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A list of frequently asked questions about bidding and buying from online auctions.
4 Mins

Buying at auction: FAQs

Jess Gibson
Jess Gibson

If you’re considering getting involved in the exciting world of online auctions, and you’re a bit of a newbie to bidding at auction, we’ve compiled a list of some of our most common buying FAQs to help you get started safely and successfully. Take a look below…

What is a timed online auction?

This refers to an online auction that has a set end time. All of our auctions are timed and generally run for between two to four weeks occasionally longer – giving you plenty of time to peruse items and make decisions about what to bid on and decide what your budget should be.

From start to finish, the process is automated and bidders receive email updates relating to their bids or if you just fancy having a scroll through the auction when it’s live you can just visit our site and select the auction you’re taking part in.

What’s the difference between a no reserve and a reserve auction?

A no reserve auction is one in which the item will be sold regardless of price. This has the potential to attract a greater number of bidders, especially those who are seeking out a bargain. There will, regardless of the type of auction, be a starting price, but these are generally very low.

In contrast, a reserve auction has a starting bid price attached that, if it isn’t matched by the final bid, may prevent the item being sold.

Can you explain the whole process?

First of all, you need to create an account and then register for the auction you’ve chosen. Once you’ve done this, you can browse through the lots available and bid on any that take your fancy (it’s vital that you read all the details available for each lot, especially the important information section).

As the auction proceeds, you can gain updates about any bids you’ve made via email under two conditions: if you’re the leading bid or a bid is successful. If you win, a payment request will be made for you to complete.

As our auctions are online, we don’t house the consigned lots; this sits with the vendor, who’s also responsible for arranging delivery/collection with the winning bidder. You will be given details to contact them about arranging this aspect of the process.

How do I register?

It’s quick and easy. You’re just required to input basic personal details, plus payment information, so make sure you’ve got your card handy! Once you’ve got an account, you can click the ‘register for this auction’ link on our site to get started.

If you find that your account is ‘pending’, it’s possible that you’ve entered something incorrectly. Check your details and amend any errors or get in touch via our chat function if this isn’t the case.

What if I bid on the wrong item?

It’s imperative that you double-check the item you’re bidding on before you click anything – this process is a binding legal commitment. Always read the T&Cs before you start bidding.

What happens if my bid wins?

If your bid has been successful, you will be notified by email. Once payment for the item is received, you will receive a collection note that includes the vendor’s name, email address, and a telephone number to contact them on.

Following this, you can confer with the vendor about delivery or, if necessary, collection.

What about payment?

If you’re successful, you’ll receive a payment request. You will then have two working days to start processing the payment to us, using the payment details located on the invoice we send. As a security measure, we ensure that your funds are withheld from the vendor until you have received your lot.

Please note that payments over £1000 will require you to complete an online bank transfer.

If you are purchasing on behalf of a company, the original invoice will need paying first. You can then email our accounts team to request a company VAT invoice, including any amendments to the company name, address, contact number, and VAT.

Can I pay from abroad?

Yes, you can make a payment from outside of the UK, although this may incur a small additional charge.

How do I know William George is a reputable auction house?

As a member of the NAA (National Auctioneer Association), William George is a safe, reputable auction house – you can trust us.

We ensure that all vendors are vetted according to our high standards and many of these vendors have been selling regularly with us for many years. Take a look at our Trustpilot reviews if you need further reassurance.

As a company that cares, we stay on the lookout not only for fake items, but also those that adversely affect animals – ivory, for example – engaging a firm code of morals and ethics when it comes to vetting both products and vendors.

We want all bidders to find their experience in the world of online auctions exciting and satisfying, so if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Take a look at our live auctions and see what you could be bidding on right now!