New regulations for online bidders will come into force in the UK from June. The new Consumer Contracts Regulations will give to online bidders the right to return goods within 14 days, unless the lots can be viewed in person.
How it will afflect the art market? Under the new rules, virtual auctions are not considered public and so online buyers will have the right to cancel. The regulation will have implications for worldwide online sellers trading with buyers protected by UK rules. Until that law, online and public auctions were excluded as exists the risk to encourage irresponsible bidding and the costs for auction houses might raise.
The protection to the consumer will increase, but what will happen to the works of art returned? As well as in the saleroom, the cancellation of a public sale brings a devaluation of the work returned. It must be pointed out that usually the results of the online auctions are rarely made public, nor on the websites of auction houses, nor within the most popular databases such as Artprice and Artnet, another missing link in the lack of clarity of the art market …