Frequently Asked Questions:

We would love to help you navigate all your auction questions and any issues you might be having.. We know you might have some questions prior to contacting our Association. We've put together a list of our most frequently asked questions below for your convenience. If you don't see the question you had or would like further information on any of the topics below please feel free to contact us.

How many days does an auction company have to pay their consignors?

The Fair Trading Act of Alberta requirement is a maximum of twenty-one days, inclusive of holidays and weekends. Most reputable auction companies will pay out within five to ten business days. (Payout section 17 (1) )

Can an auctioneer bid on the goods he is selling?

The Fair Trading Act of Alberta states that an auctioneer/employee of an auction company can bid on an item if he has use for it. They cannot bid solely to increase the money of the bid on the item or items overall value at auction. (Employee bidding 9 (1))

Do auction companies require a bond and license?

The Fair Trading Act of Alberta requires all auction companies to be licensed in the province of Alberta and carry a minimum bond of $25,000 dollars. (Auction Bond ( Security) 5(1), License 121 (1))

Can owners buy back their own equipment or auction items?

The Fair Trading Act of Alberta states it is illegal for the owner or agent of any goods to bid on their own items at auction. (Buy back 10 (1))

What do I need to conduct a timed online auction?

The Auctioneers Association recommends to ONLY use licensed and bonded auction companies when seeking online auctions. Today the format of timed online auction is unregulated. Currently the Auctioneers Association of Alberta is working with the government of Alberta to better standardize and regulate online auctions. The goal of the Association is to have all timed auctions be required to be bonded and licensed in the same manner as public auctions are regulated.

How do I remove a lien that is discovered after purchase and possession of property/items?

By law if the auction item was offered and represented as lien and encumbrance free then it must be sold to the buyer free of liens and encumbrances. Although, there are rare cases when liens surface after the auction date, the best practice as recommended by the Association for removing a discovered lien is to work with the auction company to liaison with the lien holders or financial institution to remove newly discovered liens or encumbrances. (Liens 7 (2))

What is required to conduct a Charity auction in Alberta?

The Auctioneers Association requires that a Charity Auction use a “qualified auctioneer” and or a member of the Auctioneers Association of Alberta.

Can I inquire about the purchaser details (name or information) of the person who bought or sold my items?

The Privacy Act states that no information regarding name, address, contact details, price etc can be given out unless the buyer or seller consents to sharing their private information.

What are some of the legal requirements or standards when it comes to contracts or obligations for auctions?

Contract law of Alberta states that the persons must be competent, of legal age, understand recognized Canadian language formats, the specific dates of the agreement, and all pertinent information or stipulations. The only way a signed contract can be altered or canceled is by agreement of all parties.

What is the difference between a Reserved and Unreserved auction?

The Fair Trading Act of Alberta states that a reserved auction allows consignors to set a price that they are willing to accept for their items. Unreserved auctions require that every item in the auction sale must be sold Unreserved to the highest bidder regardless of final selling price. (Unreserved 11 (1) (2))

What if I buy an item at an auction as high bidder and no longer want it? Do I have to pay for it? What happens if I don’t?


The Fair Trading Act of Alberta states that upon the fall of the hammer or the auctioneer saying “Sold”, a contract has been formed and you are 100% responsible for the item and it’s payment, legally and wholly. (High bidder 12 (a))



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  • The Public Auctions Regulation is available on the Queen's Printer Web site

    For more information about auctions you can contact:

  • Auctioneer's Association of Alberta at or phone: (403) 340-2070.

  • Real Estate Council of Alberta

  • at or
    Phone: (403) 228-2954

  • or (toll free in Alberta) 1-888-425-2754.

  • Check the Better Business Bureaus' business reliability reports:

    Better Business Bureau of Central and Northern Alberta
    Edmonton: (780) 482-2341
    Toll free: 1-800-232-7298

  • Better Business Bureau of Southern Alberta
    Calgary: (403) 517-4222
    Toll free: 1-800-661-4464

  • A current version of this tipsheet and other tipsheets are available at the Alberta Government Services' website at