Chapter 5.12
AUCTIONS – AUCTIONEERS*

Sections:

5.12.010    Definitions.

5.12.020    Classifications.

5.12.030    Exemptions.

5.12.040    License required.

5.12.050    License fee – Class 1 auction.

5.12.060    License fee – Class 2 auction.

5.12.070    Application for license – Bond.

5.12.080    Investigation – Grant or denial of license.

5.12.090    Ringing bell or making noises for purpose of soliciting business prohibited.

5.12.100    Fraud – False bidding.

5.12.110    Jewelry, etc.

5.12.120    Register of bidders to be kept.

5.12.130    Supervision of auction.

5.12.140    Purchase price returned.

5.12.150    Occupational tax supplemental to tax provided in chapter.

5.12.160    Revocation of license.

*The provisions of this chapter are exempted from the operation of the business and occupation tax, Chapter 5.04 LMC. For the statutory provisions regarding the keeping of records by auctioneers and the regulation of auctions of jewelry and appliances, see Chapters 18.11 and 18.12 RCW respectively.

5.12.010 Definitions.

(1) Every person who at public out-cry offers for sale, either as principal or agent, to the highest bidder on the spot any article of merchandise or property is an “auctioneer” and every such sale is an “auction.”

(2) “Person,” as used in this chapter, includes any person, firm or corporation engaging in business within the city. The resident manager of any firm or corporation shall be deemed responsible for the obtaining of any license required herein for any person, firm or corporation. (Ord. 643 § 1, 1952).

5.12.020 Classifications.

For the purposes of regulation and revenue, auctions shall be divided into two classes: Class 1, regular auctions; and Class 2, temporary auctions.

(1) “Regular auctions” are those conducted in a fixed place of business which shall be known and advertised as an auction house, or auctions of goods, wares and merchandise, which have been within the city for a period of more than one year prior to being offered for auction. It is unlawful for regular auction houses to conduct temporary auction sales of goods, wares or merchandise whether the same shall be their own property or whether they sell the same as agent or employees of others;

(2) “Temporary auctions” are auctions temporarily conducted for the sale of goods, wares or merchandise brought to the city and offered for sale therein at auction within one year after their arrival, or when the party conducting said auction cannot give satisfactory evidence to the contrary to the city clerk;

(3) “Regular auctioneers” are those who are regularly engaged in the business of auctioneering in the city, and are licensed to conduct regular auctions;

(4) “Special auctioneers” are those not classified in (3) above, who come to the city for the purpose of conducting temporary auctions, or regular auctioneers who are employed by persons licensed to hold temporary auctions. (Ord. 643 § 2, 1952).

5.12.030 Exemptions.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:

(1) Judicial sales or to judicial officers making any sale at auction by virtue of any judgment decree or order of any court, or to sales at auction in full or partial satisfaction of liens created by the laws of the state;

(2) To auction sales held by administrators, executors, guardians or receivers appointed by any court, or, by fraternal, charitable or religious organizations;

(3) The sale of fruits, vegetables, berries, butter, eggs, fish, milk, poultry, or any farm produce or edibles raised, caught or produced by any farmer or gardener;

(4) The sale of gold, silver, plated ware, precious stones, watches, clocks or jewelry, which sales are regulated and controlled by Chapter 5.16 LMC;

(5) The sale of distressed goods, wares or merchandise or goods, wares and merchandise being sold under a removal or closing out sale, which sales are regulated and controlled by Chapter 5.20 LMC;

(6) Auctioneers that are licensed by the state of Washington under and by virtue of Chapter 18.11 RCW; provided, however, that such auctioneers shall comply with the provisions of Chapter 5.04 LMC. (Ord. 2179 § 1, 1984; Ord. 707 § 1, 1953; Ord. 643 § 3, 1952).

5.12.040 License required.

From and after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter it shall be unlawful for any person to conduct or carry on within the city limits a regular or temporary auction, as herein defined, or for any person to act as a regular or special auctioneer, as herein defined, without having first secured the appropriate license required herein. (Ord. 643 § 4, 1952).

5.12.050 License fee – Class 1 auction.

The license fee for Class 1 auctions shall be $100.00 per year. The license fee for a regular auctioneer’s license shall be $100.00 per year. Such fees shall be paid on or before the tenth day of January of the year for which said license shall be issued; provided, however, that if any license for a Class 1 auction shall be applied for and granted after the tenth day of January of the year for which the same is issued, the fee shall be prorated as of the date of issuance of the license for the remaining portion of the year; provided, further, that if any regular auctioneer applies for and is granted a license after the tenth day of January of the year of issuance the fee for such regular auctioneer’s license shall be prorated as of the date of issuance of the license for the remaining portion of the year. (Ord. 1557 § 1, 1972; Ord. 643 § 5, 1952).

5.12.060 License fee – Class 2 auction.

The license fee for Class 2 auctions shall be $30.00 per day. The license fee for a special auctioneer’s license shall be $25.00 per day. Neither of such licenses shall be granted for a period of less than one day. (Ord. 1557 § 2, 1972; Ord. 643 § 5, 1952).

5.12.070 Application for license – Bond.

(1) Any person desiring to engage in business as an auction house or to conduct a Class 1 or Class 2 auction shall make application for license to the city clerk at least 30 days prior to the opening of such place of business or of such sale; provided, however, this requirement shall not apply to any person presently engaged in conducting Class 1 or Class 2 auctions. As to any such person the license called for herein shall be applied for immediately upon this chapter taking effect.

(2) Applications for licenses to conduct Class 2 auctions in addition to general requirements shall contain a certified itemized inventory of the stock of goods or property to be sold at auction with descriptions and identifying marks.

(3) Any applicant for a Class 1 or Class 2 license shall tender with the application a good and sufficient bond in the sum of $2,500, conditioned upon the observance of the provisions of this chapter and for the indemnification of any purchaser at such auction suffering loss by reason of fraud or misrepresentation in the sale of any article, and as assurance to the city that said applicant will pay the sum due as license fees and as indemnity to the city, and as indemnity to any and all persons, in any manner, or who may sustain monetary loss in any contractual or other relation as a result of any auction for which a license is granted to the applicant, which bond shall be in full force during the existence of any license and for a period of six months after the close of any Class 1 or Class 2 auction. (Ord. 643 § 6, 1952).

5.12.080 Investigation – Grant or denial of license.

Upon the filing of such application, it shall be the duty of the city clerk, or his deputy or representative, to make an investigation of the applicant, his auctioneer, and of the place where such auction is to be conducted. If, upon such investigation, it appears that the applicant and his auctioneer are persons of good character, and that the place where such auction is to be conducted is a proper place therefor, and that such auction can be carried on in such place with safety to the public, the application shall be approved; otherwise, the same shall be rejected. In case of rejection, the city clerk shall forthwith transmit said application to the city council, together with his reasons for denying the same, for hearing at the next regular meeting, and shall notify the applicant thereof. The council at such hearing may either grant or refuse such license. (Ord. 643 § 7, 1952).

5.12.090 Ringing bell or making noises for purpose of soliciting business prohibited.

No auctioneer shall ring a bell or permit the same to be rung, in or about or in front of the premises where he is conducting a sale before, after or during such sale. Neither shall he permit music, singing, or loud noises, or soliciting to be made for the purpose of attracting the public. (Ord. 643 § 8, 1952).

5.12.100 Fraud – False bidding.

It is unlawful for any person to act or to employ another to act as a by-bidder, or what is commonly known as a “capper” or “booster,” at any auction sale, to make or accept any false or misleading bid, or to pretend to buy or sell any such aforesaid articles sold or offered for sale at any such auction. (Ord. 643 § 9, 1952).

5.12.110 Jewelry, etc.

Goods, wares and merchandise sold or offered for sale at auctions conducted pursuant to LMC 5.12.020 and described therein as Class 1, regular auctions may include secondhand gold, silver, plated ware, precious stones, watches, clocks or jewelry without obtaining a license for a jewelry auction as required by Chapter 5.16 LMC; provided, however, that the sales price to be received from the sale thereof shall not be permitted to exceed 10 percent of the gross proceeds of the total auction conducted in any day of auction sales. (Ord. 2154 § 3, 1983).

5.12.120 Register of bidders to be kept.

At any auction there shall be kept and maintained a register of bidders, which must be signed by all persons desiring to bid at auctions. Upon signing such register of bidders, the person so signing shall be assigned a number, and all auction sales shall be by the use of such numbers. Failure to keep and maintain such register of bidders shall be sufficient cause for the immediate revocation of said license. In the event that a sale has been declared to have been made but no person assigned a number in the register of bidders comes forward to effect the purchase, then the next highest bidder, as shown by the register of bidders, shall have the right to demand and receive the article exposed for sale at the bid made by such person. (Ord. 2154 § 1, 1983; Ord. 643 § 11, 1952).

5.12.130 Supervision of auction.

A uniformed police officer shall be permitted access to the premises on which the auction is being conducted at all times while any such auction is in progress. The city clerk or his deputy or representative shall be permitted to inspect the register of bidders required to be kept by LMC 5.12.120, at all reasonable times and intervals. (Ord. 2154 § 2, 1983; Ord. 643 § 12, 1952).

5.12.140 Purchase price returned.

If any purchase of any article or thing sold, within 48 hours after receiving said article or thing sold, makes a claim against said licensee upon the ground that the article or thing sold to him at auction was not as represented and demands the return of the money or other consideration paid by such purchaser and offers to return the article purchased, then said licensee shall return to the purchaser the purchase price, or, in the alternative, deposit said purchase price with the city treasurer, taking a receipt therefor from the city treasurer. Said deposit shall stand as a fund to answer and pay any judgment that may be recovered against said licensee by the purchaser. However, if no action is commenced within 15 days from the date of delivery of said article or thing to the purchaser the city treasurer shall not be required to hold such money deposited with him and upon presentation of the receipt may return said money to the licensee. In case the licensee refuses to return on demand the purchase price paid for such article or thing or to deposit said purchase price with the city treasurer, the purchaser shall have the right to commence and maintain an action directly on the bond provided for by this chapter, in the name of the city. (Ord. 643 § 13, 1952).

5.12.150 Occupational tax supplemental to tax provided in chapter.

Any person engaged in conducting a Class 1 auction shall pay, in addition to all license fees required herein, the business and occupation tax for the city. Class 2 auctions shall be exempt from such business and occupation tax. (Ord. 1557 § 3, 1972; Ord. 643 § 14, 1952).

5.12.160 Revocation of license.

The city clerk may at any time, during the continuance of any auction, stop the same upon being satisfied that such auction is being conducted in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter or any other ordinance of the city. Such auction shall not continue unless permitted so to do by the city council. The city council, upon hearing, may revoke the license of any person found guilty of violating this chapter, and no new license shall be issued to such licensee or to any copartnership or association of which he is a member or to any corporation of which he is an officer within three years thereafter. The rights granted to the city under this section shall be in addition to any and all other penalties provided by this chapter. (Ord. 643 § 15, 1952).