Hello world and fellow humans... I am the administrator of a Facebook action group of 60 members and growing, most of whom are victims of misrepresentation and misleading sales techniques regarding the ongoing leasing service of Chinese pop art purchased through Art Futures Group, Hong Kong.
To give background on these slippery eels, AFG's brokers follow a well rehearsed script pushing naive people to buy 'mid level' Chinese contemporary artists with the golden hook; a 2 year rental contract already in place ( at 6% of the painting value), 5 years free art storage/insurance and the expert advice of 'senior art specialists' to help sell the artwork 'when the time is right'. None of us have received 5 years free storage, only 3 years, as the art was supposed to be on lease to external clients for the first 2 years (as per AFG's documentation). Any of us whose art lease/s has expired are now paying around HK$5000/year for storage/insurance. Not one of us has had their art re-lease after the initial 2 year 'already in place' lease and each of us have been told the same excuses, i. E. market saturated, market soft, Chinese only like new art (not already been leased), et al.
Even though some of the group members are still being offered art for sale with 'lease already in place'! We need to engage a law firm in Hong Kong, find out how to close them down and how to get our money back. There are also several copycat businesses setting up in Hong Kong and the rest of the world, selling the 'mid level artist with lease already in place' package.
Most of the group are residents of Hong Kong, some of us from Australia, UK and USA. I am in Australia, and as the driver for the group need to get to Hong Kong as soon as possible to check where our art really is, speak with police, lawyers and get the word out before AFG shuts down and disappears to set up somewhere else!
As of writing this, media have written about AFG and our FB group Bloomberg article and we are trying to get Hong Kong TV exposure also. I also started a blog at Complaints Board which has more victims of AFG and other art fraud and fake leasing packages. I am seeking justice for all of us, many who saw this as a way to retire, buy a home and to have a regular income (from the supposed leasing at 6%).
I appeal to any of you who have been scammed out of large amounts of money or know of people trusting salesmen, believing their pitch, only to find themselves seriously out of pocket... is that you or a friend? As I am on a disability pension for a pain condition, it would change my life as for many of the FB group members, by receiving your support in getting our money back or the paintings sold. Here are my five paintings, for which I paid HK$1.2 million (about AUS$200k at 2012 rates).