Storage and Auction House Dirty little tricks of the trade.
The Dishonest Manager Special
Many storage building owners are absolutely dishonest this is why you need to be very wary at storage auctions. It is typical when people move out of their lockers, some will go through their belongings taking only what they want leaving lots of stuff behind. When the owners have to clean them up they save all these leftovers into lockers to be auction later mixing them in with legitimate lockers. We call it a "manager special."
Next when a locker has been abandoned by the renter. They post a storage lien auction notice in the newspaper two weeks prior to the auction. During that two weeks people will call the storage facility office to get some basic information and confirm the auction. The manager will just lie and say it's been canceled or everyone's paid up.They do this because once the auction date and time has passed the contents become their property. Once its belongs to them they get go through everything at their convenience removing the valuables and repacking the rest back into lockers. when they get enough lockers filled for a good auction it's a sweet payday for them.
Some of these storage facilities have really good working relationships with local auction houses, they will move the entire contents of these units to the auction house and sell off the valuables. After the auction the auctioneer will bring back all the unsellable merchandise to the storage facility. This is a great opportunity for the auctioneer and the facility owner to get rid of all the junk and turn it into cash. They will always place damaged furniture in the back and hide the damage with boxes or turn the pieces around so you can not see the damage.
One of their favorite tricks is to bait a locker with black metal file cabinets placed in the back of the unit. They will carefully place boxes around them to make it hard to clearly make it out from a distance. They do this because these file cabinets can easily be mistaken for a gun cabinets, thus driving up the bids. I have actually seen bogus units like this sell for a thousands dollars.
They also bait the lockers with easily seen items like briefcases, metal money boxes and broken rifles or even BB rifles with just their gun butts sticking out so you really can't make out what the gun really is. Other great bait items include garden tractors, air compressors, generators with blown motors, boat motor engine covers placed on top of boxes so it looks like the whole motor is in their. They know these things are eye candy people just can't resist.
If you buy a locker filled with boxes pay close attention to what's on the outside of the boxes. once inside you find yourself wondering why are there so many different names and addresses on personal paperwork like bills, mail, pictures. the answer is you have been had. When these auctioneers and storage workers go through these lockers they are in a hurry and just throw all paperwork together into boxes to get rid of it better to sell it to you than take up valuable space in their dumpsters.
Storage Locker Auction: General Rule of Thumb Advice
As a general rule of thumb, the mom and pop privately run storage facilities are the worst offenders for what I called "juicing the lockers." The large nation chains are usually a safer bet. That said, even with them you can run into monkey business so watch out. Many auctioneers actually encourage storage facilities to put together manager specials so they can both make more mony.
Most auctioneers travel very long distances everyday to these auction and are paid on a commission basis. I remember going to an auction at a very large national chain. We came to the last locker of the day and the door was already opened. The staff or auctioneer had wedged an old mattress in the door opening so you could not see any of the contents what's so ever. How the auctioneer could keep a strait face, I will never know. The auctioneer then said, the only thing I can tell you about his locker is the size of the locker and you never know their could be something good in their. Why on earth someone would bid on a locker like that I will never know but they did and It ended up selling for $70.00.
I knew the fellow who bought the unit I tried my best to warn him not to buy it but he did. I stuck around to see what he got. Out came six old pee stained stinking mattresses several metal bed frames that were missing pieces as well. Needless to say, I was rolling on the the floor laughing watching him have to load this stuff up into his trailer I can't make this stuff up.
Storage Units Auctions: Don't Buy This Stuff!
This is a list of things you may see in lockers that you do not want to drag home:
*Outdated Electronics (TV's, Computers, etc)
*Old, Smelly, Stained Mattress Sets
*Dirty Kids Toys
*Old Illegal Baby Cribs
*Christmas, Halloween, Easter stuff, etc.
*Old Greasy Stoves
*Mold-Filled Refrigerators and Freezers
*Old Couch Sets Full of Hair and Fleas, and/or All Torn Up by Pets
*Particle Board Furniture
*Old Exercise Equipment
*Old, Outdated Furniture in General
*Plastic Bags Full of Wet, Moldy, Old Clothing
*Old Magazines and Newspapers
*Old Food from Households or Businesses
*Content from Lockers Filled with Roaches.
My advice is to not buy it in the first place. Otherwise your are going to have to rent a large dumpster or spend good money hauling it the the dump.
Not Much Hope Here
I Would Not Buy Any Locker From This Auction They All Look Like "Manager Specials" To Me
The storage unit owner steals your stuff sells it out from underneath you,
This is dedicated to one of my reader response messages. He is absolutely right this happens more often than you can imagine and mysteriously this seems to happen to units that have very nice stuff never a unit that has a bunch of junk in it. I am now Abbreviating his Message.
"I made payments on a storage unit for a year I was never late. One day my daughter went to get her stuff and it was gone. They claim It was auctioned off due to a clerical error. They said they would call the person who bought the unit to try to get my daughters pictures, marriage certificate, personal paper work back but that never happened".