05/11/2017
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Flaw exposed in Saleroom auctions

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As auction houses seek to widen their reach and collectors take advantage of being able to search for and bid on militaria without ever visiting the saleroom, a serious shortcoming has been found in www.the-saleroom.com.

During a sale, the auctioneer can take bids from the room, by phone and live via the internet if it is hosted on online platforms like Saleroom. If there is a bid from the room and an external source at the same time, the auctioneer will default to the room bid, giving the external bidder an opportunity to then beat it. The problem comes from a service offered on the-saleroom.com of maximum bidding.

On a purely online auction, like eBay, where there are two identical maximum bids, the system defaults to whoever posted their original bid first. At the-saleroom.com the problem is that the maximum bid is not passed on to the auction house when it is received or at any point. Instead it is used as an automatic bidding service when in live play.

This means that an online user can make a maximum bid a month before the auction starts yet, on the day of the auction, their bids arrive at the same time as those in the room and if they are the same, the room bidder takes the lot. Clearly, as the online bidder put in their bid a month earlier, it’s entirely unfair. As such, readers are advised not to use the maximum bidding option when bidding online with the-saleroom.com, but instead monitor the live auction so that they have the chance to increase their bid if necessary.

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