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Stolen goods

 

As Northern Europe's largest auction house, Lauritz.com is an important and high profile actor in the market for second-hand items of value. Each day we are visited by many customers wishing to consign their valuable items to our auctions. Our customers, our buyers as well as our sellers, are normal, genuine people buying or selling furniture, collectables, hobby items, etc. As in other areas of society, there are rotten apples who break the law, for instance by attempting to sell stolen goods on auction. Lauritz.com strongly disassociates itself from all sale of stolen items on our auctions. We wish to provide a trustworthy and safe trading place, and do not want to provide fertile ground for criminal activity. Therefore, we have long had specific procedures in place which ensure that we avoid stolen goods ending up in our auctions. Should this however occur, we also have procedures for how we can work with the police to help trace and solve cases. Moreover, these procedures have been developed in close cooperation with the police themselves.

Below you can read more on what we do to protect ourselves against stolen goods on www.lauritz.com:

  • Lauritz.com is not the logical place to sell stolen goods. An item on auction at Lauritz.com gets a great deal of exposure during the auction period due to the approx. 850,000 visitors to the site. The item is displayed with photograph and description and is, therefore, easily recognizable. Stolen goods can be disposed of in less public ways through other channels where the seller deals with the buyer without an objective intermediary. Moreover, the police, insurance companies and the owners of stolen goods can follow the auctions online - and they do.

  • In 2014 Lauritz.com had approx. 350,000 lots on auction and had only few cases where stolen goods were suspected. Fortunately, therefore, this does not represent a widespread problem. When cases do arise, we always cooperate with the police and follow their instructions to help pursue the case in such a way that prosecution results.

  • The rise in Denmark in recent years in organized theft of modern furniture classics has led us to introduce greater precautions. These measures aim to ensure, as far as possible, the seller's rightful title to the item and that we always can trace an item back to the seller. The aim is a sales system which is sufficiently open for normal and honest customers but sufficiently preventative for people who are acting in bad faith.

  • If a buyer buys a lot which later is revealed to be stolen, the buyer is always protected by Lauritz.com in that the purchase price and any transport costs are refunded.

  • In order to be able to sell on auction at Lauritz.com, all customers have to provide their name, address and telephone number. Also, all sellers must show ID (e.g. driving licence, passport, etc). The type of ID used is noted in our system.

  • Lauritz.com maintains, internally, a list with information on cases of theft from e.g. museums, galleries, antique dealers and, in some cases, private homes, so our auction houses are informed if someone attempts to consign the stolen items to auction.

  • In the case of larger or repeated consignments direct from a producer/wholesaler/importer/retail business, etc, a control phone call is made to the company to ensure that that the sale is legal. The customer is informed of this.

  • Settlement is typically made via bank account which means that we have the seller's account number and can use this to help the police trace the individual and the money.

  • All registrations of new customers (approx.2,500 per week) are looked through randomly by our employees on a regular basis. In the case of suspicion, the address details of the seller/buyer are checked against the phone book and the customer is rung up. The e-mail address can be checked against the server.

  • In cases where the seller's rightful title to the item is in doubt, we request documentation for ownership, e.g. a purchase receipt, and the seller's personal identification number is noted (e.g. in Denmark, the first 6 figures of the CPR no.).

  • Where there is suspicion that the item in question is stolen the police are informed about our knowledge to the individual and the item concerned.

  • Where designer items are marked with an engraving that does not correspond to the name of the consignor we need to see a purchase receipt. Moreover, the police are contacted for good measure to ensure that the lot has not previously been reported stolen.

  • If a seller has sold stolen goods on Lauritz.com their customer account is naturally closed and the individual concerned can no longer place items on auction in our auction houses.

  • In cases where we at Lauritz.com are contacted by someone who believes that they have seen an item of theirs at auction that has been stolen, we urge them to contact the police immediately to report this. If the police find the case warranted they contact us and lead what happens next. Sometimes we stop the auction, other times the auction has to be allowed to continue in order to give the police time for their investigation.