Most companies agree to pay their clients after the auction, but this can mean different things to different companies. We advise all clients to read the payment terms carefully before selecting an auction firm.
At Harmers International we see little difference between purchasing collections outright and offering a guaranteed minimum. We lean against guaranteed minimums because they are a disincentive for an auction company to work for the client.
Standard industry practice allows the individuals who purchase your material to send the items to an expert for authentication, if they make a request shortly after winning the item in the auction. The buyer has the right to return the items if the expert deems the items forgeries or substantially flawed. Most companies do not pay their consignors until the expert renders their decision. Delays of payments to the consignor for items on extension are typical.
Some companies do not pay their consignors until eight to twelve weeks from the date they receive payment from the buyer. This becomes more problematic should the company decide, without the client’s consent, to extend payment terms to the buyer. Some companies even refuse to pay owners when, after releasing the owner’s material to the buyer, the buyer refuses or is unable to pay the auction house but retain the material.
We allow our buyers to place items on extension for expertising, but we maintain strict control over the process because our client’s interest is our interest. If we decide to extend credit or release your material without payment, any collection problems are ours, not our client’s. Our turnaround time for payments to our consignors is one of the quickest in our industry.