Ripoff Report REVIEW:
Park West gets a POSITIVE RATING from Ripoff Report and is fulfilling its commitment to provide excellent customer service. Park West joins the Ripoff Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program and pledges to resolve any and all legitimate complaints.
Customers can feel confident and secure with Park West. Park West pledges its commitment to 100% customer satisfaction and friendly, personal service. Our investigation found that Park West has had a reputation of excellence in the art industry since its founding in 1969. Over 1 million clients - the majority of whom have been repeat customers. The number of complaints Park West received on Ripoff Report in comparison to the number of satisfied clients is incredibly low Less than one complaint per year posted on our website for every 50,000 clients. Park West at Sea received the Porthole Magazine Reader's Choice Award for the Best Art Auction Program". Park West auctions are a highly anticipated event for many cruise vacationers. All Park West art is certified authentic; an independent audit revealed that Park West has never had to issue a refund based on authenticity!
The Park West call center operates seven days a week with courteous personal attention always putting the customer first. Park West believes one complaint is too many that is why they approached Rip-off Report and requested to join Rip-off Report's Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program. Our investigation revealed that Park West truly cares about its clients, and makes every effort to provide an excellent level of service to each and every one of them.Read more about Park West and their commitment to total customer satisfaction and why consumers should feel safe and confident when doing business with a member of Ripoff Report's Corporate Advocacy Program.
NOW TO THE ORIGIONAL REPORT THAT WAS FILED
Park West Gallery - Carnival Cruise Line - Park West At Sea ripoff deceptive dishonest cruise art auction Southfield Michigan
My wife and I attended a cruise on Carnival Cruise lines the week of July 4, 2004. This was our 4th cruise to date. On every cruise we always noticed an Art Sale. We never attended one of these sales until this last cruise. Specifically because they had artwork by Salvador Dali, our favorite artist. We wife and I were skeptical about the art's validity, but we concluded that if a large cruise line like Carnival is hosting such an event, then the appraisals given by the Park West auctioneer must be accurate or the industry accepted standard appraisal' as the auctioneer put it. We also reasoned that if Carnival would back the purchases of merchandise purchased OFF THE BOAT at their approved stores, then surely they would back the purchases of art taking place ON THE BOAT. We have unfortunately found that not to be true.
We were specifically interested in the Dali paintings Divine Comedy Inferno 9 and Divine Comedy Inferno 32 My wife asked the auctioneer how much a PENCIL signed painting would cost. We were told that a PENCIL signed Dali Divine Comedy painting has an appraisal value around $12,000, but because we're at a Cruise Line action we could save anywhere between 40-80% and that the bidding on those paintings usual started at $6,500.
We told the auctioneer even at $6,500 that was still out of our price range. He then informed us that they had some BLOCK signed Dali paintings for sale. He informed us that the appraisals on these paintings were between $2,300 - $3,800, BUT (once again) because we were attending a cruise line art sale we could save 40-80%. The starting bid on these Dali's usual started at around $1,000 - $1,200. This was something that was definitely in our price range and we were excited about the opportunity to not only own a Dali painting, but to save 40-80% at this action.
Before we would consider making a bid, my wife asked many specific questions, one of which was We want to make sure that Dali painted this himself and that it is not another artist's copy of Dali's work and we were told by the auctioneer that Dali was HANDS ON IN THE PROCESS of these paintings. We have since found out that this isn't true. We purchased the art works for $1,200 a piece. With framing and cost the total was $2,700.
We were excited about our purchases. When we returned from our trip, I decided to see how much the same pieces of art were selling on Ebay. To my surprise the average price was $500. More than of our purchase value and no where near the appraisal the auctioneer told us. This, however, did not detour our spirits or our feelings toward Park West Gallery at all. After all, with the great Dali fake scare of the 1980's those paintings being sold on Ebay could be fakes or damaged in some way. So we decided to go to the authority on Dali paintings, the official Dali art gallery. This is when we realized that we had been deceived and lied to..
We have been in constant contract with the Official Dali gallery. First of all we were informed that they receive almost 50 phone calls similar to ours each and every week. Two February 8, 2001 USA today articles warned of the practices of these shipboard auctions. We found out that the PENCIL signed Dali's that we originally inquired about could be purchased for less than $2,000 (vs the $6,500 opening bid on the cruise ship) and that our paintings could be purchased for much cheaper and (more importantly) the appraisals on these pieces of art were NOT accurate.
Money is not the central problem in this matter. Rather the deceptive practices used to induce people to buy. If we purchased our art for $1,200 and returned home to find the Dali Art Gallery (or other galleries) selling these same paintings for $500, we would still be fine with our purchases.
The major problem is that we specifically asked if Dali did these paintings himself and we were told that he did. The second problem is that we were given an over inflated appraisal value of our art and told that these bargains' were only available on the ship for an original' Dali painting. Once again, thinking what the auctioneer is telling us was valid as we were on a Carnival cruise, we took his word, something we will never do again.
We contacted Park West Gallery customer service beginning two days after we arrived home from the cruise; and were told ALL SALES ARE FINAL. If this was a case of buyers remorse I would completely agree with this policy, however, since there was a LARGE amount of deception in the sale of this artwork, we refuse to accept that ALL SALES ARE FINAL. We were given the opportunity to instead give up our claim on the art and receive an art credit for the amount we spent on the Dali's. Again, the central problem with this is not the monies lost, but the deception involved in this matter. Why would be want to buy ANY art from a gallery that has already deceived us?
Even worse, we have received ZERO support from Carnival Cruise lines, therefore, our next cruise will NOT be with them. They claim to only rent the space to Park West Gallery on their boats. However, to the customer, what types of contracts different vendors have on the boat should be transparent to the guest! If we purchased a fake diamond on shore in the Dominican Republic (at a preferred Carnival shop) then according to the Cruise Line Director, Carnival will back you up 100% However, Carnival claims to have no control on the activities and sales ON THEIR OWN BOATS? According to this USA Today article (www.cruisediva.com/usa_today.htm), there are reasons behind this.
My wife and I are highly educated and never thought that we would be gullible enough to be a victim of a scam of this nature. We are hoping that this was an isolated incident and Park West Gallery will admit to the deception that happened on this cruise and will work with us in this matter, but that remains to be seen.
We have also learned that Inside Edition is interested in doing a piece about these types of deceptive practices.
We have established a website to hopefully educate and inform 'would-be' victims. We will not stop until we receive an apology and a full refund from Park West Gallery. We have NO interest in a bid credit! sorry, allowing you to give a competitors name would instigate others to just file against their competition, to only come back later to suggest their company your comments on this policy are welcome! CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.