BBB Business Review

BBB Accredited Business since 06/02/1997

Empire Auctioneers

(818) 340-86096412 Independence Avenue, Woodland HillsCA 91367

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Description

This company ecializes in auctioning art and jewelry.

BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since 06/02/1997

BBB has determined that Empire Auctioneers meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 13 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that lowered Empire Auctioneers' rating include:

  • 6 complaints filed against business

Factors that raised Empire Auctioneers' rating include:

  • Length of time business has been operating.
  • Response to 6 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.

We currently are not publishing the BBB rating while we review a pattern of complaints against this business.

Customer Complaints SummaryRead complaint details

6 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 0 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Advertising / Sales Issues3
Problems with Product / Service3
Billing / Collection Issues0
Delivery Issues0
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints 6

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

0 Customer Reviews Customer Reviews on Empire Auctioneers

Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience
Neutral Experience
Negative Experience
Total Customer Reviews 0 Customer Reviews

Complaint Breakdown by Resolution

Complaint Resolution Log (6)
10/09/2014Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint
I placed a bid for $200.00 over the opening bid, and $100.00 over the second bidder. The auctioneer said "he'd call me" if he could sell me the item.
The auctioneer asked for an opening bid of 2500.00 for a ring. No bids were made. He then reduced it to 2000.00. I made a bid for 2000.00. Another bidder made a 2100.00 bid. I made a 2200.00. The auctioneer asked for further bids....none were made, and instead of declaring me the new owner of the item, he said he'd "call me" if he could accept the bid I made, which was the highest of two bids, and was over the starting bid of $2,000.00 requested by the auctioneer.

Desired Settlement
I want to purchase the item for 2200.00.

Final Consumer Response
I would like to advise the BBB that Empire and I have resolved our dispute. I am pleased with their response and would continue to do business with Empire and would refer them to my friends and family. I appreciated their prompt response and willingness to work with me.

01/08/2014Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint
company sold a emerald ring advertised as confiscated from Honolulu Police Dept written on the appraisal @33k a bogus info overinflated not worth $650
On 11/24/2013 we attended an auction which was advertised in the newspapers as property confiscated from the Honolulu police dept. This bogus info is stated on the actual appraisal from American International Gemologists AIG located *************************************************** This appraisal is overinflated by one hundred times and falsely advertised at $33,200.00. The auctioneer claimed it belonged to a famous individual while bidding was active and later told another lie after bidding was closed. I have taken this emerald ring to two separate reputable companies and have been told it is not worth one thousand dollars. On ebay similar rings are being sold at $650 and are from China. I have been in contact with the Honolulu Police Department who stated they only deal with Rosen Auctions not Empire or Henson Auctions both on the receipt. I have been in contact with Empire who directed me to the Actioneer who in supposed to be in Mexico. I feel I have been scammed and want to return the ring.

Desired Settlement
I want to return this ring as it is not as described in the false advertisement and also in the value claimed in excess of tens of thousands of dollars. A huge discrepancy. I do not want to hassle a small claim court action or make a claim to the secretary of state of California under the company's bond. Please help

Business Response
Contact Name and Title: ***********
Contact Phone: ************
Contact Email: ******@pacbell.net
Henson Auctions conducted the auction that ********** attended where he purchased the Emerald Ring. Empire Auctioneers has nothing to do with this auction sale.

Empire provided Henson the use of credit card machines on accommodation basis but Empire do not receive any portion of the sales from Henson auctions. However, Henson agreed that Empire will issue refund for customer returns.

********** may send the item to Empire Auctioneers to the following address: ************************************************** The item must be returned with insurance and with proof of receipt. Upon receipt of the item, Empire Auctioneers will issue a refund to **********. If there's any questions, ********** may contact our office.

01/21/2016Problems with Product / Service
05/25/2015Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint
The emerald ring that I purchased-similar to the other BBB complaints was not seized by the Honolulu police department. The ring is not worth $33,000.
The appraisal and ring details were supposedly appraised by American international Gemologists at a very fraudulent inflated price and the appraisal was from 2009. I purchased this at auction on 12/20/2014 The auctioneer said that the ring was most likely owned by someone prominent and the Honolulu police department seized the property. This is very untrue, I know this because I am a former employee of the Honolulu Police department and they do not do any types of business transactions with Empire Auctioneers whatsoever. I discovered that the emerald ring after bringing it to the Northwest Gemological Lab located in XXXXX Main Street #105 Bellevue Washington XXXXX that the quality of the Emerald should be classified as a poor quality Beryl stone and is enhanced with glass, glue, and foreign polymers not found in these stones obviously. They also said that the ring is not worth the $33,000 nor is the weight, clarity and quality of the ring described on the original appraisal. This appraisal and documentation from Empire austioneers was provided to me after the sale. I wanted to buy this ring as an engagement ring for my girlfriend, but upon it being inspected by proffessional gemologists in a laboratory, it is not as described, the value of the jewelery is over-inflated/incorrect and the ring has been augmented by polymers and is not a natural stone anymore due to these enhancements. I have been in contact with the auctioneer via Amex and they denied communication and the ring issues. When you search empire auctioneers in a internet search page, the first link to them is the rip off report and they have numerous claims against them including one here on the Better Business Bureau that is identical to mine.

Desired Settlement
I would like a refund for the full amount that I paid to the auctioneer which was $6394.50 and would like to return the ring immediately. The ring is not as described and I have been scammed.

Business Response
The customer first states that the emerald ring in question was not seized by the Honolulu Police Department when in fact it was. We have supporting documents which will prove that the piece was seized by the Honolulu Police Department but Mr. ****** refuses to look at the supporting documents.

Mr. ****** states that the appraisal price is inflated. We state before each auction that the appraisal price is indeed inflated and to be used only for insurance purposes. He agreed this in writing on his invoice.

Most importantly, Mr. ****** states that the emerald ring is not a genuine emerald. He states "poor quality Beryl stone and is enhanced with glass, glue, and foreign polymers not found in these stones obviously. They also said that the ring is not worth the $33,000 nor is the weight, clarity and quality of the ring described on the original appraisal." He claims that he has taken the ring to his local jeweler and this is what the jeweler has said. We have never misrepresented an item. We have offered Mr. ****** to take the ring to GIA (Gemological Institute of America), who is the world's leading authority on gem stones. We also agreed to pay for the cost of the GIA evaluation. They would act as a third party independent judge. We offered to Mr. ****** that if their report came back and the emerald, or any of the other stones, are not what we have represented, we would offer him a full refund. Regretfully, he did not accept our offer which we felt was very fair.

Despite our attempts to please Mr. ****** and prove the validity of our merchandise, regretfully he has chosen to act otherwise. Mr. ****** has buyer's remorse and is doing whatever he can to get his money back. This item was sold on auction with an all sales final policy which is very common in the auction industry.

03/24/2015Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint
I purchased a tennis bracelet that they advertised being worth $27,000, but it is only worth $10,900.
I went to an auction thrown by Empire Auctioneers in Denver, CO in May 2014 at the Sheraton. While there, I bid on a bracelet they said was worth $27,070. I had the winning bid at $6,500. After the buyer's premium and taxes I paid $8,024.41. I had the bracelet appraised a couple days later by *** ****** in Denver. He appraised the bracelet for $3,200. I called Empire Auctioneers to tell them what I found out, they said Len Larson is a crook and basically a pawn shop, so his appraisal does not count. However, out of the kindness of their hearts, they would give me my buyer's premium back, which totaled $975. They said if I wanted to get the bracelet appraised by a nationally accredited jeweler not affiliated with any jewelry company, and it appraises for less than I paid, they would reimburse me. I then had it appraised again by a nationally accredited jeweler not affiliated with any jewelry company, and it appraised for $10,900,which, while still being more than what I paid for it, significantly less than was advertised. I called Empire again and told them what it appraised for. They said they would not reimburse me because it appraised for more than what I paid, but they would give me the buyer's $975 back and sales tax on both $975 they reimbursed. I told them that I would report them for the scam they are, and the gentleman I was speaking to said he did not care.

Desired Settlement
I want full reimbursement for the rest of the price of the bracelet. I do not want the bracelet that they said was worth $27,000, but is only worth $10,900. I feel scammed and I would like my money back. The total owed to me is $5,895.00. I do not want to settle, and I do not want to keep the bracelet.

Business Response
First and foremost, we never called Mr. *** ****** a crook. What we asked Ms. ***** ******** to do was to have the bracelet be appraised by an independent and nationally recognized company like E.G.L. USA (New York) and we would gladly pay for it, but Ms. ******** never contacted us after she had the bracelet for second appraisal and we didn't even got the copy of the said $10,900 appraisal. We sent her three separate checks for the FULL and FINAL settlement in the amount of $2,168.32. First, to pay for the first appraisal with Len Larson for $75.00, then a check to refund the 15% buyer's premium for $975.00 and another check of $1,118.32 for another 15% buyer's premium and sales tax refund.

Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I contacted them the day of the second appraisal. They sent me a check for the appraisal amount. *** ********* appraisal only cost us $25 (which they did not reimburse us for), the second appraisal cost us $75. The problem is not he payment of the appraisal, the problem is they sold me a bracelet saying that it was worth $27,700, when in reality, it was only worth $10,900. Their FULL and FINAL settlement was never finalized by me. They told me they were not going to give me anymore money even after I offered to return the bracelet for a refund. I still will gladly return the bracelet to them for a refund of the remaining monies. I do not like their business practices up to this point, but I would gladly retract my complaint if they will do the moral thing and refund my money in exchange for the bracelet.

Final Business Response
Ms. ***** ******** bought the tennis bracelet in a very good deal for $6,500 which is more than it was appraised for by Mr. Len Larson. Mr. Larson appraised the tennis bracelet for $10,900 because that is the amount that he would be paying for it. Please note that he(Mr. Larson) is a second hand supplier in which if he would buy such bracelet, he would buy it in the amount he appraised it for. We even asked him if he can supply or sell us the same type and quality of bracelet for $6,500, and he said he couldn't. As what our auctioneers always tells our customer prior the start of the auction, "The sale of the item is not contingent upon the jewelry gemological reports' appraised value and or quality. The reports are of the independent opinions of the gemological company. Empire Auctioneers is not affiliated with any gemological company and does not guarantee and/or warrant the contents on the reports." Also, the same statement were written in both bidding cards and invoice where Ms. ******** signed, meaning she did agreed with the terms and conditions of Empire Auctioneers.

01/20/2015Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
The company used questionable valuation reports to sell diamonds and other jewelry "seized by law enforcement "
The company advertised the selling of items seized by law enforcement authority.which in hindsight seems not possible.most importantly,the company used inflated valuation reports from a company to entice customers to buy the items.
I purchased three items from empire on oct-XX-XXXX.total amount @18,120.27 , two diamond tennis bracelet and one colored necklace .paid by two diffrent credit cards .
I took them to my local jewelry appraiser for inspection an dappraisal,the appraiser completed one appraisal and there was quite a difference in the values stated, I also did some comparsion shoping for similar items in the internet which confirmed the differences furhter.

Desired Settlement
return the items and get all refund

Business Response
The customer bought two (2) bracelets in our auction for $14,285.00. He had one (1) bracelet appraised in a jewelry store/pawnshop for $20,527.26, which was almost three (3) times the amount he paid for the said bracelet. With the nature of the auction business and also as stated in the terms and condition of Empire Auctioneers, the customer did agree that All Sales Are Final, No Exchanges, No Returns, No Refunds and No Trade-Ins when he signed the bidding card before the auction started as well as when he signed once again in the sales receipt after the items were purchased. After over 20 years of being in the business and thousands of satisfied customers, we strive for continued customer satisfaction with all our auctions. We feel that the customer is being unrealistic with the complaint. We contacted the jewelry store/pawnshop that the customer used to appraise one of the bracelets bought. They also agreed that the customer got a good deal on the item purchased as they appraised it for almost three times the auction price.

Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
The auction company never mention about the items are no refunds, no returns ,and they didn't explain they were so many unfair rules on the back side of the " contract ", they just asked customers to sign the invoice , they did not say sign the contract !
Auction company should notice all items are no refunds , no returns on the advertising .


Final Business Response
***see attachment***

Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
before the auction start , the auctioneer never explians that the appraisal values on the certificates are on the high side and the auction company will not take any represention, warranty or guarantee of any kind .
and I called the auction company before said I can sent the diamond bracelets to another licensed appraiser to take another time appraisal but the auction company said don't want me to do that . cause they don't agree the apprisal vaule was too low .



Complaint Response Date bumped because: Holiday

Industry Comparison| Chart

Auctioneers

Additional Information

top
Business started: 01/01/1995
Type of Entity

Corporation

Incorporated: July 1995, CA

Business Management
Principal: Mr. Rami Varsha (Owner)
Number of Employees

1

Business Category

Auctioneers

Alternate Business Names
Empire Wholesale Jewelry, Kingston Galleries, Inc.

Map & Directions

Map & Directions

Address for Empire Auctioneers

6412 Independence Avenue

Woodland Hills, CA 91367

To | From

LocationsX

1 Locations

  • 6412 Independence Avenue 

    Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Industry Comparison ChartX

The information in the table below represents an industry comparison of businesses which are of the same relative size. This is based on BBB's database of businesses located in the Counties of Los Angeles, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito. Businesses may engage in more than one type of business. The percent of time the business engages in a type of business is not accounted for. There is no known industry standard for the number of complaints a business can expect. The volume of business and number of transactions may have a bearing on the number of complaints received by BBB.

*Empire Auctioneers is in this range.

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Types of Complaints Handled by BBB

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  • Advertising or Sales
  • Billing or Collection
  • Problems with Products or Services
  • Delivery
  • Guarantee or Warranty

We do not handle workplace disputes, discrimination claims or claims about the quality of health or legal services.

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BBB Complaint Process

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BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview


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BBB Letter Grade Scale

BBB Rating Value
A+ 5
A 4.66
A- 4.33
B+ 4
B 3.66
B- 3.33
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C 2.66
C- 2.33
D+ 2
D 1.66
D- 1.33
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