The internet has opened up the market for artwork and helped buyers from all over the world add some exceptional pieces of art to their collections with a simple click of a button.
From browsing the latest new artwork to researching some new up and coming talent flooding into the arts scene, buying art online has become a popular way for customers to invest in artwork from dealers and art suppliers from all over the world – but it does have its risks.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous individuals are hoping to take advantage of this rise in internet art sales and are coming up with increasingly sophisticated ways of tricking potential customers into parting with their money.
In these cases, poor quality artwork and fakes are the norm with some customers not receiving anything at all, so its best to be aware of the potential pitfalls of ordering art online before placing an order or going any further with a purchase.
So to stay safe online and to protect yourself from any problems, here’s our quick guide to shopping for art safely on the Internet.
You’ve never heard of the dealer before
Although its impossible to have heard of every single art dealer or supplier, you can do your homework before placing an order to make sure that the person or company you are dealing with has a good reputation for meeting their customer’s expectations.
Review sites such as Trustpilot are helpful as you can see a collection of both positive and negative reviews for the company, so be sure to take a look before you pass on any payment details.
If you can’t find any trace of the business, then beware. It’s likely that they’re either a brand-new company or could be less than reputable so proceed with caution.
It’s too good to be true
Fakes are becoming increasingly harder to spot, with some people making a good living from creating very high-quality fakes and paperwork and passing them off as originals.
Even some industry experts have been fooled by exceptionally good fakes, so it’s not surprising that many people are being tricked into buying artwork which isn’t what it seems.
Here, common-sense is essential because if something seems to good to be true, then it probably is.
If you spot an original piece at a bargain price, then alarm bells should be ringing as it could be a very good fake. The best way not to fall into this trap is to search online artwork databases to check the authenticity of the piece and see where its last registered owner or place of exhibit was.
This way, if the art on sale is currently on display at a gallery, then you’ve found a fake!
Some places are better than others for buying artwork, and there are a few sources that art buyers should treat with caution.
Online auction sites are notorious for selling fakes or poor-quality artwork as it makes it incredibly easy for scammers to take your money and vanish from the platform, only to reappear later on under another guise that you have no way of finding.
Buying from social media has similar problems, however, many trusted and reputable sources also use these channels to showcase their latest collections, so make sure that you check their website as well as their social media channel before going ahead with a purchase.
Questionable contact details
Before you order artwork online, you’ll need to be able to get hold of the supplier’s contact details should there be a problem with your order or delivery.
If they only offer a dubious international phone number, no physical address and an email address, then its best to contact them on these channels before to make sure that they actually respond.
Also, any good art dealer will offer a guarantee or the ability for you to return your artwork for a full refund should you be unhappy with it for any reason, but if this is something they don’t offer it might be a good idea to question the reason why.
Trust your gut instinct
Even the most seasoned art collector can fall foul of online scammers when purchasing artwork, so it really does pay to go with your gut instinct when parting with your money and bank details.
If something doesn’t seem right, emails are misspelt, and communications are kept up on a regular basis if your discussing a particular piece then don’t ignore these common warning signs as they’re telling you to tread carefully.
It might be that these few little niggles are pointing you towards a bigger issue, so go with your gut and walk away if something doesn’t seem right. You’ll regret it if you go ahead and later discover that that niggle at the back of your mind was right all along.
Don’t forget, you can always buy artwork online with confidence with Art 2 Arts. We’re here to answer any questions you have and have helped thousands of customers choose and enjoy new pieces of art over the years.