Storage unit auction results in profit for some, loss for owners | News
Tampa, Florida -- "You have 48 hours to clear out your units," says Tammie Lockwood from Storage Protection Auction Services to a group of nearly 50 interested buyers.
Tammie is the auctioneer for the sale of three storage units at Storage Centers of America in Tampa.
She watches as buyers take a second look at the contents from outside the units that they can choose to place a bid on.
One buyer, Donald Albert, purchases the first unit for $250. It's filled with furniture and some office equipment.
"Some stuff looks like I can turn around make a few dollars," says Donald.
Making a buck is what buyers say it's all about.
"You want to be the buyer you've got to be the bidder," Tammie tells the group as they view the second unit. This unit is just about half-filled with bags and boxes of household items.
These buyers say the cable TV show "Storage Wars" gives the impression there's a lot of easy money to be made.
Or is there?
Tammie tells the group in the cable TV shows, buyers find something of value in every unit.
Anthony Jackomino shouts out, "The show is fake, the show is fake."
Anthony says he attends storage auctions everyday of the week.
"A long time ago we used to buy these units for $30 or $40, the nice ones for $700. Before this show came out we were cleaning the town. Now everybody thinks they are going to come out here make a fortune," says Anthony.
The fortune, whether it's big or small, is being made off of someone's possessions.
"You try to work with people try to return personal pictures a lot of people bent out of shape down on hard times," says Anthony.
Kelvin Sierra buys a unit filled with home furnishings for $475. Inside he finds a leather couch, wood furniture, a cell phone, a keyboard and some personal items such as bank statements and personal checks.
"I've found people's financial history, school credit," says Kelvin. "ID and passwords for something people leave here all sorts of stuff, even blank CD's."
Kelvin says he will shred any sensitive document. The rest is money in the bank off of someone else's loss.
Storage unit owners have until the time the auction begins to pay their bill and keep from losing their items.
Auctioneers advise buyers to bid on what they see, not on what they think may be inside.