A class action lawsuit was filed today against Park West Gallery, Inc., PWG Florida, Inc., Vista Fine Art, LLC d/b/a Park West at Sea, and Albert Scaglione (Docket No. 09-cv-11392). Park West Gallery, Inc. is located and headquartered in Southfield, Michigan and is the largest operator of art auctions on cruise ships in the United States.
The class action alleges a Class consisting of all persons who purchased artwork while attending one of Park West's shipboard art auctions conducted on famous cruise lines: Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival, Norwegian, Oceana, Disney and Holland America.
The complaint seeks damages and other appropriate relief for the Class and charges the Defendants with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. Section 1961, state consumer protection laws, breach of contract, breach of warranty and the common law.
Plaintiffs allege that defendants operated a fraudulent scheme to target the naive art purchaser by touting that the artwork sold at these shipboard auctions were good investments that would appraise for many more times the purchase price, when, in fact, the artwork plaintiffs received was either of low value, worthless or fake. The complaint also alleges that Park West sold phony appraisals to art purchasers, and that Park West conducted its on-board art auctions while cruise ships were traveling in international waters in an effort to avoid application of state consumer protection laws to its illegal activities.
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My husband and I started cruising in the early 1990s and at that time discovered the onboard art sales. We started off by purchasing low-cost items but never because of the way they were touted by the auction staff but because we liked the pictures. Later on, as we got invitations, we started attending the VIP art auctions that were held in Bellevue, WA. As time went on, we also became more discriminating in our selections and picked up mostly CP lots which were both originals and and augmented pictures. We have also met a number of the artists both at the VIP auctions and occasionally on cruises. We have never felt the artwork sold to us to be fake. But, as one of the responders here commented, you do need to do your homework.
Also, don’t buy strictly for the investment value. Purchase only items that you like and would hang on your own walls. We ran into that same kind of thing purchasing handmade carpets in the Middle East. Many people were buying them for the investment value and were m disappointed on their return to the states to find out that they weren’t worth as much as they thought they would be. We only ever purchased one because we liked it.
Posted by George & Robyn McElvy
We have purchased a total of 15 pieces of art work over the years from PWG. We purchased both on board NCL cruise ships and at VIP inventions. When this corona virus hit our IRA, was depleted to a very low due to the stock market crash. This was our main source of income along with social security. The monthly payments to the Park West Bank were more than we could handle. We contacted PWG to see about returning one of the last pieces we purchased to lower our payment at the bank to save our credit. Their answer was absolutely not.
In this time of need it did no good to ask for help. Sad but true.
Posted by Anonymous
I worked at PWG two months ago, in their Help Desk department. The Americans working there are more concerned with being pretentious about saving money having most of their I.T. department outsourced to India, than they are about enabling cooperation, accountability, and practicing common decency towards co-workers. The smug, 'entitled' mean behavior of their I.T. staff is outrageous.
Posted by Donna P.
Have any of the above people been to the Park West Gallery in Michigan? If not, I suggest you go to clear your mind on what is real and what is not. This gallery is very large, beautiful and it has been in business for many years at sea and in Michigan. Many originals are acquired through private collections that were sold by wealthy people to the gallery. Some are bought through famous auction houses and offered again through Park West Gallery. Many artists like Tarkay, who worked and produced many artworks just for Park West Gallery are sold at the gallery and also at sea. I met a number of the artists that work for Park West through the gallery and at the gallery. Tarkay was one of them. My experience is that nothing that they produce is fake. And yes, some artworks do have a sample from a limited edition when it comes to a serigraph or a lithograph, these samples are shown at auction at sea. That is what was seen in a cart, waiting to be placed back into a locker onboard the cruise line. The one you receive is shipped from the edition from the gallery.( Perhaps they were doing inventory and needed to leave the cart outside the locker door to complete the inventory which can take all day in some cases I'm told. It does mean that it is not of value nor taken care of. All artworks at sea are insured and cannot be removed without paperwork. If caught doing so, there are stiff consequences. ) If it is a last one of the edition you can win the bid on that item at a discounted price. I bought many of those and reframed them. For those of you who do not know, there are famous serigraphs and lithographs at The Louvre and in very old books that are very valuable. Just because it does not look like a "real painting" does not mean that it is not real. I over heard some passengers from England stating, "None of that is real" They are SOOOO wrong! I want to mention also, that there are other galleries that want to discredit Park West online so that they can perhaps take their very successful business away from them so THEY can win the bid to take over their spot on the cruise lines. I have bought many artworks from the gallery and I am pleased with my investments. Lastly, perhaps the person that re-appraised and bought your artwork was the one that ripped you off! Why? so that you could sell to them for cheap and then they could re- sell it for thousands!! (This is just a thought and something you should consider is possible!) Trust in this gallery. I for one DO.
Posted by Greg Zemlansky
I won a grand-prize on the Carnival Victory cruise ship by Park West Gallery and never got it1...They said they would deliver it by room service. I asked if it was food?....They said no. They never told me what it was and never give me paper work. They told me it was a surprise. It sure was a surprise....I never got anything!...Consumer Service on the ship didn't know a thing about it and they couldn't reach the people at the art gallery on the ship!
Posted by Steve V.
has anyone heard of any autographed baseballs that were fake from park west gallery on these cruises?
Posted by Jerry R
A few weeks ago we were on a Carnival cruise and attended a Park West auction. They would claim "This painting is worth $17,000, this piece is valued at $6,800" etc, etc,. A few people spent a few thousand dollars. A few hours after the auction, I came across three carts loaded with at least 60-70 of these SAME "Very valuable" pieces of art stacked on end, left unattended in a hallway. These carts were there for at least a few hours. According to what Park West told us at the auction, there had to have been several hundred thousand dollars worth of artwork there. My question is IF they are so "valuable" why would they leave them there unattended for such an extended time????
Posted by Kel
I will be contacting the Federal Trade commission as well. I just returned from a cruise this month. And already attempted to cancel. After 6 calls, 4 different CSR for a week at Park West and a big run around I am now awaiting my "1 to 2 billing cycles" to get a credit. However, from all I found online, it is sketchy I will. As well the cruise line acted surprised this is taking place on their ships. I find that a bit surprising and sketchy too. Maybe if they were to get a class action too for partaking in collecting the money for park West on sign and sail accounts, things would change.
Posted by David K.
What was the outcome of this lawsuit?
Posted by Nan
The Federal Trade Commission invites victims of Park West Gallery in collusion with cruise lines to file complaints on the ftc.gov website or by calling 202-326-2222. I was victimized by PWG during shipboard "auctions" and also have not received refunds for items PWG never delivered in 2016. Please file your complaints about PWG fraudulent practices with the FTC.
Posted by R. Currie
My parents for years purchased art work from Patk West. We recently discovered that a Renoir scretch
That they purchased for $87,000 is worth $3500. I have an art appraiser scheduled to come evaluate the other pieces, and there are many (50+).
We will be interested in a suit against Park West
Posted by Brandi
I also was naive enough to purchase a large quantity of art from Park West. Luckily most of my pieces were because I loved them. I purchased a Rembrandt Millenium series appraised at $3150. I FINALLY sold it for a mere $400. Almost $2k less than it was purchased for. I have a Tarkay, no one will touch it believing it to be a fake.
The dealers here in Ohio laugh when I say where I purchased it from. They said that the art dealers around here all know their tricks and believe almost everything to be fake. They won't touch it. I think the guy bought my Rembrandt trying to be nice and figured he could make a couple bucks.
Posted by Willem Reese
If not actually illegal, their procedures are very sleazy at the least. I sometimes go to their "shows" while on cruises, just for amusement. Of the art and artists with which I have some familiarity, it's obvious that what they're offering is waaaaay overpriced, even if genuine. You also have to listen closely to their patter to catch certain terms like "open edition" (= unlimited number of prints can be made, no rarity at all), and other obfuscating or oddly phrased descriptions that indicate the works are not particularly collectible, but maybe let them claim to have met the letter of the law in disclosure.
On a recent cruise, one of their girls tried to tell me things about their somewhat worthless "millennium edition" Rembrandt etchings that I knew were not true. During the auction, she came over and used "time-share" type verbal prods to try to get me to bid. You'd have to be pretty naive, unduly trusting, or unfamiliar with art to buy anything from these guys.
Posted by gail rizzo
purchased a Salvatore Dali print while on cruise ship on 10/11/2005. Believe it to be a fake. I have an appraisal from Park West Gallery and a personal letter from Morris Shapito, swearing it is an original with provenance. don't believe any of it.
Posted by shannon wildharber
I have purchased several pieces from this company and not only have I repeatedly questioned the integrity of the art, but I have been subjected to repeated identity theft due to their lack of security
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