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Office of Fair Trading warns consumers: your poker face isn’t enough

19 June 2017

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is warning consumers they need to be armed with more than just their poker face when bidding at property auctions, after research showed an alarming number of people don’t realise auctions have special rules.

According to Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer, there were several critical differences in the rules for buying at auction versus other property sales processes.

“There are no cooling-off periods or ‘subject to’ clauses for things such as finance or building and pest reports. If you are the successful bidder on the day, you buy it,” Mr Bauer said.

“These rules also apply to bidders at a passed in auction who then negotiate a sale with the owner in the two days following the auction.

“Unfortunately, research indicates 42 per cent of consumers are not aware there is no cooling-off period.

“There is a real risk of financial detriment for people blindly bidding on a property without obtaining the appropriate research or finance.”

To help people looking to buy property at auction—particularly first-time bidders—the OFT has developed a pre-auction checklist.

“Our checklist includes the research, finance and other advice you’ll need to help you make a smart property purchase,” he said.

“Consumers can also find helpful information about auction day on the OFT’s website, along with other property smart tips.”

Mr Bauer said the OFT had produced a postcard version of the checklist for agents to hand out to auction novices during property inspections.

“This will help to ensure agents have well-informed bidders turning up on auction day, and avoid a whole lot of potential stress and heartache for both buyers and sellers.”

To download a copy of the checklist and for more information on what to do before and on auction day, visit

Real estate agents can order checklist postcards to hand out to prospective buyers at

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Last updated
19 June 2017
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