Category - Storage Auction News

Lindsay Lohan’s Storage Unit Goes Up for Auction

Lindsay Lohan

It's not often that the glamorous world of celebrity stardom intersects with the humbler industry of storage auctions, but auction hunters may get a rare treat soon. Lindsay Lohan, an actress whose name has become synonymous with irresponsibility, is currently in danger of losing the items in her storage locker due to delinquent payments. According to reports released on December 13, Lindsay Lohan owes $16,000 in back rent for her storage unit, which reportedly houses family heirlooms, designer clothes and other posh items. If the debt is not paid in full, the unit will go up for auction.

At the moment, Lindsay's chances of paying off the unit are looking slim. The starlet is currently in financial trouble thanks to a substantial amount of back-taxes owed to the IRS. Actor Charlie Sheen provided a $100,000 gift to help cover the costs, but that leaves a substantial amount of debt unpaid. Pleas to family and friends have yielded few results.

As a result, the IRS has frozen Lohan's assets. In addition to her delinquent storage unit payments, sources say that she is behind on her home rent as well and may be facing eviction. Of course, that's all assuming that she isn't arrested first. She's currently scheduled for a hearing on January 15 after a judge revoked her probation; she may face up to eight months in prison for parole violations.

As for the storage unit auction itself, few details are currently available. As the date of the auction nears, it will need to be announced publicly, and the unit will likely be well-advertised. Some sites have speculated that the Storage Wars crew should attend the auction in a positive PR move after the lawsuit with David Hester. After all, with a unit as full of celebrity paraphernalia as Lohan's is sure to be, the Storage Wars staff should have no need to fake anything.

Regardless of whether Storage Wars gets in on the action, Lohan's storage auction is sure to draw a substantial crowd of curious bystanders and treasure-seeking auction hunters. Since no one knows for sure what will be found in the unit, bidding is likely to get out of hand quickly. Designer clothing, jewelry or other expensive items are a given, but some eager bidders will surely be hoping for more personal effects that can be sold to tabloids for a hefty profit.

In 2006, a similar situation occurred with Paris Hilton's storage unit, and the winning bidder created a site called that charged visitors $39.97 for the chance to view the celebrity's personal belongings. Content included countless photographs, videos, financial records and diaries. Paris Hilton sued the site's owner, but much of the information posted on the site had already gone viral by that time. If Lindsay Lohan's storage unit does go up for auction, we can likely expect a repeat of this situation.

There is some hope for Lindsay, though: a New York city strip club called Scores has offered to pay off the actress's bill in exchange for some services for their company. Lindsay won't need to strip; instead, Scores is asking her to host a few live chats on their website. This would certainly bring Scores plenty of publicity, and they seem honest in their desire to pay off her storage debt and even help with rent payments. It's not clear whether Lohan will take them up on this offer or if it will even be possible if she ends up in prison this January, but it's worth keeping an eye out to see what develops.

Dave Hester Alleges Storage Wars is Fake

dave hester

People in the storage auction industry have long speculated that the reality TV show Storage Wars is more fiction than reality. Now, a lawsuit from the show's own David Hester has blown the scandal wide open. Whether the fall-out will make a long-term effect in the popularity of these shows remains to be seen, but it's certainly giving the public something to talk about.

The lawsuit started when David Hester approached television executives with concerns that the activities going on in the show were illegal. Specifically, he alleges that the A&E staff “salts” units with pricy memorabilia and collectors items to make the show more interesting.

This is potentially in violation of laws that prevent television producers from fixing “competitions of skill,” such as game shows. This law, an amendment to the Communications Act of 1934, was passed after quiz show scandals in the 1950s. It's debatable whether the law applies to reality television as well, but Hester's concern was enough to lead show executives to terminate his involvement with the show.

Now, having been fired mid-season, Hester is retaliating with a lawsuit to recover his lost wages from the terminated contract – earnings of $25,000 per episode, altogether equaling $2 million in damages. Here are some of the complaints he raises about how the show has been faked:

  • The show “salts” storage units with valuable items to make the program more interesting
  • Some of the units are entirely staged, faked or put together by the show's team
  • The show films some footage while no auction is actually taking place
  • An antique store called Off the Wall Antiques routinely provides items for the show in exchange for being featured in episodes
  • A female cast member underwent plastic surgery at the program's expense to increase her sex appeal
  • Show executives sometimes buy units on behalf of weaker bidders to add interest to the show
  • Many interviews with cast members are scripted or staged

Although the producers have stated in the past that Storage Wars is not fake, there is a preponderance of evidence coming out that seems damning. There are emails, invoices and receipts for items procured by the show's production staff to salt storage lockers. Hester himself was asked to provide such items while filming the first season, and he states he was uncomfortable at the time.

According to Hester and other witnesses, the production staff wasn't shy about salting storage units. In many cases, they would pause filming to place items to be “discovered” in the unit in-between takes. They would do this in front of cast members and bidders, creating plenty of eye-witnesses. Indeed, many people on our own forum have mentioned similar phenomena at taped auctions.

Auctioneer Dan Dotson, who also appears on the Storage Wars show, has insisted that the show is not faked. He states that the units are kept locked prior to bidding and not tampered with. This does not, however, prevent the production staff from salting the unit after purchase, which is when the majority of these activities seem to occur.

Of course, most of this should come as no surprise to people in the industry. Whether it will have any long-term effects for viewers is something that remains to be seen. Most people seem to expect reality television to be at least somewhat scripted, but the knowledge that the show is largely staged may turn viewers off. Of course, if Storage Wars is faked, it's likely that its spin-off series Storage Wars Texas and Storage Wars New York are faked as well. If the lawsuit drives Storage Wars off the air, it's possible that its companion shows – and even competitor shows like Auction Hunters – may suffer a similar fate.

Even if the show isn't canceled, it will be interesting to see whether this revelation turns newcomers away from the auction industry. It will also be interesting to see what other cast members do now that Hester has departed. The bad publicity may damage their business – or it may help drive more customers to their stores. Until the lawsuit is resolved, we can only watch and wait for answers.

So, what do you think about this mess? Leave your interesting and creative responses in the comments section below.

Newbies and Veterans: Is There Room For Both in the Storage Auction Industry?

Veterans and Newbies

Auction hunting is a business with narrow profit margins and sudden popularity, two factors that combine to make it somewhat unfriendly toward newcomers. Inspired by storage auction TV shows and other shows glorifying the resale business, many people are entering the field without much experience or understanding of how things work. The veterans in the industry are understandably reluctant to embrace these high-bidding newcomers, and they can be downright antagonistic at times.

A recent thread at asked whether anyone had ever purposely misdirected a newbie or given bad advice to throw them off the trail. Most of the participants said no, but many did agree that newcomers should take some initiative and learn the ropes themselves rather than relying on old pros for advice. It's also important that veterans don't give away all of their secrets so they don't lose their competitive edge. Sharing specific sources for auction listings or personal bidding strategies can be self-destructive and disastrous.

If you're a newbie, here are a few tips for learning the ropes on your own:

  • Utilize a resource like this blog to find tips and strategies rather than asking the people you're bidding against.
  • If you don't use our service, make sure to do your research about an auction before you arrive. Check the storage facility's website, the auctioneer's website or the legal notice for the auction to ensure you know what the rules are.
  • Try to be friendly and professional; avoid just talking to people when you want something, and don't try to be too much of a chatterbox with people who are trying to work around you.
  • Avoid making yourself a nuisance. Leave your kids at home, park somewhere that won't block the entryway, and don't badger or heckle anyone.

As long as you treat your auction-hunting as a job, you should have an easy time fitting in with the others. Most auction-hunters aren't antagonistic toward newcomers who don't cause any trouble, and you can make lasting friendship in the industry by making an honest attempt. Once you become more experienced, you can pay it forward by giving a helping hand to other newbies.

Although the storage auction industry is experiencing growing pains, there is still plenty of room for people to enter the business. Many of the ill-informed newcomers won't stick around; the people who survive are those who truly understand and appreciate what they're getting into. By taking the time to educate yourself – and, when you can afford to, the people around you – you can ensure that commitment pays off.

So, how do you feel about this situation? Leave your interesting and creative responses in the comments section below.

Storage Aggregators Hijack Business Listings


With the storage business gaining so much popularity in recent years, it only makes sense that other businesses would find a way to jump into the industry. One of the things you've probably come across while searching for a storage unit is a storage aggregator site.

These sites collect data on storage facilities, and many people visit these aggregate sites to find information about storage facilities in their area. What you might not necessarily realize is that some of these aggregators are essentially stealing customers from the storage facilities and then reselling the customers back to them, In some cases, these practices are predatory and even illegal.

Aggregator sites get started through partnerships with storage facilities. Essentially, the aggregator will collect reservations from potential customers and sell those reservations back to the storage facility itself for a “finder fee.” This is very similar to the way a hotel or airline reservation site would work, and it acts as direct competition against the storage facility. Rather than allowing customers to find the facility directly, traffic is driven toward the aggregator site. This sets up severe competition between varying storage facilities and drives profits down as different companies struggle to offer prices competitive enough to attract business.

Some of these aggregator sites take things a step further by actually pirating information from the storage companies. They will create fake business listings in a storage facility's name and list them online in the Yellow Pages or other business directories. Instead of listing the storage facility's phone number and website, they list their own. This way, customers will contact them believing that they're making reservations with the storage facility itself; instead, they're dealing with an aggregator. This practice is illegal, it has obvious negative implications toward the facility's actual brand, and it can be used to essentially use one company as a public face or identity while selling services to a competitor.

One of the largest storage aggregators using this tactic is Notice the photo above of a Uncle Bob's Self Storage listing on Everything looks legitimate; however, if you call the phone number listed, you will reach a SpareFoot employee. What is going on here is not only unethical but illegal. A quick search on Google revealed 160,000 results with the phone number (866) 666-5178. A majority of these results are misappropriated online business listings for storage facilities across the country.

Other industries, including hotels and airlines, are also attempting to draw away from using these aggregators and focus on building their own client base. It's a difficult task for mature companies, but storage facilities can be a bit more nimble in their approach thanks to their size and relative newness as an industry.

As a customer, you can do your part to end piracy and reduce the ability of an aggregator to steal the identity and business of a storage facility. Always try to deal with the facility itself rather than a third-party site for transactions where money will exchange hands, and keep an eye out for listings that may have incorrect information.

If you own or manage a storage facility, you can use a service like to search for incorrect business listings. If incorrect information is detected, you can update your storage facility's information to reflect the correct address, phone number and other contact information. Once you update the information on Yext, the site will then locate and correct listings on more than 35 other sites across the web including Yahoo, Yelp, SuperPages, Citysearch and WhitePages. This will help ensure that information online is up-to-date and accurate, and it will prevent customers from unwittingly using an unethical aggregation service when they mean to deal with the company itself.

So, what do you think of storage aggregators and what they are doing to the storage industry? Please leave your interesting and creative responses in the comments section below.


Storage Facilities Lose Patience With Constant Auction Inquiries

Angry Storage Facility

Despite what the recent storage wars craze might lead you to believe, storage facilities are not in the business of holding auctions. Instead, their business is in renting out space for people to store their belongings. Storage auctions represent only a small portion of the work that facility owners must do in a given month, and they are not a major part of their day.

For a storage facility, auctions are simply a way to recover lost costs associated with defaulted rent. They help with emptying units so that they can be re-rented, and they help compensate for lost profits on abandoned units. In most states, storage facilities cannot even profit from units that sell for more than was owed in rent, and hosting large auctions can be a logistical nightmare for facilities in terms of parking and other resources.

In other words, the new auction craze fueled by hopeful treasure-seekers is not necessarily the boon to the storage facility industry that you might expect.

Meanwhile, auctions are getting more and more popular. Where a storage auction may have had a half-dozen bidders in the past, turn-outs of 100 people are not uncommon at auctions across the country. Worse, many of the people coming to the auction are mere spectators with little interest in bidding and no knowledge of the industry.

While curiosity is certainly not a sin, it can result in an excessive number of inquiries being made to the storage facility. A few particularly well-known names in the business – companies who are featured on television or appear in the news – suffer the worst of this newfound fame.

Some exasperated facility managers have resorted to directing all inquiries to the facility's website, and others have even begun getting short-tempered or downright nasty to callers.

If you ever find yourself on the brunt end of a rude interaction with a storage facility, try to keep this in perspective: You may have been just one of a dozen or more people calling with that same question today. Before calling to ask a question, see if you can find the answer elsewhere. The facility's website may list all the information you need. You can also check the website of the auctioneer.

There are numerous references online you can check, including this blog and our associated forum, for general auction information. Be sure to research and learn independently rather than relying on busy professionals to walk you through the basics.

While there is no excuse for bad customer service, understanding where facility managers are coming from can help you relate to them better. The storage auction industry is undergoing some serious changes, and there are bound to be a few bumps along the way as things either go back to the way they had once been or adapt to these new changes. In the meanwhile, being well-researched and professional will help make your interactions more pleasant for everyone involved.

Unprecedented Moving and Storage Auction in Coppell, Texas

Moving & Storage Auction

Storage auction hunters in the Coppell area should be sure to set some time aside for a massive auction on November 24, 2012. Bekins Moving Solutions, located at 505 Airline Drive in Coppell, Texas, is holding a large auction to satisfy a lien.

The Pitzer Auction Company will be overseeing the sale of an impressive 224 storage vaults. The exact contents of the vaults will be discovered at the auction, but most contain household items, office equipment and personal effects.

This cash-only auction is expected to have a large turnout. The facility only has one auction per year, and last year’s had quite a few people in attendance. People from Coppell and surrounding areas are encouraged to come check out the auction and possibly come home with the contents of a few vaults.

The auction is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. and will last until the last unit is sold. Because this will be an all-day event, food trucks will be available on the premises to offer beverages and snacks to buyers. Bidders must register at 8:30 a.m. the morning of the sale unless they pre-register online at If you do register online, you will receive a confirmation email with your bidder number. There is no cost to register.

Copyright Law May Threaten Resale Businesses


Most people don’t think twice about reselling their items. After all, once you’ve purchased something, you’re free to do with it what you will regardless of what the item is or what logos it displays, right? Based on some recent court cases regarding copyright law, this may not always be the case.

Copyright law exists to protect the intellectual property of an item’s creator. Basically, it prohibits people from profiting off another person’s ideas without giving due credit and payment to the creator. This is why, for example, you cannot turn another person’s photograph into a mouse pad without buying the rights to that photo first.

For the most part, though, these laws have applied only to the reproduction of an item, not the resale of a specific item. According to existing copyright law, once you pay for something, the original owner’s rights to that specific item are gone. Since you already paid for one copy, you can sell that one copy without facing any legal trouble. This is called first-sale rights.

Technology has made this somewhat more complicated due to the ease of reproducing certain things. For example, you can sell a CD that you purchase. You cannot, however, make copies of that CD and sell them. As technology improves, that line continues to blur, and issues of Digital Rights Management (DRM) have become a major concern for businesses across the country. As businesses crack down on electronic media like music and software, some of that copyright-protection fervor has spread to more physical objects.

The lawsuit in question is Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, and it challenges items that are made abroad and imported into the U.S. The original case came up become Kirtsaeng, a foreign exchange student, had his relatives purchase cheap versions of textbooks from Thailand and send them to him, which he then sold on eBay. The book publisher took him to court, and it currently looks as though the Supreme Court will uphold the ruling. If it does, it could mean that foreign-made products will no longer be protected under the first-sale doctrine of copyright law.

If this passes, it may mean that any item manufactured or purchased overseas cannot be resold without the permission of the original copyright holder. Considering how many everyday items are made overseas, this could effectively bring resale businesses to a grinding halt. The sale of everything from electronics and used cars to artwork and jewelry might be outlawed under this change in copyright law.

The results of this order could have a far-reaching impact beyond the resale business. For example, companies might be tempted to ship more jobs overseas to manufacture items out of the country so they could maintain complete control over them. The used auto business would also be massively impacted by a change in this law.

Perhaps most devastatingly, this law could have a disastrous effect on resale businesses of all kinds. Large companies like eBay, Craigslist and Amazon would be hugely impacted. Although the resale of domestically produced goods would continue to be legal, it might be too difficult to police these sales, and the sites may go under out of fear of lawsuits. Even flea markets and yard sales could be affected by the law.

Undoubtedly, Kirtsaeng’s textbook resale business occupied a grey area of copyright law and abused the laws governing imports. In the wake of his decision, though, millions of people in the country could be negatively affected, and none will be hit harder than those who rely on resale businesses to pay their bills.

Of course, the Supreme Court has not yet passed its ruling. Even if it does hold up the ruling of the appellate court, any new law would need to be passed through Congress, so there’s no need to panic just yet. Nevertheless, this is something that needs to be seriously considered and watched by anyone with an interest in these businesses; as our world changes, copyright law will be forced to change to keep up, and those changes can make a huge difference in our lives. Acquires Storage Auction Forums

Storage Auction Forum

Texas Storage Auction Schedules & News recently acquired the largest storage auction community on the web, and merged this site into It currently has over 3,500 members from across the country. Our storage auction forum has been completely redesigned and is packed full of new features. We would like to invite all of you to visit the site and participate in the discussion.

How would this be beneficial to you?

Well, if you're new to storage auctions, our storage auction forum is a great place to learn all about the business. If you're a seasoned pro, there are advanced subjects for you as well. There are currently 5,000 threads covering everything from basic topics like buying you're first locker to more advanced subjects like tips for eBay power sellers. With over 35,000 posts, you're sure to find something that interests you. Feel free to ask and/or answer any questions you like.

If you own resale shop, thrift store, auction house, online store or other storage auction related website, feel free to promote your business in our “Storage Auction Plugs” section. You can even include a link to your website or online store.

You can use our “Your Neck of the Woods” section to communicate with other storage auction professionals in your area. This is a great way to make friends and local business contacts in the same industry.

If you're an aficionado of niche merchandise, whether it be antique furniture or NASCAR collectibles, tell us about your expertise in our “Expert's Arena” section. This is a great way to find buyers and people interested in selling their niche merchandise directly to you.

Once again, we would like to invite all of you to visit the site and participate in the discussion. We will see you there!

Here is a link to the forum.

Do You Need Special Auto Insurance In The Storage Auction Business?

When you set up your resale business, you're probably prepared to apply for business permits, sales tax permits and other legal necessities. One issue you might not have considered, though, is car insurance. Depending on your situation, you may need to purchase a commercial auto policy for your work vehicle. Failure to do so could cause problems with your insurance company, and it might leave you without coverage when you need it most.

When you purchase an insurance policy, the company will ask you several questions about your habits, including how you use your car and how many miles you put on it. They do this so they can complete the underwriting process, which calculates how much risk you carry and what your coverages should cost. High-risk drivers pay more than low-risk drivers.

If the insurance company discovers that you've been dishonest about any of your habits, they may re-evaluate you through an underwriting assessment. This could lead to a substantial rate increase, exceptions to your policy or even a canceled policy. Many times, the insurance company finds out about the behavior after you file a claim, so this leads to the claim being denied a well. This makes underwriting assessments very important.

One important question that comes up during risk assessments is whether the vehicle will be used for work purposes. Vehicles that are used heavily for work – beyond simply commuting to and from a day job – need to be insured with commercial auto policies. If you're simply using your family pickup as a hobbyist for a few auctions a year, you probably won't need to worry about it. If you're going to multiple auctions per week, hauling items and running a resale business, though, you should talk to your agent about creating a commercial policy.

In general, commercial auto policies will be listed in the name of your business. They may also have higher liability limits than standard policies to protect your business assets. Fortunately, most private insurance carriers will offer commercial policies, so you may be able to insure all of your vehicles with the same insurer and take advantage of the multi-policy discount that most insurers offer.

Commercial policies sometimes cost more than standard auto insurance, but it's worth the investment to avoid having your policy dropped as soon as you file a claim.

Castle: Storage Auction Hunting Goes Mainstream

Storage auction fans may have had a pleasant surprise if they caught the October 8th episode of Castle, “Secret's Safe With Me.” The show, now on its fifth season, follows the exploits of a crime novelist who teams up with a local detective to solve crimes using his deductive reasoning and extensive list of contacts. In the October 8th episode, the investigation led the duo to a storage facility, where bidding on the contents of an abandoned unit was a crucial step in solving the crime. The detective team even gets into a bidding war to ensure they get the contents they need.

Storage facilities aren't exactly a new setting for crime dramas, but highlighting the auction itself is definitely a sign of the times. Castle is well-known for folding in plenty of pop culture references into each episode, and the auction was clearly a nod to the current auction-hunting phenomenon. That these auctions went from being relatively unknown and obscure to full pop-culture icons is a peculiar mark of our time.

Obviously, storage shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters have put the storage business front and center, but these shows wouldn't be popular if they didn't tap into something primal for viewers. Plenty of reality shows don't make it past the first few seasons, and they certainly don't all spawn spin-offs and creep into the public consciousness. So what is it about storage auctions that capture our imaginations so much?

There's certainly an element of treasure-hunting. The idea of finding something valuable and long-forgotten has been a powerful icon in our cultural mythology since before the written word. In a way, storage auction TV is just the newest iteration of the tale of Aladdin and the Cave of Wonders.

There's more to it, though. People are, in many ways, defined by their possessions. When we crack open a storage unit, we're doing more than sifting through items – we're sifting through a small part of a person's history. In a culture that's simultaneously more isolated and more connected than ever before, taking an intimate peek into each other's lives holds a lot of power for the public imagination.