Bonhams Sucks Customer Reviews and Feedback

From Everything.Sucks

Bonhams is a privately owned international auction house and one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. It was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale.

A former employee said this in a review: "There is no job security and management at Bonhams, is run on English hierarchy guides where the rich get to bully the staff and the company allows it and occasionally fires staff members to make their rich clients feel more powerful. But be careful coz foreign staff holding a visa are the first ones out the door. Terrible leadership and very poor management and pay!".


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Former Employee - Administrative says

"Management doesn't know what they are doing."


"Everything else at this company is deplorable."

Current Employee - Anonymous Employee says

"Absent management, complete lack of company direction or vision, no employee development, low pay, stifling bureaucracy, chaos and inefficiency, understaffed across the board. Management's obvious (though not admitted) goal is to sell the company, but who would buy it?"


"No support, very absent management, no training whatsoever. Tasks thrown at you to see if you can handle it and not complain. Serious lack of compensation and very low wages. Extremely low morale. Executives interested in being seen as a high end company when in reality, its only in the very middle to low end."

Current Employee - Anonymous Employee says

"There is no leadership. The management is non-existent; I believe that the leaders in NYC, London, and Los Angeles are actively trying to destroy what was once a great brand when Butterfields. Employees are beyond overworked; when someone leaves, no one is replaced. Instead, more work is heaped on staff that already has too much to do."

Former Employee - Anonymous Employee says

"Pay is deplorable, management non-existent, view and treat their employees as disposable/ replaceable, as well as, unrewarding work."


"-Underpaid -In the four years I worked there, only received a review ONCE. Management is against reviews as employees usually ask for raises, promotions, or seek to discuss a career trajectory. In general, there are no opportunities or interest in fostering a dialogue between management and staff especially in regards to growth. -There needs to be more of an HR presence as office reeks of discriminatory atmosphere and practices; cannot say how many time I heard racist, sexist or homophobic language around this office."

Current Employee - Anonymous Employee says

"Low Wages, No interest in new ideas. Thinking out of the box seems to be discouraged. Inefficient business process's and systems that go down for days at a time. Bureaucracy out-weighs what is best for the company! It's an old boy's club, so don't expect that being good at your job or woking hard will get you a promotion or raise. It won't, and I'm not just referring to myself!"

Former Employee - Junior Cataloger says

"Lots of micromanagement and bullying in my department. I have never seen such blatant and unashamed sexism in my life before - referring to female heads of department as "jumped up secretaries" and phrases such as "girls can't phone bid" is not acceptable. Neither is groping your female employees. Training was almost non existent and the pay was deplorable."

Former Employee - Specialist says

"There is no training, none of the directors take responsibility for their teams' and/or any mistakes, but they certainly take credit for the good work others have done."

Client Services Administrator (Former Employee) says

"DO NOT FALL FOR THIS BAIT AND SWITCH! I was hired as a remote client services administrator in New York after I declined a position in Los Angeles. I was asked to "pick up my computer" since I was in LA at the time, but returning to NY shortly that week. It turned into a full day of work, even though I was not hired for the LA role. in the midst of a PANDEMIC I told them I was uncomfortable working in the office and did not want to risk infection. I was fired the next day. WASTE OF MY TIME. Really poor management, really badly handled, no respect. Also next to nothing pay. Arteverything else"

Accounts Receivable / Billing Coordinator (Former Employee) says

"I just want to get over this session so I can apply for my job.l There was a fat cow living in a remote country. He was the only cow within 10 miles and he has never seen other cows. He walked like a cat and barked like a dog. He was going through identical crisis. He was not sure if he was a cat or a dog."

Director, Information System for North America (Former Employee) says

"21 years of working at Bonhams, as IT programmer, manager, Director, I had learned a lot and experience on IT hardware/Software and Telecommunication skills and management skills. Every day has exciting project to work on along with my team."

john smith says

"Buying from these Elites come with some disadvantages. Such as their noses stuck squarely in the air should you approach them with perceived problems or queries. They will even snigger between theirselves at you should you become agitated at their looking down upon you as if you were vulger compared to their perceived extremely high status in this existence. I have purchased a fair bit from them, but they are the eventual certain winners with their astronomical fees. Do not buy unseen, they will sell you a vehicle that does not even run, yet as in my case, I was not made aware of that fact, but the live bidders were. Just avoid. H & H speak to you like an equal, there is no comparison within the two auction houses."

Gianna Craviotto says

"Worst customer service ever. The only reason I have gone back a few times to this organization is because my Father worked for them years ago, when it was Butterfields and Butterfields. It was a professionally run organization then with people who were competent and valued their clients. Wow, has it ever changed since the business was sold. As respect for my Father, I did as he asked and I contacted them. He is 93 years old and remembers the way it used to be, so that is why he has remained loyal to them. They truly do not deserve his business and his loyalty. The first time my Father and I went for a valuation of some fine art, we showed up with a various collection of paintings. The expert in that department was quite arrogant and a bit condescending. He inferred that a few of the paintings that we brought in were supposed forgeries from people who were signing the name of famous artists of works of art that were fairly well known. Interesting, since these paintings had been purchased at auction when it was Butterfield and Butterfield's years ago. Okay, he's the expert, so we walked away feeling like we were wasted his time and I swore I would never return based on the dismissive feeling we got from him. Fast forward to present. So once again, my Father asks me to reach out to Bonham's because he has various fine jewelry and Asian art he would like to sell. Here we go again. I dreaded the task, but did it anyway. I contacted Bonham's to get a jewelry valuation for auction. To be fair, I did receive a call, and was asked to submit photographs so that she could send them to the appropriate experts. It's been 3 weeks now, and 3 follow up emails later to her and no response. I asked in my last email to her that if the items did not meet the selling standards of Bonham's, I would understand, but to please give me the courtesy of a response to let me know so that I could move on. No reply. I am not surprised in the least. Lastly, I sent another email to another department to ask for an auction valuation for some Asian Art. Two emails later and no reply. I only did that because my Father remembered this person from years past. He was hopeful she would remember him and reply. Nope. Not the case. I don't know why they run ads in the Chronicle about selling your art at Bonham's and provide email addresses to the specialized departments. These folks do not reply. Maybe they are over worked? Maybe they are short staffed? Maybe they just don't care? In any event, this is it for me. Based on all of the reviews I have read on this site, every single person has similar complaints and I whole heartedly agree with the one star ratings. I hope the company will take these complaints to heart and truly make an effort to turn things around. Customers deserve better than this. A little respect and courtesy goes a long way."

alex says

"I bought six Japanese woodblock print triptychs at a Bonhams auction in New York in July 2020. I immediately transferred the price, and shortly afterwards I received an offer for shipping. Bonhams wanted $ 470 without telling me the name of the company. I wanted to find my own freight forwarder. Bonhams only answered all emails after a reminder and even refused to just put the woodcuts in an envelope. Bonhams was absolutely uncooperative. I was constantly dealing with other people there. It was only when I was worn down after weeks and finally accepted the absolutely outrageous offer that everything went quickly. I bought Japanese woodblock prints from various art dealers in the US and never paid more than $ 100 for shipping. I can only warn everyone to buy from Bonhams"

Simon says

"I assumed the Bonhams name attached to Bonhams MPH would give me confidence. They’d advertised a car with a rating of 9/10 yet the service cost £12,000 for a 2007 Bentley. It’s not like I was buying off eBay. I asked the director to pay £9000 and he said ‘too bad it’s buyer beware as it’s an auction’. Legal action awaits. AVOID THEM AT ALL COSTS."

Luke Krause says

"Appalling customer service, they won't even submit your bid if there website malfunctions, (which seems to be an problem for them). They won't allow you to join online auctions at times? Why? Overall I certainly wouldn't sell things through them as they are generally only interested in a quick sale. As for buying, they seem unhelpful if you try to forward a decent offer or ask questions about an item before an auction. On the other hand they will answer emails when you've actually paid for everything, but may ingnore you otherwise. This place may need fair trading to investigate to be perfectly honest. I couldn't say for sure, but I have met dealers that warned me not to bother and to just use eBay lol."

David Higbee says

"It's been over a month since I paid for my auction item and over two weeks since I paid the outrageous shipping charges. I can't get anyone to give me an estimate when or how my item will be shipped. No one answers the provided phone numbers or responds to my emails. Easily the worst customer service experience I have ever had."

Elena Tarasova says

"Post sales client service is absolutely worst I have had ever."

Ryan Frame says

"What a disgraceful organization. My experience with them has been nothing short of unpleasant. I gave a print for them to sell one year ago with a reserve of $8000, I watched the auction happen online and saw an offer of $7500 which was rejected as expected. The second time round they told me they are quite confident they will sell it but asked if the reserve can be lowered to $6000. Then the day before the auction I received an email asking if they can lower the reserve to $4500. I had to follow up with them to find out if the piece was sold which I was told it sold for $4000. When I asked the prints department why it was sold for below the reserve the second time and not the first I was told it sold at the discretion of the auctioneer. Something doesn't seem right. Smells like price fixing to me."

Nafees Ahmad says

"Bunch of semi literate dolts! I have asked them to remove me from their email mailing list SEVEN times both by hitting the UNSUBSCRIBE button and emailing them yet they insist on sending their weekly DRIVEL. Without doubt the most ignorant of all the numerous auction houses that I have dealt with in the past thirty years!"

craig edwards says

"Customer service is OK, however, whoever writes the condition reports for watch sales should be replaced immediately. The watch I thought I was purchasing for a client was nothing like the watch that arrived.The condition report stated that the watch was in good condition and good working order, however, the bezel was broken and the bracelet was badly damaged. Complained three times and finally getting a full refund, (my client isn’t pleased though). I expected a lot more from an alleged bona fide and reputable auction house, sadly I was very disappointed."

Chris Leo the coolest says

"I had bad experience trying many times to get a valuation and put my mine direct gemstones at Bonhams, I swear I tried over 100s of items and I always being said no, if it's clear they call fake they also say you can't offer them gemstones with inclusions (a sure sign the gemstone is real it also gives beautiful colour to Exemples blue diamonds read gia blue diamonds coloration and inclusions topic). Elitist and not inclusive of all Bonhams is, a shame they even advertise they do evaluations. I wonder where there gemstones come from probably from Bonhams in house Mafia syndicate and no one else but the masonic elite is allowed to auction with them. Sorry I tougt the new CEO Vinciguerra would correct Hythe past greediness and rich exclusive auctioneers only allowed. If they give no chance to real normal people to auction mine direct gems ones at least then what are they there for? They should be a private menbers only institution because that is what they are. I hope someone decent opens a new inclusive powerhouse auctioneer to compete with them, its only right and fair. Shame on you Bonhams!"

Michael williams says


Shopna Hasan says

"Very bad service.Management do not respond to complaints. They send out empty packages"

Shahan Hasan says

"Disgusting service.Packages sent which are damaged and diamonds are far worse than stated"

P page says

"I purchased a set of precious stone rings from Bonhams, I downloaded a basic condition report before purchase. After online purchase I collected the rings. Once I was home I saw a Sapphire was dislodged. This was not on the condition report. I complained to Bonhams and they said I could go to their servicing department and get it sorted for free. Fair enough. Once I got to the specialist, under a jewellers magnifying tool he told be that the majority of the emeralds were cracked and what ever I paid for it I had been ripped off. Do not trust an auction house to sell you a good product. They don't care about the product, just their margin which is protected either from you or the seller. Wheeler dealers come to mind."

tony day says

"I tried to bid on a clock in the sale on 11/12/2019 I was willing to pay £8000 for the Edward east clock, even after sending my driving license to bids my bid still was not authorised and the clock sold for £6312.00 inc premium, I lost out on a clock that was top of my list, and maybe I would have paid more. The seller lost out as well. I am very upset with Bonhams as they were no help at all, will not use them again ,hope the person that sold the clock looks at my review.I thought auction houses try to get the best price for the client!!"

Ja22578 says

"Mr Asaph Hyman, a Global Head of Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art at Bonhams, was on 29 October 2019 informed that the star lot - lot 41 - in the Bonhams' auction of Chinese art to be held in Hong Kong on 26 November 2019 had the provenance incorrectly stated. The provenance failed to mention that the lot was recently acquired at a provincial auction in the United Kingdom but stated instead that the lot came from an "important Asian private collection”. As provenance of an artwork is an absolutely crucial element of the artwork's description, a provenance that is inaccurate or otherwise misleading is a serious failure of the integrity of the artwork's sales process. The lot 41 is being offered at an estimate that even at its low end would give the consignor an instant profit of nearly £500,000 and presumably a proportionally rich reward to Mr Hyman. That fact goes some way in explaining why Mr Hyman failed to correct the omission in the provenance of the lot concerned or otherwise explain the blatant lack of factual disclosure in relation to that lot. On the facts of this case, it appears that Mr Hyman is complicit in - or at the very least is endorsing - a fraudulent representation by omission and it is only fair and reasonable that an individual of such a questionable integrity should not be entrusted in making any representations in the art market. This in turn begs the question when shall Mr Hyman be let go by Bonhams and be replaced by an honest individual so that we can fully trust Bonhams' cataloguing of Chinese ceramics and works of art."

Austin Hollingsworth says

"Great place to buy if your looking to over pay by 10 times their actual value. Very corrupt and customer service, dont even bother waste of time."

Dave Turner says

"Mixed reviews, will keep this updated when they've sorted out the problem."