Category Archives: Storage Auction Fraud

A storage auction setup

The dreaded “setup” or staging of a unit.

The “setup” is when a storage company or auction house will more-or-less stuff a bunch of shit, from stuff laying around, or combine some smaller units and auction it off. In a few cases over the years, I got paid $100.00 bucks to haul off units.

Yes this sucks for the people at the auction! How does a setup go-down? Maybe the storage company has some left over units with some junk they are unable to get-rid-of, so they will just slap the junk they have laying around in a open storage unit and just auction it off!

Fun Story: I had a large truck and when units went unsold or they just had a few things left behind. I would tell the manger at the storage facility, that I will remove all his unwanted items or units for a fee and haul it all to the dump. One time I was at the storage auction an about 3 units went unsold. I over-heard the manger telling the auctioneer that he had to get rid of a bunch of stuff, because garbage was really piling-up. So I offered my services, and he said ok. I removed about 5 units of junk, we kind-of hit it-off and we where talking about how he had been removing stuff from the units and getting a real stockpile of goodies. To be honest, after buying a few storage units myself, it was disturbing to even hear this come out of him mouth. Trust me, you never want to be bidding on a unit that, the “good stuff” has been removed.

Email from one of my readers

This is an email I received from one of my readers regarding Storage facilities stealing items from units up for auction.

Hello, I attended my first storage auctions yesterday and I couldn’t believe just how stupid these storage facilities think we are. It was plain too see that every single locker had been gone through pryer to the auction. Heck one locker only had a couch and love seat and was leaned up against the back wall and turned so you couldn’t even see the cushions. Another was all boxed up except one box with some expensive tennis shoes for display, but every unit was gone through and even a blind man could’ve seen it. Shame on Wayne Blair[auctioneer]for being part of such an injustice. Storage unit staffs should be ashamed of themselves. There just plain Thief’s — Larry

Unfortunately, this is a massive problem with storage auctions. Storage auctions are for the most part unregulated. This makes it very difficult to detect this type of theft. This is a very risky theft for the Storage facility or auctioneer holding the auction because the person in default has up until the time of the auction to bring the unit current.

Tip for detecting if items have been removed from a unit:

It is going to be difficult to really confirm “what” if anything is missing from a unit. Here are some clues that may help.

  • You will find power cords or remote controls with no matches.
  • The unit will have open boxes, that may have been taped shut.
  • Look for dust! Some units that have been in default have sat for months waiting to be auctioned, you will see dust that has been recently moved.

How to protect yourself:

  • Take a picture of the unit before you touch anything.
  • If you feel like a units are being stripped, tell someone, better-yet tell everyone! Storage facilities don’t want this kind of information getting out. This will cause them to have lower bids.

*This is VERY effective if there is a auctioneer running the auction. This will effect his bottom-line.

Tip – If you think items have been removed before the auction:

  • Contact the police and file a report. The Police may contact the original owner of the storage unit and start investigation.
  • Contact the owner of the Storage facility.

** WARNING: ONLY If you have strong information that items have been removed.

Contact the police and the storage facility FIRST!

  • Contact the original owner of the unit, using the documents inside the unit.


IF YOU REALLY THINK ITEMS HAVE BEEN REMOVED – You may want to “hint” that you want to contact the owner of the unit, this may make the thieve’s nervous.