How are auctions regulated in France?

France stands out as the country that regulates auctions the most, offering a single framework for all transactions (from sale to purchase items). The uniqueness of the organisation of French auctions stems from the training of auctioneers, the existence of a single national regulatory authority dedicated to voluntary sales and the various regulations applicable to auctions.

The dual training of French auctioneers in art history and law is the first guarantee of the seriousness and quality of the auctions they organise. French auctioneers exercise their profession in compliance with the Code of Ethics (Order of 30 March 2022). They are, therefore, civilly and professionally liable for the quality and authenticity of the goods sold at voluntary auctions. They are also bound by duties of diligence, transparency, loyalty and impartiality towards their customers (sellers and buyers).

France is the only country to set up a regulatory authority dedicated to voluntary sales, the Conseil des Maisons de Ventes (CMV). This authority ensures that auctioneers comply with their legal, regulatory and professional obligations. The CMV is competent to deal with complaints relating to auction houses and may, for example, organise mediation with an auction house or impose disciplinary sanctions if necessary. This approach guarantees a fair and transparent environment for all.

Finally, it is essential to emphasise that, with voluntary sales of furniture by public auction governed by the French Commercial Code and compliance with the provisions of the Marcus Decree in the description of goods, the regulations in France are particularly favourable to buyers, offering them additional protection and reassurance in the auction buying process.

These measures, which are specific to French voluntary sales, guarantee competence, professional ethics and guarantees for buyers.


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