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Frequently Asked Questions

Information for the customer
Information for galleries


When did Own Art start?
Own Art was launched by Arts Council England. Scotland became a partner in 2005.


How much does it cost to join the Scheme?
The scheme has no charge to join but you must have a Consumer Credit Licence (CCL).
This licence is a requirement by the Office of Fair Trading so the scheme has no influence over this requirement. The CCL lasts for 5 years and can be obtained thorough the Office of Fair Trading website.

Who processes applications?
The scheme in Scotland is managed by The Scottish Arts Council and it is their officers who oversee the day-to-day running of the scheme. They are assisted by an Advisory Group.

Information for the customer

Can customers effectively make instant purchases on credit?
In most cases Hitachi should be able to give a decision there and then, thus the customer can visit a gallery, see a piece, buy it on Own Art (provided they have the right ID and are approved) and walk away with their purchase.

Do I need to take photo ID with me to apply for a loan?
No, you don't need photo ID. However, you will need to provide proof of signature (e.g. a debit or credit card) and proof of your home address (e.g. a driver's licence, bank statement or utility bill).

Can I use the scheme if I am a student or unemployed?
No. However, if you living with a partner who is employed, then you are able to apply as a 'house person' quoting your partner's employment details. You may also apply if you are a student nurse, or a part-time student provided that you have regular paid employment of at least 16 hours per week.

Can I use Own Art to buy a piece of work directly from an artist?
No. Own Art is only available through galleries, museums and other arts organisations that have been approved by the Scottish Arts Council as registered members of the scheme.

What sort of art can I buy through the scheme?
You can buy works of contemporary art and craft in any media including painting, sculpture, photography, limited edition prints, textiles, jewellery, fashion, furniture, glass, ceramics, multi media works – in fact anything by a living artist.

Can I include the cost of framing in my loan?
If the gallery is arranging additional services for you such as framing you can choose to include these charges as part of your Own Art loan. Please make sure that you have told the gallery that you wish to do this at the start of the loan application process.

Will I be able to take my purchase home with me immediately?
Yes, you can take your purchase home as soon as you have been approved and signed the loan agreement. If you have purchased something which is being presented as part of a special exhibition, the gallery may ask you to leave the work on display until the end of the show, for the benefit of other visitors.

Can I use the scheme more than once?
Yes, there is no limit to the number of times that you can use the scheme. However, you will normally have to allow at least 4 months between loan applications in order to establish a repayment record with the bank.

Can the loan be used when the value of the piece of art is higher than £2,000?
Yes – the loan can go towards the payment of a piece of art that costs more than £2,000.

What if my application for an Own Art loan is refused?
An application for credit may be turned down by Hitachi for a number of reasons. If this happens you will be given a letter to explain their decision.

When will my first payment be made?
Your first payment will normally be debited from you account around 4 weeks after the date on which you signed the agreement.

Can I change my monthly payment date?
Yes. You'll need to contact Hitachi Capital directly in order to arrange this.

Can I pay off the loan early, i.e. before the 10 months have passed?
Yes. You can pay off the balance of your Own Art loan at any time by contacting Hitachi Capital directly. There are no penalties for early settlement.

Can I cancel the loan once I've signed the agreement?
No. Unless you have made your purchase by mail order, in which case you can cancel the agreement within 14 days.

Can I take out more than one loan at a time?
You can borrow up to £2,000 at any one time, and this can be towards the cost of one or more pieces. You can also have different loans with different galleries running concurrently.

I'd like to get involved but I don't know much about buying art. Do you have any guidelines?
The Scottish Arts Council has published some guidelines called How to buy art. The leaflet is not meant as a comprehensive guide, but might give you some ideas about where to start.

Information for Galleries

At what point is the Gallery paid for the sale?
Once the customer is in receipt of all of the goods that they are funding, the gallery can then send in the paperwork to Hitachi. Upon receipt they will check to see if it has been completed correctly and that it has been signed and then they will release the funds. Hitachi suggests a service level of 2 days to process the paperwork, followed by a BAC’s payment which takes a further 3 days to clear. If the agreement has not been completed correctly it will be returned to the gallery for correction.

As it’s a paper based process, how is the credit rating decision made?
When the application is completed using manual documentation the gallery must call Hitachi on 0844 375 5515 for authorisation. They will then verify the information provided by the customer and provide their decision.

Whose liability if the customer defaults?
Provided the gallery have followed all of the correct procedures as per the supplier operating instructions, then responsibility for non-payment lies with Hitachi Capital.

If the customer doesn't pay interest on the loan, who does?
The scheme is subsidised by Scottish Arts Council. That means that the Arts Council pays the interest to the bank instead of the customer.

Useful Links
* Arts Council England - Own Art
* Office of Fair Trading
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