If you’ve decided to downsize or are closing out a family member’s estate, you may consider hiring a firm that specializes in estate sales.
The firm will organize your stuff, tag it and conduct the sale, usually taking a percentage of the proceeds. It saves you a lot of time and effort, and the firm probably has a better handle on pricing items so they will sell.
Some customers of an estate sale firm in St. Charles, Mo., say they were surprised when the firm removed items from the sale without paying for or returning them or sold items that weren’t supposed to be in the sale. Customers from south St. Louis County, Town and Country, St. Peters and Cottage Hills, Ill., have complained to the Better Business Bureau about Bo Wiechens Estate Sales of St. Charles.
When the BBB contacted Wiechens, she blamed co-workers for some problems and denied removing items from another sale. Details of the problems are available in today’s BBB press release.
The BBB advises consumers to ask for a written contract if you decide to hire a company or person to manage your sales. A contract should outline the percentage you will get from sold items, hours and days of the sale, how it will be advertised, how sales will be recorded, what kind of security will be in place to ensure that items aren’t stolen, what happens to items that aren’t sold and who will be responsible for bounced checks or other fraudulent payments.
- Ask for references and contact them.
- Make sure the firm carries insurance.
- Attend the sale or have a friend or family attend to answer questions and monitor operations.
- Contact the BBB for a BBB Business Review of a company at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.