General Payment Procedure
We issue pro-forma invoices to all new customers on at least the first two occasions they purchase from our auctions. It is our general policy to issue pro-forma invoices to all overseas customers. Lots are always dispatched promptly upon receipt of payment. To obviate the need for pro-forma invoices which unavoidably cause a delay in receiving purchases, clients are encouraged to provide credit/debit card details or enclose a signed blank cheque marked "Not to Exceed (amount)" with their bid forms in order to expedite prompt dispatch of lots. We would be very grateful if clients who wish to pay for their purchases by means of a signed blank cheque also make a suitable allowance for postage costs in addition to the total value of their bids.
All payments must be made within ten days of receipt of goods or pro-forma invoices. This is to ensure that we are able to pay our vendors promptly in relation to material they have sold. We appreciate that clients may be absent from home due to business, holidays etc at the time our auction takes place and it therefore may not always be possible to strictly accord to this timetable. If this is the case, please inform us prior to the close of the auction and we will make appropriate arrangements to delay dispatching successful purchases.
We try to cater for as many potential methods of facilitating payment as possible. We accept the following methods:
Cash - We accept payment in the form of all major currencies. British sterling, US dollars or Euro are our preferred options. If you are sending cash by post, please use Special Delivery or registered insured post which requires a signature upon receipt. We cannot accept responsibility for cash lost in transit in the post if it is sent by a method which does not require us to sign for it on arrival. We strongly recommend desisting from sending coins through the post as these readily draw attention to the contents of the letter. If paying by cash in a foreign currency, please add the equivalent of £10.00 to allow for currency fluctuations and bank conversion charges which can prove expensive in the UK. Credits or debits will be carried over to subsequent accounts.
Cheques - We accept cheques and bank drafts denominated in both British sterling and major overseas currencies. For overseas customers the cheaper option is probably to obtain a cheque in British sterling drawn on a British bank. It can prove very expensive to convert cheques denominated in foreign currencies and drawn on foreign banks. If paying with a cheque in foreign currency, please add £15.00 to allow for currency fluctuations and bank conversion charges. Credits and debits will be carried over to subsequent accounts.
Postal Orders - We accept British Postal Orders which can be obtained from any inland Post Office.
Paypal - We do accept payment via Paypal but this is subject to a 6% surcharge on the invoice total as Paypal is far more expensive to utilise than most other methods. We absorb all Paypal charges in the case of items purchased from us via Ebay but we cannot offer the same facility for postal auction purchases.
Direct Bank Transfer - We are happy to accept direct payments into our bank account. For obvious security reasons we do not publish the details of our bank account on the internet. Clients are therefore asked to contact us if they wish to pay by this medium and we can make the appropriate arrangements. Most direct transfers between British banks are free of charge but we do recommend checking prior to making payment as any fees incurred must be borne by the purchaser. Direct transfers from overseas accounts almost always attract bank charges which can prove expensive. Again, we strongly recommend ascertaining the exact nature and scope of these potential charges prior to paying by this method.
Debit Cards - We accept Maestro/Switch and VISA debit cards subject to a sixty pence surcharge. The card details we require are listed below. If you are paying by debit card as opposed to credit card please indicate this very clearly. In the absence of definitive information we will have to assume payment is intended to be made by credit card which in most instances will prove more expensive.
Credit Cards - We accept payment by all major credit cards with the sole exception of American Express. All credit cards are subject to a 3% surcharge on the invoice total. The card details we require are listed below.
Credit & Debit Card Security
Obviously the transmission of sensitive financial data, particularly via the internet, is a very topical and controversial issue. We prefer to err on the side of caution and have not included a facility for transmitting card details via our website for this reason. We would far prefer that clients provide card details by faxing or telephoning us with their details. We do accept card details communicated by e-mail as we employ a very high level of computer firewall security but we still recommend splitting the data into three separate e-mails to provide the maximum possible level of protection. Clients who receive our traditional printed catalogue may provide card details using the enclosed bid form.
Please note that due to the Data Protection Act we are prohibited from keeping an electronic record of customers' card details so these must be provided on each individual occasion a prospective purchaser bids in our sales. Neither do we keep a written record of these details for security reasons. It is obligatory to obtain authority to use a card from customers on each occasion they bid in our sales rather than operating on the basis of an open-ended authority. This also alleviates the potential for any possible misunderstanding. We hope that these restrictions do not seem unduly onerous as they are designed to afford our customers maximum financial protection and accountability.
Card Details Required To Process Payment
There has been a marked tightening of the amount of information required to process credit/debit cards in the physical absence of the purchaser in recent times. Again, these requirements are designed to protect cardholders against potential fraud. We now require the following information in order to process card payments:
Card Number - the long number found on the face of the card.
Valid From Date - the month/year the card is valid from (not all cards possess this information).
Expiry Date - the month/year the card expires.
Issue Number - Only found on some debit cards.
Address Number - The number of the address the card is registered at (not required if no number is applicable).
Post/ZIP Code - The postal or ZIP code of the address the card is registered at.
Security Number - The last three digits of the number on the signature strip on the reverse of the card.
All payments must be made within ten days of receipt of goods or pro-forma invoice. Overdue accounts are charged 4% compound interest per month or part month.
We are grateful that bad debts prove to be very few and far between. However, there are always unpleasant and occasional exceptions to this rule. Entering bids at auction forms a valid and enforceable legal contract. We operate a strict policy in relation to unpaid invoices. If an account remains unpaid six weeks after the date of the sale in question we will have no option other than to instigate legal action to recover the debt. We also employ reciprocal arrangements with other auction houses in order to exchange information relating to bad debtors.