The London Evening Standard reports on one of the first prosecutions under some new laws that protect buyers from dealers. In this case, a print was passed off as a painting and sold for £450. When the buyer discovered a second version hanging in the gallery–and undercover police were offered another one–it came to pass the dealer had seven works that were meant to be unique:
The victim’s suspicions were raised when he noticed the “painting” was glued to a separate backing. When he returned to the gallery to complain he saw the same picture on display. At the court hearing, Walker, who has been an art dealer for 26 years, pleaded guilty to misleading customers. He was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs and compensation of £4,642.14. It is believed to be the first prosecution of its kind under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, which came into force last year. Westminster community safety cabinet member Daniel Astaire said: “To dupe a customer, like a character out of Only Fools and Horses, is unacceptable.” Walker, of Hampstead, told the Evening Standard he acted in good faith and was selling the pictures on behalf of someone else.
Art Dealer in Del Boy Scam Fined £10,000 (This is London)