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Vincent van Gogh's self-portrait, 1889 Alamy Stock Photo

No 'clear' legal breach by Van Gogh events but consumers asked to report any 'misleading' practice

Ireland’s consumer watchdog has encouraged consumers to contact it if they have evidence of any ‘misleading commercial practice’.

IRELAND’S CONSUMER WATCHDOG has not identified any “clear breach” of consumer protection law by two similar Dublin events showcasing the art of Van Gogh, but any evidence of “misleading” practice should be reported.

Two exhibitions have both been selling tickets for ‘immersive’ displays of the artist’s work in Dublin this summer – one in the RDS and one at an undisclosed location.

The similar names, themes and timeframes of the two events have confused some customers who were not aware they were separate exhibitions or bought a ticket for one while meaning to attend the other. 

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission confirmed to The Journal that it could not identify a clear breach of consumer protection law from an initial review of both events’ websites.  

However, it has encouraged consumers to contact the commission if they have any evidence of misleading commercial practice. 

‘Van Gogh: An Immersive Journey’ – is opening at the RDS at Shelbourne Hall in May. It was founded by a company called Theatre of Light owned by two Irish brothers and is making its ”world premiere” in Dublin.

‘Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience’, organised by Fever and Exhibition Hub, was also due to start in May at a “secret location” in Dublin.

The latter event has been postponed due to “production delays”. It has previously  operated in cities in the US and UK.

Ticketholders have expressed confusion about the two events on social media and callers to RTÉ Radio One’s Liveline programme yesterday afternoon described looking for a refund when they realised they had purchased a ticket for one exhibition but wanted to attend the other.

Van Gogh RDS The Van Gogh event in the RDS

Van Gogh Fever Event The Van Gogh event by Fever

In a statement to The Journal today, the CCPC explained that Section 44 of the Consumer Protection Act 2007 sets out that a commercial practice involving marketing or advertising is misleading if it would be likely to

  • cause the average consumer to confuse a competitor’s product with the trader’s product, or a competitor’s trade name, trade mark or some other distinguishing feature or mark with that of the trader,
  • and to make a transactional decision that the average consumer would not otherwise make.

“In deciding whether a commercial practice is misleading, the commercial practice shall be considered in its factual context, taking account of all of its features and the circumstances,” the CCPC said.

“Based on an initial review of both websites, we cannot identify a clear breach of consumer protection law at this time.

“However, if a consumer has any evidence which implies that there may have been a misleading commercial practice in relation to either exhibition, we would encourage them to provide the CCPC with this supporting evidence by contacting our helpline on 01 4025555 or via the Contact Form on”

The exhibition in the RDS is due to open on 16 May, while a spokesperson for the postponed event told RTÉ it hoped to have more information for customers next week.