Report: #837642

Complaint Review: Heritage Auctions

  • Submitted: Sat, February 11, 2012
  • Updated: Tue, March 05, 2013
  • Reported By: freightline — Concord California United States of America
  • Heritage Auctions
    3500 Maple Ave. 17th floor
    United States of America

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

I had contacted Heritage to sell some rare autographed Bill Graham concert posters and the most prized by collectors . My partner managed the backstage of the world famous Fillmore and Warfield Theatres in San Francisco for 20yrs He is very much loved by the performers and has a unique gift of giving that can only be expirenced. Written and signed by performers great and small are the sentiments felt for him and covered every square inch of his office walls and ceiling.

These show signed posters are nonexistant outside of BGP's archives, and he was responsible for furnishing the archives with autographed posters. In fact he started the practice. Everything signed went through him. Unfortunately he developed a mental illness that ended his career,has left him permanently disabled and under psychiatric care.
On 3-25-11. David Tosh and Gerry Shrum from Heritage Auctions came out.

My partner wasn't to attend the meeting but provenance being everything I asked him to come to answer any questions. His illness was very apparent and It was made clear to Mr Tosh and Mr Shrum that I was to handle all the negotiations. We discussed and agreed that we were to get 85% of the hammer price. All fees, insurance, shipping, PSA/DNA authenticity etc.was their responsibility. (2) That Ebay be used as was advertised.(3) There would be a 500.00 minimum per poster and in the cases of lesser known performers we would group 2 posters together but there would be no grouping of posters without my approval.

Thinking that we chose the right auction house and as a show of good faith we gave both of them autographed posters that they saw and liked as well as sent Garry 20+ from a Slims venue (easily worth about 3000.00). I left my partner and them to go through the rest of the posters to get a guitar for auction and upon my return signed some paperwork and asked if I needed to sign anything for the posters. They stated no and that a formal appraisal and inventory would be forthcoming

Two months go by and no word from Heritage.I call. Gary says they were being authenticated and hits us with a 600.00 PSA bill for a service that couldn't identify, or wrongly identified, popular artists signatures and for an appraisal we never got. Two weeks before the bidding was to begin, the posters came up on their web site with errors. While 1 correction was made, the errors continued and when I inquired about them, communication was cut off. I was left in the dark while they proceeded to group posters as they wished with opening bids half of what was discussed. These a**holes tried to tell me noone was interested in autographed posters. WTF?

I couldn't believe it. Desperate for any other contact information I was looking through my partners paperwork and discovered they had entered into a seperate contract with my partner.They scratched my name and replaced it with his.Garry did this when I left to get the guitar and didn't tell me . It was a day or 2 before bidding was to start.Since they wouldn't talk to me I had my partner call and when Garry picked up I got on the phone. I informed Mr Shrum that they entered into a contract with someone who was incapable and they had no contract.I gave Garry the option of pulling the posters out of the auction or setting the minimums at 500. as orginally agreed.

Neither was done nor was ebay used. As a result only 1 poster met the minimum at 550. It was Jerry Garcia band signed promo poster which easily should have brought 3500. I have found our Allman Brothers band signed drum head selling online for 3200. They sold it for 250.00. Their were 38 posters with top artists like David Bowie, Guns n Roses, Ron Wood, Pete Townsend, Tom Petty etc.easily worth over 40,000. in the retail market.We got 5200.

If that wasn't bad enough it took 3 months to get the rest of our posters and the guitar back . They broke the plex cover to the display case and shorted us, 16 posters. They left here with 245 items and sold 38. 245-38= 207 posters should have been returned. They returned 191. 207-191= 16 missing items. This is by their own accounting.I've been very patient and have given them more than enough time to determine what happened to the posters. They ignore and mock my questions. When they do respond its ambiguous and use jargon speak that's meant to decieve and mislead you.

Trying to resolve anything with thes people is hopeless. WTF?. Did these people go straight to prison from the sandbox or what? Thinking he might want to see what's going on in his company, I had sent Mr. Greg Rohan (president) the correspondence between Garry and myself exposing Garry and hoped that he would intervene.(some of the posters that were missing are shown to be not included in the shippment). He didn't. Instead, I was sent to Mr Rob Gacia and the bullsh*t started all over again.

What most pisses me off about all of this is what they did to my partner and best friend. He's the nicestest person you could ever want to meet and wouldn't think twice about giving you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He's on disability and selling these posters were to help him out financially and to get him the help he needs. He generously gave Shrum and Tosh posters and these greedy shisters turn around and steal from him. Their bullsh*t so stressed out my partner that he ended up spending 2 weeks in the hospital over Christmas. F**k You Heritage. Heritage states in their ad "a worry free expirence" . Nothing could be farther from the truth. You caused a lot of senseless damage(about 50,000. plus a hospital bill) and now turn your back on the mess you made. WRONG.

Do not do business with these swindlers. They falsely advertise themselves. They are fraudulent, unscroupulous thieves who are engaging in unfair and deceptive business practices and committing grand theft larceny. They have breached their fidicuary duties with actions that are unconsionable, immoral, unethical and they could care less, they operate with impunity.

I wouldn't buy anything from these con artists as well. You don't know by what illicit means they acquired the goods you purchase and if Heritage can't make things right, people will sue to get it back. 
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/11/2012 01:18 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Suggestion

The Real "Ripoff"

AUTHOR: realclient - (United States of America)

The only "ripoff" is being perpetrated by this thug customer who is enraged that he could not extort money from a legitimate, honorable, hardworking company. Yes, in my experience Heritage's executives are sometimes arrogant and pompous, but so are all other corporate executives. That does not make them felonious or even unethical. I am officially jumping on the bandwagon with those who defend what America is truly about: An honest, successful, rags-to-riches company! The five unique complaints about Heritage that were posted on this website were written by nearly-illiterate, leftwing, bottom-of-the-socioeconomic-ladder crybabies who seem to think that Heritage is in business to royally cater to their every uninformed whim, fallacy, and misconception. I do not believe that a gargantuan auction firm like Heritage would risk damaging their stellar reputation just to cheat these small-time losers out of their virtually worthless junk. I suspect that what is really going on is that five obsessed wackos who have failed miserably at life (versus the satisfied 700,000-plus Heritage customers) did not get their backsides kissed during their minuscule transactions with Heritage, so they are unfairly trashing this outstanding company just to fuel the emotional void created by their failed extortion schemes. Several wealthy friends and I are longtime customers of Heritage, yet have never experienced any difficulties. Nobody with an IQ above 70 would take seriously the obviously suspect charges made against Heritage, a firm with an unblemished reputation amongst both heavy hitters and small spenders alike. 

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#2 Consumer Comment

Red Flag

AUTHOR: Customer - (United States of America)

One red flag with this complaint is the consignor claims that Heritage was supposed to advertise their posters on ebay. Heritage has their auction site Why would they advertise someone's collection on ebay? This makes no sense to me. The consignor can sell his own posters on ebay.
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#3 Consumer Comment

The Complaints About Heritage Are Laughable!

AUTHOR: ClaudePierre - (United States of America)

My name is Claude Pierre (this website will not permit me to use my full name.) I have done untold millions of dollars in business with Heritage Auction Galleries, both buying and selling, since the 1980's. I have usually dealt through agents; Heritage barely even knows who I am! A quick check reveals that I have personally placed over $4 million in bids with Heritage since 2009, but my actual bids through representatives are well into nine figures. Neither I nor my agents have ever been cheated nor misled by Heritage. Ditto for several collector and dealer friends whom I know quite well. Why would Heritage defraud or deceive you, knowing that it would tarnish their fabulous reputation? That is, if your complaint is even genuine and you are not lying, possibly because you are a shill for an unscrupulous competitor. Heritage has sold several billion dollars worth of collectibles at auction, so it is extremely difficult to believe that they would defraud anyone, especially for such a paltry sum. I shall continue to spend untold millions with Heritage and ignore unproven, libelous, axe-to-grind allegations. Actions (my actual transactions with Heritage) scream louder than words from someone whom I do not even know and whose complaint sounds like a completely fabricated fairy tale. It is interesting to note that, without exception, the three Heritage basherss who have posted on this website have substandard syntax, morphology, and semantics (not to mention class), suggesting that they are not particularly well educated nor sophisticated. Perhaps they are confusing their lack of education with actual wrongdoing by Heritage. 
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#4 Consumer Comment

Work with Heritage

AUTHOR: Customer - (United States of America)

I've auctioned many coins with Heritage and have been satisfied. I always receive a consignment check within a week of the settlement date. If you have a large collection of uncertified collectibles you should probably auction the collection off over a period of time rather than all at once. Heritage needs to make sure your collectibles are authentic to protect their reputation. This can take a lot of time in some collectible categories. You need to work with Heritage to resolve problems. 

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#5 Consumer Comment

I was also a victim of Heritage Ripoff

AUTHOR: NH_Seniors - (United States of America)

The exact same thing happened to us. We submitted posters to Heritage. A few were sold, but the bulk of our posters were never returned. We didn't deal with Gary -- we dealt with Grey Smith. It came down to we had to prove they stole our posters, which was really a "good luck" slap in the face as how do you prove what was sent if it comes down to your word versus their word? You were really lucky as you got a handwritten inventory copy proving what was sent.

We looked at filing a BBB complaint and held off while we had a lawyer open communications -- BBB doesn't accept complaints that are in litigation. Then we decided to sell our posters on ebay and got busy.  ripoff report sent me an update, and I am thus responding.

I personally believe the best thing you can do is what you have done -- file a rip off report.  

What most readers here need to remember is that  Heritage is a huge company, with a lot of staff. Their business is dependent on word of mouth.  They have people whose job it is scanning the net to make sure Heritage's name remains intact -- and yours is mud because you have your facts wrong.  If you think I'm wrong google heritage and Mongolian fossils...

Heritage made a big media spin about how they were cooperating but the fact remains -

1. There was an international protest against the sale of the fossil
2. Heritage claimed they had clear, legal provenance to sell the fossil
3.  A court injunction was placed against the sale, prohitiiting the auction from happening
4.  Heritage auctioned off the fossil
5. Feds stepped in so the fossil was "frozen" until more court hearings
6. Courts decide the fossil was illegally stolen and order its return to Mongolia
7. Heritage makes a lot of noise about returning the fossil and cooperating with Feds

You need to keep reminding people about what happened to you and your posters and guitar.
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#6 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: rfaze1 - (United States of America)

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#7 Consumer Comment

Pls file BBB report

AUTHOR: NH_Seniors - (United States of America)

I would suggest you file a BBB report also as Heritage claims it has an A+ rating.

I don't know if a complaint will result in any action as Heritage is no longer an accredited BBB business.

At least, if enough of us file a complaint, we might be able to convince BBB to remove their A+ rating.
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#8 Consumer Comment

Thank you for posting

AUTHOR: NH_Seniors - (United States of America)

Thank you for posting this. I am going through a similar situation where Heritage has pilfered some of my inventory. You are not alone.
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#9 Author of original report

I hope we can move forward

AUTHOR: freightline - (United States of America)

There is no better place to debate issues than a public forum. As far as continue to work with me. Like everything else that has come from you has been a lie. You have done nothing but feed me a bunch of B*ll Sh*t. I hope it is the end of that nonsense and we can now START with a resolution.

 In reference to your stellar reputation.You see through a lense dirtied with dark matter.  You should clean it. Behind it lies a black hole gobbling up your reputation and my posters. 
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#10 Author of original report

The real side of Shrum and Heritage

AUTHOR: freightline - (United States of America)

I would love to hear your side of how the events unfolded. In the meantime lets look at the facts. I'm missing 18 posters by your count. Im giving you the benefit of doubt. I show 16 missing. There are 241+6 that weren't included on schedule 1. Total 247. You returned 191. You sold 38. 247-38=209 items were to be returned you returned 191. 209-191=18 missing items. What are you going to do about it?

"We did everything to maximize the value of his material." They couldn't figure out how to sell a 4,000.00 poster for  more than 500.00 so they returned it? Are you for real? Ladies and gentlemen this is what happens when schmucks flunk sandbox and not put away. Don't do business with these people they will screw you out of your heirlooms by selling it to themselves and then reselling it.

Here are three of my lots posted on their site. They didn't return these. Look at the description "Very Rare". These three lots alone are worth over 10,000. Hey Garry, where's the appraisal from PSA/DNA that was never sent and what's the URI grading of the posters.Where's the pre-certified logo from PSA/DNA. We paid you 600.00 for this. They have pulled the lots upon news of the ripoff report. 

Heritage couldn't find any value yet resort to fraud, grand theft, and unscroupulous practicies to get their hands on our posters and expect me to go away. I have never seen such unprincipled conduct. You have no dignity or self-respect. Your actions will destroy you.

Here's just a couple of facts you can expect when doing business with Heritage. They don't like you asking questions. They will not work with you. You will not get a straight answer from them. No accountability.

Page 1 shows my name scratched out. circled are some of the posters I didn't receive.
Page 2 and 3 shows the combined # of posters
Page 4 is the invoice
Page 5,6,7 are the adds posted on their site after auction

I still want an answer to this question. To what shipment were you refering in the statement "circled posters not in shipment"
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#11 UPDATE Employee

Heritage Auctions Response

AUTHOR: swhuck - (United States of America)

We will not debate the issues in this public forum.  We stand by our stellar reputation and will continue to work towards a fair and satisfactory outcome to this dispute.
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#12 UPDATE Employee

Heritage Auctions

AUTHOR: swhuck - (United States of America)

We at Heritage Auctions respectfully disagree with this gentlemans explanation of how events unfolded, and we are truly sorry he feels this way. We did everything we could to figure out a way to maximize the value of his material, but we simply couldnt meet his expectations for value and felt we had no choice but to return his property.

Heritage has served tens of thousands of satisfied consignors (the vast majority of our consignments come from repeat clients) and has earned the highest customer satisfaction percentages in our field.
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