If you’re thinking of selling antiques to dealers or online, it’s important to understand the expectations of good sales practice as per Australian Consumer Law (ACL). It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling antiques as a hobby or a full-time business, you are still expected to follow all rules, regulations and legislation related to fair trading.
These are some of the most relevant aspects of the ACL to consider when selling antiques.
There are nine consumer guarantees that apply to the sale of goods. One of them dictates that those who sell a good to a consumer guarantee that it is of acceptable quality. Of course, determining ‘acceptable quality’ is less straight-forward when the goods being sold are second-hand and potentially over 100 years old.
One element of the test for acceptable quality is whether a reasonable consumer, fully aware of the good’s condition, would find it free from any defects aside from those they were aware of before the sale. However, this guarantee does not apply if you, the antique seller, were to alert the consumer to hidden defects prior to making the sale.
Second-hand goods and antiques are often sold ‘as-is’. For example, if you are selling antique silver to a dealer, you would not be held accountable for defects that the consumer should have reasonably noticed when examining the silverware.
Due to the fragile and second-hand nature of antiques, it is expected that the consumer will examine the good thoroughly. It is only if there are defects so hidden that they cannot be found—even with careful inspection—that you would at risk of breaching the ACL.
False or Misleading Claims
The two fundamental rules of advertising and selling are:
- You must not engage in conduct that is likely to mislead or deceive
- You must not make false or misleading claims or statements
The second rule is particularly pertinent to the advertising of antiques. Often, claims are made as to the age or history behind certain items. Be aware that telling a false story about the life of your antique to enhance its appeal is a breach of the ACL. Similarly, exaggerating the age of the product is a breach of the ACL.
If you are selling antiques online rather than in-person, it is easier to make deceive your buyer. This is because the consumer does not have the chance to inspect the quality of the antique themselves.
When buying antiques online, reviews are one of the best ways of discerning the legitimacy of a seller. This does not mean you should generate fake positive reviews as a way of marketing your eBay account. The same rules apply to reviews as they do with other advertising mediums. This means that fake online reviews are in breach of the ACL.
You cannot post or publish misleading reviews, nor write or commission reviews about your own business. It is also important that you do not engage the review platform to selectively edit or remove unfavourable reviews.
Keep these key rules and obligations in mind when selling your antiques. This way, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with trading fairly and honestly.