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ACT Auction House Lost My Oil Painting - What to Do?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Nelli, 19 May 2015.

  1. Nelli

    Nelli New Member

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    An auction house in the ACT have lost my 80 year old carved frame oil painting. No paper work exchanged hands.

    What are my Australian consumer law rights?

    Regards.
     
  2. Ivy

    Ivy Well-Known Member

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    Hi Nelli,

    That is disappointing on the part of the auction house- what do they think has happened to the painting?

    I have a few follow up questions:
    1. Can you please give some more information about how and why they had your painting without any paper work or contract signed to act as your agent in the sale?
    2. How much is the painting worth? Have you had it independently valued?

    Australian consumer laws generally only apply to goods that are worth less than $40,000, unless "they are of a kind ordinarily acquired for domestic, household or personal use or consumption". I think it would be difficult to show that a painting is ordinarily acquired for domestic or personal use.

    If your painting is worth less than $40,000 then one of the ACL guarantees that protects you is that a business service is provided with due care and skill. If a business breaches a guarantee, then you as the consumer have certain rights, such as the right to compensation.
     
  3. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Nelli,

    Just a few other thoughts as to how you might proceed:

    Did you sign a written agreement with the Auction House? This may prescribe what their liability will be in such a situation, (however naturally the ACL will override any contractual clause.)

    At law, the Auction House holding your painting likely gave rise to a Bailment - this is a legally recognised relationship that gives rise to duties of care on the part of the bailee to take care for the item (your painting) the subject of the bailment. An obligation is created by the delivery and assumption of possession by the Auction House. Therefore if you can show they were negligent then you may also have a cause of action under common law. A bailment will however be superseded by terms of a written contract.
     

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