New regulations give online art buyers 14 days to cool off

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Changes to European sales regulations could spell trouble for the UK’s online art market. New regulations to be implemented in June 2014 mean that online auction buyers will have 14 days in which to return their purchases.

The current law states that people who purchase goods online have the right to withdraw from the sale for a period of 14 days. However, these rules did not apply to online auction sales because it was feared that they could encourage irresponsible bidding. Under the new Consumer Contracts Regulations in force from June, the same 14 day cooling off period will apply to auction sales unless the works for sale were able to be viewed in person.

Experts have expressed concern that the change will encourage irresponsible bidding, leave auction houses vulnerable to covering costs and possibly damage the value of any work of art that has been returned.