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The ‘No-Reserve’ IH Scout Auction Saga Continues as Bring a Trailer Responds

The seller says the botched listing on another site was a friend's fault, while Bring a Trailer insists it takes "a fatalistic stance on liars."
Caleb Jacobs Avatar

Bring a Trailer

The 1974 IH Scout you’re looking at here is being auctioned with no reserve. The thing is, it was also being auctioned a couple of weeks ago, supposedly with no reserve before it was mysteriously pulled over a low winning bid. It’s already soared past the previous high offer with five days to go on Bring a Trailer, and that’s only part of the drama that has commenters up in arms.

I wrote the story Monday detailing how this situation took shape. Chris Picconi, a 4×4 collector who won the Scout’s “no-reserve” Clasiq auction for $12,000 on May 28, alerted me of the ordeal after the online marketplace nullified the sale. Clasiq representatives wrote it off as a technical error while telling Picconi the auction should have featured a reserve of $32,500. They offered it to him for $31,500—nearly $20,000 more than he’d just agreed to pay—but he declined.

It became even more interesting when the same Scout was listed Sunday, June 9, on Bring a Trailer—again with no reserve. Picconi flagged the situation to me immediately, saying he attempted to contact the auction site’s lead executive about his experience. All the while, Picconi says his comments were being removed by Bring a Trailer. This is where the story left off, though there’s been a handful of key developments since.

First, and most importantly, Bring a Trailer co-founder Randy Nonnenberg’s response to Picconi in the listing’s comments:

“When you reached out to the team this seemed like a confusing level of frustration and ‘I’m sending it to the national press’ to us because you didn’t tell us your connection, but The Drive story clarifies that you were the high bidder on that other auction. Makes more sense now. That is indeed a weird outcome, and you are quick to blame it on the seller but it sounds like that other auction website claimed it was their mistake. So either it was, or they are taking the fall for the seller, both of which are not good for that venue, in my view. In 150,000 we have not had a scenario where it was marked No Reserve on the website and then we said there was one. Not from our side.

“Some sellers, particularly first time sellers who don’t understand the value of sticking around, will try to go back on their word after agreeing to No Reserve. That behavior get them banned for life from BaT, as well as any associated accounts. We review the paper title and do identity verification checks, which I suspect most other auction sites do not given their effort and cost. This makes are [sic] bans actually have teeth. I’ve [sic] very surprised if that other marketplace just apologized and did not promise to forever ban that seller to dissuade that behavior. We take a fatalistic stance on liars.”

Nonnenberg then promised to contact the seller, @tomwstein, and report back. The Drive reached out for further comment but Bring a Trailer declined.

Not long after, @tomwstein gave his defense:

“I am just learning and reading about this. I 100% did not know that my truck was on these sites. I let my personal friend who was in financial trouble have a shot at brokering my truck. He asked me to give him a few months to try to sell it and I would pay him a commission. I had a price he had to meet, and never did. I was always up front with him that if he didn’t sell it within the time frame BAT was going to get the listing. Whatever auction site it was on or ad it was in I was 1000000% NOT aware of it nor did I approve it. I am 100000% a serious seller and I am NOT playing games. I am sincerely sorry for any inconvenience my friend caused as I was not aware. This Scout is a beautiful truck, and well maintained and ready for a happy owner that will appreciate it.”

Some users bought the explanation, others didn’t. No matter how people feel about it, @tomwstein committed to honoring the auction result regardless if it came close to the aforementioned $32,500. The Bring a Trailer listing seems to have been arranged directly by him, and as Nonnenberg says, the site goes to great lengths to enforce no reserve sales on its platform.

It looked like bidders might freeze the auction once Picconi placed a bid of $12,750. Several commenters insisted on it, but after less than an hour, a user named @Jamesdhaas bid it to $19,000. The substantial jump raised a flag for people watching the auction, especially when they saw the profile was new with no previous bids and a creation date of June 2024. At this point, though, any accusations are purely speculative.

The saga has been messy. People are picking sides and standing their ground, for or against the legitimacy of the auction. Picconi himself has changed his stance, now telling buyers to “bid with confidence” after his back and forth with Nonnenberg as well as the seller. I definitely didn’t have that on my bingo card.

So much has happened in so little time, and there are still five days to go until the auction closes. It’s anyone’s guess if the bids will continue to climb, but it’s worth noting this same Scout was bid to $29,000 in a 2022 Bring a Trailer listing. That wasn’t enough to meet the reserve then, but @tomwstein promises he’s “a man of his word.”

Got a tip or question for the author? Contact them directly: caleb@thedrive.com