If you have a complaint against an auctioneer, complete and mail the complaint form. Upon receipt of a verified complaint, ODA's Auctioneer Program will investigate.
Auction Recovery Fund Guidance Information
If you have suffered actual and direct losses associated with dealings with an auctioneer, you may be eligible to seek financial recovery from the Auction Recovery Fund (ARF). Below is important information on how to file a claim for recovery.
What is the Auction Recovery Fund?
The ARF is a fund where a member of the auctioneering public may seek recovery/compensation for actual and direct losses when a licensee violates Ohio auction law.
- Just because a member of the public believes that their sale of their personal or real property should have brought more money does not mean that a person is entitled to compensation from the ARF. There needs to be an actual and direct loss and a violation of the auctioneer law that only a licensee could perform.
Who may make a claim to the ARF?
A person who claims that he/she has been aggrieved/injured and suffered actual and direct losses by a licensee may make application from the Auction Recovery Fund (ARF).
How does a person who experienced an actual and direct loss from the activities of an auctioneer make a claim?
For detailed information regarding the claim process please see ORC §§ 4707.25-4707.31.
There are two ways to make claims:
1. Civil Court Process: The injured person may file a lawsuit in court against an auctioneer where he/she obtain a judgment against a licensee; or
2. Administrative Route – which involves filing a complaint and application with the ODA, and ODA either takes licensing action (a/k/a administrative action) or after an investigation charges the licensee criminally. More detailed information is available on the complaint form.
How much may I recover from the ARF under either the administrative or court process?
Assuming that the complainant has followed the above process, a complainant may be eligible to receive compensation from ARF in an amount up to $50,000 or $25,000 depending on the license status of the auctioneer. (ORC §§ 4707.11 and 4707.29)
However, if the actual and direct losses experience by more than one person exceed the limits of recovery ODA will make a pro rata distribution the claimants based upon the ratio of the respective claims bear to the aggregate of valid claims, or in another manner that the court or, if all the claims involve applications filed under the administrative route (ORC §§ 4707.26-4704.31) the director determines the equitable. (ORC § 4707.29)
If a person claims that they have incurred actual and direct losses from their dealings with a licensee in an amount of $1,000.00 or less does a person have to through one of the two processes in order to be compensated?
No. The Director of Agriculture may make payment out of the fund without a prior court order or a prior administrative order if all of the following apply:
1. There is evidence to establish that a claimant’s actual and direct loss is in the amount of $1,000 or less;
2. The losses are associated with an act or transaction only a licensee may perform;
3. The licensee has allegedly engaged in actions that are described in ORC §4707.15 or that otherwise violates Chapter 4707 and the rules adopted under it;
4. The amount of the alleged loss is readily ascertainable rather than speculative in nature.
5. The claimant filed a properly notarized complaint with ODA with the supporting documentation not longer than one year following the date of the
alleged wrongful act of the licensee;
6. The department, within its discretion, determines that based on the evidence presented, justice will be better served by allowing compensation to be paid without first requiring the aggrieved party to obtain a court judgment or to obtain an administrative order of the department.
Are there persons that are not eligible or costs that are not recoverable from the ARF?
Yes, bonding companies, a person holding a license issued under the auctioneer law or real estate law, a person who obtained a final judgment that arose from an act or transaction that only a person licensed under the real estate law ad that did not involve a violation of the auctioneer law. Online only auctions are ineligible for relief under the auction recovery fund.
Are there certain costs/damages that are not recoverable out of the ARF?
Yes, court costs, attorney fees, punitive damages and interest on a judgment are not recoverable from the ARF.
Where can I find the statutes/laws that address recovery from the ARF?
For complete information regarding the ARF please consult ORC §§ 4707.25-4707.31. Access to the Ohio Revised Code may be found on our webpage at agri.ohio.gov.