Second Hand Instrument Sales Policy

Thank you for your interest in selling an instrument through Howarth of London.

We sell on a commission basis; this means that we do not purchase the instrument from you but offer your instrument for sale and, if successful, sell it on your behalf. Once the instrument is sold you receive from us the proceeds of sale less the costs of sale as explained below.

Inspection and valuation.

We can offer a full quote or valuation upon inspection of the instrument in our London showrooms, offer suggestions as to any suitable repairs or improvements, discuss servicing and say whether we feel able to assist you further with your intended sale.

We do not charge for this advisory service and you do not need an appointment for the evaluation. However, if you visit us on a Saturday you may need to leave the instrument with us for our specialists to examine during the following week. Receiving this service does not oblige you to sell through us.

If you post your instrument to us for evaluation please use an insured, trackable method and ensure that it is packaged to protect from damage in transit. Please be aware that there will be a charge for postage/ carriage and insurance should you wish to have the instrument returned to you instead of you collecting from us.

Howarth of London give a six-month warranty to all buyers of commission sale instrument. We may wish the instrument to undergo any pre-sale repairs, improvements and servicing ("pre-sale work") before advertising and selling it in association with the Howarth of London brand. If so, we will indicate our charges for carrying out the pre-sale work. If you wish to have a third party carry out work on your instrument before sale, please be mindful that if on resubmission the pre-sale work and or instrument in any aspect(s) is then not to our standard we will wish at your cost to bring the instrument to our standard or decline your instructions.

Written confirmation.

If both you and we decide to proceed we will ask you to sign written confirmation of authority and instructions to market and to endeavour to sell your instrument. In the written authority you are asked to confirm that you agree with the terms of this policy.

In the confirmation of authority we will set out our proposed pre-sale work, will state the costs or estimates for carrying it out, and record your agreement to pay for the pre-sale work out of the proceeds of sale or before return of the instrument.

We will record the identity of the instrument and, if applicable, it’s carrying/ storage case and ancillaries, the agreed selling price and the margin, expressed as a percentage of the agreed selling price, with which you grant us authority to offer reduction.

We will record whether you allow us to disclose the identity of the instrument’s owner-player in published material or privately to interested buyers.

We will not commence work until you are happy with everything and have signed, dated and returned the confirmation of authority in person, as a scanned attachment to an email or in any of the other ways mentioned in [Contracts] under the heading [Formal written contracts].

Your written confirmation using the confirmation of authority authorises us to carry out the pre-sale work, to offer the instrument for sale and, if successful, to consummate a sale with a buyer in accordance with this policy.

You may revoke this authority at any time before sale of the instrument through us, as to which see below [Withdrawing the instrument] below.

Other sellers.

Instructing us does not exclude you from offering the instrument for sale publicly or privately either yourself or by engaging another third party. If an interested purchaser presents through these other marketing channels he or she should be directed to us to inspect, try and take on approval. If a purchase ensues you must pay our commission charges for pre-sale work and costs as outlined in this policy.

Alternatively you may revoke our authority as provided in [Withdrawing the instrument] and you may seek to consummate a sale without our further time and assistance.

Please however note that:

  • before we release the instrument to or for you we must be paid all monies of the kinds to time of cessation of authority paid, incurred or chargeable by us being those sums of the kinds described below under [Accounting for proceeds of sale] and
  • commission will still be payable to us in the circumstance described in [Withdrawing the instrument].

Preparation and sale.

Once accepted for sale, we will carry out the pre-sale work on your instrument for the reassurance of prospective customers purchasing under our brand and standards.

We will then advertise and endeavour to sell the instrument as soon as possible, taking all reasonable care for the safety of your instrument and its condition while in the shop and if away on approval.

Your instrument will be advertised on our second-hand list via our website, but we also have extensive lists of potential buyers and teachers who we will notify about our stock on a regular basis.

We will allow potential buyers to play the instrument in shop. We may, and by providing your confirmation of authority you authorise us to, release the instrument for trial/ approval away from our premises which we do under the customer terms contained in our policy [Trials and rentals]. We will not allow instruments out on approval unless reasonably satisfied as to the good faith and identity of the prospective purchaser. Where for a release on approval the instrument is to be posted or transported to the potential purchaser we will arrange this at the potential purchaser’s cost.

Possession, risk and insurance.

When leaving or delivering your instrument with us for inspection and valuation and, if applicable, for marketing and sale upon the terms of the confirmation of authority you give us irrevocable authority to retain possession of and to hold a lien on the instrument and associated items until all sums due to us from you under this policy have been paid. While the instrument and associated items are in our possession we hold it/ them for you at our risk. Possession includes all periods during which the instrument is at or between our shops and while in transit to and from and while held and used on approval by prospective buyers.

We cease to be on risk on delivery of the instrument to the buyer or to you or its or your nominated recipient. Your instrument is insured whilst it is in our possession. We require potential buyers to take out suitable insurance if they take the instrument on approval. We do however recommend that you inform you own insurers and maintain your own insurance policy until we confirm that the instrument is sold.

Accounting for proceeds of sale.

The instrument becomes sold when (a) the instrument is held by or for the purchaser as owner instead of by or for you and (b) we have received cleared funds for the full sale price agreed with the purchaser. Once the instrument is sold we will provide you with a written statement for payment of the balance of the sale proceeds.

The balance is calculated by the following calculation:

  • Agreed selling price
  • Less charges for the pre-sale work + VAT
  • Less 20% commission (+ VAT) on balance of the above
  • Less and all postage/ transport charges +VAT for shipping between you and us
  • Less un-recovered postage/ transport charges +VAT for shipping between us and potential buyers
  • Less export and or import tariffs/ duties/ similar, if any

Payment of proceeds of sale.

Please note that consumers as defined in our policy [Business customer or consumer?] buying from us have rights of return as described in our [Returns policy] under consumer law. Sale of your instrument through us is subject to those rights of return. On a sale to a consumer buyer we will therefore delay payment to you of the balance of sale proceeds until immediately after the expiry of 30 days from the date of sale. Regretfully, should a consumer purchaser return the instrument within this period we will return the sale monies to the purchaser in accordance with our [Returns policy] and will resume the marketing of your instrument.

Withdrawing the instrument.

If you wish at any time to have the instrument returned to you without sale and thereby terminate our authority in this policy, you are free to do so, providing that your instrument has not been sold already! (Sale occurs as described just above under [Accounting for proceeds].

To withdraw please speak with us and confirm in writing by email or as otherwise permitted in [Our details]. We will then stop any further pre-sale work on the instrument, stop its marketing and take steps to recover the instrument if out on approval, as applicable.

If the withdrawn instrument is out on approval, you must allow us to sell the instrument to the customer trialling the instrument if they wish to complete the purchase. If not, you must allow the instrument to be returned to us rather than to you pending payment of sums you owe us. The sums are all monies of the kinds at time of cessation of authority paid, incurred or to be incurred, or chargeable by us being those sums of the kinds described below under [Accounting for proceeds of sale].

Charges extends to the costs of postage/ transport charges for the return of the instrument from potential purchaser to us and, should you prefer instead of collecting from the shop, for carriage and insurance from us to you. If you call an instrument back from trial you will pay or reimburse us the costs of packaging insurance and postage of achieving the return from the potential customer should the potential purchaser decline or fail to pay for the return.

Please note that in addition to the sums mentioned in the immediately preceding paragraph if within 3 (three) months of its withdrawing and return you sell the instrument someone (or to an employer or principal of someone) who played the instrument on our premises while offered for sale through us or who took on trial you shall pay our commission plus vat promptly in response to our invoice. This obligation applies to you even if you find yourself liable to pay commission to another person as well. The commission will be calculated with reference to the selling price agreed with us less the margin of authorised discount, if any, stated in the confirmation of authority or, if lower, the evidenced price for which the instrument was sold.

Other terms

Ownership and information warranty.

You warrant to us that:

  • you own the instrument or have authority to sell the instrument at the agreed selling price upon the terms of this policy
  • you have authority to receive, and or to give directions as to payment of, the net proceeds of sale
  • you or the owner of the instrument is not subject to any contractual term within a financing agreement or elsewhere that prohibits or restricts the sale of the instrument and or the person(s) to whom the sale proceeds should be remitted and
  • all the information that you provide to us in connection with your instructions to sell are, and were when given and shall remain, at all times until sale, true accurate complete and not-misleading.

Latent defect warranty.

You warrant to us that

  • the instrument is not subject to any physical defects that would not be reasonably apparent to a consumer purchaser of the instrument.


We may at any time, and more than once in relation to the same person or organisation, require evidence satisfactory to us of the identity of you or any person collecting the instrument or giving directions as to payment of monies and decline to take action until satisfied as to identity. Please also see our [Customer identity] policy.

Terms of sale.

You acknowledge and agree that our terms of business identified in [Introduction to our business terms] govern the relationship between us and our customers and that the sale of your instrument to a business or consumer purchaser of your instrument takes effect upon and subject our business terms. In carrying out the marketing and sale we agree to take into account your reasonable instructions and expressions of wish and not to act in a way which will give rise to any obligations or liabilities on your part as seller other than as arising within our terms of business.

Export import tariffs / duties / similar.

You shall pay any and all tariffs, duties and similar impositions arising in any jurisdiction in consequence of the export and or import of your instrument in connection with its the sale or intended sale. Please read our policy [International – import / export tariffs and VAT].

Oboes and Clarinets - natural cracking

Risk of natural cracking of sale instruments made of Dalbergia (rosewood) while in our possession or out on approval remain with the owner and do not pass to us or potential purchasers. Please advise us of the date of purchase and the degree of blowing in subsequently carried out with reference to the table under [Blowing in] within [The Howarth of London product guarantee] so that, without liability, we may insist upon the appropriate blowing in for the potential buyer to follow during the instrument’s trial. If you bought the instrument from us then depending on the passing of time [The Howarth of London product guarantee], if issued, may be available to cover repair work.

Last updated: 31 October 2019

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