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The Seven Deadly Sins of ordering art online

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Wiki-Knowledge-article-iconAh, ordering  art online, it’s something that most of us have done or will do at one time or another. warning-against-the-seven-deadly-sins-of-buying-art-onlineAnd by art, we certainly don’t mean the crypto art being flogged online nowadays which isn’t just cryptic but basically incomprehensible to most folks. We mean art on paper, mostly being drawings, limited editions, lithographs, serigraphs, watercolours, gouaches or small oil paintings. In times gone by, Customers would visit art shows, attend art galleries or visit artists’ studios to buy art. And just as often, they might visit their local picture framer and see what posters there might be in the print bin.   We fondly remember Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Peter Pan, Superman, Jaws, Mad Max, The Man from Snowy River and so many others that we used to sell so regularly.

Alas, the internet, digital printing and print-on-demand (POD) art publishing sites have taken over most if not all of these past fonts and sources of art and thus this is what most people do. That said, the basic need, function and mean to adorn our walls hasn’t changed. In short, we want to put something on our walls, so we buy something that we like, stick it a frame and hang it up on our wall.

The first step before ordering art online is to look around online for an image that we like. But before we do that, let’s think, do we want to pay for it or can we try to get one for free? It might surprise readers to know that there are dozens, if not more, easily accessible websites offering free downloads of illustrative graphics such as holiday posters, décor art and other wall decorations.

And, before the usual complaint is aired, that these free graphics are either lack range or are too small or of poor quality, we hasten to add that, no, this is not so. Our webpage Picture Frames and Free Art lists more than a dozen of highly professional sites offering literally tens of thousands of free, downloadable art of all sizes, format, subjects, colours, artists and genres.

And, if after having visited these free art domains the desired art still hasn’t been found, then, one will have to be purchased from a normal, commercial site. That said, there are a number of caveats and precautions that unsophisticated house décor buyers ought to be aware of before actually ordering art online and paying for the prints or posters they want.

Tongue in cheek, we have We have condensed these below as "The Seven Deadly Sins of ordering art online".

1st Sin: Failing to notice if the online store is charging AUD or USD. The store in question may have their Shopping Cart and-or Checkout configured simply as $, without offering a transparent, or complete dollar denominations selection such as USD, AUD, NZD and many others. In fact, there approximately 38 disparate countries using the dollar denomination

The USD is usually is the highest value denomination, with most, if not all the others, costing less. Therefore a visitor, thinking they are spending AUD100, may be misled into spending USD100, which, with unfavourable exchange rates, fees and charges will probably cost an unsuspecting buyer twice as much.

This is a shady selling tactic of years gone by which, thankfully, is fast diminishing. Yet, it lives on and persists still, especially when ordering from certain East European countries , sites or businesses.

2nd Sin: Providing Credit Card details before knowing the shipping fees. Displaying freight charges or shipping fees only after Credit Card details are supplied is a tactic first introduced by some tech giants, the biggest of which shall remain nameless. At the time of writing it is near impossible to find out the shipping costs before and unless a visitor either fills out the Customer Information or agrees to a Delivery option.

Both of these forced steps are unnecessary, wasteful and annoying. Most easy-to-use, and transparent Checkouts, offer Shipping Calculators as soon as items are placed in the Cart and before compelling users to enter or add any personal information.

But worst of all are those websites who give users no option but to provide Card Details before revealing their shipping fees. Needless to say such websites do not offer the best Customer user experience, to say the least.

3rd Sin: Not preventing a Merchant from automatically keeping and storing your Credit Card details. This is a really important factor that should never, ever be over looked. Many, If not most, online purchases are a once-only buy. Why then, should Merchants to automatically keep and store their Customers’ Credit Card details?

Many of them adopt the sneaky tactic of leaving the “ Keep this Card’s Details for future purchases” checked by default. With our own online store, we don’t even have or offer that option. In part this is because it is very difficult to keep thousands of Customers Credit Card and personal details 100% safe and secure at all times.

But the main reason is that we value and respect Customers’ privacy. They give us their details to make only one purchase, for one occasion and for one day, not forever!

4th Sin: Being unaware of “incidentals” such as Customs, Clearance, Document fees, etc, when ordering from overseas. Again, this is a nasty little trick more prevalent in the early days of the internet rather than nowadays. Quite a few are the online buyers who unsuspectingly ordered goods from Europe, the US or Asia and being charged only shipping fees at Checkout.

But before their orders could be delivered, these buyers would often get supplier’s or vendor’s emails with Bills Fees and Invoices for the above-mentioned “incidentals” and others. If buyers complained, suppliers or vendors would often cite the small print, or some obscure condition buried somewhere in their pages making them responsible for all any and all shipping and custom clearances fees and charges.

Of course buyers weren’t obliged to buy the incidentals, the could not pay, but that meant having their parcels forfeited at Customs for non payment.

5th Sin: Assuming that any art bought online can be simply and cheaply be put into a Ready-Made poster frame.  While it is probably true that a lot of printed art can be put straight in to a ready-made, or, off-the-shelf poster frame, there’s also a lot that can’t.

There are several pitfalls and reasons for this. The first one is that the art may not be of a standard size, such as A1, A2, A3 or A4, in which case it will probably be custom framed, at a greater expense than an off-the-shelf frame.

This is often an issue with US-sourced materials because that country is still stuck on the Imperial, inches, feet and yards while the rest of the world is metricated. Another one is that the art may not be on paper. It may be on canvas, or linen or cloth, in which case it will be probably need stretching, which mostly custom picture framers do, and is relatively expensive.

This problem frequently arises with Asian-based, hand-painted art, which has a long history and tradition of using village-based craft worker and artists using these media Yet another pitfall is buying out-of-square, trapezoid, rhombic or parallelogramical art which simply can’t be put into any ordinary frame because not all corners are 90 degrees right angles.

This drawback is regularly encountered when buying Australian Aboriginal Art, Pacific Islander and other First Nations tribal art.

6th Sin: Ordering or buying a picture frame before receiving the art. Customer should never buy a photo frame, poster frame or picture frame before they actually have the art in their possession. This is because the art size dimensions published online and the paper size dimensions of the art received can differ by quite a bit.

If a Customer buys an international standard size A2 Poster frame which 42x59.4 cms and then receives a paper print measuring more, or less of this size, then Customer is in a spot of bother. If the print is too large, he or she will either have to trim or cut it down to size, but this is not always possible, especially when images have mastheads, titles or headers.

If the print is too small, then perhaps the Customer can go to a picture framer and have a custom window mat cut to size to make up the difference in size. However there are a couple of problems associated with that.

The first is that a custom-cut, window mat, or window mount, may cost more than the frame and print together, because produced locally here, rather than overseas where labour and materials are far cheaper.

The second that many custom picture framers won’t cut single, custom window mats any more. Many picture framers nowadays only do full custom picture framing as it’s simply not economical or worth their while to cut single mats. The sum of these observations is that buying a picture frame of a verifiable size, and then buying a poster or print of unverifiable size can be more expensive that bargained for.

Our recommendation is that before ordering art online, Customers should buy and check measure the art size first, and then buy the picture frame to suit.

7th Sin: Not ensuring that the art received is the one that was ordered and that it is free from holes, stains, creases, tears and other imperfections. During our many years of serving Customers and inspecting art over the picture framing art we have seen many unusual circumstances and incidents.

Many of these occurrences happen when Customers do not open up and inspect their art purchases as soon these are delivered to them.

What many Customer do instead, is that they to their art to us still fully sealed, packaged a wrapped, proudly stating at the counter that they “haven’t even opened the postal tube yet”. This is why some Customers look surprised, even dismayed, when they open up their just-arrived postal tube only to find that the print that arrived is not the one they ordered.

This is why it’s a good reason to always check any art that has arrived to make sure that it is, in fact, the type, the size, condition, subject and image that was ordered. This will save an unnecessary trip or visit to the picture framer because, generally speaking, Customers aren’t going to get framed something that they didn’t order.

Another occasional problem that we have encountered, is when Customers remove from their art from the tube. They unroll it and spread it on the custom framing counter, only to observe, to their chagrin, folds, creases, tears or holes, sometimes, not along the edges, but right smack in the middle.

Whenever this has happened, Customer have taken interesting responses and varied solutions to the unpleasant discovery. Some went ahead and asked for the print or poster to be framed anyway, if the damage isn’t too bad, particularly is a poster is to be wet-mounted sine this process flattens creases.

Others asked us to “fix up” or “touch up” a flaw, fault or small hole, which we tend to do, if can be easily done. But most of them sigh and leave our store to go home and make a claim with whichever online store they ordered from.  Again, before ordering art online, we suggest checking, inspecting and measuring whatever and whichever art is bought online, both to minimize unwelcome shocks and unproductive trips.

1 thought on “The Seven Deadly Sins of ordering art online

  1. Ah yes, I’ve fallen for sneaky trick #5. I bought a whole stack of Balinese paintings because I’d just finishing renovating my home. Before buying them I asked the Ubud Art & Culture manager if they needed any special, complicated or expensive frames, and I was quite clear about that. She smiled sweetly and said no, any normal, simple frame will do. When I got back to Port Melbourne and took them to the local framer to get them framed I got a hell of a shock. Apparently none of the art pieces I had were of standard size. None of them could be stretched because they were painted in cheap house paint which would crack and split if stretched. And none of them could be shadow-boxed because they wanted between $730 and $1800 each to be custom framed. I still have them rolled up and stored because I don’t know how I can frame them cheaply.

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