A Review of the Operations of the South Carolina Auctioneers' Commission
We generally found that the operations of the commission were handled appropriately and in compliance with the law. We did identify some areas where changes could be made to improve the services of the commission.
- The verification of continuing education credits could be improved. We found one case where the course was not completed during the time period being reviewed. We also found that invoices were accepted as documentation for the completion of courses rather than certificates or other evidence of attendance.
- The biennial license fee of $300 for auctioneers could be lowered by $50. The commission collects $50,000 a year above its expenses and carries forward a substantial cash balance. Additionally, only 1 of the 15 states with similar licensing requirements has a higher annualized license fee than South Carolina.
- We found one complaint investigation that was not concluded as decided by the Auctioneers’ Commission. The complaint was dismissed prior to the commission’s decision.
- The documentation of actions and decisions concerning complaint investigations was inconsistent. In two-thirds of the cases investigated from 2004 through 2006, there was no documentation of the commission’s final decision. Many of the actions taken by the investigator were not documented in the files.
- The Auctioneer Recovery Fund pays claims to persons injured by licensees. The fund routinely goes over the $125,000 limit set by law, and the excess is deposited in the state’s general fund. We found that the $100 fee paid into the fund by new licensees could be reduced to $50 or the maximum claim amount paid from the fund could be increased from $10,000 to $20,000.
We generally did not find major problems with the financial transactions of the commission. We found that the commission was paying for a leased car prior to FY 06-07 that was not exclusively for the commission’s use. We also found that the commission is paying for phones for Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation employees who do not work directly for the commission.