Barrett Street Antique Center's misleading advertising and deceptive phone tactics have cost me a tremendous amount of grief and money. As yet, I have no idea how many thousands of dollars I am going to loose directly due to the SCAM Barrett Street Antique Center pulled on me. Do not become their victim too! Barrett Street Antique Center claims they sell "anything and everything" ...right up until it comes time to actually pick up the goods then suddenly they only want your most valuable antiques, and there are all kinds of "pick-up" and "loading" fees (IN ADDITION to their huge consignment fees) that no one mentioned when soliciting your business.
Their Ad which states "Our area of pick-up covers the entire state of Virginia north through Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and south through the Carolinas. Auctions, estate sales, downsizing, liquidations or buying/selling antiques please give us a call. We can sell your personal items and real estate at ZERO cost to you." IS A JOKE! No where do they mention "at least a $1000.00 pick-up fee for a couple households full of stuff"
After the sale of my business I was left with a 2500 sq. ft. Storage building full of assorted items I had to sell and very little time to do it in. The first Auctioneer I contracted with to sell the items suffered severe damage in a storm and said he would have to delay my sale by more than a month, so I hit the Yellow Pages. I called Barrett Street Antique Center with 9 days left until my deadline. I was connected to "the Owner, Tom Giroux" I told him my situation and EXACTLY what I had to sell during a lengthy phone conversation..
I explained to Tom in great detail that I had BOTH valuable antiques, rugs, etc and at least a ton of general yard sale stuff. I listed for him everything from dishes, modern furniture, lawn mowers, tables, weed eaters, books, flatware to Oriental Rugs, Antique Dressers, showcases, couches, etc.
Tom assured me in no uncertain turns that "We take anything and everything because we have all types of buyers" and "We sell the cheaper stuff in lots for the Flea Market buyers" He also stated that the ONLY things they did not accept for Auction were "Used Mattresses and Broken items." I told him that we had already pulled all the mattresses out for donation to the Animal Shelter, and I thought all broken items had been removed, but if he found any while loading, I would discard them. He put NO additional limitations on what Barrett Street Antique Center would pick-up and sell FOR A PERCENTAGE what-so-ever and told me they "held different Auctions for different types of goods" more than once.
When Tom said that they could not come out to the location until November 30, I told him "Ok, thank you, but I think I will call a few other places and see if I can get someone out here sooner as I am on a serious deadline" At this point Tom ASSURED me that there was no reason for me to look further for an available Auctioneer, that his business was a "Full Service Auction House" and his crew would be here Monday, December 1 to pick-up the merchandise without fail.
Tom INTENTIONALLY discouraged me from looking further by GUARANTEEING me over and over again that "We sell everything" and that they would begin loading December 1'st I would not have stopped calling Auctioneers 9 days before my deadline if Tom had not convinced me it was a done deal! Barrett Street Antique Center was the first to answer the phone and I was only up to the "B's" in the Yellow Pages, so I had MANY choices left. I would not have waited until the day before the building had to be emptied if Tom had not convinced me beyond any shadow of a doubt that ALL the items I had for sale would be picked-up and Auctioned, some at Antique sales and some an auctions for Flea Market buyers.
November 30, Tom and his assistant came out to see "What would be going where and arrange the pick-up" The minute he walked in the door his ENTIRE story changed. He began listing all they things they would not take, which read like a laundry list of the EXACT same things he told me he would "sell to Flea Market buyers" the week before.
"We do not take any particle or press board office furniture" he said, pointing to a two year old Computer desk that cost $299.00 at Office Max."We don't take electronics" he said, referring to the office security video monitor worth about $150.00 We don't take office chairs, metal desks and files cabinets, etc" and . "We don't take used couches or recliners" "We can take the old hardback books, but not any paperbacks" He went on and on until he finally narrowed down what he would take to Antiques and high dollar items only.
I was shocked and asked him "How can you say you do complete home and business liquidations when you do not take basic household goods and office furniture, fax machines, a video security system, etc?" Then I got the "I've been in this business for 20 years and I know what I can and can not sell" lecture. At which point I asked him, "Well why couldn't you give me your list of what you can and can not sell 9 days ago when I was shopping for Auctioneers?" He then told me, "I can give you the number of an Auctioneer who handles large lots yard sale quality items." I responded with "You told me YOU handled Yard Sale quality items!"
I REALLY hate being lied to, and the conversation went rapidly downhill from there. I told him I did not appreciate being deceived and that I was not a happy woman...and he left.
Needless to say, I am filing complaints with the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, Better Business Bureau and every Rip off, Review, and Gripe site I can find. I may file a Civil action against them as well since I relied on deceptive advertising as well as the owner's own sales spiel. At this point, it depends on how much Barrett Street Antique Center's complete and utter failure to abide by the deal I made with them costs me.
I am doing my best to mitigate my damages, but their spurious and unethical business practices of have left me on a Sunday afternoon, with less than 18 hours to find another Auctioneer who can begin clearing out a huge storage building immediately.
I realize now that I fell for a CLASSIC trick. "Promise everything, give nothing" Barrett's laid it on thick to assure that I did not contact their competitors. Then they waited until I had no time left make arraignments to COMPLETELY change the terms they sold me on a week prior. Their story changes from "We take everything but used mattresses and broken items" to "We will only take the most valuable Antiques, and charge you for the privilege....take it or leave it." once they know you are out of time. Considering the strict time limits facing many people who need items sold at Auction (moving, estates, etc.) I have no doubt this scam is profitable...but is should be illegal !