The key guidance stipulates that estimates and guide prices should include details of the fees that a buyer can expect to pay.
The advice document, issued by The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), gives examples of how fees including VAT, buyer’s premium and other taxes should be displayed when an estimate is published.
The guidance will be used as a supporting document to the existing CAP Code (the UK’s code of non-broadcast advertising). This states quoted prices “must include non-optional taxes, duties, fees and charges that apply to all or most buyers”.
With practical implications to cataloguing and estimates, both online and in physical catalogues, it is expected to be met with a mixed reaction from the industry. Some believe the ruling will lead to greater transparency. However others worry the guidance will be an added costly administrative burden.
If a complaint is lodged against an auctioneer, the ASA can take steps to remove or amend any information that is in breach of the code.
The ASA has said it will begin to act on any complaints from March next year, giving auctioneers three months to update their practices.
A statement from the ASA said: “In response to a consumer complaint about the way auction catalogues referred to buyer’s premiums, the ASA consulted several stakeholders in the industry, and has arrived at a position on the way such fees should be displayed in order to comply with the CAP Code.”
This new CAP guidance will be considered when investigating any complaint. The guidance has been published on the CAP website today.
For more on this guidance read ATG’s first print issue of the new year.