When an auctioneer goes bust

when my mother downsized a few months ago she sent some items to auction and the auctioneer has gone bust. They don’t owe her much money and the majority of items weren’t sold anyway so they have now gone to another auctioneer, no real problem.

but it got me thinking - what if you sell your house or farmland at auction and they go bust before you’ve been paid out? Serious nightmare I should think.

Presumably title to the property (personal or real) never passes to the auctioneer, who merely acts as agent for the seller? 

It's not title, it's the fact that some bust ballbag has 10% of the purchase price in a potentially unsegregated account. Ultimately it would be the seller that would probably have to take the hit as their agent received the deposit funds, subject to asserting an equitable right to the funds. If you had a solicitor you could probably try and sue them for not advising that the deposit be paid straight to the seller's solicitor. The agent's commission would be set-off against the deposit owed to you, so your loss would be narrowed to some extent. Worst case you'd get 90% plus the value of the commission and whatever the insolvency dividend was I think. 

Probably with chattels it is 10 times worse as I expect plenty don't operate segregated accounts and the full amount has been paid across so you'd be trying to trace funds etc, while the seller tries to assert some retention of title over the goods as they will be an unsecured creditor of the auctioneer.

Sigh. What a life to be involved in the deals of others that have gone wrong.