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Beware of the Invisible Bidder

By: Christine Whitfield BA (hons) - Updated: 16 Jun 2015 | comments*Discuss
Auction Property Bidder Invisible Fake

Buying a property is a massive decision and buying at auction adds even more risk to the equation – mainly because the sale at an auction can happen extremely quickly. You may go into the auction with a level head and with plans for what you will and won’t spend but it’s very easy to get carried away once the auction begins.

Auctions are fast paced. Potential buyers who have already found and viewed the property they want to buy should set a maximum bidding price for the property and aim to stick to it. It is very easy to get overcome by the atmosphere at the auction and some bidders can find themselves bidding a lot more than they intended to!

What’s more, once the bid has been accepted the bidder is legally required to follow through with the sale – saying you got carried away and didn’t mean to make the bid is no excuse!

Unfortunately auction houses know this can happen and some auctioneers employ some rather underhand tactics when it comes to selling properties at auction. One of these is the ‘invisible bidder’ tactic.

The Invisible Bidder

The invisible bidder tactic, also known as dummy bids or “bidding against the wall” often take place when an auction is particularly busy. Auction houses can get very full and very hectic. The auctioneer can sometimes take advantage of this.

The auctioneer may ‘invent’ a bidder in order to keep the price rising higher and higher. Without the invisible bidder the potential buyer would get to the price he or she was willing to pay and so long as nobody else was bidding would take the property at that price.

With the invisible bidder ‘making’ bids the potential buyer has to keep increasing his or her bid if they want to secure the property.

Another tactic some auctioneers employ is to have a friend pose as a bidder. This friend keeps the price rising even though he or she has no intention of buying the property. Once the property hits an ‘adequate’ price the friend drops out of the bidding war.

Buyers Beware

Potential buyers should make sure they are always alert when bidding for a property at a property auction. While buyers will not be able to spot a fake bidder if a friend of the owner or auctioneer is making bids they should try be aware of the use of invisible bidders.

Be aware of what is going on in the room. Make sure you are aware of who is bidding on the property you want and above all stick to the price you have set yourself. Whether or not a bidder is real or fake if they are going above the price you decided to pay then you should leave it.

The property may be your ream home but there is no point getting in trouble for it. Other properties will come on the market and with a little patience you should be able to secure the one you want without having to go over your spending limit.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
@Kdz343 -When a seller asks friends or family to bid on their item to drive the price of the goods up, it is called‘shill-bidding'. If you suspect this is taking place and bids are not genuine, then you should report it directly to the auctioneers, or Trading Standards. You can also notify the Competition and Markets Authority via the link here. I hope this helps.
ExploreAuctions - 18-Jun-15 @ 1:56 PM
is it legal if stated that the seller at the auction can bid themselves for the land they are selling or to get someone to bid on their behalf ?
Kdz343 - 16-Jun-15 @ 1:54 PM
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