Owners claimed expertise and customer following that was not substantiated, resulting in significant financial loss.
When I met with ****** ****** to discuss a liquidation sale, a concern was their ability to deal with a large collection of porcelain dolls. ****** assured me that they "had a large group of doll followers that would help bring in good prices for them". At a later meeting, Sheila ****** told me that they would "space out the sales of the dolls so as not to glut the market". Based on their assurances, I invested another $150 to finish all the dolls with wigs, shoes, lashes, and/or stands. Unfortunately, neither of their claims was true. I sold two from the collection the month before I moved for $300. With all their expertise and customer following, the ****** "sold" the remaining 22 dolls, valued between $1600-$2000, for a grand total of $65. If they had been honest with me about their ability to handle this specialized merchandise, other arrangements would have been made. When I called to try to salvage any remaining dolls, Sheila ****** told me that I had a lot of "little, nothing dolls" other than the big ones in the collection, trying to make it seem that I didn't remember what I had given them to sell. Fortunately, I have pictures of everything I gave her and, try as I might, I can't see any "little, nothing" dolls in there anywhere. The body count adds up and all the "little, nothing" dolls, including those standing 39" tall, are gone.
While the financial loss is painful, it is being lied to that is worse. If they had been able to do what they promised, we would have both done well. I shouldn't have to take the hit because they didn't or couldn't. I think the amount of $750 is a fair settlement.
Business' Initial Response
When the consumer first contacted us she inquired about doing a closing home sale on site. As was explained, when doing an on site sale we have more control over the pricing as the items each have an individual price tag on them and we have 2 or 3 days to sell on site. First day of an on site sale items are priced as marked; as the sale continues the pricing is reduced by a percentage until most, if not all, items are sold.
When doing a consignment to auction, it is up to the auctioneer to sell the items. Auction sales are done in a matter of hours, not days as an on site sale would have been. We have no control over the sale or what the items might sell for. I do believe this was clearly explained as we spoke several times over the summer months before the consumer decided which type of sale best suited her needs. Our position in an "auction pickup" as was chosen by the consumer, is to do the work of tagging, packing, removing and delivering the items for them to the auction house for the auctioneer to sell at his discretion.
It was not said that we/they (the auction house) would "space out the sales of the dolls so as not to glut the market". What I did explain is that the auctioneer may hold the dolls for a specialty sale, he may put dolls into several sales or he may sell all at once. I do not know because all sales are at the discretion of the auctioneer. I do not ever speak for the auctioneer as to how/when he will do a sale or how much the final "hammer" price will be.
The day the consumer called to "salvage" any remaining dolls, I explained what I could do. I would call the auction house and ask them what they had left and hold the dolls for her as she requested me to do. In response to the "little, nothing dolls" she forgot to add the rest of the sentence "for lack of a better word" . I was trying to get a mental visual on what she had as there were dolls of varying sizes and several months had passed since I had first seen the dolls. I would never insult a person and try to make them feel as though they didn't remember what they had.
The best compliment we have ever received from a client while preparing the contents and "treasures" from their home for sale was, "you love my things like I love my things". We have lived by that compliment for 30 years in handling an estate-we may not "love" their things the way they do but we have always respected and will continue to respect that they "love" their things. We do the best job we can even though we have no control over what items will bring at auction.