Category - Storage Auction News

Storage Auctions: An Identity Thief’s Dream

Identity Theft

According to the Bureau of Justice, identity theft affects about 8.6 million households each year. Other sources place this number even higher, with reporting as many as 15 million cases of identity theft each year. This works out to approximately 7% of the total adult population, and many more thefts may go unreported or undetected each year.

Identity theft can be a major problem for individuals and businesses alike. Not only does it affect a victim's money in the short term, it can devastate his credit in the long term. Worse, some types of identity theft can be used in conjunction with other types of crimes. Identities can be stolen as part of a bigger scheme to infiltrate and steal from corporations, and criminals sometimes adopt the identities of innocent victims in order to throw law enforcement off the scent of a crime.

Many identity thieves get their information by sifting through people's trash, and some individuals and companies have begun to combat this by shredding all documents before throwing them away. While shredding your trash is a good first step to avoiding identity theft, you may be overlooking a greater risk: the contents of your storage unit.

After a tenant fails to pay for a storage unit for two to three months, the storage company will auction off the contents to help recoup the lost income from the missed payments. One in four storage units bought at auction contain items with sensitive information like checkbooks, tax documents, identification cards, vehicle titles, social security cards, credit cards, birth certificates, death certificates, old computers and phones, and more. People store these items, believing them to be secure, then either forget that they're stored or don't realize that the items won't be returned to them if they default on their storage payments. These sensitive personal items end up in the hands of whoever wins the auction, and the winner is under no legal obligation to return or destroy any personal items found in the unit.

Of course, many storage auction bidders make every effort to contact the unit's original owner to give back sensitive documents or family memorabilia. Other people don't have the time or energy to do that sort of detective work. In a best case scenario, those sensitive documents could get thrown away, where a thief could find them in the trash. In a worse case, an identity thief could buy the unit and use the documents to steal the former owner's identity.

Depending on what was left in the unit, a thief can cause some major destruction to a person's finances. Stolen documents can be used to forge checks, open credit cards and take out loans that could devastate a person's credit. Taken further, documents can be used to provide a new identity to drug dealers, terrorists, illegal immigrants and other people looking to make themselves hard for the law to find. This type of identity theft can go undetected for years in some cases.

It's also not too difficult to figure out exactly where a person lives and works based on the information left in a storage unit. That sort of information can be extremely dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands.

Most people who frequent storage unit auctions are honest citizens looking to find items to resell for a profit. However, with the recent boom in the industry thanks to popular TV shows like Storage Wars, it's not unlikely to assume that unsavory people might sense the opportunities presented by these auctions.

If you use a storage unit, here are a few tips for keeping your information safe:

  • Don't store sensitive information. This is the simplest and most fool-proof way to keep your documents out of the hands of thieves.
  • If you absolutely must store sensitive documents, invest in a high-quality safe and keep the key well-hidden. Be warned, however, that buyers might expect something very valuable to be hidden in a safe, so you might actually be drawing more attention to the items hidden inside of it. Even strong safes can eventually be broken into with the right tools and enough determination.
  • Don't let your storage unit payments lapse. If you're having trouble making your payments, talk to the owner to see if he can make any payment arrangements with you. If nothing else, he may be able to retrieve personal documents for you before the auction.
  • Monitor your credit for any strange or fraudulent charges. You can subscribe to a credit monitoring program or do it yourself by requesting annual credit reports and reviewing them carefully.
  • Get identity theft protection. Most credit card companies offer this as a benefit of card ownership, and you might qualify for it under your home or auto insurance policy. If not, see about buying a policy. It can't undo all of the damage caused by thieves, but it can at least protect your finances to some extent.

The best way to stop identity theft is to prevent it from happening. Since you can't predict what someone might do with your information, you should take steps to keep it out of people's hands entirely. If you're an auction hunter and ever come across personal documents, try to return them to their proper owner. If that's impossible, at least attempt to dispose of documents properly through shredding or burning. This will help prevent you from being an unwitting accomplice in someone else's crime.

Malcolm X : Historical Storage Auction Halted Just Ahead Of Deadline

Malcolm X

It's not just the common folks, apparently, that can find themselves far enough behind on their storage unit payments that the contents are placed on the storage auction schedule. According to a July 27, 2012, New York Post report, the family of Malcolm X neglected to pay $2,447 in storage fees, allowing the account to fall into delinquency. The property in the storage unit, once belonging to political and social activist Malcolm X, was scheduled for auction on July 26. That's the kind of opportunity that storage auction aficionados dream of. But, alas, just barely ahead of the deadline, representatives of the estate of Malcolm X stepped in.

After a bit of negotiation, the Manhattan Mini Storage in Inwood agreed to grant an extension. The estate of Malcolm X has until August 20 to bring the account current. However, historic memorabilia fans may want to take note of that date and keep a sharp eye on auction schedules. After all, this isn't the first time that failure to pay storage charges has resulted in belongings of Malcolm X ending up on the storage auction schedule. In fact, a very similar situation happened in a decade ago in Orlando, Florida, noted the New York Post's famed Page Six column.

In 2002, Malikah Shabazz, a daughter of Malcolm X, neglected to pay $600 in storage fees to the facility in Orlando where the unit was located. The result of allowing the account to fall into arrears – the sale of an important collection of personal papers belonging to Malcolm X. A Florida flea market owner got the winning bid at the storage auction, getting the historic collection at a bargain price. After disappearing from the public eye for a short time, the collection was due to be sold that same year at auction via Butterfields, a high-end auction house that was owned by eBay at the time.

The surviving family of Malcolm X got wind of the impending auctioning off of the collection and took quick action. A legal dispute erupted over the ownership of the documents, which halted their sale at Butterfields. That resulted in the collection coming back under the control of the Malcolm X estate, where the battle between the heirs over actual ownership raged on. The conflict over the collection was a part of a much greater battle between Malaak Shabazz, Malikah Shabazz, and Ilyasah Shabazz over other assets that make up the estate that Malcolm X left behind.

Amazing things find their way into the market through neglected storage unit fees. Increasing the chance of making such great finds requires an organized approach. Make a note of it when a storage unit that you may be interested in makes the news, like that of Malcolm X did. Then, keep a sharp eye on the storage auction schedule in that region, just in case storage fees go unpaid and the contents go up for sale. Historic memorabilia fans may want to make note of the August 20 deadline for estate of Malcolm X to bring the storage account current and watch the auction schedules carefully, just in case they don't. After all, they do say the third time is the charm.

New York Post

E-Commerce Times

NOOOPE! – The Story Behind the Catchphrase YUUUP! and the Following Dual Lawsuits


If you’re one of the avid followers of A&E Storage Wars (or even if you’ve just caught an episode now and then), you’re most likely familiar with one of the stars, Dave Hester.

Dave Hester is painted as the villain in the popular show and rightfully so; he ridicules his fellow bidders in a sneering, snide tone, he often drives the price on auctions up just for the sake of making the other bidders pay through the nose, and he almost always gets what he wants. Hester might not be a villain when he’s off screen and away from the role but that doesn’t prevent him from continuing to go after what he wants: in this case, he wanted the trademark on his signature phrase, “Yuuup!”

Hester filed for the trademark on this catchphrase in 2011 and began creating merchandise to sell to his fans revolving around this word. For those unfamiliar with the show, Hester often waits until the very last moment in an auction and then will yell out his catchphrase – annoying his fellow bidders and driving the price up on the unit in question.

Hester was all set until Tremaine Neverson (more popularly known as Trey Songz) found out about the trademark. Songz has used “Yuuup” in his music since 2009; albeit in what Hester’s lawyers claimed to be a slightly different way.

Songz is a rapper, producer, and song-writer that earned the nickname Trigga Trey as well as being called a heart-throb by a few different young women. Songz popularity did not come overnight but grew steadily and continues to do so, even though he’s now over 27. Songz did not file a trademark on the way he used Yuuup! in his songs but this did not keep him from sending Hester a cease and desist letter!

Hester received the cease and desist letter but immediately went to a judge, asking that he still be allowed to use the phrase and that he be allowed to continue to have merchandise produced revolving around the trademark.

In retaliation to Hester’s request, Songz moved forward swiftly, actually suing the A&E star for the use of the word. Hester claims that Songz forgot to file for the trademark – and once again, that the word is actually different from the way that Hester uses it. It is quoted that the differences are that Songz use “resembles an animal-like or nonhuman squeal which begins with a distinct ‘yeeee’ sound before finishing with a squeal=like ‘uuuup’ sound, and is distinct and different from Hester’s more monosyllabic-sounding guttural auction bidding phrase.”

Hester rose up to meet Songz’ challenge in this case though and counter-sued, filing a suit for damages against Songz which would award him some monetary value as well as banning Songz from interfering with Hester and the way that he wants to say the word.

Recently, the two stars have reached a settlement for both claims. It is undisclosed exactly what the agreement was or what money would be exchanged over this phrase.

Charity Storage Auctions

Charity Storage

Holding an auction for charity isn't new, but charity storage auctions are a recent development that helps bring communities together. Charity Storage is an organization sponsored by Storage Wars, the Self Storage Association and other charities and storage facilities across the country. Since its inception in 2012, it's already become a sweeping success, with several thousand participating storage facilities and over $40,000 raised for charities nationwide.

The way it works is pretty simple: People donate their unwanted items by dropping them off in a storage unit, which is then auctioned off and the profits are donated to charity.

The drop-off points get filled up in one of two ways. People who have heard about the auctions and want to participate can leave donations anonymously at the unit. Additionally, existing tenants of the storage company can leave items they no longer want to store but don't want to sell or throw away on their own. When people move their things out of a unit, they often want to leave behind bulky unwanted items like appliances and furniture; instead of going to the dump, these items can go to the drop-off point to make money for charity.

Any storage company can sign up to participate in the program, and there are drop-off points in thousands of cities across the United States and Canada. Here in Texas alone there are more than 4,000 storage facilities which could potentially become drop-off points. That translates to a lot of charity auctions!

The auctions themselves work exactly like any other storage auction. Participants bid on the content of a unit, and the contents must be emptied out and the unit cleaned within 48 hours. Anything inside the unit becomes the property of the winning bidder, who can then keep, sell or donate the items. As with all auctions, there's some risk involved, and the quality of the items will vary from one auction to the next.

If you've never participated in any sort of storage unit auction, a charity auction may be a good chance to get your feet wet. Because the items are donated, you're less likely to run into unsanitary conditions or find strange or unpleasant things inside. You probably won't make a fortune off of anything you win, but you can feel good about knowing that your money is going to a charity so it's not a wasted investment.

For storage auction veterans, these charity auctions provide a great way to give back to the community while still doing what you love. While Storage Wars might give a glimpse of the excitement behind the industry, Charity Storage helps to show the community the heart and soul behind the people in this line of work.

If you'd like to get involved in charity storage auctions, you can check the website to find a drop-off location near you. You can also call their operation headquarters in Newport Beach, California at (949) 748-5923.

Are Online Storage Auctions Legal?

Online Storage Auctions Legal

Update - March 28th, 2013  A new site, has emerged as the clear choice in the online storage auction niche. The main differences between this site and it's competitors is that it's 100% free to use and it offers a legal alternative to storage facilities who are located in states where the legality of online storage auctions is questionable. This site recently merged with, which was, until the merger, the largest storage auction website in the world. now has more content and traffic than any any other storage auction website on the web.
July 8th, 2012 - Over the past few years, a handful of companies which hold storage auctions online have emerged on the scene. One of these companies is Storage Battles, which recently bought out Sealed Online Bids. We here at Texas Storage Auction Schedules & News are huge fans of online storage auctions because we believe that this concept is the future of storage auctions; however, there seems to be a question as to whether they are operating legally in Texas and some other states.

This legal dilemma boils down to whether or not a storage auction can be conducted online or whether it must be held at a physical location. Some state's self storage lien laws are vague and don't specify where the sales are to be held; therefore, one could reasonably assume that an online storage auction would be permissible. Texas's self storage lien laws, along with a handful of other state's, are not so vague. Chapter 59 of the Texas Property Code, section 59.045 clearly states: A sale under this sub-chapter must be a public sale at the self-service storage facility or a reasonably near public place. So how are companies like Storage Battles operating in Texas? Through a narrow loophole that depends on one's interpretation of what a public sale and what a public place is.

We spoke to a Texas auctioneer and former President of the Texas Auctioneer's Association, about this matter. He replied “ Chapter 59 states that the sale must be a public sale at the self storage facility or a nearby public place. The attorney for TSSA has stated that an Ebay or internet auction does not satisfy the statute in that the internet is not a public place. This is a legal question that will either be resolved by revising the law or a lawsuit.”

According to, the legal definition of a public place is: an indoor or outdoor area, whether privately or publicly owned, to which the public have access by right or by invitation, expressed or implied, whether by payment of money or not, but not a place when used exclusively by one or more individuals for a private gathering or other personal purpose.

We contacted the Texas Self Storage Association about this matter and received the following response: Connie Niemann Heyer, attorney for the Texas Self Storage Association, stated that she does not consider auctions that take place online only are meeting the strict letter of the law requiring that the sale take place at or near the storage facility. Her opinion was published in the TSSA's magazine.

We contacted Sealed Online Bids to find out how they are conducting online storage auctions for storage facilities in Texas. Kevin Gorzny, principal at Sealed Online Bids provided the following response.

“First off I want to address the fact that we have approached the Texas SSA with our stance on the Texas Lien Laws in the form of an official statement, and it was met without any opposition what-so-ever. Our attorney covered quite a few points in regards to the Texas lien laws, but I'll address the specific one you cited. (Referring to: a public sale at the self-service storage facility or a reasonably near public place.) The definition of a consummated sale is the exchange of monetary funds, between the buyer and the seller. Simple as that. Our auctions are conducted online, yes, but the actual process of purchasing the unit-in-lien is a cash-in-person exchange performed at the storage facility where the contents are stored.

To be even more specific: our auctions are live and open for bidding for a period of 7 to 10 days, typically. Once the auction closes, the manager is provided with the buyer's information. They organize a time for the buyer to then come in to the self storage facility's office for the actual purchase where the buyer pays cash for the sale, just as it always has been performed. The overall issue is the fact that every state's lien laws were written long before the mainstream internet as we know it today. Many of these laws are subject to interpretation and common sense.”

Although eloquent, I believe this response is completely off topic. The debate here is not about what a “consummated sale” is, rather, it's about what the legal definition of a “public sale” is. According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law, a public sale is: a sale (as an auction) that is publicly advertised and that takes place at a location open to the public. Is the internet a location or a public place? It is arguable.

I agree, a lot of state's storage lien laws are outdated; however, Texas revised it's storage lien laws in January, 2012. Are there still sections that don't take modern technology into consideration, absolutely. Texas's storage lien laws still require legal notices to be placed in a newspaper instead of being communicated electronically on a website. Do you really think they would allow the actual lien sale to occur on a website?

Regardless of how archaic some of these laws may be, if you use common sense to interpret (A sale under this sub-chapter must be a public sale at the self-service storage facility or a reasonably near public place) it'sobvious that this law was meant to be quite literal. I think that Sealed Online Bids' interpretation of the Texas storage lien law is a bit of a stretch, but either way, this is a legal question that will inevitably be resolved when a disgruntled tenant challenges the legality of an online sale.

So, are online storage auctions legal?

The answer is - it depends. Each state has it's own unique storage lien laws. To my knowledge, no state's storage lien laws specifically state that storage auctions can be held online and vise versa, no state's storage lien laws specifically state that they can't. The only way to know for sure is to look at your state's storage lien laws to see if they specify a location for where the sale is to be held.

How does this affect the storage auction buyer?

It really doesn't. Most states have laws protecting the purchaser similar to Texas, Sec. 59.007 which states: A good faith purchaser of property sold to satisfy a lien under this chapter takes the property free of a claim by a person against whom the lien was valid, regardless of whether the lessor has complied with this chapter.

How does this affect storage facilities?

Whenever there is a gray area, there will be lawsuits; however, companies who hold storage auctions online are protected through lengthy disclaimers that the storage facility and buyer must agree to before using their service. This leaves storage facilities to bear the brunt of the legal challenges that may arise by former tenants that believe that the law was not complied with. In Texas, Sec. 59.005 states that: A person injured by a violation of this chapter may sue for damages under the Deceptive Trade Practices–Consumer Protection Act (Sub-chapter E, Chapter 17, Business & Commerce Code).

Storage facilities should also consider whether they need to comply storage the lien laws in the state(s) where the online storage auction company's server/business is located. Our advise to storage facilities – consult with your attorney to make sure that this type of sale complies with federal, interstate and your state's storage lien laws.


So, what do you think? Are Texas's storage lien laws specific enough or do you feel that companies that conduct storage auctions online have a good argument? Should storage lien sales be permitted on the internet? Please leave you interesting and creative responses below.

Notices Of Public Sales In Newspapers Are Obsolete.

In Texas, our storage lien notification laws are dated and do not utilize current technology. The current law is 30 years old and needs to be modernized. Placing an advertisement in a newspaper's legal section is no longer the best way to notify the public, nor a delinquent tenant, of an upcoming storage sale.

If Chapter 59 of the Texas Property Code was amended to allow self storage facilities to publicize their auction via a public website, Texas newspapers would lose millions of dollars in annual revenue. However, collectively, storage facilities would save millions of dollars on their advertising costs. Think about it, why would a storage company pay a newspaper hundreds of dollars every month, per facility, to publish a public notice, when they could advertise their auction on a storage auction related website or their own website for next to nothing?

When companies like Public Storage, U-Haul Storage Centers, Private Mini Storage, Uncle Bob's Self Storage & other storage facility chains realize that they could be saving tens, if not hundreds of thousand of dollars a year by publishing their notices online, they will abandon ship. Every storage facility will benefit from this change, regardless of their size. Legal notices in newspapers will be a thing of the past.

Bottom line, we should consider which method of notification best represents the interest of the delinquent tenant. Allowing legal notices to be placed on a public website would give a delinquent tenant a better chance of finding the information they are searching for.

The current law worked fine 30 years ago when it was written. It worked better for smaller to medium size towns that only had one newspaper, everyone knew where to look. Nowadays, if a tenant were seeking information on the sale of their property, it would be like searching for a needle in a haystack.

So, how would a change to Chapter 59 affect the storage auction buyer?

If every storage facility in our area listed public notices on a different website, this would make an already imperfect system all the more confusing. Can you imagine having to visit hundreds of websites to find storage auction information in your area?  With no centralized information source, the entire system is flawed & confusing. We all need to get on the same page, literally.

At, our goal is to modernize & unify the storage auction notification process by creating a centralized information source for auctioneers, storage auction buyers and all storage facilities within Texas.

Last Minute Changes To HB 1259 Keep Texas Storage Facilities From Moving Forward

Unfortunately, the section of HB 1259 which would have granted storage facilities the ability to post their legal notices on a publicly available website, was stripped from the bill in order to get other amendments passed. We were almost there, until the lobbyists for the newspapers swarmed in to impose their opposition. Of course newspapers in Texas would oppose this change, they stand to lose millions in annual revenue. By opposing this bill, they have essentially held Texas storage facilities captive and forbid the use of the most effective technology for notifying the public of an upcoming storage auction event - The Internet.

I understand, that to the newspapers, this is all about money. But what they need to realize is that technology has changed and that printed legal notices no longer represent the best interest of storage facilities, the public or the delinquent tenant. Perhaps, in the future, our law makers will consider this and we can move forward into today's technology.

Meet Some Of Texas’s Best Storage Auctioneers

Texas Storage Auctioneers

The following auctioneers specialize in storage lien sales in Texas. I decided to highlight these auctioneers for two purposes. The first reason is to familiarize new storage auction buyers with the auctioneers in our area. The second reason is to provide a resource for storage facilities who are currently looking for a professional to conduct their auction. We did not receive any compensation from these auctioneers for this endorsement, we are recommending them based on their professionalism alone.

Luther Davis AuctioneerDavis Auctioneers is a family owned and operated business that has been in the auction profession since 1988. A large portion of their business involves conducting lien holder sales for storage facilities, including a majority of the U-Haul storage centers located throughout Texas. Besides storage unit auctions, Luther Davis also handles estate auctions, real estate auctions, online auctions, benefit auctions & farm, ranch & business liquidations. In June 2008, Luther Davis was selected as the 2008 State Champion Auctioneer at the Texas Auctioneer Association's annual meeting and convention. Luther is a member of the following associations; National Auctioneers Association, Texas Auctioneers Association, Texas Self Storage Association, Burleson Area Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Realtors, Texas Association of Realtors, Greater Fort Worth Area Realtors & the Fellowship of Christian Auctioneers. For more information, you can reach Luther at

Buddy Thomas is the owner and principal auctioneer for Thomas & Associates Auctioneers. He specializes in self storage lien auctions and currently services over 60 locations in Texas, from Sherman to McAllen. Buddy has been licensed as an auctioneer by the state of Texas since 1993. He also is a past President of the Texas Auctioneers Association, having served as President in 2006-2007. He has conducted auctions throughout the United States, while employed by a national auction company. Auctions conducted include major business liquidations for Fortune 500 companies, FDIC, hospitals, machine shops, IRS, hardware stores, major banking entities, farm liquidations, and large & small estates. He is a member of Texas Self Storage Association and Texas Auctioneers Association. You can contact him for your storage auction needs as well as on site business and estate liquidations. Update: Buddy Thomas passed away on October 31st, 2014. He will be greatly missed. Chad Larson has taken over Buddy's accounts. You can reach Chad at

Colonel Walt Cade retired from a position in a tax accounting firm where he specialized in tax law and financial planning. He completed the program at the Texas Auction Academy under Mike Jones, and now works full-time as an auctioneer. As one of the most productive auctioneers in the country, Walt runs about 50 storage auctions each year. In addition to storage auctions, he also works on real estate and ranch auctions. Walt appears as an auctioneer on Storage Wars Texas and maintains a website that shows his upcoming auction schedule. You can reach Walt at

Terry Waters Auctioneering is a family-owned business located in Aledo, Texas that services cities throughout the state. Terry Waters handles storage, consignment and estate auctions as well as business liquidations. His wife, Lou Ann, assists with bids and handles check-in/check-out with Auction Flex software. They both work with other auction companies to provide bid calling and ring work services. Terry and his wife are graduates from the Texas Auction Academy and a professional member of the Ringmen's Institute. You can contact Terry at

Are The National Storage Auction Lists A Waste Of Money?

National Storage Auctions

Finding storage auction listings can be a daunting task in some parts of the country. One may become so frustrated that they turn to paying a storage auction listing service for their information. Now, I'm not suggesting that all storage auction listing services are a waste of money, there are several of these service that provide listings for specific cities or states, and they do a pretty good job. As a matter of fact, our service, provides the storage auction schedule for the Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Austin areas and they are extremely comprehensive. The purpose of this article is not to bash on these National auction lists, but to educate storage auction buyers on what these services actually do and don't do. One of these services makes a lot of claims which I personally find hard to believe. Let's take a look at these over exaggerations.

1. One service claims that they send out 21,330 emails and make 97,250 phone calls every month.

Okay, where do I begin? In order to provide a thorough compilation of storage auctions from across the United States, they would have to spend a fortune on labor. To have a call center capable of contacting 51,252 storage facilities twice a month, you would have to employ a full time staff of 11 people working 40 hours per week . Making 97,250 phone calls per month, would require over 1700 man hours (roughly $17,000 in monthly call center labor costs alone).

They would need an additional support staff of at least 10 people to handle facility relations, their website, customer service, & research. Even with moderate salaries, that's another thirty thousand per month in labor costs. Factor in a massive internet advertising campaign costing in excess of 15k per month and a television commercial, and I don't see how this company is making a profit. This company would need to make nearly a million dollars a year to just to stay in business. So what gives? The quality, that's what. I have seen their auction lists and from looks of it, I would guess that they only have a handful of people working for them and that they don't actually contact every facility twice per month.

If there is really a support staff like they claim, why does the CEO respond to your emails?

2. They claim that there is no possible way for an individual to obtain enough information to even come close to rivaling their list.

Most storage auction buyers don't need information on auctions outside of their immediate area, so this is irrelevant. If a storage auction buyer devotes several hours to making a list of storage facilities in their community & devotes a few hours per month to calling the facilities, they will be able to find more auctions than this national list could ever provide for their area. In major metropolitan areas, it may be more difficult to call every storage facility; however, most major metropolitan areas have newspapers, auctioneers & local auction listing services which provide a wealth of information.

3. One of these companies claims to provide the most complete & comprehensive auction list available. Their exact words are " very rarely is there an auction we miss".

This is just a blatant lie.

I recently read the following frequently asked question on their website. "How often do you update your data? I am finding auctions not on your list!"

I would imagine that since they posted this in their frequently asked questions, that they obviously are asked this question frequently. Why do you think this is? Is it because they don't do what they claim to do?

In Texas, this service claims to have 385 auctions coming up. What does coming up mean? Does it mean this month or over the next few months? Okay, lets assume the best case scenario that all 385 auctions were for this month. There are over 5000 storage facilities in Texas and they collectively have over 1500 storage auctions every month. Using their own statistics, the fail to list roughly 74% of the auctions in our state. I would imagine that these statistics are consistent in other states as well. If they are really making 97,250 phone calls every month, how can this be? Something isn't adding up.

5. One service claims that since their website covers every single facility in all 50 states, that you can pick auctions that nobody knows about.

First of all, most storage auction buyers don't travel further than 60 miles from their home to attend an auction, so 99% of a national auction list is useless to them. Second, roughly 15% or 7500 storage facilities in the United States don't even have auctions.

What this company is most likely doing is compiling a list of auctions from readily available sources; sources that the average individual could easily find by spending a few minutes on Google. These sources are advertised to the masses and the auctions are flooded with buyers. Also, since these national listing services have thousands of members, do you really think that nobody else knows about the auctions they advertise?

Their pricing plans make no sense either. They justify higher prices in larger states because they claim there is more work involved. I live in Texas, but I don't travel further than 60 miles from my home. Why should people in larger states have to pay more when they only need access to auctions in their area?

I hope this article pushes some buttons! I would really love to get a response from one of these services but, I have a feeling it's not going to happen.

Have you ever used a national storage auction listing service? If so, I would love to hear from you. Leave your interesting & creative responses below.

Headaches Facility Managers Experience With Storage Auctions

Storage Facility Manager

I asked the following question to our friend Zach Proser, with Storage Auctions Kings, to get his inside perspective as a former storage facility manager.

Zach ProserSo Zach, while you were a storage facility manager, what type of problems did you go through in preparation for a storage unit auction. What type of headaches did you go through on auction day? Was their ever a particular person or event that got you really frustrated?

Great question, Travis.

Preparing for a storage auction involves about 3 and a half months of work. At the very bleeding edge minimum, we cannot sell anyone’s unit before 48 days have passed in which they have not made any payment of any amount. This means we are trying to get in touch with our tenants by phone, e-mail, SMS text, and snail mail. Speaking of snail mail, we have to send out, by law, delinquency notices by mail and document them and keep time-stamped copies in our tenant’s files.

I think what is lost on a lot of our tenants is the fact that we are trying to help them. As managers, we gain nothing from selling their belongings besides an angry previous tenant (or family of tenants!) and a headache. The lengths that I, and other managers I have worked with, have gone to in order to help a delinquent tenant try to hold onto their things border on the ridiculous.

Amazingly enough, it’s these same people that you go so far out of your way to help that end up burning you the worst and causing you the most problems . Bad attitudes, misplaced blame, nasty phone calls, downright juvenile games of phone tag…I’ve seen em’ all.

In terms of the auction day itself – usually I’m feeling relieved by the actual sale date rolls around. It’s almost over. You get a rush of phone calls, e-mails and impatient strangers in your office and parking lot, but most of them are in a genial enough mood because half of them are just along to see a show. The one guy that had all three of our facilities in the same region venting to one another on the phone was a guy that managers of yore had actually warned us about by name.

Because we had three facilities in a relatively close area, we would stagger the auctions and run them all on the same day, so that our same group of motivated bidders could hit all three. Well, this guy starts at our first facility in the early morning, and takes advantage of the manager there because it was his first time running an auction. He says he needs to race down into town to catch our next company auction, and that he’ll be right back to finish cleaning out the two outdoor 10×10?s he just bought there. Well, our new manager didn’t get a security deposit off him because he took him at his word.

Next, he comes down to my facility. He and his partner are obnoxious and have to continually be asked to step back out of the units whenever the doors are rolled up. He’s violating the thresholds and even poking his mitts around in the luggage inside. Finally he ends up buying two more units at my facility, but when it comes time to settle the bill in the office 10 minutes later, he needs to run across the street to get cash out of the ATM. Well, we’re trying to close up now!

He and his partner go AWOL. We wait 30 minutes. We get irritated. We ask if anyone else present has his cell number because if he’s not back in 10 minutes we’re going to give the units to the next highest bidder. They finally show back up, loaded drunk and they leave their truck in the middle of the parking lot. I wasn’t a happy camper and he got a stern warning.

Ultimately, he came back to the first facility after hours and used his buyer’s gate code to get in. Then, after he got everything he wanted out of his units, he left our manager two truckloads of trash, dirty tape and muddy streaks throughout the halls. Suffice it to say he’s banned from our future auctions.

Otherwise, auctions, from our perspective, are always just distant possibilities humming along in the background. As most people get into the last stages of delinquency, a couple of strategically worded e-mails usually persuade them to come in and settle their bills.