The aim of these FAQ’s is to summarise the terms and conditions that apply to sellers and buyers in plain English. These FAQ’s should arm you with all the information you need to bid in confidence and show you how to navigate our online auctions.
We recommend you familiarise yourself with these even if you are an experienced user of online auctions as they are updated regularly and will differ from other online auctions you may have used.
You can find the full list of FAQs below or simply choose a category:
I’m still nervous - Is it safe to bid at auction?
William George & Co are working very hard to bring confidence and transparency to bidders using our auctions.
We endeavour at all stages of the process to provide as much information as we can and treat customers and vendors with respect and integrity and we expect the same in return.
We work hard to develop relationships with trusted and reliable vendors and remove any sellers who we receive poor feedback regarding.
If you are not sure about anything you have read or seen, then please contact us on [email protected] and we will help keep you informed and give you the information you require to make informed bidding choices.
Please familiarise yourself with the Terms and Conditions and FAQ’s. Having done so, bidding in auction is safe and exciting! You can uncover some real bargains or find that special rare something with the help of our dedicated team!
If you are still unsure – Do not bid!
Interested in bidding or selling with us?
- Who am I buying from/selling to?
The contract of sale exists between the buyer and the seller.
Although the auction house collects payment, they do so on behalf of the seller who they are acting as an agent for. Both parties should be aware of the below procedures…
- What does the seller have to disclose in their listings?
The seller is requested to provide as much information as they can to allow bidders to make an informed decision before bidding.
The seller is required to disclose any material defects, faults or damage to the goods. If no such information is included in the important information or description, then it should be deemed that the goods are in working/running order.
- What do I do if there is an issue with my purchase?
Goods should be checked on collection or delivery, and where this is not possible, they should be checked as soon as is possible and any issues reported to both the seller and auctioneer within 10 days.
If goods are delivered, and cannot be checked immediately, they should be signed for as ‘received unchecked’ in order that the seller can make representations to couriers if items have been damaged in transit.
The auction house will not be able to intervene in any issues that are raised after this period and these should be directed to seller using their contact details found on your Collection Note.
The auctioneer will always seek to advise and assist both parties in the event of a dispute.
The overarching principles of fairness, transparency and integrity will be preserved, however disputes raised more than 10 days after receipt of the goods will be the responsibility of the seller to resolve and our power to intervene is reduced after this time.
Failure to respond promptly and appropriately to claims made will likely result in the auctioneer reviewing its relationship with sellers, as we seek to represent reliable, honest and quality sellers only.
- What happens if I have bought a diamond or gemstone I am unsure of?
Disputes relating to the material quality/authenticity of diamonds and gemstones are mediated by the independent AnchorCert Gem Lab at the Centre of Excellence in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham.
Buyers seeking clarification on the nature of a diamond or gemstone purchased in auction should notify the seller and auctioneer immediately and have the opportunity to submit the stone for testing via the auctioneers account with AnchorCert.
Their assessment will form the basis of any mediation and in the event the buyer and seller cannot find an amicable resolution the auctioneer will make a final decision. If the description is deemed to be deliberately or negligently misleading, then the stone will be returned to the seller and a full refund provided to the buyer by the seller, including any fees associated with the assessment.
If the assessments corroborate the description given in auction, the item will be returned to the buyer and they shall be liable for the assessment fees.
If the buyer’s complaint is upheld and they are refunded for the item, the auction house shall always refund any auction fees.
The auction house may elect to recover some or all of these fees from the seller in the event the description is found to be misleading, and responsibility lies with the seller to ensure they are confident and comfortable with any descriptions provided.
- Why do I have to register a payment card against my account?
In order to create a bidding account, we need to verify certain details to verify the identity of bidders. Card details are used to cross reference with names and addresses on the accounts to prevent fraudulent bidding and preserve the integrity of the auctions.
Funds will not be debited from your card in order to bid, and once you have won lots in auction you will receive an email invoice with instructions on how to make payment.
- Do I need to pay a deposit to bid?
No – bidders are not required to pay a deposit to bid as a rule.
In some circumstances deposits are required – e.g. to view an item, or if they have had negative feedback from other auction houses.
- Why is my registration pending/declined?
The most common cause of a pending registration is that you have not verified your email address and/or phone number. If this is the case, please check the My Account section to verify these details.
We also require a full name – nicknames, single names, or business names in the name field are not permitted.
If you have checked all of these issues and your registration is still pending, it may be that you have some negative feedback on your account from another auction house – please email [email protected] if you are unsure why your account is pending/declined.
- How do I know the reserve price of a lot?
All of our lots have blind reserves, which means they are not visible to bidders and we do not give out reserves over the telephone.
Estimates are provided on many auctions which gives you a guide as to what we expect the lot to reach in auction.
The system will inform you whether the current bid has met reserve or not.
Each bid placed will be taken as a genuine bid and any bids at or above reserve are contractually binding.
- Can I remove a bid I have placed?
No – bids cannot be removed once submitted.
- Why has the end time on a lot been extended?
If a bid is placed in the final 10 minutes of any lot, then the clock shall reset to 10 minutes. This allows all bidders to have fair warning and place any further bids.
This can result in a lot/auction running for an extended period of time until only 1 bidder is still participating.
If you are unable to monitor the lot for an extended period or at the closing time, then it is recommended that you use the maximum bid feature.
Here you can enter a maximum bid you are comfortable with and allow the software to bid for you up to your max bid as required.
- Can I view lots in auction?
Yes, viewing is permitted and is recommended.
We will need to hold a refundable deposit on your account to arrange a viewing. The amount of this deposit will vary depending on the items bidding on, but buyers should allow for a £500 deposit in most cases.
This amount will be refunded to you at the close of auction if you are not the winning bidder or deducted from your invoice if you are the winning bidder.
No viewings can be arranged in the final 24hrs of a live auction.
- Is VAT chargeable on goods sold in auction?
Please check each lot to see if VAT is payable. Just below where you enter your bid, you will see the additional fees listed or see a tab which displays any additional fees.
Here you will see if VAT is chargeable on that lot over and above your bid amount. The buyer’s premium, sometimes known as the auction fees, are also visible here.
VAT is always charged on the buyer’s premium element of the sale.
- Will I still have to pay VAT if I intend to export the goods?
Yes, VAT will still be payable, even if you have an EU VAT number.
The VAT can be refunded on the provision of the relevant documentation proving the goods have been exported. The documentation must be submitted complete, and promptly, to the seller of the goods to obtain a VAT refund.
If this is your intention, then please contact us at the earliest opportunity to ensure this process is handled smoothly.
- How much will I end up paying?
When you are considering a bid in auction you should consider the following points…
- The amount you are prepared to bid
- Is there VAT payable on the lot? If there is then this will be listed in the lot details or under additional fees next to where you enter your bid amount
- What is the buyer’s premium? This will also be listed in the same place and is likely to range from 5%-25% depending on the type of item. This amount will always be subject to VAT as well.
- Is delivery included? This will be stated in the description or in the terms and conditions for that auction – check the location of the lot and consider the delivery costs if it is not included. To get a delivery estimate you can always contact a courier of your choice.
Below is an example of a common invoice amount:
Bid amount: £100
Is there VAT payable on this lot? No
Buyer’s Premium: £15
VAT on Buyer’s Premium: £3
Delivery Estimate: £6.99
Total you will pay: £124.99
- How do I pay for my items?
If your invoice total is under £1000, then you can make payment by Credit or Debit Card by following the links and instructions which are included in your email invoice.
For invoices of any amount, you can make payment by Bank Transfer to the account details included in your latest invoice. Please check your latest invoice to ensure you are paying into the correct account.
We DO NOT take payments as a matter of course from any card you have used to register your account. You will need to take action to clear any payments due.
We cannot take card payments over the phone – please follow the links on your invoice.
Cash and cheque are not accepted methods of payment. If you are unable to pay online by Card or by bank transfer, then please do not bid.
- How long do I have to make payment?
Payment is required by 4pm on the second working day after the auction.
If an auction closes on Monday at 2pm, payment is required by 4pm on the Wednesday.
For auctions ending on a Thursday, payment is required by 4pm on the following Monday.
- What happens if I do not pay on time?
Bids placed are legally binding, and payment is required within 2 working days. The auctioneer will grant additional grace for payments in certain circumstances where there is clear and regular communication from the buyer as to their intention to pay at the earliest opportunity.
In any case, the normal procedures will be followed notifying winning bidders of their invoice at the close of auction, again on the day payment is due, at 1 day overdue, 3 days overdue, 7 and 28 days overdue. Additional measures will then be employed to recover payment if it is not forthcoming. Throughout, the seller is entitled to charge between £20-£50 per day per lot (depending on its size and value) storage charges from day 8 after the auction closes.
- How do I get lots that I have won?
Please view the terms and conditions of each auction to establish collection or delivery options. Goods are not stored at our office location, so it is important to establish the location of the item and delivery terms.
Where you have bid for a collection only item, and cannot collect due to distance, then you will still be expected to pay. If you are unsure then please submit an enquiry to us by email to [email protected]
- How much is delivery, and can you add it to my invoice?
As we represent many different vendors, each auction may comprise different delivery terms and prices. Please consult the important information in each auction to view delivery options which range from free tracked and insured delivery, through to pallet delivery and collection only items.
As a guide, smaller items would be under £10 depending on insurance value, larger boxes around £20, and pallets £60. These prices will be subject to VAT.
If you cannot locate delivery options in the important information, or against the description of a particular lot, then please enquire by email to [email protected]
Delivery payments are made to sellers directly – and therefore we do not add delivery costs to invoices. Please seek to make payment on your invoice, and once you have received our Collection Note after payment, you can speak to the seller direct to arrange and pay for delivery.
For international buyers, we can look at add delivery to your invoice to help you avoid additional international transaction fees, so please contact us to discuss your requirements.
- Do you accept returns?
Items can only be returned if they are materially different from the description provided in auction. In all cases any issues should be raised directly with the seller as soon as possible and within 10 days of receiving the item to see if a resolution can be found.
Buyers are responsible for satisfying themselves that they are comfortable to bid through way of viewings and enquiries and in all cases, if you are unsure – do not bid. The auction house is unable to respond to queries after you have placed a bid, and bids cannot be removed once submitted.
Public Auctions are exempt from the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 which supersedes all previous legislation including the now redundant Distance Selling Regulations.
We will always seek to act decisively and fairly in the event of a dispute and customer satisfaction is important to us and we do advise buyers to conduct any checks prior to bidding.
- What fees do you charge for selling?
We offer sellers both private and professional a unique opportunity to sell with 0% commission. This means you will always receive 100% of the hammer price.
To list a small number of items in a collective sale then there are no listing fees. In order to host a private auction then there are associated listing fees which will vary depending on the calendar slot you wish to use.
- I’ve sold a lot – when will I be paid?
Payments are made to sellers within 14 days of the item being received by the buyer.
We will release 100% of the hammer price to all vendors after this time which allows us to ensure our customers have received the items and had an opportunity to raise any issues.
We allow this time frame as we value our customer service and want to help our sellers have access to a confident buyer base which we have built through trust and transparency.
In some cases, including very high value items and some heavy machinery that prompt payment is required, and, in these cases, we recommend the buyer personally collects items to conduct any necessary checks to allow release of funds to the seller.
- Can I remove a lot from auction? What penalties are there?
We recognise from time to time, items have to be withdrawn from sale. It is the responsibility of the seller to ensure items listed are available and remain in the condition that they are described.
If you do have to remove an item from auction, then you should notify the auctioneer ASAP. Assuming any bidding is below the reserve price then there will be no penalties for removing the lot, although efforts should be made to avoid persistently removing items in this way.
In any event, an item cannot be removed from auction once a bid has been placed that meets or exceeds the reserve price.
It is the seller’s responsibility to check the current bidding status of each lot before taking any action that would require its removal from auction.
Where an item is removed from auction by a seller after any such bid has been placed they will be in breach of the terms of the auction and liable to cover the buyer’s premium for that lot, calculated on the reserve price of the item or the highest bid at the time the auctioneer is notified of its removal, whichever is the greater.
- A buyer has questioned a lot I sent them – what happens now?
Please refer to the earlier section Interested in bidding or selling with us?
- How do you handle my data?