Park West, the auction house that runs onboard art auctions and sales on 85 cruise ships, has introduced an industry first: a new art refund policy. Under the new program, customers who become unhappy with their purchase can seek a refund or exchange. Previously, all sales were final.
The policy, which went into effect on September 1, has two options for customers experiencing buyer's remorse:
40-Day Refund: Park West customers can return their art for a refund up to 40 days after the date of purchase. The refund amount will be the purchase price minus the buyer's premium (up to $1,000 per piece) and any shipping costs.
40-Month Exchange: Alternately, customers have 40 months in which to exchange their work of art for another in the Park West collection. You will receive a credit equal to the amount paid for the work (including buyer's premium) but minus any shipping and handling costs. When you choose a new piece of art, you will only be charged for shipping and handling and any price difference if the new piece of art is more expensive than the original work. The exchanges must be made directly with Park West Gallery -- the credits cannot be used at an auction.
We could not reach a Park West representative for comment, but Travel Weekly reports that the new satisfaction guarantee was not implemented in response to a July 2008 New York Times article, which discussed several class action lawsuits brought against the company for misrepresenting the value of its artwork onboard cruise ships.
--by Erica Silverstein, Associate Editor
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Park West Introduces New Refund Policy
September 10, 2008