CNN Money has reported that Ohio residents selling on eBay online auctions will require a state auctioneers license starting May 2, 2005.
In yet another case of well meaning legislators creating laws with unintended consequences, this error could cost eBay merchants based in Ohio a $200 license fee, a $50,000 bond, a one-year apprenticeship, attendance at auction school, and passing written and oral auction exams. Failure to comply may result in a $1,000 fine and a 90-day jail sentence.
The law’s author is currently stating that the Ohio legislature did not intend for the new auction law to cover eBay and that they hope to remedy the law before its enactment on May 2.
According to the CNN Money article, similar efforts are underway in Tennessee and Illinois.
I don’t understand why states would interfere in one of the few enterprises that create wealth and income in rural areas of their states. I understand the greed that drives states to tax everything, so a annual license for a small fee is not out-of-line. But, the series of hurdles that Ohio managed to raise is beyond all reason and is completely unjustified.
I just happen to be teaching an online auctions seminar in Fort Smith, Arkansas this coming Tuesday. I’ll mention the Ohio law and see what sort of reaction it causes among all those good folks looking to start an online auctions business or sell just a few things on eBay. I’ll bet they are incredulous.
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