(1) Prior to conducting an auction in this state, an auctioneer or auction business shall execute a written agreement with the owner, or the agent of the owner, of any property to be offered for sale, stating:
(a) The name and address of the owner of the property;
(b) The name and address of the person employing the auctioneer or auction business, if different from the owner; and
(c) The terms or conditions upon which the auctioneer or auction business will receive the property for sale and remit the sales proceeds to the owner.
(2) The auctioneer or auction business shall give the owner one copy of the agreement and shall keep one copy for 2 years after the date of the auction.
(3) Each auctioneer or auction business shall maintain a record book of all sales. The record book shall be open to inspection by the board at reasonable times.
(4) Each auction must be conducted by an auctioneer who has an active license or by an apprentice who has an active apprentice auctioneer license and who has received prior written sponsor consent. Each auction must be conducted under the auspices of a licensed auction business. Any auctioneer or apprentice auctioneer conducting an auction, and any auction business under whose auspices such auction is held, shall be responsible for determining that any auctioneer, apprentice, or auction business with whom they are associated in conducting such auction has an active Florida auctioneer, apprentice, or auction business license.
(5) The principal auctioneer shall prominently display at the auction site the licenses of the principal auctioneer, the auction business, and any other licensed auctioneers or apprentices who are actively participating in the auction. If such a display is not practicable, then an oral announcement at the beginning of the auction or a prominent written announcement that these licenses are available for inspection at the auction site must be made.
(6) If a buyer premium or any surcharge is a condition to sale at any auction, the amount of the premium or surcharge must be announced at the beginning of the auction and a written notice of this information must be conspicuously displayed or distributed to the public at the auction site.
(7) At the beginning of an auction must be announced the terms of bidding and sale and whether the sale is with reserve, without reserve, or absolute or if a minimum bid is required. If the sale is absolute and has been announced or advertised as such, an article or lot may not be withdrawn from sale once a bid has been accepted. If no bid is received within a reasonable time, the item or lot may be withdrawn.
(8) If an auction has been advertised as absolute, no bid shall be accepted from the owner of the property or from someone acting on behalf of the owner unless the right to bid is specifically permitted by law.
(9) The auction business under which the auction is conducted is responsible for all other aspects of the auction as required by board rule. The auction business may delegate in whole, or in part, different aspects of the auction only to the extent that such delegation is permitted by law and that such delegation will not impede the principal auctioneer’s ability to ensure the proper conduct of his or her independent responsibility for the auction. The auction business under whose auspices the auction is conducted is responsible for ensuring compliance as required by board rule.
(10)(a) When settlement is not made immediately after an auction, all sale proceeds received for another person must be deposited in an escrow or trust account in an insured bank or savings and loan association located in this state within 2 working days after the auction. A maximum of $100 may be kept in the escrow account for administrative purposes.
(b) Each auction business shall maintain, for not less than 2 years, a separate ledger showing the funds held for another person deposited and disbursed by the auction business for each auction. The escrow or trust account must be reconciled monthly with the bank statement. A signed and dated record shall be maintained for a 2-year period and be available for inspection by the department or at the request of the board.
(c) Any interest which accrues to sale proceeds on deposit shall be the property of the seller for whom the funds were received unless the parties have agreed otherwise by written agreement executed prior to the auction.
(d) Unless otherwise provided by written agreement executed prior to the auction, funds received by a licensee from the seller or his or her agent for expenses, including advertising, must be expended for the purposes advanced or refunded to the seller at the time of final settlement. Any funds so received shall be maintained in an escrow or trust account in an insured bank or savings and loan association located in this state. However, this does not prohibit advanced payment of a flat fee.
(11)(a) All advertising by an auctioneer or auction business shall include the name and Florida license number of such auctioneer and auction business. The term “advertising” shall not include articles of clothing, directional signs, or other promotional novelty items.
(b) No licensed auctioneer, apprentice, or auction business may disseminate or cause to be disseminated any advertisement or advertising which is false, deceptive, misleading, or untruthful. Any advertisement or advertising shall be deemed to be false, deceptive, misleading, or untruthful if it:
1. Contains misrepresentations of facts.
2. Is misleading or deceptive because, in its content or in the context in which it is presented, it makes only a partial disclosure of relevant facts.
3. Creates false or unjustified expectations of the services to be performed.
4. Contains any representation or claim which the advertising licensee fails to perform.
5. Fails to include the name and license number of the principal auctioneer and the auction business.
6. Fails to include the name and license number of the sponsor if an apprentice is acting as the principal auctioneer.
7. Advertises an auction as absolute without specifying any and all items to be sold with reserve or with minimum bids.
8. Fails to include the percentage amount of any buyer’s premium or surcharge which is a condition to sale.
(c) The provisions of this subsection apply to media exposure of any nature, regardless of whether it is in the form of paid advertising.
(d) The auction business shall be responsible for the content of all advertising disseminated in preparation for an auction.