A seller in the eBay community is raising concerns about a new Ohio law that could require some sellers to obtain an auctioneer license.
Yesterday I started a thread about Ohio HB321 which requires auctioneer or auction firm licenses for anyone who auctions items on the internet. I received confirmation this morning from the Department of Agriculture that this is true, however Gov. Dewine signed an bill that modifies HB321 slightly. (this doesn't come up anywhere online when searching for info about auctioneer licensing).
Anyone selling items for profit, over $10,000 gross, cannot sell auction items on Ebay without an auctioneer license. The agent specifically ignored my question about the Make Offer feature, which according to one comment by the Department of Agriculture, may also be considered auctions. I asked again and am waiting on an answer. Also, they have not answered whether individual employees of an auction firm must have auctioneer licenses to post auctions on ebay.
Congrats everyone, we're all crooks!
This is the text of the email I received:
HB 321 signed into law in June of 2022 and was effective September 13, 2022 defined online auctions and requires an auctioneer or auction firm license under Chapter 4707 of the Ohio Revised Code unless an individual meets an exemption found with in ORC 4707.02(B). The exemption for the owner of ones’ goods not requiring a license is for those individuals who acquire property without the intent to resell the property. If the property is acquired with the intent to resell, a license would be required or you would need to hire a licensed auctioneer or auction firm to conduct your auctions.
HB 507 – signed by the Governor on January 6, 2023, effective date April 6, 2023
Exempts from auctioneer and auction firm licensure requirements a person who, in any calendar year, sells not more than $10,000 of personal property via an auction mediation company (for example, eBay) if:
- The auction mediation company provides fraud protection to the buyer; and
- The property is the person’s own personal property, or the property is the personal property of another (sold without compensation).
“Fixed price listings” or “buy it now pricing “ does not fall within the definition of an auction, and would not require a license under ORC Chapter 4707.
For those who answer, "why not just get an auctioneers license?"....First, read over the info flyer. Then consider the cost - $25 test fee, $200 bi-annual renewal fee, minimum $250 annual fee for a bond (the fee increases as your credit score decreases), plus at least 8hrs of continuing education annually. Background checks are also required, so only those with perfect records may be able to get licenses.
And that's just if you have an llc or corporation. Individuals must complete auctioneer school - 80hrs!
On top of it all, being an auctioneer or firm puts us under the purview of the Department of Agriculture, who can review sales, issue sanctions, require interviews, etc. We are no longer subject to just the whims of Ebay and the credit card processors, but now the state as well. For these reasons, I have to object to licensing in the strongest terms.
The seller indicated they reached out to eBay Main Street for comment or assistance but has not heard back.
For anyone who's interested I received a one sentence answer to the best offer question. This is verbatim from the legal office at the ODA:
"The fixed price sale with best offer is not considered an auction."
I'm keeping this in our files should anything ever change.
Also I reached out to Ebay Mainstreet and Ebay's Facebook for Business page. EFB said pretty much, "it's an Ohio law, not our problem". Mainstreet hasn't responded.
If you're a seller in Ohio, will this new law make you abandon the auction option on eBay? Let us know in the comments below!