Removing the requirement to have a licence to be an auctioneer in WA is being proposed following a review of the Auction Sales Act.
However, protections will be boosted with extra conduct standards and power for the Commissioner for Consumer Protection to take action to prevent unfit persons from working in the auction industry which covers the auctioning of all types of goods, including the sale of real estate, motor vehicles, art, antiques, collectables and livestock.
New standards will address conduct relating to bidding practices, collusive behaviour, disclosure, record keeping and the operation of trust accounts.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard believes the proposed changes to the laws covering auction sales reduce red tape costs for businesses while continuing to protect buyers.
“We believe this move will have a positive impact on consumers, industry and government with less regulatory burden,” Mr Hillyard said.
“The proposal involves what we call ‘negative licensing’ where there is no need to have a licence to operate but there are still laws that regulate the industry and auctioneers who don’t do the right thing can be barred.
“This should give the community confidence that there are regulations in place that offer protections when buying and selling goods by auction. The fact that we receive very few complaints against auctioneers also influenced the decision.
“When the Act first came into effect in 1973 there was no internet, so the option of participating in an online auction has made it impractical to enforce a traditional licensing regime. So we believe the changes will offer a more practical solution for these changing circumstances.”
It is also proposed that the processes for the regulation of auctioneers will transfer from the Magistrates Court to Consumer Protection.
The changes being proposed follow extensive consultation with the industry and community as part of the review. A draft Bill will go before Parliament for approval.
A final report of the review of the Auction Sales Act in the form of Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (D-RIS) is available for viewing on the Consumer Protection website.