Thursday, 23 February 2012

A Warning about Whisky Auctions

Luc Timmermans (one of the Malt Maniacs) bought some lots at the McTear's auction held on 7th December. Luc was unable to attend the auction himself, but bid online. His comments are detailed below.

At their 7 December 2011 Whiskysales a few interesting lots pulled my attention and I decided to buy them. I was able to buy many interesting lots amongst which were LOTS number 695, 751 and 864. Here the details of the LOTS as described on the McTear's website including their respective pictures.

The description is clear, the photo's crystal clear. Nothing wrong right ? As you can clearly see, nothing wrong besides a little low filling level of one bottle. But the picture clearly showed the bottles are in a very good condition and very well sealed and the description is clear.

But here the real pictures of 3 bottles taken by my good friend who went to McTears to collect the lots.......

Yes, they are OPEN !! Yes they are OPEN !!

A few bottles were simply opened ?? Either by the auction house and or the previous owner. But this without any mention on the website and in the corresponding LOT description. At first I was very positive for the outcome....McTear's is a well reputated auction house, is it not ? They would of course settle this, no ?

So very big was my surprise to get this mail from Mr. Stephen McGinty - the auction house Whisky expert :


"Dear Mr Timmermans,

I refer to the above and to your recent e-mail and I can confirm that I have reviewed the information provided.

Following my enquiries I can confirm that all bottles are entered into the auction on the basis of “sold as seen”. As such all bottles where the seal has been broken we will be unable to offer any refund for. We would be happy to enter the bottles into a future auction on your behalf. Let me know your thoughts on this.

Yours sincerely

Lisa Mitchell (on behalf of Stephen)


How sad is this ??

So, be warned. The auction business gets by this by the legal term caveat emptor, let the buyer beware. This is not the first time I have encountered such an issue and McTear's are not the only auction house to operate in this manner, many fake/faulty bottles of whisky/wine/cognac/etc. pass through the major auction houses on an almost daily basis.

I agree that the auction house staff should NOT allow such bottles to be entered into an auction. Watch out and examine carefully anything you are considering bidding on.

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