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However, no mention was made of the sellers using it. What about the huge number of sellers who don’t get paid for the goods sold on this platform?

I have previously written a letter about the poor performance of Chinese buyers actually paying for their purchases. I have just been hit again, in a big way, by a rogue Chinese ‘buyer’.

Surely the more pressing concern for thesaleroom.com is to develop a totally secure form of prepayment guarantee, to completely eradicate this fraud.

Stephen Birbeck

Chatsworth Antiques

Richard Lewis, chief operating officer, Auction Technology Group, responds: This is a well-documented issue, with the greatest risk being in the Asian art sector where we still see many surprising results. Thesaleroom.com provides auctioneers with considerable information to allow them to vet potentially problematic bidders. In addition, we have numerous checks to ensure that fraudsters cannot bid. We actively chase debtors reported to us by auctioneers.

We are always striving to do better. The instances of defaulting bidders are very low and overall losses are far below standard default rates. However, I do recognise that this may be of little comfort to you, having fallen victim to a non-paying bidder.