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I phoned the firm in question well before the auction and explained the situation, that while I was happy and able to complete the verification, I simply didn’t have (as I’m sure many people wouldn’t) all that money sitting in my account to send over to enable me to bid on the lot I was interested in. It’s worth pointing out that it had a pre-sale estimate of £150-300, many times less than the value of the requested deposit!

The firm in question was anything but helpful. I was initially told that this is ‘the policy of many larger firms’ – a statement a little ridiculous given the estimate of the lot fell well below the minimum threshold of almost all of the ‘larger firms’. Their will softened and I was informed that they would make an exception and accept a commission bid from me, provided I completed the verification previously mentioned.

As the lot in question was one that had a family connection to me, I didn’t want to leave a commission bid and was keen to bid live, either via telephone or on the internet.

I asked again if it would be possible to bid in this way and after being transferred to another member of staff and explained the situation once more, I was again told to stump up the four-figure deposit, simply to afford me the opportunity to bid.

At this point I should mention that I, too, am an auctioneer and feel that frankly the whole experience gives us auctioneers a very bad name. The unwillingness to help me, as a new customer to their firm, and the ludicrous deposit amount requested, effectively precludes new customers from bidding in their auctions. It seems to do a great injustice to their vendors and does little to justify their buyer’s premium.

While I am very sorry to miss out on the item I wanted, the restrictive and discriminative policy of the firm in question makes me feel disillusioned with the whole process.

Lewis Rabett

Auctioneer & Valuer, Reeman Dansie