My live Arizona auction firm was recently awarded a contract to conduct auctions for a government agency in Arizona. Five live Arizona auction firms competed for the contract; two firms were disqualified for not being able to satisfy basic contract specifications. That left three firms competing for the government agency's business. After a review of the proposing offers, it was determined that even though our live Arizona auction firm was more expensive than the other firms, the services we were prepared to offer were more beneficial to the agency.
Our live Arizona auction firm was awarded the contract. This is old news to live Arizona auction companies, as we have all gone through this process many times. Sometimes you are the successful award recipient and sometimes, you are not -- this is just a normal course of business. When we were awarded the contract, one of the unsuccessful bidders began harassing the awarding agency. The unsuccessful bidder threatened to sue the government agency, which in and of it self seems futile. But more importantly, the unsuccessful bidder called and harassed the procurement agent day after day; month after month.
Although the story sounds ridiculous and somewhat like folklore, I promise you that it is true. The award of the contract was more than six months ago and to this day, the unsuccessful bidder continues to file complaints with the procurement agent in Arizona. It was actually a topic of a procurement agent's address to a group of contemporaries in the government procurement field at a seminar, "How To Deal With Ceaseless Bidder Complaints." The concern for us as auctioneers is that the national exposure we receive should be positive. It certainly should not be the negative topic of a seminar.
When I was asked "Is this how all auctioneers respond to losing?" I almost cried. Of course my response was "Absolutely not!" and I offered to provide the contracting agency with a long list of live Arizona auctioneers who would never act in such an unprofessional fashion. Ironically, what could the unsuccessful bidder hope to gain? Certainly the agency would never conduct business with them.
And it sounds like a concentrated effort has been made through the delivery of the seminar topic to discourage other procurement agents from the same trend. Unfortunately it just once again reflects poorly on the honest and ethical live Arizona auction firms that might get thrown out with the proverbial "bath water" as government agencies continue to strive to bring auctioneering services "in-house".
The only possible recourse that we can have as auctioneers is to get out and visit with as many procurement agents as possible. Introduce our live Arizona auction firms and ourselves. Let these agencies see that we offer legitimate high level live Arizona auction services that can't be found within their own organizations. And the next time we are the unsuccessful bidders in a live Arizona auction contract don't call the procurement agent; call our competitor and congratulate them on their success.