As I'm writing this, I am still in disbelief! Tough economic times have made us a victim of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers! With the combination of two large unpaid accounts receivables and a very slow winter season, we made the decision to sell a piece of construction equipment. Not savvy to the auction world, we had heard the name Ritchie Bros., so we called them. "Our local representative", Mr. Jeremy Torgerson was more than happy to tell us everything we wanted to hear.
We were concerned after hearing about "their NO RESERVE policy." We specifically called him to ask him about it and were told that we could buy our piece of equipment back and only have to pay the "12 percent fee." We also addressed the issue when he came to get photos and get the contract signed. Again we were told, just pay the "12 percent fee!"
So, imagine our surprise when our 1996 Peterbuilt with Boom Truck that we invested over $100,000 into - started open bidding at $5,000! We were thankful to have attended the auction to buy it back, for it was a steal at our winning bid of $32,000. Unfortunately, things didn't work out quite the way our savvy salesman stated they would.
When at the sales counter we explained that we were buying our Boom Truck back and were told "SSSSHHHHHH, Don't say that too loud" by the friendly clerk! "You're not supposed to do that." Our response was, "WHAT!!! - ARE YOU JOKING???" Too bad for us, being the honest people we are. One of the gentlemen guarding the auction arena overheard. It's amazing how quickly shock sets in.
As we pleaded with the higher powers of the auction world, we were given almost 10 minutes of their precious time, in fact it was just about the same amount of time our savvy local sales representative Jeremy Torgerson spent taking photos and explaining the contract. Our pleas fell on deaf ears, even though we were told that we could buy it back and pay the fee - that is not what the contract we signed stated.
Less than 20 minutes later - our $100,000 investment retreived a "fair and equitable market value" (according to Ritchie Bros famous statement!) of a mere $27,000. But wait that's not all, we now had their fantastic auction services for an amount just 8 percent higher than stated. Truly, a bargain at only 20 percent for our "new" auction fee.
At 2:26PM - June 18th, 2009 Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, per our request faxed us a copy of the contract they skillfully got us to sign. Only problem was that it was delivered to us several hours too late - 5 hours after our Boom Truck was sold. The entire process flowed far too smooth in Ritchie Bros. favor for it to be an oversight, don't you think?
Stunned by the revelation, words can't describe the sinking feeling of being taken so masterfully. So sellers beware: MASTERS OF DECEPTION aka Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers.
Twin Cities Area, Minnesota