How safe are auction houses?

Posted by 04/05/2017 0 Comment(s)

Most weeks i get asked about items in a local auction of some kind, and this week was no exception!  One auction had listed a number of 70/80's vinyl albums all of which were fully signed by the various bands, Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac etc. Needless to say all of these signed vinyl albums i looked at were fake, most not even close in fact. I am now certain that almost all of these fake signed 70/80s items are coming from the same place as i have had the same things offered to me and always with the same story as to where they came from, and all again were of course fake!


One of the albums was a fully signed Zeppelin vinyl signed by all four including John Bonham. It was listed at between £70 - £100 which tells you two things, that either they have no idea at all of what they are selling and have done absolutley no resarch whatsoever, or they know exactly what they are selling and know the item is worthless! The last fully signed Zep album i saw at auction went for over £20,000 that is how rare they are! Dont think that have not spotted it or that you will be the only one to see it either, every auction today is on the internet and every dealer i know trawls through these auctions to find decent items, so you wont be the only one warching!


The second auction also had some real howlers as well, although not as bad as the first, but both auctions had the almost exact same wording within the small print which was of course their 'get out of jail free' card. Both stated that items should be checked before you bid and that the auction house was not resposnible for items that may be found later to be not authentic. They both stated that they base their opinions on the vendors statements to them, in other words, if the vendor says they are authentic, then they simply accpet that they are authentic! And just to be certain, one of the auctions also stated that "The sale of goods act does not apply to this auction" that is partly true, but its a warning sign that you should not get involved if a company puts out a notice like that! You must always read the small print which they do their best to hide, but again, if they are doing that then you should think twice about buying from them.


Another warning sign with these auctions is that neither accepted credit or debit cards, only cash cheque or bank transfer, in other words, if after you have paid you find out they are not authentic, then you stand zero chance of getting a refund unless you take them to court! My advice as always has to be, pay by credit card or paypal only, if you cannot do that then stay away or you are likely to get your fingers burnt. And try not to be tempted buying items that are in auction in another country as that is realy asking for trouble. Obviously there are good auctions in every country and i think you will be able to work out which ones are the best, but buying from a local auction outside of your own country and thern paying by direct bank transfer is only asking for trouble! 


If you should happen to get caught buying a fake, then contact them immediatly and tell them that you believe the item is not authentic and that you would like a refund. They may say OK which is perfect, but they may say "who said so" in which case you should say that the onus is on them to prove its authentic as that is how they have sold it to you, it should not be up to you to prove its fake as that costs you more money. If they wont budge then simply send them a letter confirming your thoughts and requesting a refund, and make sure you send it signed for, if you dont get a reply then dont hesitate to take legal action, its quick and simple and in the UK all done online, and in cases where i have advised a customer to take this route, it has always worked and have always managed to get a full refund. So beware of the bargain signed items at these provincial auction houses, best advice stay away altogether. There are a number of specialist auction houses who only deal in autographs or memorabilia etc, and these are OK. If you need any advice, just ask me.


Garry King. Copyright 2017.

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