Auction Lingo & FAQ

Why doesn't the auction end at the closing time?

BC Surplus using software that more closely matches a "LIVE AUCTION".  If the high bidder or user changes in the final closing minute, our software will extend the closing time by resetting the clock to ONE MINUTE.  Most auction sites call this "anti-sniping" but we consider it to more closely emulate a real auction, since an auctioneer does not stop the bidding at a specific time - he stops the bidding when the bidders are finished bidding. 

NOTE: In order for the clock to reset, the actual high bidder must change, not just the bid amount and the clock might not reset exactly to 60 seconds since there is always "lag" time between our server and the users computer system.

Auction Lingo

Not all of these terms apply to this online auction site, but many are used during any auction event or during the bidding process.  If you are an "Auction Rookie" then you might want to read up on all these terms.

This is the time that all successful bidders or the buyers have to remove their purchases from the auction location. Most auctions will have VERY specific removal times outlined and buyers that do not pick up their items within the specified time will usually face penalties, additional storage costs or even forfeiture of their purchases entirely.

This is an additional fee that is charged to the buyer on top of the final bid amount.  Buyer's fees will vary from auction company to auction company, and you will also find that some auction companies will charge extra fees for using online services.  There are also some companies that will adjust the buyer's fee based on how the items are being paid.  A buyers fee is also subject to Provincial and Federal sales taxes, since the Canadian Government considers it to be "part of the original selling price".  That means, an item that is sold for $100 will have the buyers fee applied to the hammer price and then sub-totaled.  The new sub-total amount will then have the applicable taxes applied. BC Surplus charges a 15% (fifteen percent) buyers fee on all items sold.

Depending on the auction company or the location of the auction, the acceptable forms of payment might vary from one company to another, or maybe even from one auction site to another. Almost every auction company or online auction site will accept credit cards and debit cards. Many may also accept Cash, Paypal, eTransfer, Direct Deposit or Bank Transfers. Only a few will accept bank drafts, money orders or cheques as payment. Be sure to verify what forms of payment are accepted at the auction site or company you are bidding at.

This phrase means that you are purchasing the item as it is, exactly where it is currently located. If it is damaged, broken, incomplete, working or not, that is the condition in which you buy it. Rely on your own inspection of the item up for auction. If you discover damage after an item has been sold to you, you are still required to pay for and remove the item. If you discover damage even after paying for the item, no refunds are given. In other words, ALWAYS
preview and inspect your potential purchases!

Buyer’s premium is the portion of the auction company’s or website's commission that is paid by the buyer. The buyer’s premium is added to the successful bid amount and becomes part of the total sale price. A Buyer’s Premium may vary from one auction sale to another, so be sure to verify what the buyer's premium is for each auction you participate in. Some auctions do not charge them or there might be a dollar value limit on how much is charged.

Choice is a bidding method most often used when there are several identical or similar lots being offered. When the Auctioneer or website indicates that he will be selling a group of lots using “choice,” it means that the high bidder will have the chance to take “his choice” or all of the lots in that grouping, paying the bid amount for each item he chooses. For example, there are five lots of saddles being offered by choice, and the winning bid amount is $500. That high bidder can take just one for $500, multiple at $500 each or even all five for $2,500. If there are any lots remaining after the high bidder has chosen, the auctioneer or auction site may offer the choice of the remaining to the next highest bidder or back-up bidder. The auctioneer or website might also decide to re-auction the items to establish a new high bid amount and might even go through this process a few times until all are sold.

The back-up bidder during an auction is the bidder who submitted the second last bid, or the bid that was placed just before the final winning bid. If there is ever a dispute about who the winning bidder is on an auction lot, it is usually between the two last bidders. In the case of a dispute, sometimes the auctioneer will decide to reopen the bidding to establish a new high bidder, but only between the back-up bidder and the high bidder. This is completely at the discretion of the auctioneer.

A single item or a package/group of items offered for sale.

A Reserve is a minimum price the Consignor has set, usually after consulting with the auctioneer. BC Surplus and its various consignors will usually sell their auction lots unreserved. In very rare circumstances, items may be posted for auction with a reserve price. If a bidder is interested in an item and it is being sold with a reserve, the bidder should ALWAYS participate in a reserve price auction even if the reserve price has not been met. Usually, the auctioneer or auction company will consult with the consignor after the auction sale and they might decide to accept the highest bid even if it hasn't attained the reserve amount. Reserve amounts are usually kept secret, but items that are selling with reserves are usually indicated to have one.

An Auctioneer is a person who asks for bids on the items up for sale. The Auctioneer represents the company or auction site whom the seller engages to disperse their assets by auction. The auctioneer can also be considered the software or program that manages the bids being placed on the items offered for sale.

An appraisal is the current value on an individual item or group of items (assets). Appraisals are provided by professionals who usually have many years of experience within the auction industry and professional training. Different types of appraisals are available based on your needs but the most common is a market appraisal. The appraisal is based on many factors including; condition and quality of the item; its marketability; the timing of the sale period and the sale location; current market conditions and can also take into consideration the type of sale event the item would be sold within.

A Consignor is an individual or company who delivers goods to an auction to be sold at an agreed time and place. The consignor and the auction company or auction site would complete a sales contract which specifies all the particulars of the auction event including commission fee, advertising and marketing costs, sale timing and other agreed upon expenses.

A Proxy Bid is a method of bidding usually used during online auctions. Some auction companies will also use the term “Absentee Bid”, and in essence they are considered to be the same with just a slightly different process. During an online auction, the bidder would enter the highest amount they are willing to pay for the auction lot and the computer or online auction site will bid on their behalf. The bids placed are based on the bidding increments used within the auction site. By placing a proxy bid, the bidder is able to do other things while the auction is progressing, since his bids are placed for him until either the auction bidding closes (he is the winner) or his maximum bid amount is exceeded.

For example:
A Proxy Bid of $900 is placed for an auction lot:

The bidding is currently at $550.00. The Proxy Bid is recognized by the auction software and advances it at the next bid increment, in this case $25.00 and therefore the bid for the Proxy is 575.00. The live bidder advances it to $600.00 and this would continue until either the Proxy Bidder wins the item or the auction software reaches the maximum proxy bid amount entered. If the live bidder submits another bid of $625.00 – your Proxy Bid would be entered and recognized at $650.00. If the live bidder does not advance his bid then the Proxy Bidder will purchase the item for $650.00 even though he has left a maximum bid of $900.00.

If the live bidder places a bid for the maximum amount of the existing proxy bid, then the earliest submitted bid would take precedence.

Your Proxy Bid constitutes a binding contract and you are subject to the fees, terms and conditions specified for the auction sale event. BC Surplus and its consignors encourages you to inspect all perspective purchases and the auction site with questions before submitting a any bids.


Sniping is when someone places a higher bid in the final few second of a timed auction and wins the auction because the previous high bidder does not have enough time to increase their bid. 

Most online auction software has settings to combat bid sniping by extending the closing time of the auction if bids are placed within the final few minutes or final minute.  This allows the bidder that was previously winning some extra time place another bid to try and beat the bidder who bid in the final few seconds.  BC Surplus uses anti-sniping settings but the time clock will ONLY reset of the winner bidder changes.  If a bidder high a proxy bid in place and another bidder tries to "SNIPE" the item in the final few seconds, no time will be added unless the original high bidder is outbid.  PLEASE DO NOT WAIT until the final few seconds to place bids as the timer will only reset if the current high bidder is outbid.  If the high bidder is outbid, then additional time is added and this can happen continually until one bidder is no longer outbid (a bidding war).


An absentee bid is usually a term describing a bidding process that is used during a live auction event. It is a procedure that allows a bidder/buyer to participate in the live bidding process without being physically present at the auction location. The bidder would submit a written bid that is the highest price they are willing to pay for a particular lot and the auction company will handle the bidding for that item on their behalf. The bidder can usually submit bids on multiple auction lots but only one bid amount can be submitted for each lot. The “Absentee Bidder” usually would complete a bidding form indicating the lots they want to bid on and the maximum amount to bid. A representative from the auction company will bid one increment above the last on-site bid on behalf of the Absentee Bidder, up to the maximum specified amount, during the auction. This process happens exactly as if the bidder was present, but instead, the bidder is being represented by a company representative. During the sale of the auction lot, if the maximum amount left by the Proxy Bidder happens to be the same amount that is bid by an on-site bidder, then the on-site bidder would win the lot since the Auctioneer can not advance the bid past the maximum amount on the bidding form.


This is a common online sales term or abbreviation for “Good Used Condition” but there is no qualifying standard for use of the term. The exact definition of “Good” would be based on a personal opinion and what one person considers to be good, might not be very good by someone else.


This is a common online sales term or abbreviation for “Very Good Used Condition” but there is no qualifying standard for use of the term. The exact definition of “Very Good” would be based on a personal opinion and what one person considers to be very good, might not be very good by someone else.


This is a common online sales term or abbreviation for “New in Box”. Items that have been described using this term should have NEVER been removed from the original package, but not all people using online market places agree. Many will call an item “New” because it is still in the original box, but the item has been used or is slightly used and placed back inside the original box. Buyer Beware.


When the description of an item states “tested working”, it means that the item has been plugged in and it appears to operate as it was designed to by the original manufacture. Items are NEVER tested under load or to their full capacity, so the actual operating condition is unknown.


A lot description that states “Plugged in and Powered On”, means that the item has been plugged in for testing, the item powers on as it should but the operating condition was not tested. This could be because the person testing the item did not know how to test it properly; there are too many buttons and controls to properly test; or the item might need to be connected to other items in order to verify that it is “working”. Rarely are items ever fully tested, since the time required to process used items in that manner would make selling them uneconomical.


The term “Unused” or “New” could be applied to many things incorrectly. Items that are still in original packaging are usually considered to be “New” but in reality, they might have been previously removed from the package, used and then placed back inside the package. Items that “Appear Unused” do not appear to have been removed from the package, but what happened prior to the items being consigned for auction is not known, so the item could be used. Again, the buyer should be aware and bid accordingly.