Two days ago I had a visit from my framer. He looked worried and alarmed at a problem which was troubling him and asked my advice:
Some while ago he had made some frames for a client which were delivered and paid for. Many months later the client has now made contact again to say that , for the first time, he has examined the works and discerned SERIOUS DAMAGE which was not there when they were presented for framing. He had asked my worried friend for a large contribution towards the loss in value and restoration costs. My framer asked for my advice.
I asked the framer about his Terms and Conditions of business. Doubtless he had these and doubtless he had told all his clients that acceptance of their works for framing denoted acceptance of these T &C ? No doubt these stimulated a maximum liability per work on his part besides putting an onus on the client to undertake insurance? No doubt the T & C gave the client a reasonable and proper time period to make a complaint for negligence and damage? The framer stared miserably into the distance ...... he had been in business for 20 odd years and never met this type of problem before. He had no T & C’s.
Don't be taken for a fool
I persuaded the framer that the best way forward was to effect a negotiated settlement of the dispute to his best advantage. He wanted to be fair to the client and he wanted to be fair to himself. This seemed the best way forward. He is an honourable man and would prefer to lose out himself then cheat his clients. By the same token, I said to him plainly, he should not be taken for a fool! My framer did go to see a lawyer and now sports some nice new Terms and Conditions of sale! There may be Art Professionals out there who could and should learn from this unfortunate episode.