Revealed: Auctioneers Secretly Share Victims’ Pain

Kenyans fear auctioneers to death. Yet, in these hard economic times most will default on loans. Mark Kimiri, an auctioneer, spoke on why women are rarely auctioned, dramatic cases, feeling sorry for their victims and why auctioneers are never auctioned.

I am curious, how do people react when you introduce yourself as an auctioneer?

In most cases, auctioneers are not considered to be friendly people. We are feared and it can become quite uncomfortable. This is because of the perception that we only introduce ourselves when repossessing items.

Do auctioneers have sleepless nights after kicking men with parental hair to the pavement?

Yes, you always have a bad feeling especially when you auction a fortune someone has accumulated over many years. More so, this job is not for faint-hearted individuals, but whatever the situation, one has to pay their debts.

Have you ever met someone you auctioned and felt sorry for?

Yes, I once auctioned someone’s entire fortune. He was in a miserable state. I felt so sorry for him that I even asked God for forgiveness.

Life in Kenya is getting harder with the new tax regime. Auctioneers must be happy. Business will soon be booming?

The new tax regime cannot cause a big spike in the auctioneering business since companies and individuals will now opt to access goods and services at low budgets thus, lowering demand and business as well.

Debt is the main cause of facing the dreaded hammer. How can Kenyans avoid auctioneers?

Kenyans should avoid auctioneers by simply having debts which they can afford to pay or which fit their budgets.

Are there victims who recovered financially in time to bid for their own items?

No. This is because if he/she was to recover, then, they would have paid their debts before the date of the auction.

How are auctioneers trained, and is the art of heartless harassment part of it?

We are trained to observe the rule of law, to adhere to professional ethics and guidelines laid out by a governing board. Being heartless and harassing people is definitely not part of it. We are always accompanied by police officers to provide security and protection. We only become tough to contain the situation.

Men are auctioned more than women, why are men not as smart as women?

Women are more calculative and averse to taking risks. They also seek help and are never shy about seeking help or advice regarding their financial decisions. They also save more and think long term unlike men, who really need to improve on how to seek help from women or financial consultants.

Do auctioneers attend church? Most appear like they don’t know or fear God…

We are human and yes, we do have spiritual beliefs. We go to church to nurture our spiritual growth. Human is to error and we have to attend church to repent our sins. We ask God for pardon as well as strengthen since the nature of our work is full of emotional challenges.

Mark Kimiri [Photo: Courtesy]

The Bible says do unto others what you would want them do to unto you ….aha! How would you want to be auctioned?

This is a job like any other. I can compare it to being a criminal lawyer. As I mentioned, we work within the rule of law. Give to Caesar what belongs to him. I would want the auctioneers to follow same procedure.

Why do auctioneers undervalue property to ridiculous values?

We don’t undervalue. We conduct a transparent valuation with licensed institution. We also consider the rule of appreciation and depreciation. Most of all, we consider the urgency of selling these goods and we sell items at the drop of the hammer. There are processes in it like advertisement, storage and auctioneers fees that lower the cost.

What’s the most dramatic auctioneers’ case have you ever handled?

A couple was suing each other and the court’s verdict favoured  the husband. A wife used her husband’s apartment ownership documents to get a mortgage and failed to pay back. During repossession, the husband created a commotion.

Our most dramatic cases are in Nairobi’s Eastlands where it’s common for people to scream or cry. Some even kneel and pray while condemning us as devils.

In  extreme cases, victims hire goons causing confrontation with cops. In high  end areas, people consult and prepare psychologically.

What happens after auctioneering someone and still you don’t recover full money owned?

Half bread is better than none! We investigate for other assets to auction. In most cases, we attach the salary of the debtor.

Who are the high profile victims you have ever auctioned?

Mostly politicians.

What are the most expensive and cheapest item you have ever auctioned?

Apartments. We auctioned one at Sh68 million. The cheapest were household  items worth Sh100,000.

In which ways do victims in Kenya fight auctioneers?

Some people hire goons to resist.

There is no auctioneer who has ever been auctioned, how come?

We safeguard our own reputation by being very cautious in taking risks that are extremely calculated. We understand and have learned and experienced the consequences.

It must be easy for an auctioneer to furnish a house or buy car, a house or land. You just sit and wait with ready cash….

It’s never easy as you put it; sometimes it is a long and expensive process. We as Afrimax Auctioneers follow the rule of law though there are those who use shortcuts.

Which victim in Kenya proved impossible to auction?

Prominent businessmen and politicians, especially those with assets abroad.

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