I attended an art 'auction' while on a Carnival cruise to Cozumel, Mexico last November.
The auctioneer showed several pieces of art at various prices, and finally one I kind of liked, which he said comes framed, crated and delivered for the auction price of $160 (plus the buyer's premium).
He said there were several hand signed and numbered prints available, and I was one of 3 'bidders' to raise my hand and commit to buying this. With the framing it seemed like a fair price for a signed and numbered litho.
When it came time for my 'appointment' later to sit down with the 'art consultant' to go over my purchases and any other pieces I might want... the 'art consultant' assured me that the price included the framed print to be crated and shipped to me.
He also told me that I qualified for 2 additional high quality art prints of my choice from their 'selection', and I would need to just pay the shipping on these. (they were neither numbered nor signed).
Since I was in a 'buying mood' I agreed, and the total came to about $220. However, before paying he continued to try to get me to buy other works... like a 'signed' Chagall for $2400 additional. Luckily I was firm and did not get taken for any more money.
I asked him again specifically if the art I bought for $160 plus $24 buyer's premium plus a $1.84 'in transit handling fee' was indeed framed and crated and shipped separately from the other 2 unsigned prints. He assured me they were, and it didn't need to specifiy that on the receipt because that is how they were offered in the auction.
I was extremely disappointed when a single tube arrived with all 3 pieces rolled up. When I called the 800 number, I was told that if I wanted it framed then I'd have to pay the shipping to them plus $100 for framing, plus the cost to crate it and ship it back to me. I insisted that is how it was sold to me, and I was told there are no refunds, all sales are final, and they'd be happy to frame it for me at the terms I described.
I saw they were in the Better Business Bureau, so I contacted the BBB in Dallas, since the company was in Delaware, though the art was sold out of the port of Miami and the Gallery is in Southfield MI !!! That looks like interstate commerce fraud to me... though they may be exempt because they made the sale in International waters. I still feel Ripped Off.
I sent a complaint to the BBB saying I would FLAME the company if they did not make good on their auction terms within a week.
I sent a complaint to the cruise line. I'm posting a complaint here, and I'll post it again anywhere I can catch some unsuspecting marks like myself.
Bottom line is: Do not trust anything they say... if you really must buy something from them, have it appraised BEFORE by an independant expert. Do NOT pay them to appraise their own products... like they tried to get me to pay extra for! and finally, do NOT let them get away with this dishonest business any more.
castro valley, California