California State Auctioneers Association: Code of Ethics
The California State Auctioneers Association (CSAA) is the professional
organization for practicing auctioneers, their associates, affiliated
businesses and other related professionals who are working within the auction
industry within the State of California. Membership in CSAA, although
voluntary, carries with it a requirement of professional commitment to other
professionals, clients, customers and the public at large that extends beyond
that of laws and professional regulations. Members of the CSAA accept this
obligation to conduct themselves and their businesses in a manner that serves
the public interest, protects the public trust and furthers the goals of their
The Code of Ethics of the California State Auctioneers Association and the
accompanying Standards of Practice, guides the members in the performance of
their professional responsibilities and duties. Complaints can be filed against
CSAA members who do not adhere to the Code of Ethics and shall be handled in
accordance with the procedures established within the CSAA By-laws.
Members pledge to lawfully and ethically protect and promote the interests of the seller (from now on referred to as Client).
Members owe the buyer (from now on referred to as Customer), the duties of honesty, integrity, and fair dealing at all times.
Members shall not accept compensation related to a Client’s matter from any third party, even if permitted by law, without the full knowledge of all the parties to the transaction.
Members shall disclose any potential conflict of interest to a current or potential
Members shall not make a profit on expenditures made for a Client without the Client’s prior and expressed consent.
Members shall not engage in activities that constitute the unauthorized practice of law.
Members shall maintain a separate and designated account in an appropriate financial institution to maintain monies coming into their possession in a trust for other persons such as escrows or trust funds.
Members shall not disclose any confidential Client information without the Client’s prior, expressed consent, unless required by law.
Members shall not misrepresent or conceal material facts.
Members are duty bound at all times to abide by California Civil Code Sections 1812.600 through 1812.609, California Penal Code Section 535, California Uniform Commercial Code Section 2328 and other laws and regulations which govern members in the profession of auctioneering.
Members shall report violations of the Code of Ethics and participate in all
investigations and disciplinary proceedings when required.
A member’s conviction of a felony involving the member acting as an auctioneer, or otherwise participating in an auction, shall be deemed a violation of the Code of Ethics and result in discipline determined by the Ethics Committee.
During the period that a member owes an unpaid and unsatisfied civil, criminal, or regulatory cost, damage, fine, judgment, penalty, sanction, or other amount which was awarded, entered, levied, or ordered against the member by an agency, authority, board, bureau, commission, court, department, or other arm of government shall result in the member being in violation of the Code of Ethics and subject to discipline determined by the Ethics Committee.
Should a member’s auctioneer bond or license (where required), be revoked by a bonding or licensing authority in any jurisdiction within the United States, for
misconduct, wrongdoing, or another violation that occurred in connection with
the member acting as an auctioneer, or otherwise participating in an auction
shall result in a member being deemed in violation of the Code of Ethics and
subject to discipline as determined by the Ethics Committee.
Standards of Practice
The following Standards of Practice are provided to encourage the highest standards of conduct among the membership of the California State Auctioneers Association. These guidelines are a companion document to the Code of Ethics for the CSAA. While the Standards of Practice may not be enforced with membership sanctions, these guidelines should nonetheless be promoted, practiced and encouraged by CSAA members. Non-compliance of these guidelines should be self-policed by fellow CSAA members.
Members must not build unreasonable expectations about the outcome of an auction in the mind of a potential client in order to secure the client’s business.
Members should conduct their business affairs so as to promote a positive image of their business and therefore the auction profession.
Members shall provide customers with a clear understanding of all the terms and conditions of the auction. Following the auction, customers for personal property auctions should be provided a written bill of sale, invoice or other document setting forth the customers purchases and total cost.
It is highly recommended that members communicate terms and conditions of the sale in written form prior to the commencement of the bidding.
Members shall, to assure better service to the client and to prevent misunderstandings, enter into a written agreement that sets forth the specific terms and conditions of the engagement.
Members have an obligation to conduct their business affairs in a professional manner.
Members should discuss all aspects of the services to be provided and include them in written form including: duties and obligations of the parties; services provided by the member; insurance coverage relating to liability, theft and casualty loss; use of a buyer’s premium (if applicable); handling of funds received and controlled by the member; sales tax; and form of payment by buyers.
Additionally, members must provide the client with a timely, detailed written accounting of the sale, which must include information concerning the handling and timely disposition of all funds received or controlled by the member.
Members shall provide the highest level of competent service in those fields in which members are customarily engaged. This competency is attained by education, training, study, practice and experience. Competence also includes the wisdom to recognize the limitations of that knowledge and when to seek the counsel, assistance, or client referral, appropriate for the circumstances.
The concept of competency also extends to members who are requested or required to travel to geographic areas where they do not have recent auction experience. Members not in a position to spend the necessary time in a market area to obtain the appropriate understanding of market conditions, may find affiliating with a qualified local auctioneer the appropriate response to ensure a
competently conducted auction.
Members must ascertain all pertinent facts necessary to implement a professional marketing campaign.
Members should never publicly criticize a competitor using false or deceptive information. Where an opinion of a competitor’s transaction is especially requested, it should be rendered in conformity with strict professional courtesy and dignity.
Members shall not directly or indirectly solicit the affiliation of an employee or independent contractor in the organization of other members without the prior notice to said member.
Members shall willingly share with other members the lessons learned through experience and study to better the profession, and how the industry’s business is perceived by the public. Members shall be loyal to the CSAA including active participation in educational, civic and charitable endeavors.
In order for any professional organization to earn and maintain the confidence of the constituencies is serves, it must demonstrate to them the ability to “police” its own. Members have the unique ability to observe and therefore assist in the stewardship of this trust. Members have an obligation to assist the CSAA and its officers in all matters, including the investigation, censure, discipline, or dismissal of members who engage in violations of the Code of Ethics.