International Society of Primerus Law Firms

Art and Law: Rules For Selling Art Online

Do you sell art to consumers via a webshop? Keep in mind that strict rules are in place for this. What are the requirements you have to fulfil as an online art dealer?

By Paul W.L. Russell, LL.M.
Russell Advocaten, B.V.
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Consumer Protection in Distance Selling

When you sell artworks to consumers via the Internet, the rules differ from those for the physical sale in, for instance, an art gallery. For purchases and sales via the Internet, also known as distance selling, the consumer enjoys extra protection since 2014. Thus, the buyer has more rights, the seller more obligations and the sanctions for non-compliance with these obligations are harder.

Rights of Buyers & Obligations of Sellers

Information obligation

As an art seller (gallery, auction house, art dealer) you have to provide all sorts of information on your website regarding the artworks you are selling and the conditions under which they are sold. You have to inform the consumer about the following, for instance:

  • Your own data, such as trade name, business address, telephone number, fax and e-mail address.
  • The main characteristics of the artworks you are selling (such as the name of the artist, the year in which the artwork was made, the material used to make it).
  • The overall price of the products (including taxes, supply costs, et cetera).
  • The mode of payment and delivery and the deadlines that will apply.
  • The reflection period the consumer is entitled to.
  • How the consumer can terminate the agreement.

Delivery

After the consumer has placed the order and paid the artwork, you have to deliver the artwork within 30 days, unless you have agreed upon a different period with the consumer.

If there are any problems with the delivery (for instance, the artwork is damaged or stolen) it will be at your risk. The risk will be transferred to the buyer once he has received the artwork.

Reflection Period/Right of Withdrawal

From the time the consumer has received the artwork, he will have 14 days to consider whether he is satisfied. This reflection period is also known as approval period. Within the approval period, the buyer can return the product without having to give reasons. You will then have to pay back the purchase price to the buyer as soon as possible but at least within 30 days.

The right of withdrawal must be stated on the website. If you do not inform the consumer about the right of withdrawal, the period within which he can exercise this right will be extended by a maximum of 12 months.

What can we do for you?

Do you need legal advice regarding distance selling? Or would you like us to check whether your online store meets all legal requirements? We are more than willing to assist you. We can also assist you drawing up General Terms and Conditions for online sales to consumers.


The general information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.

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