Tricked by a Seller

I won an auction today and my son and I went to clean out the unit. After paying, I was making small talk with the guy and he starts telling us about the history of the unit. He informs us that the previous owner had died and his living relatives had been cleaning it out, but they hadn’t heard from them in months. Then he drops the bombshell of the guy was diabetic and had been living inside of the unit, so we should expect to find hypodermic needles and human waste.

Since he already had the cleaning deposit, I figured we were going to need to clean it our anyway because I didn’t want to lose it or get punished by Bid13. Once inside the unit, we found out it was filled with trash, biohazard buckets full of needles and, multiple containers of human waste. We started to look through it and clean but after finding one of the waste containers spilled over we decided to take off for the night.

At this point, I am willing to eat the $400 loss and risk facing punishment on my account and cleaning out the unit. Most of the units I have purchased have had trash and have resulted in trips to the dump, but this is an entirely different situation. It also wasn’t like we just stumbled upon the items, the storage facility was aware the whole time that the human waste and hypodermic needles were in there and still decided to sell the unit and pretended like nothing was wrong with it.

Has anyone been in a similar situation before and have some advice? I have already sent an email to Bid13 and plan to talk to the storage facility tomorrow.

I’m not sure what state you live in, but I would think that there are laws against this type of harmful to public situation in which they didn’t have you sign a waiver -prior to buying unit- that spells out the potentially harmful and unsanitary condition. MOREOVER——This is a decency issue at minimum & they should’ve hired an informed contractor. I wouldn’t dare give them the satisfaction bc THEY should be paying YOU! Sorry Sellers need to be reported too! Forward message to BID 13 customer service email.

  • P.S. Isn’t it unlawful to allow anyone to live in a storage unit? That’s a whole new set of liability to take in as a reputable business. Sounds like they’re admitting to this liability
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I live in Washington. Bid13 refunded us the buyer’s fee, but the facility manager basically said, “Well I informed you so it is not my problem.” Which that has been his argument every time we’ve talked since, but I feel there is a big difference between “warning someone” and knowing what’s inside and then running a week-long auction and having people bid on it and only telling the winner once the money is out and on the table.

At this point, it seems like it is just going to be an expensive lesson learned.

Hi @Spokane20 and @Hrdcoresymphoni

We completely understand your frustration @Spokane20 which is why we happily granted you the refund for running into such a situation for the first time (please keep in mind that management won’t approve a refund if you bump into such a situation for the second time). We’re also not sure about the legalities behind allowing someone to live in a unit, or if the facility even did allow them to live in the unit. If the unit was always paid up, the facility would not be allowed to open the unit.

What we do know is that the facility is legally obligated to put the unit through the auction process if next of kin no longer wants to pay for the storage unit. All units are sold as an as is basis which is why many (and I mean MANY) experienced buyers show up to their winnings in protective gear. It is unfortunate to say, but mice droppings and needles can be apart of the auction gamble. We STRONGLY suggest that you bring protective gear with you when you are clearing any units out since it is a risk that you are running in. After all, many auctioned units have been stored for quite some time, and in many cases, not accessed at all for several years.

Again, we’re sorry that happened, as you were unaware of the risk, but please keep those risks in mind for the future. We can’t stress how important it is to bring protective gear with you while clearing units out.

Thank you.I do appreciate everything you’ve done to this point. I understand that bringing protective hear is important. We’ve brought gloves and other protective gear to every unit we won. It isn’t like we have been digging through these units in shorts and sandals. My issue isn’t that we opened up the unit and found needles and Human feces. My issue is with the fact the storage facility, knew it was in there, and still decided to sell it. I understand none of what was said was in writing, so it is ultimately a he said, she said here, but we were told they knew everything was in there and they were letting him stay in there because they felt sorry for him.

Is it not an issue that they knew of the needles and human waste? Are there not rules and laws that deal with these issues, or is simply a law that says that units have to be auctioned off no matter what? I’m not trying to confrontational, I am just genuinely curious as to the extent of the law in question

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Since we are only involved in the sale of the unit, we are honestly not 100% sure of the laws regarding units prior to the sale. The companies we host sales for span across Canada and America, and the lien laws in each State and Province vary and are constantly changing.

We can’t address the part on the allowance of a tenant living in the unit as we don’t know the legalities behind that, but from our understanding, yes, facilities are obligated to auction off units that are in lien status. They have to document it for liability reasons and go on with the sale which is why all auctioned units are listed as an as is basis. The facility cannot enter a unit until this process has been completed.

So in this case, it really does look like the facility was offering the extra information as a courtesy to you so that you could properly prepare as you cleared out the unit.

In Texas, it is ILLEGAL to live in a storage unit and quite the liability on the storage facility if they allow this to happen. In previous comments, they are correct that lien laws are different by state. But somewhere in the allotted time that the decision was made to sell the unit, the lock had to be cut off and pictures taken of the unit, and inventoried. I would think that employee could’ve made the decision as to trash it out and not fit to sell. ESPECIALLY, them knowing of the feces and needles. The employees just didn’t want to have to clean out that unit themselves. I think this falls on the facility as operating under bad business practices. For one, allowing them to live in it. No wonder the family didn’t want to continue cleaning it out. Shame, shame , shame. You can easily find the property owner of the storage facility and try to make contact with them. They have the right to know how that property is being operated.

wonder what place it was ive seen some pretty nasty ones in Spokane area too.

I would think you would take a proactive stance in this and not tell the buyer your doing him a favor. We depend on you to protect us and against fraudulent auctions (which this was). I mean when you let the sellers do anything they want then your jeopardizing our safety. To tell the buyer they should bring safety equipment is correct, but safety equipment in this situation is way beyond basics. If they would of dropped a bucket of waste or tripped on this stuff they could of ended up with a very bad infection, or worse than that a disease. Makes me wonder if you care about your buyer. You did not do them a favor by refunding the money you did what was right. If it’s only about how many sellers you get and do not care about what they do to us then we will think twice next time around. I would like to know what your justification is for not protecting buyers if you don’t mind telling me.

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Hi Nicksavage,

In the nature of auctions you may run into some that are fraudulent. We unfortunately have no control over facilities and what they do based on their rules and regulations however we always encourage bidders to report them if need be. That being said we handle all cases and complaints diligently and seriously. In this case with Spokane20 we handled it with the best of our ability with the outcome of Spokane20 being satisfied with our service.

If a complaint comes in to us from a bidder about a facility we launch an investigation covering all aspect and data that we can acquire. Each facility is put on record of the complaint. If worst case scenario and more complaints happen then my manager discuss on removing the facility from our site.

Our bidders safety is the upmost importance. That being said every bidder has a different level of safety. Because of this we have to handle each complaint case by case.

Auctions laws are different depending on which state you are in so we have to work with what we have. If there is proven illegal activity that endangers the safety of our bidders, we WILL remove them from our site. We can for now keep them on record and watch their activity on future auctions.

@nicksavage

My goal with this post was never to bash Bid13. Throughout the entire situation with this unit, I felt like Bid13 handled everything professionally. They talked to both me and the storage facility multiple times over a four day period and it never felt like they were taking sides. While I still have my gripes with the storage facility itself, I have absolutely zero complaints about Bid13’s involvement.