Honoring the Unified User Agreement

We encourage all Proxibid users to read the company’s recently updated Unified User Agreement, which protects seller, bidder, auctioneer and, of course, the portal. We also encourage auctioneers to read their own service terms to discern whether they still are in compliance with the Unified User Agreement.

One of the most persistent myths in auctioneering is the “all sales final–no exceptions” service term. There are, in fact, exceptions.

Sales of some weapons, for example, can be illegal. Same goes for stolen art.

No auction house is excluded from these laws and regulations.

Case in point: Ancient coins were seized a day before an auction earlier this year at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel with the seller detained and later charged with criminal possession of stolen property. You can read about the seizure of coins here and the charges here.

Proxiblog has posted several articles about the illegality of selling counterfeit coins. Here is an example.

So it troubles us that auction houses selling coins on Proxibid continue to insist that “all sales are final–no exceptions” … even if the item is counterfeit, a clear violation of this service term in the Unified User Agreement:

  • 5. DEFAULT AUCTION TERMS If, within a reasonable amount of time, Buyer gives notice in writing to Seller that the lot so sold is a counterfeit and after such notice the Buyer returns the lot to Seller in the same condition as when sold, and establishes to the satisfaction of Seller that the returned lot is in fact a counterfeit, Seller as agent for the consignor will rescind the sale and refund the purchase price.

This week we came across this rather insistent service term in a Proxibid auction, prompting us to cross off this house from our list for future bidding:

  • Special Terms of Sale: Buyer aknowledges (sic) that the property being auctioned is available for inspection and it is being sold “AS IS, WHERE IS” without warranty or guarantee of any kind. We made no guarantee of the authenticity of the item. … All sales are final, NO EXCEPTIONS. … The buyer is responisble (sic) for examining and inspecting, or have their own representative examine or inspect the items prior to bidding and accepts it the way it is, NO EXCEPTIONS.

Even though Proxiblog is an independent entity, we admire the company’s increasing emphasis on quality control. If the above auctioneer sold a counterfeit coin, and refused to make a refund–NO EXCEPTIONS–he might acknowledge that his service term is invalid, not only with Proxibid but also with federal law.

We advise all coin bidders to read Proxibid’s Unified User Agreement and cease bidding in auctions that continue to insist that they are not responsible for authenticity. When it comes to counterfeit coins, auctioneers should place responsibility on the consignor rather than the bidder (as our top houses do in the right sidebar).

In the end, there are exceptions when it comes to fake collectibles.

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