• Report: #2492

Complaint Review: Showcase Galleries - Owner Richard Smith

  • Submitted: Tue, June 20, 2000
  • Updated: Sun, May 23, 2004

  • Reported By:
Showcase Galleries - Owner Richard Smith
862 Higuera Street San Luis Obispo, California U.S.A.

Kinkade Art Galleries - Are they Selling Christianity or Greed?

*Consumer Comment: Buyer Beware!! don't expect to recover your investment, ever!

*Consumer Suggestion: Do some research before buying "original" art!

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Without quality customer service, these beautiful paintings are trash!

At one time I truly valued the inspirational Christian messages that the Painter of Light was sending out. I purchased many of his beautiful canvas pieces because I liked the message and the man behind the paintings of light. I went to a convention and listened to this family man talk about his cherished family and Christian beliefs. Now after dealing with several of his Signature Galleries, I find myself asking this question. Is Christianity or greed being sold in these galleries?

After trying to sell secondary market pieces that I purchased over 7 years ago, I am finding a new kind of Christian message that is being sent. Some of the statements that I have been told by Signature Gallery owners include, "Take your artwork and get out, I do not have time to talk to you now, I forgot your check at home, and Your secondary market pieces are not worth what you paid for them! And most of the time the sales pitches that were given to me were not even consistent ones that were given from the different gallery owners. I have heard that my secondary market pieces that I purchased over 7 years ago are not worth what I paid for them. I wonder why anyone would fall for the sales lines that the new pieces are worth so much if you buy them now. Heck, they only printed 980 of the pieces that I own, and they came in one size only! I supported and purchased these pieces when this artist was becoming well known. The paintings now come in 3 sizes, the total numbers released are much higher, and you can buy all kinds of Thomas Kinkade items. I think spreading Christian messages is really wonderful if people are treated with honesty and respect.

I have had more than one bad experience with the Galleries, but in my opinion I would of received better customer service from a used car lot than at the Gallery in San Luis Obispo with owner Richard Smith. This was absolutely the worst experience my fianc or myself has ever had with any retail establishment. After driving 219 miles one way after an arranged deal was made, the owner was too busy for us, which he stated bluntly before even making an introduction, and he forgot our check at home, after claiming he would have cash ready for us. He asked us if we might hang out and wait for him to return after he visited his other Morro Bay gallery which was obviously much more important to him than any customer that purchased Thomas's secondary pieces or had just driven 219 miles.

I could not even get 800.00 for my oldest secondary market piece that is currently sitting on the Signature Gallery walls with a price tag of over 1,700.00. Heck, I couldn't get my arranged 700.00 that was promised to me by both email and telephone prior to the trip. We drove 10 hours in the car, over 400 total miles, wasted 2 tanks of gas, lost a day of pay, and we were treated so rudely in San Luis Obispo, that I am currently requesting my money be returned to me for my secondary market pieces from Light House Publishing, Media Arts, or any gallery that will treat me with respect. All I want is my money back!

I am a divorced mother of two children. My children mean the world to me, and because I chose to stay home and raise them, I returned back to college when I was 38 years of age to earn a BA in Business. From what I have learned so far, Customer Service is the success and driving force of any business. I have also learned that business should be ethical and honest. Or it should be for any company that wants to succeed. So where did this talented artist get off track? Did he hire the wrong company to handle his business affairs? In my faith and Christian beliefs I do not believe we should be lying, cheating, or mistreating people in any way or form, no matter how much a company is profiting from sales.

I am empty inside because I feel like I have lost an idol and a person that I truly believed in. I adored this artist and the messages that he sent to my family and me. So many times Thomas's beautiful paintings have brought serenity to my life. Due to financial difficulty with going back to college only, did I decide to sell my beautiful artwork. Now because of the way that I have been mistreated by more than one of the Signature Galleries, I just want to get back my money for the pieces that I purchased long ago. If the galleries make a profit off me again, so be it! It just doesn't matter anymore. I have lost much more than any monetary value; I have lost what was once my true inspiration.

I have sent out numerous emails and letters requesting a refund from Light Post Publishing or the galleries for my two secondary market pieces. So far I have gotten nowhere. I am so angry and hurt that I do not wish to keep them in my home any longer no matter how much money I have lost.

If you do not believe my nightmare story, just try to go to the gallery owners and try to sell your secondary market pieces back. Also take a look at the prices they have your secondary market pieces listed at on their walls. You will be very surprised when you ask them to purchase it.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/20/2000 12:00 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Showcase-Galleries-Owner-Richard-Smith/San-Luis-Obispo-California-91786/Kinkade-Art-Galleries-Are-they-Selling-Christianity-or-Greed-2492. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Buyer Beware!! don't expect to recover your investment, ever!

AUTHOR: Michael - (U.S.A.)

As usual there is always some truth to anyone's comments and opinons. I am a manager for a national chain of custom framing. In my opinion the person who wrote the rebuttal is mostly on target with their comments. You cannot ever expect to "invest" in artwork, unless you are going to Sotheby's or Christy's and willing to shell out millions. You must understand we are all in business to make money. If you appreciate Thomas Kincade's artwork, then buy it and enjoy it. But don't expect to recover your investment, ever! Just like hummels or precious moments, or any other so called "collectables" they are in business. My greatest example of this is after the Florida Marlins won their first World Series in 1997 the team put out a "limited edition" poster. Yea, they limited the edition to 15,000.
They were $15.00 when they came out and they'll be $15.00 50 years from now. But still people would come into my gallery wanting to treat this stupid poster like some valuable investment. Don't be fooled by a good sales pitch. Buy something you like. If it cost 5 or 500 dollars.
And as always. BUYER BEWARE!!!!!
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Do some research before buying "original" art!

AUTHOR: Artist - (U.S.A.)


the paintings you purchased aren't worth anything because the "painter of light" is a well-known schlock-meister, and the pieces are not original. They are mass produced, sometimes pieces are "touched-up" not by the artist but by some lackey dabbing paint in pre-designated places to try and pass it off as original.

No gallery is in business to buy back your art investment. Thomas Kinkade galleries are basically francises, and there is nothing in it for a gallery owner to buy back a piece of art. Art even under the best of circumstances is a crap-shoot. A consumer is best off buying what they like, not what they think will appreciate in value over time. Kinkades will not appreciate because they are not originals. He is not a well-respected artist in the art world. His business is on the stock market (or it was, until it tanked last year). It's a BUSINESS.

I am an artist, and I would take back a piece, but that is because I stand behind my work and if a client truly isn't happy with it, they shouldn't be stuck with it. However, a gallery has high overhead, expenses, and your financial difficulties leading to you wanting to unload your "investment" is a totally unrealistic expectation for the gallery to help you with.

The gallery has already paid the "artist", they have other work to sell besides your piece. The typical mark-up at a gallery is 50%, so the artist gets half of the selling price, and so does the gallery.

If you purchased the work because it somehow spoke to you about "Christian values", then you should enjoy it for that. But, don't expect a gallery to sop up the mess when you experience buyer's remorse. If you ever think you are going to return a piece of art, find out the re-sale policies before buying the piece. Even under the best of circumstances, it is unlikely a gallery will agree to take a piece back after 30 or 60 days. Art is finicky--maybe the buyer exposed the piece to sunlight or humidity or some other bad condition that alters the quality of the piece. A gallery (or artist) can't be responsible for a piece indefinately after it is out of their control.

The Kinkade galleries have great, aggressive sales reps peddling the wares, it's a business, not a true artist place. The guy is a hack.
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