fbpx

Online Storage Auctions Could Lead To Charges

Here’s a video of what we get about 5 calls a week on:

When an online storage auction occurs, the self-storage operator only gets to keep the amount it is owed with any excess auction proceeds going to the renter. Generally, the self-storage operator’s lien is only for a few hundred dollars so, the scam artist can profit by staging their units so that it looks valuable to the auction buyer when, in fact, it may be worthless. Since all auctions are final the auction buyer is stuck with the trade and the scam artist absconds with their money.

We get calls on a regular basis of storage facilities taking pictures of the defaulted units, and when the buyers get to the unit they are empty or half of the items are gone or things are missing. All of which are Illegal, no matter if it is an online or live auction.

By law, the storage facility can break the lock, take pictures, and close it and place a security lock on the unit. Since they only have a security lien against the property – they are not permitted to go shopping. PERIOD. If you have seen this happen – report them to the Justice Department for violating the lien law.

When a storage auction occurs, the self-storage operator only gets to keep the amount it is owed with any excess auction proceeds going to the renter. Generally, the self-storage operator’s lien is only for a few hundred dollars so, the scam artist can profit by staging their units so that it looks valuable to the auction buyer when, in fact, it may be worthless. Since all auctions are final the auction buyer is stuck with the trade and the scam artist absconds with their money.

Scam artists rent self-storage units, sometimes under a false name to hide their identity, perpetuate a fraud and then run off with an unsuspecting auction buyer’s money, never to be seen or heard from again. (To prevent this some Storage Centers require photo ID’s from all renters.)

Purposeful Default

The scammer may make a couple of payments to avoid any suspicion and then, after a few months, will purposely default knowing the unit will be auctioned. (Renters who fail to pay their rent for 90 days are usually auctioned off to pay the unpaid rent.)

Staging

Scammers know exactly what auction bidders are looking for and they stage their units to give the illusion of  hidden value. Empty flat screen TV or computer boxes, and boxes marked “jewelry”, or “baseball cards” will be placed artfully around the unit. Since the scammers know that self-storage operators are permitted to move auction items to another location prior to auction, they will weigh down the boxes with rocks so as not to arouse suspicion.

Advantage Scam Artist

Since auction bidders are only allowed to view the contents of a unit from the outside (remember, they are not allowed to touch anything) they can see exactly what the scammers want them to see and nothing else. They can see the boxes with the shape and markings suggesting great value and are lured into bidding higher and higher. All it takes is for two bidders to be taken in and the price skyrockets. Since auctions rules dictate that all sales are final – the unsuspecting buyers is left with empty boxes or boxes full of trash – and a bit loss!

Don’t be fooled

Inexperienced self-storage auction bidders are very often taken in by this somewhat transparent trick. Every auction unit is not owned by a renter going through hard times, sometimes they are owned by scam artists. Remember, if it looks too good to be true – it probably is!

By law, the storage facility can break the lock, take pictures, and close it and place a security lock on the unit. Since they only have a security lien against the property – they are not permitted to go shopping. PERIOD. If you have seen this happen – report them to the Justice Department for violating the lien law.

Purposeful Default

The scammer may make a couple of payments to avoid any suspicion and then, after a few months, will purposely default knowing the unit will be auctioned. (Renters who fail to pay their rent for 90 days are usually auctioned off to pay the unpaid rent.)

Then they will return after the auction to buy their unit back to avoid the storage fees with the new owners.

Staging

Scammers know exactly what auction bidders are looking for and they stage their units to give the illusion of  hidden value. Empty flat screen TV or computer boxes, and boxes marked “jewelry”, or “baseball cards” will be placed artfully around the unit. Since the scammers know that self-storage operators are permitted to move auction items to another location prior to auction, they will weigh down the boxes with rocks so as not to arouse suspicion.
Several of our buyers have called us and told us, and it has been verified, that there are storage unit companies that pack – or stage storage units. This is highly illegal and can shut down the facility when they are caught.

Advantage Scam Artist

Since auction bidders are only allowed to view the contents of a unit from the outside (remember, they are not allowed to touch anything) they can see exactly what the scammers want them to see and nothing else. They can see the boxes with the shape and markings suggesting great value and are lured into bidding higher and higher.

All it takes is for two bidders to be taken in and the price skyrockets. Since auctions rules dictate that all sales are final – the unsuspecting buyers is left with empty boxes or boxes full of trash – and a big loss!

Don’t be fooled

Inexperienced self-storage auction bidders are very often taken in by this somewhat transparent trick. Every auction unit is not owned by a renter going through hard times, sometimes they are owned by scam artists. Remember, if it looks too good to be true – it probably is!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *