Unfortunately, estate sale scams do occur and they usually occur during an already emotional time. Since the estate sale process can be very time consuming and overwhelming, taking the necessary precautions to avoid estate sale scams are sometimes overlooked. We were so impressed with this recent post from Lori Swanson, we wanted to share it with our community of readers.
7 Tips for Avoiding Estate Sale Scams
We have summarized the following tips below, but strongly encourage you to read the full post below. These tips are so important to follow through on. The time spent upfront will save you additional stress, trouble, and aggravation down the road.
- Shop Around
- Research the Company
- Verify Bonding and Insurance
- Review the Contract
- Compare Rates and Fees
- Understand Pricing the Items and Operating the Sale
- Demand Immediate Payment
Avoid Estate Sale Scams
Estate sale companies appraise, price, and sell the personal property of people who have passed away or wish to downsize their households. Although estate sale companies routinely handle estates valued at thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, they are not required to be licensed or bonded in Minnesota. In this “buyer beware” atmosphere, it can be difficult to sort out reputable estate sale companies from untrustworthy ones, and consumers are encouraged to take precautions when selecting and contracting with estate sale companies.
“Jane” is seeking assistance selling items and property that her recently deceased father left behind when he died unexpectedly. She locates an estate sale company on the internet that claims it has been in business for decades with thousands of satisfied customers. She contacts the company, and its representatives promise that its “experts” run professional and transparent estate sales so that their clients have nothing to worry about and are quickly paid within weeks. The company promises to provide detailed itemizations of all sales so that the value and sales of all of the property is transparent and easily documented. Jane is grieving and there is so much to do in the aftermath of her father’s sudden death, that she immediately agrees to let the company operate the estate sale without closely reviewing the contract or shopping around. Three months after the estate sale, Jane still has not received the proceeds of the estate sale, which she was hoping to use to defray some of the costs of the funeral. She has received only minimal paperwork regarding what items were sold and for how much, and the company, which initially made vague excuses about the “delayed” payment and accounting documents, has now stopped returning her calls altogether. Now Jane is struggling to find recourse to resolve the matter, and is considering having to hire a lawyer which she fears will only add more expense and worry to her situation.
The Attorney General’s Office provides the following tips for people seeking the services of an estate sale company:
EstateLane helps you hire a trustworthy, estate sale liquidator to professionally manage your sale. Our #1 priority is trust and transparency.