Why I will not be doing business with Swann Auction House Again

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Why I will not be doing business with Swann Again

Before I explain why I will not be doing business with Swann again, I would like to preface my remarks by saying that Swann puts out a beautiful catalog, has a fine selection of items in in their auctions, and in my experience properly describes them.

My dissatisfaction with Swann comes from the excessively long time it takes them to process purchases, their general unresponsiveness to customer inquiries, and their misrepresentation of the status of shipping and handling purchases.

Let me give a specific example. On April 6, 2017, I participated in their African American Fine Art Auction and purchased item 177, a series of seven screenprints by Faith Ringgold. I was told to wait to pay until I received an invoice from them which included the buyer's premium and their shipping charges. Swann does not accept credit cards so after I received their invoice by email on April 11, 2017, I mailed them a check on April 12 which they cashed and which cleared my account on April 18, 2017.

I called Swann several times beginning on May 18, one month after my check cleared, to inquire about the status of the shipment of my art and was always given some excuse or told that "it will go out today." My auction item was finally shipped to me on May 25, 2017 and I received it on May 31, 2017.

The bottom line is that Swann did not ship my item until five weeks after they cashed my check. I did not receive my item until six weeks after they cashed my check. If you look at the time it took from the Auction on April 6, to waiting for them to send me an invoice, to receive my artwork, it took Swann 8 weeks after their auction for me to receive my item.

And there was nothing I could do about it. If Swann accepted credit cards, then I would have had some recourse. The fact that they only accept checks and hold your money for excessive amounts of time means that your only legal recourse is to sue them. For an out-of-state customer this is not practical.

If I lived in NYC I would have no qualms about bidding in auctions with Swann as I could pay for and pick up my items directly. As an out-of-state customer, I find their process for shipping and handling unsatisfactory.

Over the years I have made many purchases from auction houses and have experience dealing with the shipping and handling of my purchases. This is the most unsatisfactory experience I have ever had with an auction house. Based on my recent experience with Swann, I will not being doing business with them again.