Storage Auctions Real or Fake?
Many self-storage facilities have seen an increase in attendance at lien-sale auctions, partly because “Storage Wars” and other shows perpetuate the notion that buying the contents from a unit in default is a lucrative business opportunity. Inexperienced and novice buyers may become angry when they discover the property they have purchased won’t make them rich, and they might not even recoup the amount they spent on the unit.
All of this could be coming to a head in a very public way now that ousted “Storage Wars” star David Hester has filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit claiming, in part, that the show’s producers frequently place valuable items in units up for auction. He also alleges that some of the planted items belonged to the show’s stars, while others were borrowed from antique dealers in exchange for an appearance on the show.
A&E, which televises the show, has apparently been silent on many of Hester’s claims, but contested the suit’s charge that it engaged in “unfair business practices,” according to an article posted on industry blog “The Storage Facilitator.” Responding to earlier inquiries about the show’s authenticity, A&E released a statement saying, “There is no staging involved. The items uncovered in the storage units are the actual items featured on the show.”
If Hester’s charges are true, the question is whether the show’s participating facilities have been complicit in staging units and misleading auction buyers and the viewing public. Even if they haven’t actively participated in such behavior, what is their liability? What are the lasting beliefs held by would-be or seasoned auction buyers?
Credit – A guest installment by Tony Jones, Manager, Inside Self-Storage Store