Monday, March 09, 2015

Hit and Ron

What were Webb’s up to? Three o’clock last Thursday afternoon the Parnell-based auction house sent an email to all its clients. “The law has changed for buying and selling at auction,” Webb’s announced. “On 17th June 2014, changes to the Fair Trading Act and Consumer Guarantees Act relating to auctions came into effect.” Was this some kind of educational campaign? Not really. The law changed over six months ago and the email gave no clue to what the changes were although there was a link to the Commerce Commission. If you bothered to chase that up (and had some idea of what you were looking for) you could find the relevant section around 1,000 words into the summary.

Auctioneers are now required to clearly identify when a bid is on behalf of the vendor (as is common practice up to the reserve). They also have to declare any ownership or financial interest the auction house has in works for sale. You can read the official version here.

If Webb’s was really aiming at educating the masses you have to ask why it didn’t put the info into the email? Of course what they were really aiming at was Art + Object. The rival house was only three hours away from starting its highly publicised Ron Sang auction when the helpful email hit laptops and phones. As it happened Webb’s educational efforts were unnecessary. The bidding was so fierce vendor bids never got a look-in and all the lots were clearly owned by Ron Sang. And so it goes.

Image: around 300 people pack the Ron Sang auction at A+O