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May 20, 2016 Well, THAT Didn’t Work So Great

This spring one of our clients offered a 3-year lease on a car at their fundraising auction event. I wish I could say that my initial reaction of “Oh, this is probably not a very good idea” was unfounded. Unfortunately, all my fears about the item were realized.

The biggest heartburn I had with a car lease as a live auction item was the “fine print” I was pretty sure was going to come with the “donation”. Sure enough, there were all kinds of conditions that needed to be disclosed to any potential buyers. This much red tape is usually off-putting to bidders at this type of auction. There were stipulations about minimum credit scores along with additional expenses that would be due at the time of signing. Not to mention a rather hefty reserve that had to be met to compensate the automotive dealership for the cost of the lease.

As things progressed and auction day neared, the information about the lease was “updated” several times. There were already more hoops the buyer had to jump through than we were comfortable with and the updates seemed to add more and more hoops. These changes were happening last-minute, too. Not a good situation for staff and volunteers who were already working as hard as they could on all the other aspects of putting a bow on things prior to doors-opening at their auction.

In the end we didn’t manage to sell the auto lease for the established reserve, which was the real heart-breaker after the considerable amount of hard work this group had put into adding it to their live auction line-up.

Be cautious when taking on live auction items that come with lots of stipulations and restrictions unless you know you have a large buyer pool for such items.

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