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Have you heard of this new scam by Storage Facilities?

Have you heard of this new scam by Storage Facilities?
« on: June 14, 2011, 03:33:55 AM »
Hi there,

I am new to storage auctions, and a few months ago was burned in a way I didn't know was possible.  I think you should be warned about this:  I recently went to an auction at one of the biggest storage facilities in Los Angeles; I bid on a non-descript locker with old furniture, many boxes of papers, and several large duffel bags of clothes.  I got it for under $200, so I thought I wouldn't take too much of a loss on it if there was nothing there.

The furniture was heavy but falling apart, but I had bought it for the duffel bags of clothing.  Sure enough, as I thought there were almost 20 pairs of jeans and jean jackets in the duffel bags; not many were name brand, but I could at least sell those.  
That is, until I discovered that the clothes were so mildewed that nothing was going to get it out.  After multiple washings, I gave up.
Well, I knew I was taking a risk.   Now I had a locker with heavy useless furnture and boxes and boxes of papers to throw out; there were hundreds of family photos including framed wedding pictures, however, and I felt bad that the owners had lost those.  
I told the facility that I wanted to return the photos, and one of the staff inadvertantly informed me "Oh, don't worry about it; that locker has been up for auction THREE TIMES already, and the owners never contacted us.  It's been over a year; so don't worry about it.
I asked her how it was possible that it could have been up for auction three times, and she said "well, no-one bid on it before, and when that happens, we wait three months and then put it up again".  I guess in the hopes that people will have forgotten about it by then.
That explained why the clothes were so mildewed:  they'd been sitting there for a year, when they'd told us it was only three months.
I was so disgusted I walked away from the locker to let them clean it out themselves, and forfeited the cleaning deposit.  

Now here's the kicker:  I found out online the other day that ANOTHER sucker bought the same unit I walked away from three months ago!  He complained about a locker that sounded exactly the same as mine, at the same facility.  That's right; this storage facility put the same locker up for auction a FOURTH time, and another guy bought the same crap, not knowing the history.  This storage facility simply keeps the crap they can't sell in their units until someone pays them for the privilege of cleaning out their locker.  
Is this legal?  Is there any regulation of this?  

Please be advised:  if they say it's only three months old, don't believe them.  You could be looking at a locker that has sat there for over a year, and been auctioned off over and over again until the facility can get someone stuck with cleaning it out for them and paying the dump fees.   It never occurred to me that they might do that; I should have left a note behind taped on one of the boxes saying "Warning:  This stuff is a year old and you are bidding on garbage they can't get rid of".  

Has anyone else had a similar experience?  Thanks for any input.  

Offline Drew

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Re: Have you heard of this new scam by Storage Facilities?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2011, 07:56:39 AM »
Welcome to the forums! Sorry for your unfortunate experience. There are a lot of shady storage complex's out there. After awhile you just learn which ones to stay away from.

Re: Have you heard of this new scam by Storage Facilities?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2011, 08:39:51 AM »
Call that a lesson learned. This business is not all bad and definitely not all good either and there are some shady characters ou there. Also be on the lookout for combined units where the facility keeps a unit where they put all the crap other people have left into one unit and sll it off as a managers or combined unit. Also be very alert for 'staged' units. You will pick up on those soon enough. As an example, I looked at a unit where everything was fairly neat and right up front were two cardboard boxes with one flap open on each and a stack of plates turned upside down so you could read NORITAKE China on the bottom. Also, another locker had a truck tool box sitting across the unit with several tools (drill, skill saw, circular saw) neatly stacked on the top of the box. Again staged units. In those cases the unscrupulous had set the unit up with a few good things you could see from the door to raise the new bidders interest. Found out afterwards that all those units were loads of crap except for what was staged. But then thats the nature of gambling which is a huge part of this business.

Offline MovieMan

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Re: Have you heard of this new scam by Storage Facilities?
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2011, 08:48:42 AM »
Heard of it and saw it just recently. See paragraph #5 in post #8   in this thread which I posted just a few days  ago.

http://storageauctionforums.com/index.php?topic=1255.msg5874#msg5874

The property managers are certainly within their rights to try to resell a unit that didn't sell previously and it happens on a fairly regular basis, though some of them WILL take that unsold lkr junk to the dump.

I would be more concerned about staged lkrs as Ironman notes in reply #2 above. They sometimes are undetectable too, which gets us back to the warning that has been around for centuries....CAVEAT EMPTOR....let the buyer beware.


Offline Travis

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Re: Have you heard of this new scam by Storage Facilities?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2011, 06:27:47 AM »
The key to avoid "managers units" is to watch them cut the seal / tag of the latch. If there is no red tag or seal, beware. Also, another red flag is if you didn't see the unit number listed in the public notice.

Offline bwd111

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Re: Have you heard of this new scam by Storage Facilities?
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2011, 09:47:06 AM »
Just remember we are the guest on the storage faculty property and know one forces us to be there! You can walk away at anytime and know one forces you to bid on a unit. If you get burned, yes it sucks but that's how ya learn! NOTHING AND I MEAN NOTHING BEATS A GOOD EDUCATION.

Re: Have you heard of this new scam by Storage Facilities?
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2011, 08:34:18 PM »
Here I got one for you I went to an auction (circus) on monday that is under new management. well no personal locks allowed on there storage unites anymore thats right they provide the lock and that includes to leased lkr's. So they have a key to every lkr on site so they can enter long before a unite go's up for auction and cherry pick at anytime they wish. even write it off as theft if a tennant pays up and returns for there stuff. So yea if you win you dont get a key you have to goto the office and get them to unlock the locker for you. gate code holders get a copy of a none copyable key to the lkr when they lease a lkr.
So Hows that for an open house, free range policy for tennants to be robbed by management...

 So here is my theory if I can understand the flaw in this so will the people that lease lkrs there so the odd's of a good find there just went down since new management took over...

Offline Bandit

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Re: Have you heard of this new scam by Storage Facilities?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2011, 12:26:18 AM »
  No personal locks allowed on there storage unites anymore , they provide the lock and that includes to leased lkr's.                                                                                       If you win you dont get a key you have to go to the office and get them to unlock the locker for you.
   
   I find it hard to  believe that people are actually renting lockers from them  , I know I wouldn't  ::)
  I like our lockers ,  Gated , Alarmed , and right under a camera . 
Bandit

 

Offline bwd111

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Re: Have you heard of this new scam by Storage Facilities?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2011, 10:01:54 AM »
But is it really a scam when are guest on there property? No one makes us bid. I'm not condoning what is going on! But since people are watching the show and coming out in the 1000 you have to expect this. EDUCATION,MY FRIENDS EDUCATION.

Offline jrossjr79

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Re: Have you heard of this new scam by Storage Facilities?
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2011, 09:26:39 PM »
Well personally, if my lock is not the one locking my newly bidded locker after hearing sold, then I would not bid there. It just sounds like a way for the Original Tenant, Facility Manager, and Auction Bidder to get really screwed.

As far as the no gate entry code, here in SA they have been doing that for a long while now. Even though about all the Vets and a few of the fresh meat have alot of those codes.


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