• Report: #103432
Complaint Review:

Park West Gallery - Carnival Cruise Line - Park West At Sea

  • Submitted: Thu, August 12, 2004
  • Updated: Wed, June 20, 2012

  • Reported By:Murfreesboro Tennessee
Park West Gallery - Carnival Cruise Line - Park West At Sea
29469 Northwestern Southfield, Michigan United States of America

REVIEW: feel confident about doing business with Park West - commitment to 100% customer satisfaction to resolve any and all issues. Over 1 million clients - the majority repeat customers, excellence in the art industry.
Ripoff Report REVIEW: Park West receives a POSITIVE RATING from Ripoff Report -commitment to providing excellent customer service, pledges its commitment to 100% customer satisfaction - over 1 million satisfied clients - feel confident & secure when doing business with Park West Gallery


*Consumer Comment: My many positive and one negative regarding 6 Park West Auctions I have attended and purchased from.

*UPDATE Employee: "Official Dali Gallery" ????

*Author of original report: Wrong Again Bill - Park West, Instead of facing up the FRAUD committed on our cruise ship, Park West is trying to make this a gallery vs. gallery argument that has no relevance to our dispute

*Consumer Suggestion: I am with you

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Bill Smith is FOS

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Bill Smith false statements

*Consumer Comment: Same deal with Royal Caribbean...

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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.

Griff Murfreesboro, Tennessee

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/12/2004 10:10 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/park-west-gallery-carnival-cruise-line-park-west-at-sea/southfield-michigan-48034/review-feel-confident-about-doing-business-with-park-west-commitment-to-100-customer-s-103432. 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


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

I just returned from a cruise and went to my first Park West Gallery auction. First I must say that before the auction the auctioneer was very emphatic in emphasizing that

a. All sales are final. Don't bid if you don't want it.

b. The price of art work is subjective.

c. Buy art because you like it, not as an investment.

With that said my wife and I bought a Salvador Dali Destino #73 we loved. We paid $3000. After reading these reports I decided to check it out, frankly your reports had me frightened. What I found was that another Salvador Dali Destino #73 (it was limited edition but not a sole work of art) was selling on Ebay for $5200. So I seem to have gotten a good deal.
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#2 Consumer Comment

My many positive and one negative regarding 6 Park West Auctions I have attended and purchased from.

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

I am a long time cruiser on RCCL and after my first cruise became interested in the art and actions being conducted on board. I did not purchase any art on my first cruise but did watch.

After doing a little research on art prices I went on another cruise and with just a little bit of education, felt comfortable enough on bidding and purchasing a few pieces. I must say I asked a lot of questions to the auctioneer. He was very honest in telling me which ones "could" or "might" be considered investments but should not be purchased for that reason at all. Only buy what I loved and intended to keep and enjoy. He was right. However my stubborn self was still looking for a few bargains that I "might" be able to sell on ebay when I got home.

I purchased 7 pieces on that first cruise ranging in price from $220 to $3,800. I fully intended to keep them all. However when I got home I fould that 5 of the 7 pieces I had purchased were selling for a lot more than I paid. I thought what the heck I'll post them and if they don't sell then no big deal.

The piece I bought for $3,800 sold for $5,200. The remaining pieces sold for between $50 and $263 more than I paid for them. I was happy.

I then went on another cruise on RCCL and found that this auctioneer was fairly new and did not have nearly the information available that that I found at my first auction but would always tell me they would get back to me with the correct information. AMAZINGLY he did. Within 24 hours he was able to answer everything I was concerned about. I also heard him saying the same thing to others. I admire that.

Again I purchased 16 pieces this time being a little more cocky. Again I posted them but this time 6 sold for the same or just a few dollars more, 4 did not sell at all, the rest sold for between $50 and $600 more than I paid for them. Again what a deal, BUT I HAD DONE MY HOMEWORK BEFORE PURCHASING.

Without going on further this has become my way of paying for my vacations. I STILL WARN PEOPLE THAT THEY SHOULD NOT BUY UNLESS THEY ARE FULLY PREPARED TO KEEP AND ENJOY THOSE PIECES FOR LIFE!!! I can tell you right now that I would guess that about 10% of the pieces sold for several hundred and sometimes thousands of dollars more than what you could get if you wanted to sell them but that is what an AUCTION is. You are bidding on art or "pictures" you like. Nothing more nothing less. Very rarely on 6 different occasions did I feel someone way overpaid for a piece, but so what, they wanted it and they had the money so who cares.

Bottom line, this is a way for the art gallery and the cruise line to make money, but so what. If you like the piece and can afford it then buy it. If you have done ANY research at all and "think" you "might" be able to make a profit just know that it is a gamble. But I think a lot less of a gamble then throwing hundreds of dollars away in the casino. At least you have something to look at on the wall of your home as a nice reminder of your vacation.
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#3 UPDATE Employee

"Official Dali Gallery" ????

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

Once again, Bruce Hochman continues to blatantly lie to the clients of Park West Gallery regarding the Salvador Dali artwork collected by them.

1. There is no "Official Dali Gallery." The "gallery" Hockman owns is a mail drop to support his internet business.

2. Clients speaking with him should ask for his comments in writing. He will not do so as this would put him in jeopardy for liable.

3. His credentials as a member of the IFAA are of no importance as anyone with $500 and ten years in the art business can become a member. There are no other requirements, qualifications or training required.

4. Of course someone can buy an alleged Dali, "Divine Comedy" work from Hochman. The question becomes, "Is it real?" Ask what documentation and provenance a client receives when he buys from him. Would the client get a copy of a letter signed by Dali authenticating his signature? Probably not, but the client can get a copy of this letter from Park West. Would the client get a written expert opinion of authenticity from an independent expert? Probably not, but Park West can provide one.

Here is what the client will receive. This is from a certificate of authenticity for a handsigned work of the "Divine Comedy," by Dali that one of our cleints bought from Hochman. It is signed by Hochman himself.


The work of art described herein is certified as auithentic, limited edition work, hand signed and numbered by the artist and guaranteed as represented. (The work the client received is not numbered.)

Edition number: xx/c (This imples a roman numeral edition number 20 of 100. Such an edition is unnkown and unreported in any literature discussing the "Divine Comedy," including the Field catalog that Hochman financed.)

Year: 1959-1963 (all dali dealers know that the "Divine Comedy" was published in 1964.)

Total Edition Size: 500: Limited tirage of 500, numbered and and (sic) signed by Dali. (I am confused. Is it from an edition xx/c (100) or 500? It can't be both. The edition of 500 is also unknown and unreported.)

Publisher: Unknown (Again, all legitimate Dali dealers know that Les Heures Claires in Paris, France was the publisher of the "Divine Comedy."

If someone wants to pay for a work with such certification they they will get what they pay for. Something that will be unreconizeable to any future scholor attempting to authenticate it as a real handsigned Dali work.)

"The Offical Dali Gallery." Official by whose pronouncement? Certainly, the "Divine Comedy" work collected from them by our client is not official accouding to the certificate of authenticity they received.

Park West does not decieve our clients. The deception come from a jealous competitor who cannot compete without lying.

We are not the only gallery that is the target of Hochman's lies. He enjoys no respect from the many other galleries who have also had their clients lied to.

The truth will always prevail.
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Once again, Park West Gallery is missing the point of our claim. Instead of facing up the FRAUD committed on our cruise ship, Park West is trying to make this a gallery vs. gallery argument that has no relevance to our dispute.

Let me first say that unlike Park West Gallery, I can admit when I have made a mistake. I meant to state in my original post, that we had talked to AN official Dali Art Gallery and not THE official Dali Art Gallery. That was a grammatical error on my part. We were merely trying to convey that these comparison prices were from an Ebay seller or an individual. This is NOT the only gallery that we have spoken with. Also, we knew that we had been ripped off PRIOR to contacting these galleries. I would also like to state, for the record, that the Dali Art Galleries that we have contacted have NEVER tried to sell us any artwork, nor have we asked. We simply saw a couple of gallery names pop up while doing research, specifically the USA Today article that investigated cruise ship art gallery frauds.

Forget for a moment that I even mentioned ANY other gallery. So, let's talk about one of MANY lies the auctioneer, Stewart, told us on our ship. The auctioneer and Park West Gallery tried to pass these Dali paintings off as ORIGINAL Dali's. You don't have to talk to any gallery to find out that this is a lie, any Dali book will do.

We simply wanted a painting that Dali had touched himself. That's why we were looking at the pencil signed Dali's, but since they were (supposedly) in the $6,000 + range, we inquired about the block signed Dali's. We weren't interested in these paintings at first because they were created using wood blocks. Although we are novice when it comes to art, we aren't idiots. Often an artist will create a painting, and it is then duplicated using various techniques. These reproductions are rarely touched by the artist, especially ones as famous and popular as Dali. So even though these paintings were BLOCK signed, that was meaningless to us as this signature was just a reproduction from the original painting. My wife asked our auctioneer did Dali create these paintings as well, or is it another artists copy of what Dali did? So did Dali just supervise the process? The auctioneer then told us that no Dali HIMSELF created these paintings using wood blocks from his original painting. That is a LIE. A number of books and references will detail that Dali DID NOT create these other paintings, just the originals. He then went back and HAND SIGNED some of the duplicated paintings, but the regular block signed paintings were never touched by Dali.

Park West Gallery can try to explain/cover up what the auctioneer was attempting to convey, but I'm sorry fraud is fraud. And a lie is a lie. We asked the auctioneer, Stewart, THREE TIMES during the preview So, Dali created THIS painting. He actually touched and created this painting himself. And all THREE times the auctioneer told us yes and went into detail on how DALI did this.

So, Bill, forget we ever mentioned another gallery, the aforementioned facts ALONE constitute fraud. Park West Gallery tried to pass off these Dali's as original works of art and that is a simply not true (something that seems to be a trend with your company, based on other Rip Off Reports and other websites). We're hoping that Park West Gallery will admit that they made a mistake, or specifically our auctioneer made a mistake. Although when speaking with a supervisor from Park West Galleries, my wife was told that she, the supervisor, would have the auctioneer call us at home to clear up what we misunderstood. When my wife declined that offer, she stated that we had already spoken with Stewart enough on the ship as he was the one who lied to us. She then asked my wife What are you afraid of? (A great line coming from a supposed supervisor in the Customer Service Department). All Sales are Final DOES NOT apply when fraud is committed. We have contacted our lawyer and we're fully prepared to pay a retainer that's actually MORE than the price of the art pieces that we bought. THIS HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT THE MONEY. It has ALWAYS been about not feeling victimized.

If we do not receive a refund, (NOT a bid credit) then we will have no choice but to file the lawsuit. We also look forward to warning other would be victims at the LAND AUCTION at the Wyndham Garden Airport Hotel on Saturday, September 18 in our hometown of Nashville, TN, pending this matter's resolution. Also checkout our website.www.parkwestgalleryscams.com
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#5 Consumer Suggestion

I am with you

AUTHOR: J.j. - (U.S.A.)

I boarded the Carnival from June 26 to July 3 right prior to your trip. I purchased one piece of Rembrant and two piece of Peter Max. I do agree with you the appraisal vaule by Park West is too excessive. we, as comsumers, need to stand together to fight for our right to be able to return our purchases if we feel we are induced to buy. but, on the other hand, I won't trust any art work sell on Ebay. just like you don't buy big name art work form mom and pop store down the street neither.
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#6 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Bill Smith is FOS

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

In response to the comments of Bill Smith of Park west

1. I have NEVER stated to anyone that we are "Official Dali Gallery" check my website.www.daligallery.com

2. I would be willing to put my comments in writing. No one has ever asked.

3 The IFAA did not ask Mr. Smith my credentials. They said because of my long standing reputation as an honest Dali dealer,I could become a member

4.Our Divine Comedy works are real. In the art business, prints do not come with provenance. Provenance refers to the previous owners of the works. This is done only with one of a kind works. We give a certificate that is required by law.

Mr. Smith is WRONG in his statement"All Dali dealers know that"Divine Comedy" was published in 1964.According to Albert Field 1959-1963.

If Park West is showing collectors a letter that Dali signed authenticating his signiture be sure that the letter refers specifically to the work in question.

In question should be inflated appraisals that the owner of Park West shows to cruise ship passengers
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#7 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Bill Smith false statements

AUTHOR: Bruce Hochman - (U.S.A.)

Mr. Smith also stated "He enjoys no respect from the many other galleries who have had their clients lied to'

Which galleries Mr. Smith?

The bottom line is How come the appraiser that Park West uses on the divine comedy prints they sell refuses to appraise the works?He will only authenticate them.He appraises other Dali art,why not these?

Lastly, There is in my posession a notorized document signed by Dali that states he disovows any association to the Albaretto family. I also have an article from a German newspaper(Aug 8th,2004) that states that there is an ongoing investigation into the authenticity of the Albaretto collection of Dali works with forensic expert testimony that the contracts between Dali and Albaretto were typed on a typwriter that was not manufactured at the time the contracts were signed.
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#8 Consumer Comment

Same deal with Royal Caribbean...

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

Hello everyone.

I just experienced the EXACT same deal with Royal Caribbean. I highly suggest not going on any cruises anymore...my wife and I won't.

We purchased a Kinkade that "...sells on land for $700 to $1000..." for $270. Go to www.thomaskinkade.com and you can buy it for $285!

I called Royal Caribbean many times and spent a lot of time on hold. They gave me the run-around and obviously don't care that Park West is ripping off people on their ships.
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