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Charging More — Give Me A Break!

August 28, 2020

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Not sure how I missed this one.  In May, Sotheby’s announced the following:

As of August 1, 2020, Sotheby’s will be implementing a new fee – an Overhead Premium – payable

 by all auction buyers in our global salesrooms and online sales.

The fee, which will be 1% of the hammer price plus any applicable local taxes, is an allocation of the overhead costs relating to our facilities, property handling and other administrative expenses, and reflects the increasing costs associated with delivering great service and experiences in a highly competitive marketplace.

This fee and our Buyer’s Premium rates exclude local taxes and any applicable artist’s resale right.

The Overhead Premium will be applicable to all live auctions that take place on or after August 1st and any online auction that close after that date.

SO …

Many of their salerooms are basically closed, they have laid off staff, they are not producing those expensive catalogs, sales are taking place online, all of which must be saving them millions of dollars.  With their cost’s way down, they now feel another 1% fee is appropriate … give me a break!

In a highly competitive marketplace, one would expect a business to lower their fees a little to get new clients.  I have an idea … why not charge the sellers 1% more?  Those are the people you are representing!  Why do the auction rooms constantly reduce the seller’s costs and make it up by charging the buyer more?