Q When a governing authority contracts with an auction company, may a potential supplier be charged or assessed a fee to participate in a public procurement done via reverse auction?

A No, any fee to participate in the auction should not be borne by the potential bidders. The primary intent and purpose of public auction purchases are to ensure efficiency and economy in purchases made by public entities. Public entities are able to ensure, through competitive bidding, that they will be able to obtain commodities, equipment, and construction contracts at the lowest possible price, consistent with quality, quantity, and performance. Requiring a potential bidder to pay a fee to participate in a reverse auction has the potential to limit the number of prospective bidder who may desire to participate in the reverse auction, but may also result in an inflated bid to absorb the cost of the fee that would be paid to the auction company. (Attorney Generalís Opinion to Jackson, November 9, 2017)