The customer, and a customer’s rights

June 19th, 2012 | Posted by Alistair in art | data | discussion | notice

In light of the massive (but tasty) can of worms opened by this post about Debut Contemporary, I thought I would remind people that the provision of paid services by any company in England is covered by English law. London, where many British artist-related organisations are based, is in England by the way.  Duh, you might say in both cases, of course it is.

My point is that having read or heard some of the recent accounts about the appalling way artists are treated by various organisations to whom they have paid a fee for services, one might like to devote special attention to aspects of English law such as those pertaining to misleading action, deliberate omissions, aggressive sales, etc:

http://whatconsumer.co.uk/misleading-commercial-practices-unfair-trading-regulations-2008

And the law pertaining to invoices for payment that are mysteriously much higher than expected, “cowboy” services, charlatanry in general, and so forth:

http://whatconsumer.co.uk/what-about-contracts-for-services

http://whatconsumer.co.uk/know-your-consumer-rights

Artists can also find legal information relating specifically to their profession and arts services at www.artquest.org.uk and www.a-n.co.uk. Obviously neither this quick post, nor any of the other resources linked here are any substitute for common sense and keeping your wits about you, or for consulting a proper legal representative where necessary. But knowledge is power and you are certainly not powerless in the face of bad practice if you know your rights and assert them fearlessly. If you’re paying for a service, you are a customer. It doesn’t matter if you or somebody else calls it mentoring, a residency, or whatever. If you’re paying, you’re the customer and you have a customer’s rights. The rest of the UK, Europe, the USA and most other developed countries have very similar systems of legal redress for customers wronged by service providers. Wherever you are, I suggest that you start using them.

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4 Responses

  • MC says:

    A post with professional advice on this topic would be useful.

  • admin says:

    Of course the legal specifics of this advice only apply to people based in the UK. People should also be aware that Scottish law differs slightly in some ways from the law of England and Wales. If anyone has links to objective professional legal and career advice for artists in other countries, please let us know or leave a comment.

  • Julie says:

    http://www.artquest.org.uk/articles/view/art_and_the_law

    “Artlaw is a first-stop-shop for visual artists and craftspeople for any arts-related legal information. It contains an archive of over 300 legal related articles written by Henry Lydiate for Art Monthly magazine since its launch in 1976 and dozens of frequently asked questions on all aspects of art and the law. It is available for free personal use.”

    I have had great free advice from these people in the past, and I remain out of jail.



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