New Rules Introduced for the Online Art Market
17 February 2014
New rules for the online art market mean bidders have the right to return goods within 14 days and sellers have to reveal their identity, but what will the repercussions be? Will many people return works bought at auctions?
Under EU law buyers currently have the right to return purchases made through a website where the buyer has not inspected a product's condition beforehand. Auctions were always exceptions to this rule because it was widely believed that it would encourage irresponsible bidding wars and decrease the value of art if it were returned.
Under the new Consumer Contracts Regulation, which will come into effect in June of this year, the return policy will also apply to art auctions. The new rule will apply to online and saleroom bids that are not considered ‘public’, meaning the buyer has not been offered a chance to see the works before purchase. “The new regulations might work for the sale of trinkets on eBay, but not for high-end works of art” says Pierre Valentin from Constantine Cannon LLP. The shift towards buying online will inevitably affect the market and make people sceptical, but auctions will adapt and new laws will be passed to try and manage the online trend.