Sotheby’s has been reporting prices net of fixed fees since May. The department’s clarification was in response to Sotheby’s letter seeking guidance on how prices should be reported, since there was a discrepancy among the auction houses. “It was important for the market that the reporting obligations of auction houses were clarified and universal,” said Lauren Gioia, a Sotheby’s spokeswoman. “We followed a helpful process offered by the DCA for businesses to obtain guidance on the interpretation of the regulations governing their industries. We are pleased that DCA found that Sotheby’s existing reporting practices were correct.”All of this is fine. Sotheby's went to the regulator; got a ruling in its favor; now all of the auction houses will have to change the reporting on these very few lots that appear in the course of a year. How did this issue get elevated to the level where Bloomberg could write a headline declaring Auction Houses Told to Improve Transparency in Reporting Prices? Does reducing the reported figure on a handful of lots really improve transparency?
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