Cruise Ship Art Dealer Faces Class Action
Promising deals, gallery sold works at grossly inflated prices
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2008 6:07 AM CDT
Park West Gallery, which sells art on cruise ships, is facing a class-action lawsuit for grossly overestimating the prices of works.   (AP Photo/Carnival Cruise Lines, Andy Newman)
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(Newser) – Park West Gallery in Southfield, Mich., claims to be "the world's largest art dealer," flogging more works than the major auction houses through its sales on half a dozen cruise lines. But while the onboard auctions promise "good investments," the New York Times reports that Park West is selling works at tremendously inflated prices. Now the gallery is facing a class-action lawsuit by disgruntled collectors.

One cruise passenger bought three prints for $73,000, below Park West's low estimates, only to discover once on land that they "are probably worth $10,000, if they're even real." Park West advertises major savings off artworks' "appraised value"—but those sky-high appraisals have no connection to the real market price. A lawyer for the plaintiffs compared the gallery's tactics to a claim that "my house is worth $50 million because I say so."