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Author Topic: Offering a gaurentee dilema  (Read 6505 times)

Walt Roycraft

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Offering a gaurentee dilema
« on: April 09, 2012, 09:27:08 AM »

I have been selling art prints for a few years and will be giving more energy this year.
I like Alain's 100% guarantee but it presents a dilema for me, I am 62 and plan on being in business for 13 more years.
What will I do if someone calls me 15 years from now with a problem with a piece of art they bought from me?

What realistic guarantees do you all offer?
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petermfiore

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Re: Offering a gaurentee dilema
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2012, 11:10:50 AM »

I don't think you retire from fine art. A fine artist's life is all about the work and so needs to stand behind  the work in one's lifetime.

But that is me.

Peter
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Walt Roycraft

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Re: Offering a gaurentee dilema
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2012, 12:58:19 PM »

Peter, that has been my thinking as well.  But then as I thought about it more, I'm not sure that it's a reality. Lets say I'm 80 years old and no longer keep a digital darkroom. I'm no longer producing fine art. What do I tell a collector if my work carries a lifetime guarantee and they have a problem? What would I tell them if I don't say I guarantee my work?
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EduPerez

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Re: Offering a gaurentee dilema
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 02:55:12 AM »

Why don't you just offer a time-limited guarantee?
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Tony Jay

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Re: Offering a gaurentee dilema
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 03:28:01 AM »

Walt, just a thought: could somebody else not be asked to do the reprints once you have retired (or even after your passing).
I understand that many practicalities may may this a non-starter but I do feel it is food for thought.

Interested to see if other have any thoughts on this.

Regards

Tony Jay
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Walt Roycraft

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Re: Offering a gaurentee dilema
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 08:55:19 AM »

If you do offer a guarantee be very sure you’re willing to honour it and will be able to do so.

I guess that is my dilemma. How would I be able to do so.
I guess the answer is, I would not be able to.

So Edu is on to something, about a limited guarantee.

Still wonder about Alain Briot lifetime guarantee.
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EduPerez

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Re: Offering a gaurentee dilema
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 12:48:11 PM »

Not really. What limit would you apply? Five years, ten years, twenty years? Does offering a five, or ten, or twenty year guarantee suggest that this is the expected limited lifespan of your prints? Does this sound like a good life expectancy or good selling point?

Probably not a good selling point at all... but a honest declaration of intentions: if you plan to back your offer for a limited time only, as Walt Roycraft has already stated, why would you call it lifetime?
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Offering a gaurentee dilema
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2012, 12:59:25 PM »

How about formulating it along these lines: "as long as I am in business" or "as long as it is practically possible"? Say, twenty years from now, they decide to take you up on your guarantee, look you up and find you are still active, selling prints. If not, c'est la vie.

EduPerez

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Re: Offering a gaurentee dilema
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2012, 04:18:35 PM »

Has anyone done as much or suggested you should?

I obviously misunderstood your comment; I'm sorry.
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Rob C

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Re: Offering a gaurentee dilema
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2012, 04:24:55 PM »

I think Keith's perfectly right, and also morally correct in his stance.

The most you should do is state, if pushed to so do, what the paper/ink manufacturers claim for their product. Since that suggests a hundred years or so in the case of quality materials, that knowledge should be sufficient to satisfy the normal buyer of photographic prints.

In the case of big-time art, then I'd suggest that the galleries have their own ways of handling such ethical issues, and that short of having such a business relationship, you refrain from commiting yourself or your heirs to anything at all. Caveat emptor was always a realistic approach to life.

Rob C

Walt Roycraft

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Re: Offering a gaurentee dilema
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2012, 08:29:58 PM »

Rob, agreed, anything else is just marketing.

Not exactly.
I sell either framed or matted art work. So there is more than the manufacturer of paper and ink warranty. It is the care taken (and expense) to provide archival materials and procedure. Archival baker boards, archival mat, archival tape, etc etc I think that is where the guarantee makes sense.  That I guarantee that I use archival materials and if anything goes wrong I replace it.  That is what I would like to say, but can't.  Not because the product is inferior, but because I won't be in business to replace it. So how do I inform my clients that I do everything possible to ensure a high end product yet offer only a time limited guarantee.
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louoates

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Re: Offering a gaurentee dilema
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2012, 09:54:22 PM »

I've been selling paper and canvas prints at galleries, on line, and at art shows for over ten years and have never been asked by a customer about a guarantee. Must be my honest face and quality presentation. Or maybe because I'm 71, a lifetime guarantee would sound a bit skimpy. Anyway, at the current price points I wouldn't consider doing so.
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Colorado David

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Re: Offering a gaurentee dilema
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2012, 11:18:57 PM »

I certainly don't intend to answer for Alain Briot.  The OP referenced his guarantee.  I've been reading the Briot book on Marketing Fine Art Photography, but I've slept since reading the part about the guarantee so I could be a bit foggy.  I believe one of the things Alain guaranteed was that the purchaser would still like the photograph when they got home and displayed it in their home.  If not, he would replace it.  I think it may be reasonable to offer such a guarantee, but limiting the time the purchaser has to make that choice is also perfectly reasonable.  You can't afford to fund a Fine Art Photograph Lending Library.  I would think that you guarantee the quality of the materials you use.  Not that they might go bad someday, but that you are using the best available and not passing off substandard materials in your art.  Then you guarantee that they'll like the art when they get home.  And then you're done.  Allow them a period of time to appreciate the art in their home and if they just don't like it in that context, they can choose a replacement from your catalog.

louoates

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Re: Offering a gaurentee dilema
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2012, 11:31:14 PM »

Exactly Dave...my gallery will take back any item that the customer brings back after a few days if it just doesn't fit in. I'd do the same if it ever came up. But trying to tie in my guarantee with some longevity factor of the materials just wouldn't work.
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Rob C

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Re: Offering a gaurentee dilema
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2012, 03:48:29 AM »

I certainly don't intend to answer for Alain Briot.  The OP referenced his guarantee.  I've been reading the Briot book on Marketing Fine Art Photography, but I've slept since reading the part about the guarantee so I could be a bit foggy.  I believe one of the things Alain guaranteed was that the purchaser would still like the photograph when they got home and displayed it in their home.  If not, he would replace it.  I think it may be reasonable to offer such a guarantee, but limiting the time the purchaser has to make that choice is also perfectly reasonable.  You can't afford to fund a Fine Art Photograph Lending Library.  I would think that you guarantee the quality of the materials you use.  Not that they might go bad someday, but that you are using the best available and not passing off substandard materials in your art.  Then you guarantee that they'll like the art when they get home.  And then you're done.  Allow them a period of time to appreciate the art in their home and if they just don't like it in that context, they can choose a replacement from your catalog.




How the hell can you guarantee what another person is going to feel?

Surely, that's totally up to them and their native intelligence, lack of which should be their responsibiity. Talk about the concept of a 'nanny state'! Were I to order, buy and take home a blue car, to discover next day that I think silver would look more effective in the driveway, should I expect the dealer to take the thing back and replace it or reimburse me as if it had never left his showroom?

Business ain't charity. An exception would be in the case of a very goor repeat client, in which case it could be good business.

Rob C

Walt Roycraft

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Re: Offering a gaurentee dilema
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2012, 07:11:09 AM »




How the hell can you guarantee what another person is going to feel?

Surely, that's totally up to them and their native intelligence, lack of which should be their responsibiity. Talk about the concept of a 'nanny state'! Were I to order, buy and take home a blue car, to discover next day that I think silver would look more effective in the driveway, should I expect the dealer to take the thing back and replace it or reimburse me as if it had never left his showroom?

Business ain't charity. An exception would be in the case of a very goor repeat client, in which case it could be good business.

Rob C

Actually Rob, A car dealer will let you take the car home before you buy it, drive it around, see how your wife likes it etc etc. Nothing to do with a nanny state.
I can visualize a situation at an Art Fair where the client falls in love with your art but is concerned that her husband will not like that piece, or not sure if she should buy the larger piece or slightly smaller. Having the ability to buy knowing she can exchange it for something different is IMO a good sales tool, not charity.

Anyway.... Thanks to all the thoughts on this.  You (all) have been very helpful.
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