Negative Reviews Left for an Estate Sale and what Companies Have to Say

It’s not difficult to find many horrifying negative reviews left for estate sale companies on the web and social media, while we try to focus on the positive side of news, it’s important to address the damage these reviews have on a company’s reputation when read by consumers that only hear one side of the story.

Most companies are bound by privacy, therefore you’ll rarely see a detailed response from a company which is also hurtful for their estate sale business.

In an unregulated estate sale industry, the liquidator’s reputation is an important indicator of the type of company they are, trustworthy or not.  After all, you’re trusting them with your family heirlooms and most prized possessions.

We investigated a few of the negative reviews left for some liquidation companies by clients and wanted to dig a bit deeper to find out what really happened from the company’s perspective.

One estate sale company with many positive reviews, and a history of successful estate sales recently received the following negative review on their social media site:

“BEWARE of this company before you hire, they owe my mother $20,000 and she has had no luck collecting it, do not trust them, and do not use them” Client’s dependent.

At first glance, you would consider this company a fraud, untrustworthy, and a business you don’t ever want to deal with, you can’t be blamed, online reviews are a first introduction, and the first impression people gather about a business.  But you have to ask yourself, are they a fact or a rant?

Photo: http://www.reviewtrackers.com/

Photo: http://www.reviewtrackers.com/

A negative review such as this is devastating to a small business, we wanted to know the facts and reached out to the company, they wanted to remain anonymous while we reported their side of the story.

The company representative was eager to answer, and did not deny that someone is owed this money, but why? You see, estate sale companies sign contracts with clients to hold an estate sale.

The person signing the contract provides a power of attorney if the owner is incapacitated or unable to sign for themselves.  The estate sale takes place, and monies are distributed to the legal owner in this case, the woman providing the power of attorney.

The company representative continued by adding, “after the sale was performed, the legal owner, a gentleman placed in a nursing home due to a horrible car accident, contacted us as the legal owner of the real and personal property, he provided proof, and insisted the power of attorney provided by his (x-wife) is a falsified document.  Therefore the money is held until this issue is resolved and the legal owner can be determined”.

So how will you resolve this situation?  “All the monies owed sit with the attorney until they legally confirm who the money should go to. (Unfortunately), we are left a bad review because we are doing our job in protecting the legalities of this issue.  We’re doing what’s right.” said the estate sale company and there’s nothing we can do about releasing funds.

You see, there are always two sides to every story.  Placing judgement on a company based on a few negative reviews is unfair, specifically the estate sale industry.

We followed up on a few more reviews left by consumers for companies, all chose to remain anonymous and the majority were quite similar.

They sold my parents stuff only to make money…

An estate sale company is hired to sell all the personal contents at the “highest value possible”, they earn a percentage of the sale, and disperse the monies to the legal owners of the personal property or place the funds in a trust, if it’s a probate case.

Estate liquidators are always in the middle, even the most reputable, trusted, and sought after companies will receive a backlash from their clients at one point or another, why?

It’s an emotional, and personal industry with multiple parties involved, feuding siblings, x-husbands, x-wives, greedy family members, nosy neighbors, and the list goes on and on.

“People hire us to sell the items, only to scream later you sold our items, ironic isn’t it?” said the owner of a very successful and sought after estate sale company in Washington.

They stole money from me, they owed me more and I never got it…

The seller signs a contract for the estate sale company to perform the sale and the entire contents of the home are included, furniture, jewelry, vehicles, etc… After the sale, the estate sale client is shocked when they receive a check they feel is insufficient.   Why?

After the contract is signed, the client decides to remove items from the home and is shocked when he/she is being charged for the fraction or full cost of the item removed by the estate sale company.

It’s my stuff and I can do whatever I want with it, they wouldn’t let me get my stuff.

While you may consider them your personal items, when you sign a contract with an estate sale company, you are entering a partnership that shares in the sale of your personal items (inventory).  Therefore, the inventory is no longer yours, a fraction of it is for the length of the agreement.

Always sign the estate sale contract after you’ve arranged to keep certain items, this will avoid any misunderstandings and future issues.

They sold my items too cheap, I could’ve made more.

Many clients also get upset because they believe their items could’ve been sold for a higher price.  Remember, it’s in the best interest of the companies to sell the items higher, they make a commission from selling, and they always try since it also benefits them, but it’s not always possible.

All the companies we spoke with agree, items are worth what the market is willing to pay for the value of that item today.  Additional factors play a role in the success of an estate sale such as weather, holidays, and unforeseen circumstances that decrease expected foot traffic to the estate sale.

What can you do as an estate sale client?

  • Do your due diligence and hire a good estate sale company
  • Verify the company is insured, and bonded
  • Always meet the people you’re you are hiring face-to-face
  • Only hire companies that work within a legal and binding contract (never verbal)
  • Read and understand all the details within the contract (unsure?…ask before signing)
  • Do not remove items from the sale after signing an estate sale contract, you could be responsible for the monies owed on the items removed.
  • While many liquidators can or try to estimate what you will make on a sale, the final numbers are rarely accurate, so do not place an expectation in your mind.
  • If you hold a sale and unsatisfied, work directly with the company to resolve the matter, and always review your contract before leaving a negative review, did the company act within the contract provisions? Did you?

Like any relationship, personal or business, communication is crucial to avoid any problems and achieve a successful estate sale for your family.  Greed tends to play a big part in watching relationships go sour.  Not all companies are good, and it’s important to do your part in choosing the best estate sale company.

“Greed, in the end fails, even the greedy” Cathryn Louis

Professional estate sale companies and reasonable clients know to respect and honor our elderly and their memories by handling situations fairly.  Avoid family feuds because they do not honor the memory of your loved one, after all we will all be seniors someday, but we tend to always forget this fact when greed takes over.

Professional liquidators rely on their reputation, and would not simply jeopardize it and risk their future in the liquidation business, therefore one must always question the other side, and make a valid judgement in a highly emotional industry such as this one.

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