As an ex-16-year saleroom porter and trade dealer and retailer for several years, I would like to voice my opinion on this matter.
I am fully aware that an auction house has to make a profit to stay in business, but let us be crystal clear just exactly how this is achieved:
• If goods are to be collected, say for a house clearance, then the first charge would be for two men and a van, plus fuel – normally a straight figure is applied for all of this.
• A set commission is then charged to offer the vendor’s goods at auction. This fee often varies from house to house currently between 15-25%.
• My local auction house also charges an insurance percentage charged against the value or reserve of each lot.
• In most instances, a fee for inclusion in the catalogue, perhaps with a photo to promote the sale of an item is charged.
• A storage fee will be added if your goods are not collected following the sale.
• The total of these charges is of course subject to VAT at 20% on the hammer price.
Perhaps the time has come for all auction houses to make all their fees absolutely crystal clear to their customers.