My experience with catawiki.com

Money!  Money!  Money!!  Did somebody say money?

I knew that might get your attention.  It got mine too!  As a full time home based eBayer of 12 years, I was immediately hypnotized by the prospect of an alternative to eBay, especially in seeing the flurry of bidding activity on Catawiki.

SCAM ALERT!!!

There is a lot you need to know about Catawiki before you think about getting involved, especially if you do not live in Europe.   I caution you on a number of different levels no matter what country you are joining them from:

1.  If you consider how American based eBay sellers (and most European, Australian and Canadian ebayers) responded to the idea of China being invited to sell their products on eBay U.S., EU, AU and CA, you will understand how many of the Dutch auctioneers of Catawiki may view you.  If you are not in the Netherlands, you are NOT favored.  Many Netherlanders don’t understand that the American media, it’s financial fraternity and their political actions is not a true representation of most American citizens, they assume we are all equally self entitled and brash.

2.  A seller on Catawiki has no control of their product listing once it is  uploaded to the site.  You can not delete or edit your product description. You will have to contact the Auctioneer to make any changes.  I know many eBayers will preload their listing apps or schedule auctions days and weeks in advance.  You can’t do that on Catawiki.  Only upload what you can afford to pay for, out of pocket for shipping costs and a very lengthy turnover time.  If you list too much too fast you will get in over your head.  I found this out the hard way when 32 of my auctions were listed over a period of 3 weeks.  32 auctions x an average of $28 per shipment = 896 USD out of pocket.  I don’t know too many Micro businesses (ebay sellers) who can afford this, especially when the profit turnover can take anywhere between 4 weeks to 6 months and your inventory is in limbo.  That’s significant and can bankrupt you.

This also means if you are the type of business person who works by the, “more eggs/more baskets” philosophy, if it’s a one of a kind or single item, you will need to remove it from every other site once it’s uploaded to Catawiki because if it sells on ebay before it even goes to auction on Catawiki, you are S.O.L.  The auctioneer will most likely let the auction run anyway knowing full well the product is not available.  Catawiki in turn will dock 50% of the final value of said product and claim it as a fine for misbehavior regardless of whether or not it was your fault.  If this happens, you can try to e-mail your auctioneer to stop the sale or to cut the listing but in my experience, the auctioneer will have little regard for your wishes, wants or needs.  I’m tempted to believe there must be a commission agreement somewhere in the mix to encourage such behavior.

The example I will use is Sigrid Markus.  I e-mailed her on several occasion with the request to return my auctions to me for deletion.  Several e-mails were sent for her to stop listing my items for auction.  All of my requests were ignored with the exception of one response, “Do I really need to pull your auctions?”…. um… YES!  I’ve asked you well over a dozen times already!  I’m in over my head and you are destroying me!

3.  You may not communicate with bidders or potential bidders.  Some may think this is a good thing, but if you have an issue as the one I pointed out above, your winning bidders will not be very pleased.  This leaves you open to feedback negativity.

Communication options do not become available until after the winner of your auction has paid, otherwise,  the only communication you will have is with your auctioneer and I highly suggest you keep communications with the auctioneers to a bare minimum. When someone has that much control over your product, it also means they are in control of your success or failure.  The last thing you want to do is step on their toes, even mistakenly.

4.  Be sure you fully understand the rules, especially the post/after auction rules!  You may think you understand them because they are written very brief and seem very simple, but those simple 1 and 2 sentence rules in no way represent the depths of the actual policies.

For example, depending on how quickly your product description has been reviewed, approved, auctioned, sold, and paid for, it will take a minimum of four additional weeks from the time you’ve uploaded your product to the site before you will actually see a payday.

If your buyer, who is allowed three weeks and even longer in many instances, waits until four weeks after the sale, this moves your first possible payday to eights weeks.

Payday can very easily extend trice if there is an issue with delivery or upon delivery.   Your payment date will be pushed back again another two to three additional weeks.  In some instances you may never actually get paid at all and you will also have lost your product.

Catawiki has a habit of throwing curve calls by quoting rules that you never saw, signed or agreed to.  Here is my example; Approximately 2 months after I requested the closure of my account due to the fact that the auctioneer, Sigrid Markus, was clearly not acting in my best interest,  I received an e-mail notice that I was going to be “fined” for unbecoming behavior of my assigned auctioneer!   Due to the fact that she continued running auctions despite my repeated requests to stop, and the lack of ability to communicate with potential buyers and bidders, they buyers were duped into believing these items had been sold to them when in fact, we were underhandedly manipulated by the likes of one Sigrid Markus.

The Catawiki finance department gave me warning via e-mail that they would be withdrawing X amount of Euro from my bank account without my authorization to cover Ms Markus’s shopping spree.

5.  Only list what you can afford to lose.

Catawiki receives payment from their buyers and places those funds in an interest bearing Escrow account.  Funds will not be released to you until the buyer of your product has indicated that the transaction has been completed to their satisfaction.    If your buyer indicates dissatisfaction of any kind, your payment remains in escrow until Catawiki deems it payable.

There are no written terms associated with how long Catawiki can hold your funds.  If they decide not to pay you, you’ve lost the item, you’ve lost the out of pocket expense of shipping the item, and Catawiki is not motivated to disburse funds for which they are collecting interest on.

I repeat:  If you make an error.  If a buyer has a complaint.  If your product is delivered to the wrong address…..  if you piss off an auctioneer…. you can plan on waiting an extended and undetermined amount of time for your payment to be dispersed to you.  You may never get paid at all as your money sits in escrow collecting interest for Rene Schoenmakers, and if you think he’s going to let go, forget it!  He’s in the business of making money.  You’re loss.

6.  Just because someone claims to be an expert, it does not mean they truly are.  Catawiki’s best selling point is their auctions are curated.  While this may be the case, it will not be unusual to learn that you actually have more knowledge than your expert auctioneer.    The example I will use again is Sigrid Markus, Fashion Auctioneer.  Imagine my astonishment when she contacted me with a price comparison for a no longer obtainable gold and pearl necklace by sending me a link to a BRASS and CLOTH/velvet BRACELET from Fall/Winter 2014.  That’s a big mistake and a very costly one, not just for Catawiki but for YOU as a vendor.

There are other things that most people involved with fashion know, for example, The correct spelling of fashion brand St John is not Saint John.  Balmain & Zara are two of the most celebrated fashion houses in the fine fashion world and should not be excluded from any presentation, and  Escada is NOT an unknown brand.    I’ve heard of fudging a resume to land a coveted job but these are pretty significant mistakes and after having been employed by Catawiki’s fashion department since 2011, it’s just appalling that she still doesn’t know these very simple and basic fashion facts.

7.  Catawiki does not offer a customer service line.  Communications with auctioneers and customer service is limited only to e-mail.  Response time is slow, and Catawiki only responds during certain hours a day.  Often there will be no response at all.  It is extremely frustrating.

As I think back, with millions upon millions of collectors in this world, Catawiki is an unsaturated market for a reason.

8.  The Catawiki website says, “Our auctioneers assess all lots submitted as soon as possible. Our goal is to review your lots within a week. However, for themed auctions or highly popular auctions, the assessment may take a little longer. The moment your lot is accepted, you will receive an automated message.”

Well I can tell you right now, the above quote which I pasted from the website is not true.   At least it wasn’t for me.  After the first week had passed, and seeing my products had not been reviewed,  I wondered if maybe my items were being included in a themed auction.  My product is fashion so it was definitely a possibility and it would certainly explain by my auctions were not being included in the Thursday night Fashion listings for several weeks.

After two weeks of watching fashion auctions running without the inclusion of my products,    I assumed the delay was a simple case of “Slow to get started blues”.

After the third set of fashion auctions started without my fashions included, I started to wonder if maybe the auctioneer wasn’t seeing my submissions or maybe there was a glitch in the e-mail form.  I found myself making excuses to explain why she was not responding.   I decided maybe I should contact customer support but there is no customer phone number (red flag).  Since there is no customer service number and the auctioneer in control of the fashion category was not responding to me (another red flag),  I chose Facebook.   I was met with an enthusiastic response and the representative who messaged me assured me Sigrid Markus would be contacted expediently to find out what the hold up was.  In the interim, an e-mail appeared in my box from Ms. Markus explaining to me that she was, “very busy” and,  “did not have time to translate my product listings”, at which point, I mentioned perhaps she did not see that I already translated the auctions for her… which brings us to another red flag – never ever piss off an Auctioneer at Catawiki.  Read this paragraph again if you need to because this what I am describing is what got me into hot water.  I pissed off the auctioneer.  I made her senior officers aware that she wasn’t doing her job.   However innocent of a mistake it was, she would certainly let me know exactly what she thought of me going over her head.

Always remember, an auctioneer is in complete control and is very empowered.   Your survival on Catawiki depends solely on your relationship with your auctioneer.  If you do not play well with the auctioneer, the auctioneer can and will  make your life hell.

Sigrid Markus (fashion auctioneer), not only listed dozens of products knowing that I was not able to keep up with the out of pocket cost of shipping and in all of my pleas and protests she refused.   She also knowingly approved a duplicate listing and sent it to auction.  She admitted to Catawiki administration that she had acted inappropriately but as a result,  funds from all 32 of my auction listings remain in escrow, including the out of pocket shipping costs I incurred as a seller.  She single underhandedly sabotaged my potential to be a great part of the Catawiki family.

Did you know the United states does not have a regulative policy with the Netherlands?  With Leading Edge Capitol and Lorrie Norrington posing as, advisers you may stand half a chance by contacting the FTC but your chances are very slim.

SCAM ALERT!!!

If you are an eBayer looking for a new home or if you are an American looking to explore Catawiki, be afraid.  Be very afraid!!

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19 thoughts on “My experience with catawiki.com

  1. Nigel Billam

    I find them arrogant and their stock phrases when ‘offering’ is the start of a paper chase (ok email) they change their stock phrase with every response i supply. Simply put they are a law until themselves. There is no customer complaints channel. My latest response from then is the valuer does not agree with the reserve price. So what… why not let the market decide? They get 17% on a sale + 9% from the buyer so why make it so difficult to get a listing? I’ve been trying for over a month. I’ll just go back to ebay. Annoyed!

  2. Artlessly Creative

    “Simply put they are a law until themselves”. –and it will only benefit the site. That’s the nature of business in 2015. We must learn to adapt to what we can not change.

    “So what… why not let the market decide?” –it’s difficult to get beyond ego. If an auctioneer feels their senses are being challenged, they may feel the need to protect what they believe are their better interests. Unfortunately, its a lose/lose situation for all involved when this happens.

    “I’ll just go back to ebay. Annoyed!” — I stopped using Catawiki altogether and moved back to eBay, like you. Six months following my request for Catawiki to close my account, I received notice that I was “banned” from using Catawiki.com. I’m assuming it’s because I fought very hard for my livelihood and filed a complaint with Trust Pilot. Trust Pilot made an inquiry on my behalf and forced Catawiki pay me in full, in exchange for the removal of my complaint. Catawiki is a very harsh entity and to this day I am unaware of any action taken against Sigrid Mrkus for her unethical behavior.

    I rewrote my complaint here, on this blog because it should be known, how horribly things can go sour, and how quickly it can happen. It’s a dangerous site and this information should be public. People need to be aware that nothing is 100% safe, and if it looks too good to be true, it most likely is.

  3. Thomas Cardigan (@ThomasKDN)

    I am sorry I didn’t read this post before start selling there. I am based in the US and they won’t accept my bank to automatically transfer my funds, I provided my paypal account and after 2 months I HAVE NOT received my money.
    $2500 dollars on sales sitting in Catawiki bank account and they refuse to answer my emails. BAD BAD BAD, very SCAMMING practises.

  4. Artlessly Creative

    @ThomasKDN It’s not that they won’t accept your bank, it’s that thet claim it can’t be done since USA doesn’t use ISDN codes. Ironically, they can and will access your account if ever they feel you owe them money so be sure to protect your account!

    It’s truly a shame. Catawiki has the potential to be a great site and the conversion rate to USD is a plus. Your bank would charge less on the conversion but PayPal will do it for a nominal fee. I believe paypal transfers are done on Mondays. If you can get in touch with Abby Baas, Catawiki Customer Support, she is originally from Michigan. She has no issue with the English language and was an excellent contact for me to have during my own debacle.

    Good luck!!

  5. Artlessly Creative

    I now realize you are in Russia. I am unsure how the banking system works for you but none the less do put a security block on the account you are using so as to prevent withdrawls by Catawiki from your account.

  6. Point Venus

    I was selling withthese for around six months had good feedback, then two buyers claimed they did not recieve my goods I uploaded pictures of my reciepts with all the info etc stating this but no I was still ordered to pay back the money productless and moneyless and also they dont tell you have to pay a huge money transfer fee from your bank to do this!! why dont Catawiki just send them the money back afterall they are holding your money for what seems like an eternity gaining huge amounts of interest, after this I was informed they were revoking my right to sell on there Im still waiting for over 150 euros to be sent to me, the customer support and there employess are useless also, avoid

  7. Artlessly Creative

    This is a big flaw in Catawiki’s policies. For anyone who doesn’t understand what @pointvenus just said, I will clarify. It’s a double debt system. Catawiki collects funds on your behalf from the buyer after the auction and holds those funds in escrow until they have deemed the transaction complete. The money is not disbursed to you, the seller, until after you have shipped the item and the buyer has received the item. AFTER this happens you must wait an average of 3 additional weeks, based on the Catawiki payout schedule. IF for any reason the transaction doesn’t run 100% smoothly (the postal system is slow, loses a package or doesn’t validate the shipment, buyer remorse, or any number of truly insignificant or minor events that are normal when doing business in the e-commerce sales world) Catawiki will continue to hold your funds in escrow. Here’s the catch, and this is part of why so many folks are crying, “scam”: Even though Catawiki has the funds in their possession in an escrow account which collects interest, they will not take those funds out of escrow to return to the buyer. Catawiki’s policy is as such that you must #1 ship the product #2 ship the product at your own expense while they hold the funds they collected from the buyer in escrow #3 if there is an issue with the transaction as in PointVenus’s case, Catawiki requires the seller to take additional funds out of their own monies to reimburse the buyer aka provide a refund.

    To clarify one more time: It’s a double debt system that can ruin any small vendor. You no longer have your product in hand because you’ve shipped it and the buyer has the product in their possession, you paid out of pocket the cost of shipping. If this is an international transaction the cost can be high. Catawiki will create an additional pocket burden to the seller by requiring them to front the refund which includes the original cost of shipping. All the while, Catawiki has those funds in hand. THEN, there is a cooling down phase where the seller must wait for Catawiki to determine at their own discretion and time frame, that the transaction has been satisfied. On top of this wait, you must wait additional time for the pay schedule to catch up because nothing is immediate with Catawiki.

    In essence, depending on the items value, one single transaction can bankrupt a seller.

    Lets say you sold a purse for 1500.00 Euro. The cost of shipping is 30.00 Euro. Catawiki collects 1530.00 Euro from the buyer and puts it in escrow. The bag is delivered in a timely fashion but the postal worker didn’t validate the delivery. Catawiki will require the seller to pay the buyer $1530.00 Euro even though the 1530.00 Euro is sitting in Catawiki’s bank account and collecting interest.

    The time frame on this transaction can be as along as one year before it is determined you have met the terms of their agreement and funds will be disbursed to you — minus the interest.

    If you are lucky, you will get your money eventually but chances are you will have lost the purse, the cost of shipping and be expected to payout the cost of the purse and shipping as opposed to receive it, and because your account was involved with a “failed” transaction, you will also lose your account because once it’s deemed a “failed transaction”, you are immediately removed from the site as a seller.

  8. Anthony Sussa

    I m really upset with Catawiki as I bought an item which I was not happy with and the seller had no problem with taking back however Catawiki refuse to adhere to the request nothwithstanding by eu law I have 14 days supposedly to change my mind. The reason is simply because they don’t want to pay back commission to the seller and buyer. E bay never let sellers and buyers down in this regard. Beware

  9. Musee Map

    Same bad experience here as a seller on Catawiki.
    A client complaint about the size of the product ended up with no payment.
    We offered the buyer to return the goods and be paid back, he refused and Catawiki refuse to pay me.
    Like others here I lost a valuable item and I lost shipping cost to a dishonest buyer.
    I believe Catawiki is nothing short of a scam.
    This never happend on Ebay for years and years that we’ve been selling on it.

  10. Brenda Halkjær

    Sorry to hear about your plight. At least they bother to answer you. I have paid for a winning bid( within seconds of winning the bid ) and heard nothing since from the seller. Status on my profile says article is packed. That has sat there for a week with no info on when or with what postal method will be used. Have tried contacted catawicki auctionare , but no response either. The first and last time i use Catawiki to buy anything. I should have known better, when there is no telefon number available only email, that normally means they will make it harder or impossible to contact them.
    Back to ebay for me, like you say, they run a super site, honrest and reliable.

  11. Ioan Rosca N. (@BeyondDesignSt)

    @Thomaskdn – you should open an account at N26.com online, it’s a german online bank. That should help you get your money. I haven’t yet had very bad experiences with catawiki but I have seen that things are much worse than they seem…

  12. Mike Antoniou

    There is so much here that I agree with.
    – Catawiki takes far too long to list an item. For an online auction house this has to be a major negative, and they need to resolve this before seriously venturing into the UK market. Od course, they may not care about UK sellers and just want another platform and market place for their dutch sellers.
    – Their experts are a mixed bag. clearly some of them know something about their specific area, whilst others appear to know very little so they look on eBay or Amazon, check what the same or similar item sold for through the completed listings facility on eBay, and then come up with a a broad estimate.
    – Unlike all other auction house facilities you are unable to pull your item if you change your mind about selling it, or already have a buyer. If you have made an error or have missed an important element in the description you are unable to edit it even before it is actually listed for auction. This is because ‘Big Brother’ needs to review it again, and they simply don’t have time, so you are stuck.
    – Talking of ‘Big Brother’ why on earth do experts need to waste their time reviewing items that don’t meet the Catawiki required expected sales price in order to justify a reserve price. This is quite ridiculous as so many sellers on eBay have lower value fast moving items. To review all of these would need an even bigger army of ‘Experts’ and will just create an even bigger bottle-kneck. Which all leads me to believe that they don’t actually want UK sellers, they just want a bigger market place for their Dutch sellers.
    – Rules and regulations are not designed to help sellers or buyers but simply to line the pockets of the internet auction houses and Catawiki in this respect is no different to eBay.

  13. Mike Antoniou

    Although I understand this is a blog about Catawiki, everything written here and in other Catawiki streams would not be necessary if eBay had actually used some common sense! Would Catawiki have even got off the ground if eBay removed its extortionate fee for adding a reserve price? Think about it. Most eBay sellers would prefer to sell their items on bidding auction rather than Buy It Now if they could enter a reserve price without the ridiculous high cost of doing so. After all, eBay doesn’t actually have auctioneers undertaking ‘due diligence’ so why the fee?

  14. Bernardo Barata

    Wow!
    I have been selling on ebay for about 10 years, 9 on ebay UK and now on German ebay. I am quite happy now on German ebay (though located in Portugal) they have 0% comission for cross border trading. It’s just great.
    However this week I was told about Catawiki by my dad, after he bought something there.
    I thought let’s give it a try.
    When I read on the FAQ “Your payment will then be sent 14 days later, on the first following Wednesday” I thought – this is weird, let me google ebay vs catawiki.
    I landed here.
    MANY THANKS FOR YOU POST.
    These experiences should be shared as much as possible.

  15. Scan Scan

    I won an auction in Catawiki in Aug 2016. I have received the item but it was damaged. The seller agreed to full refund the cost of item and the shipping cost. I returned the damaged item to the seller and he confirmed receipt The seller authorised Catawiki to refund the money to me. I have sent Catawiki all the information they need for refund such as proof of delivery and the bank account. However, they hold the money and have not refund to me up to now. I have sent several email to customer service regarding the refund status. They just replied they are verifying or they are processing the refund but no refund schedule is provided. I don’t know when will I have my money back. For those who want to sell or buy in Catawiki. Beware!

  16. Alan Garner

    As a buyer, ALWAYS pay for your Catawiki lots using a CREDIT CARD. This way you are protected so if anything goes wrong then your credit card company can get the money back for you much faster!!

  17. Ghaffori Zabi

    I have been cheated by them too, i bought a 3500 euros coral necklace, it came to me and it was fake coral, fortunately i told them before 14 days, as after 14 days no matter what you buy you cant get your money, imagine you trust there stupid experts and its a gift and after a month you find out its fake, good bye your money, anyway, i gave them so many certificates of different experts to prove it was fake, but finally i had to pay a lab expert 180 euros to prove it was fake and its been 2 months since i won the case and i am still waiting for the money….

    PLease DONT buy from them….

    really i am crying on the phone once a week with then and every time they makes a new excuse

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