure project
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I recently contracted to sell property through an Auction company here in Tennessee. It di

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I recently contracted to sell property through an Auction company here in Tennessee. It did not turnout very well having sold the property far below the anticipated selling price. Certain events occurred in the period of time prior to the the event and including the minutes immediately prior the onset of the auction that appear to be out of line if not illegal.

Even though I have been in the real estate business for 40 years, I have little knowledge about auctions. I do know that most of the laws, (written or case law) generally deal with protecting buyers from fraud and unscrupulous acts. Auctions are notorious for all kinds of underhanded actions but my question is this. Are there any protections afforded to sellers? Are there any general transactions laws from the body of statutory law that would serve to protect sellers in any transaction without regard to where it a occurred? Specifically, comments, conversations and statements prior to the auction that are clearly delivered to drive off other bidders and or manipulate bidders so as to have them withdraw from bidding. This was a absolute auction (no reserve) and as such, I have no right to cancel the winning bidder's offer. I know now that my auctioneer should have called off (or postponed )the event in light of the developments at that time. I appear to be stuck. Of course my auctioneer doesn't want to challenge the bidder or ask for a cancellation (he stands to lose his fees).

I would like to point out that culprit was a person who accused my auctioneer of making false statements regarding long since settled litigation on the property. (over 15 years old). He served to bring about a chilling atmosphere in the room with the word litigation. He did not initially place a bid, however, that changed near the end and at that point he rushed to the winning bidder to discuss his wish to buy a portion of the property from her directly and not in a subsequent round of bidding. (which could have gone for a h
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There is a civil action call tortious interference which provides relief if someone intentionally harms your business without a valid reason. Spreading rumors etc. to drive off bidders may qualify.

The problem is that you can not prove for sure the price would have been higher. You cannot establish damages based on the individual's conduct. Any injury would be speculative. You would likely lose a legal challenge if you could not get some of the affected bidders to testify that they would have bid more if the rumors weren't circulated.

As you stated the auctioneer should have terminated the auction at the first sign of improprieties.

Please accept my answer with a rating of 3 or better so I may get credit for my response. If you have follow up questions please ask. Please note that paying the deposit does not cause funds to be disbursed until you rate my response (3 or greater).

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