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MUST READ!!!! Not likekly but potential scam with staged units

Offline rulesforrebels

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I think on here people have brought up the hypothetical situation of people intentionally letting units go into default. I think I even joked about someone should stack a bunch of empty electronics boxes and watch a unit go for 5k, some expensive cardboard. Obviously I was joking as I wouldnt' want this to happen to me so also woudln't like to see it happen to others but potentially it can happen and the "defaulted tenant" makes a boatload.

As with anything in life, there’s a downside to these proactive events. Criminal minds come out of the woodwork, as Inside Self Storage recently reported in an article entitled Self-Storage Staffers Discuss Latest Auction Scam. Apparently, storage auction buyers will rent a unit and  fill it with trash-filled, misleadingly labeled boxes. They’ll stop paying rent and dodge phone calls from the facility, effectively letting the unit go up for auction. The goal is to excite buyers so they’ll throw down major cash at auction (a Self Storage Talk forum user reported that a buyer at a facility in his area bought a unit of this nature for $2,600), and the scam orchestrator will profit from the payout leftover, after the facility takes what was owed on the unit.

Blair said he has seen a similar scam unfold recently, and the missing tenant actually called in about his unit a few hours after auction to find out what it sold for


Offline rulesforrebels

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Re: MUST READ!!!! Not likekly but potential scam with staged units
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2011, 06:15:00 PM »
This is actually kind of scary that this could happen. I can't imagine there's anything illegal about doing this or at least not anything that can be proven illegal since you can't prove someone intended to default, someone could just say "yeah that box used to have gold in it but I took it out",  and how is anyone going to prove otherwise.

Heck if someone wanted to they could even send a buddy to run up the price.

I found it odd they used the word criminal element, doesn't seem to be criminal and that's the scary thing, probably no repurcussions if someone decides to do this.

Offline jrossjr79

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Re: MUST READ!!!! Not likekly but potential scam with staged units
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2011, 09:08:02 PM »
This is actually kind of scary that this could happen. I can't imagine there's anything illegal about doing this or at least not anything that can be proven illegal since you can't prove someone intended to default, someone could just say "yeah that box used to have gold in it but I took it out",  and how is anyone going to prove otherwise.

Heck if someone wanted to they could even send a buddy to run up the price.

I found it odd they used the word criminal element, doesn't seem to be criminal and that's the scary thing, probably no repurcussions if someone decides to do this.

Actually it is criminal, I just dont see anything happening to the perps for it though. Other than losing your own creditability. Big price to pay for such a small profit, especially now that units are starting to go for lower prices again.

Offline Travis

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Re: MUST READ!!!! Not likekly but potential scam with staged units
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2011, 12:00:24 PM »
When you buy a unit with unseen contents, you are gambling. Although, I don't condone this behavior, people who put that kind of money into a unit, where they have no idea what is inside, are fools. Units like these used to go for a few hundred dollars, now, they aren't worth the risk. Betting the ranch on a storage unit is no different than going to the casino and putting all of your money on black. Gamblers lose, that why there are billion dollar casinos.

Offline rulesforrebels

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Re: MUST READ!!!! Not likekly but potential scam with staged units
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2011, 04:02:00 PM »
You do make a good point tc, every unit is a gamble. Even if you see an expensive piece of electronics and not just a box who's to say it even works.

As for prices, another good point. At the police aucitons prices on electronics nad things like that tend to be pretty low b/c again, this is soemthing that was seized maybe some guy got tackled by a cop carrying that laptop. If you get in at a low price its worth the risk but if your paying near retail what's the point of paying that much for soemthing that you dnot know about.

Most units I see going into the thousands will be whole house units. Sure you see stuff in boxes but you also probably see a nice amroir, some mountain bikes, lawnmower, snowblower, etc so even if the boxes are a bust you still got some sure shots.

occasionally though you do see those units that looks like a retail stores extra storage with just boxes. This woud be an ideal setup to do if someone were going to do ths and it wouldn't be odd to see everything boxed up.

Offline bwd111

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Re: MUST READ!!!! Not likekly but potential scam with staged units
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2011, 05:08:14 PM »
Its all part of the game we play with buying units. I never will buy another unit unless its at a live auction from here on out. I will never go from what I see in a photo or on the web.

Re: MUST READ!!!! Not likekly but potential scam with staged units
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2011, 08:41:02 PM »
I've seen a few units that my first thought was "staged".  At least one of the ones that I saw was at a facility that the auction/manager lets people step inside the unit.  While you can't spend 5 mins opening boxes, totes, and the like you can do a quick glance behind that matress or into that instrument case.  Even so - the one staged unit with instruments went for $450 last month.

Like always it's "Buyer Beware".

Re: MUST READ!!!! Not likekly but potential scam with staged units
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2011, 12:36:16 AM »
Once again shows, you buyer beware.The risk is always there.

Re: MUST READ!!!! Not likekly but potential scam with staged units
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2011, 07:55:56 PM »
So when an auction is sold, anything above what is owed to the storage facility goes to the tenant in default? I'm new to all this is why I ask.

Offline MovieMan

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Re: MUST READ!!!! Not likekly but potential scam with staged units
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2011, 07:57:37 PM »
So when an auction is sold, anything above what is owed to the storage facility goes to the tenant in default? I'm new to all this is why I ask.

Yes, unless something crooked happens and someone else keeps it.


Offline Travis

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Re: MUST READ!!!! Not likekly but potential scam with staged units
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2011, 08:21:12 PM »
So when an auction is sold, anything above what is owed to the storage facility goes to the tenant in default? I'm new to all this is why I ask.

It depends on which state the facility is located in. Also, most states allow the storage facility to keep the the money owed to the tenant if it is not claimed within a year. There is not an incentive for a storage facility owner to make a lot of effort to locate the tenant. Actually, there is an incentive to not make an effort.

Offline bwd111

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Re: MUST READ!!!! Not likekly but potential scam with staged units
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2011, 05:22:27 PM »
Thats why I wonder about on online bidding

Offline bwd111

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Re: MUST READ!!!! Not likekly but potential scam with staged units
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2011, 02:08:39 PM »
Yes, unless something crooked happens and someone else keeps it.


Maybe with all the attention now be drawn to buying at storage auctions the attorney generals and other state commissions will look into the laws closer and make sure everything is being donethe ways the law was written. just watch there will be something in each of our newspapers on how a storage company has broke the laws. With over 46,000  self storage companys in the U.S. somthing is going to happen.

Offline hibid

Re: MUST READ!!!! Not likekly but potential scam with staged units
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2011, 06:40:14 PM »
I went to an auction that was definitely stage by the owner this week.  In every unit there was something interesting right in plain sight.  A gun case up front, several tool cases, sports memorabilia, etc.  Also, everything else was stacked up neatly and clean.  After buying one unit and visiting several others after the auction,  all the cases, labeled boxes, etc were all empty!  Should have known better since the manager had items in his office for sale with price tags on it.  Also one unit the auctioneer said the owner would not take a bid less than 1000 on this unit.

Re: MUST READ!!!! Not likekly but potential scam with staged units
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2011, 11:00:33 AM »
I have been going to storage auctions for a few years and stop for a while, Just started back about a year ago and have only bought two units in that time because I stopped burning up good gas just to look at useless units selling for far more than they are worth so I stay to places local to me.

 I believe a lot of the good units now day's are never seen by the people going to the auctions.

About 6 months ago went to one that had 6 units, We asked at the desk when we got there and they confirmed that there was 6 units. There were two men in the office who said they were going to cut the locks and would be right back, When they returned  there was now only 3 units up for bids. 
????????


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