Live Auctioneers Gets an F from the Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau gives a big F. Live Auctioneers received the most complaints out of all the 11 auction companies in the industry.

Live Auctioneers LLC

Phone: (212) 947-4427
220 12th Ave Fl 2
, New York, NY 10001

BBB® F Rating
On a scale of A+ to F

An Industry comparison chart shows that had the most complaints filed in the Auctioneers industry. Out of 11 different businesses in the industry, they were the one ranked with the most complaints. See the chart below:
# of businesses with NO complaints in the past 36 months 7
# of businesses with 1-4 complaints in the past 36 months 3
# of businesses with 5-25 complaints in the past 36 months 1 Live Auctioneers LLC is in this range.
# of businesses with 26-99 complaints in the past 36 months 0
# of businesses with 100 or more complaints in the past 36 months 0
Total # of same relative size businesses in the BBB database in this type of business 11

Live Auctioneers Redesigns Web Site

Live Auctioneers New WebsiteLive Auctioneers just announced the redesign of their web site. Unfortunately for the bidders, they didn’t change their policies or poor customer service. The new redesigned site was announced through a press release that quotes Live Auctioneers CEO Julian R. Ellison. In the press release he states that some of the changes came as a direct result of his listening “to feedback received from auctioneers and bidders.” It’s interesting how the auctioneers always seem to come first before the bidders for LiveAuctioneers.

Auctioneers are the ones that pay to sell on the site. As a result, the rules are skewed to benefit them and screw the bidders. As a matter of fact, there are numerous complaints across the internet about unethical and law-breaking auctioneers that sell through, yet since they pay, they get to stay on the site regardless of their actions.

In the same press release, the company bragged about their 2nd quarter growth of a paltry 1.40% increase in unique visitors, while eBay increased 14% in new users and substantially more in unique visitors, 10 times more than them. It’s obvious that low increase in unique visitors is due to their lack of respect and support for bidders. As more and more visitors to the site encounter problems with auctioneers, that number will continue to decline and other competing online auction sites will continue to flourish.

Live Auctioneers Problems

Someone went to an online auction and purchased an oil on canvas painting. Well there was a problem. When the painting arrived it was damaged with 2 little holes. He checked the original pictures posted by the auctioneer and if you look really close, the holes where there. They actually look like part of the art as opposed to holes. The problem was that the auction house failed to disclose the holes and said the painting was in good condition.

Problems - Holes in PaintingHe emailed the auctioneer about the problem and included closeup pictures of the holes. The reply from the auction house was swift, “You should have asked.” It continued, “LEGITIMATE auction houses provide inspections, which you should have requested prior to bidding.” The lesson learned, always ask for an inspection prior to bidding. While the auctioneers sometimes describe the problems with what they’re selling, they sometimes don’t yet they claim to be legitimate.

I checked the laws in states where auctioneers are licensed. They have a responsibility to disclose all they know about the item they’re selling. I guess it’s easy for a “legitimate” auctioneer to lie and say they didn’t know.


Difference Between and eBay

eBay and eBay have one major difference, other than the obvious which is that one is a live online auction and the other is a timed auction. The big difference is that eBay takes steps to make sure that the buyer and seller both have the ability to share their experiences with other buyers and sellers. It’s called feedback on eBay and it allows both buyers and sellers to post about their transactions with each other. This Feedback gives other buyers and sellers a feeling of who they are dealing with, if they have not paid for winning bids, if the sellers are committing fraud, and so on.

LiveAuctioneers, on the other hand, is only concerned about the sellers. That’s because it’s the sellers who pay them, not the buyers. So sellers can commit fraud, sell fake art, hide behind various seller names, mistreat customers and so on, and nothing happens. As a matter of fact, in LiveAuctioneers’ terms and conditions it clearly states that sellers will indemnify LiveAuctioneers if LiveAuctioneers get sued by buyers. Basically they only care if it hurts their pockets, not the buyer’s pocket.

In addition, Live Auctioneers only allows the seller to file their own kind of feedback. It’s called “disputes”. If sellers file disputes will suspend your account until you, the bidder, resolves the matter to the SELLER’S satisfaction. Even if you resolve it, other Sellers get to see that disputes were filed against you. That is, even if you fulfill your obligations to the seller but the seller (Auction House) decides not to lift the dispute, you can’t buy from other sellers on LiveAuctioneers, even if you bought from 20 happy sellers and they want you to participate in their auctions. Julian Ellison, the co-founder and CEO of LiveAuctioneers clearly demonstrates, through this policy, that only those who pay him have the say.

So lets see, 20 auction houses are happy with your purchases but 2, who may be scammers, file a dispute because you don’t want to be scammed by them, and you’re the one removed from LiveAuctioneers? Julian Ellison, maybe that’s how things work in the UK where you come from, but that’s not how things work here in the USA. I predict that eventually the Federal Trade Commission will step in to stop them, or maybe the individual state’s Attorney Generals, or maybe the bidders will get tired and go somewhere else where they are treated fair. Maybe all 3!

LiveAuctioneers Complaints on RipOff Report

I was going through the many online complaints filed against Here’s one that caught my attention, and that I agree with:

“I’ve been buying coins for almost 30 years through every method.  The salesmen (I don’t call them auctioneers because I bet most aren’t licensed) are obviously manipulating bids through shill bidding.  Their prices, not even including the exorbitant bidders premiums and S&H, are always much higher than eBay.  And I don’t mean for high value items – I mean a lot of basic items that wouldn’t be counterfeit.  The issue I have with them setting a minimum price for their auctions is that this is NOT clear to the bidders who think this is a live absolute auction.  What the sellers are effectively doing is setting a reserve price and all the bidders think it’s other people bidding.

I have contact Live Auctioneers and they have confirmed that they do nothing to detect or deal with shill bidders (fake bidders that just bid up the price).  There are MANY technological solutions that would add transparency to the process and protect the bidders.  They just choose not to implement them.  This is disingenuous at best, fraudulent at worst.  I’m actually going to look up the auction governance body and attorney general for the state in which they operate and file formal complaints.  I believe the FTC may also have jurisdiction.

And with regards to the seller that likes the way they operate and says eBay is going down because they protect bidders – duh.  Of course you’d like an unfair advantage.  The complaint here is that the LiveAuctioneers people are manipulating prices behind the scenes and not transparent to the bidders.  This is what hurts the auction industry – and why it is not allowed in real live auctions.”