As I explained in my last blog, Down and Out in Darien, things have been difficult lately because of my impending foreclosure and a deadbeat ex-husband.
In the midst of these difficulties, many people and institutions have been understanding and generous. But I regret that I have to say that I’ve also experienced the opposite: people who have taken advantage of my vulnerable situation and ripped me off.
I had a terrible experience with a local company that sells people’s things on ebay for them. (Note that I am not going to actually give you the company’s name because even though I’m telling the truth about what happened to me I would still probably have to endure a libel or slander suit, albeit a spurious one, if I did – and since I’m not a reporter for the CT Post, but an independent blogger, I have no legal support from them.)
Here’s the story: when my ex-husband went AWOL he left me with many bills unpaid and a garage full of his furniture, electronics, oriental rugs, sofas, beds, and etc. It was stuffed to the ceiling. So I needed money and had a bunch of furnishings that were no longer needed. It was too much for me to manage a garage sale – I couldn’t move the furniture out of the garage by myself. What to do?
A good friend had told me about this local company that sells people’s stuff online, so I took that as a good reference (first mistake). I called the owner and he came over. He was friendly, seemed sympathetic, and I was in a bad situation. We agreed that he would move the stuff out of my garage to his warehouse and manage selling it on ebay. He said he would give me a list of the inventory he picked up after he got it to the warehouse, so I didn’t keep a list (I trusted him – second mistake). I also gave him a couple of pricier items to try to make more money; one of these was a $1,000 professional digital camera that I had ended up with. I asked him to leave one of the tables – an antique side table I wanted to keep, and he agreed.
Well, this guy took all my stuff, including the side table, and then I didn’t hear from him. I phoned and phoned and either got his voicemail or some assistant guy who told me that the owner was busy. This went on for SIX MONTHS! Despite my friend’s reference, I was getting the distinct feeling that I had been ripped off.
I reported the company to the Better Business Bureau and ultimately I called the cops. Then I finally heard back from the guy — he sent me a few small spreadsheets that listed a few items and a check for about $140. I didn’t get any official records of any ebay sales at all. Anyone could have created the spreadsheets.
Since I hadn’t created a list myself or taken any photographs of the event, I was out of luck. Besides, I already have experience with Small Claims Court – from another firm that ripped me off (I’ll save it for another blog), and after paying to file the claim, proving the claim, and winning the claim I was still unable to collect any money. Small Claims Court is a bee without a stinger (or insert better metaphor here).
So that’s my cautionary tale for today. Do Not Let Anybody Just Pick Up Your Stuff To Sell On The Internet! But, I will remain resilient and perhaps even cheerful because writer Elissa Bassist listed me as one of her favorite women humor writers for McSweeney’s. Gather ye rosebuds. . .