Last December I went to my first art auction while I was aboard Carnival Inspiration. During the auction, the auctioneer stated that their price of this signed Dali lithograph, part of the Biblia Sacra was 65% of the land value. At the gallery room later that evening, I was told by the same auctioneer that I could not go wrong with this piece and that even if I were to sell this piece soon after purchasing it, I would lose nothing.
After all the rhetoric, I was truly convinced that this was indeed a steal for a Dali and that the purchase would make a solid investment. I further (naively) convinced that Park West, one of the largest art galleries would provide a good value to their customers and would not put their reputation at risk by engaging in deceitful practices. Hence, I spent a small fortune into this so called investment.
Upon my return home, I spent some time and, after doing research on the artwork, I was soon stunned to find the same Dali artwork (1964 - Tolle, tolle, crucifige eum signed in the plate and also by the artist) that I purchased from Park West had an estimated auction price of $6900-$10000 43% to 62% of what I paid at the ship auction (reputable reference). Recall that it was repeatedly stated by the auctioneer that this artwork was 66% lower from Park West at sea.
When I found what the actual value of the artwork was (2 days after my return from the cruise), I immediately contacted Park Wests customer service in an attempt to cancel my purchase. I imagined that the gallery would be willing to work something out and grant the cancellation even if I had to pay some penalties and fees. The artwork would not be shipped to me for another 6 weeks, so not even shipping would be an issue in this case.
To my surprise, I was told that the sale was final and that a cancellation would not be permitted. Of course, this indicates a lack of confidence in the value that they provide. They expect people to want to cancel once they discover that they have been ripped off, so they craft a ridiculously cohesive contract to cover every imaginable contingency.
I accept my ignorance and stupidity in trusting Park West, but I am very upset and disappointed and feel Park West deliberately engage in dishonest business practices. My impression now is that they routinely engage in these sorts of practices; of inducing potential customers with a promise of value that they cannot and will not stand by once the sell has been made. I would have no problem whatsoever in fulfilling my part of a contract if I did not feel that I was lied to and induced to buy. I am sure others would feel the same (or have already)
I have determined go continue to challenge Park West ant to put a stop to this sort of practice in any way I can. Others should be aware of the problem.