got a bad bottle at internet auction, what should I do

I took a flyer on a 1979 Chave on a well known internet auction site, not wine bid or wine commune.

the bottle had clear signs of leakage and when I removed the foil had a large sticky mess of leaked wine on top of the cork and the cork was clearly shot.

any thing I can do or live and learn.

There was no description of the site that this was not a pristine bottle.

Was the condition of the wine disclosed during the auction process?

No matter what, you should call/e-mail the auction house and explain the situation. Most of the ones I have dealt with would try to correct the situation, especially if there was no description and the bottles proved to be in worse condition.

nope no description and the fill was shoulder at best, the label stained with wine, the corked seriously depressed. I would obviously pass on this wine if a pciture of the bottle was visible

That kind of sucks. If a bottle is in good condition, and there is no description, that’s one thing. But to be in that kind of condition with no warning is bonk.

Sorry about that. If you end up getting a good bottle as a replacement, send me tasting notes! On several occasions I have been tempted to buy this since I love Chave and 1979 is by birth year!

As a Director and shareholder of a UK wine internet auction site,if you had bought the wine through our site there is no question we would take the matter up very actively with the seller,and ensure at the very least, a refund of the amount you bid.
The seller would of course also receive a bad review and may in fact be barred from further trading on our site.

Well, have you spoken to the auction house? The thing is, unless someone specifically said it was a pristine bottle Im not sure what you could do even if you pushed the issue. Also if it was shipped recently, or in the summer, they could claim it was a weather issue. What did the seller say? If Im spending more than $100 on a bottle of wine on the net Im always asking specific questions and if more than $200 I ask for pictures…Maybe live and learn.

I would email the auction company with pictures of the bottle and request a refund. I would also be concerned that the leakage, etc. might be due to shipping in the summer heat, but the depressed cork seems to indicate shipping heat wasn’t the problem.


What auction house was it? PM me.

Drew, the proper thing to do in this case is to threaten to bash them on the Internet!


yes bash bash bash…

actually I am alittle upset since this bottle was shipped from the auction house, not directly from a seller. I have not called them since it was late friday night when I discovered this.

PS the wine was undrinkable.

Good luck if it was Acker…

They sold me 6 bottles of the same wine that were all cooked
and John’s response was basically “too bad”

Auction houses generally say you are S.O.L.

Although if the cataloging was incorrect, you should have an out.

Otherwise just bash…on a different board.

Not true.

For some…

Which I’ve got no problem with but you got to admit KA that you are not just a
normal customer…

“generally” is the word Ray.

It is all over the print in auction catalogs. Returns are not allowed, as far as I recall.

I believe that the first time John Kapon entertained returns was the Golden Cellar auctions. You would know better than me, so I defer to you, if I am wrong there. But I recall him making a public announcement that anyone dissatisfied with btls from that sale could return them within 6 months of purchase.


I believe that it was Acker’s THE Cellar that was the first to print the six month return policy in the catalogue.

As far as returns to auction houses in general, I know of a number of others who have had returns accepted by various auction houses besides myself. Granted, these people I’m referencing are bigger buyers than most so they do have more leverage.
However, I’d honestly be surprised that if any buyer received wine that was not catalogued properly for something like additional ullage (but not a minor detail like a nicked label), any major auction house would work something out with the buyer.

I can only speak for Bonhams, of course. If a buyer receives wine that has a major discrepancy over its description in the catalog, such as that mentioned by Drew, we will of course work with the buyer to resolve the problem.

Looks like I’m too late - but I was recently told by Acker that before opening, I could return a bottle that I thought was inaccurately described, but once I opened it, no refund.

It sounds like the OP had already consumed the wine before asking what to do. If you receive a bottle with bottle condition issues not listed in the catalog, act right away. Go no further. Once you have consummed the wine you have almost no standing.

Looks like you are putting cart before horse. May as well ask the auction house first. I’m thinking maybe you should not have opened it.

On another note: I’m just asking…Did the site just say “we have a 79 Chave” with no other description? I probably would have asked before bidding.