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Infolawyer, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 57372
Experience:  Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses.
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I have bought items from an auction house in San Diego, CA

Customer Question

I have bought items from an auction house in San Diego, CA named CalAuctions. They are affiliated with Rasmus Auctions which is pretty big on the East Coast (Virginia, Baltimore, DC). These are online auctions, and they have established/published dates and times for (1) Inspection of Items, (2) Bid Closing and (3) Item Pickup. Usually the Item Pickup is scheduled for the day after the Bid Closing, and sometimes a second day following.
You must place a credit card on file with them, which is charged within an hour or two following the auction closing. Their contract is clear that title for the items has passed to the buyer upon satisfactory payment. However, if you are not able to make their scheduled pick-up date, they do not give you the item(s). I am not clear if the item(s) goes back to the original owner, or if they keep it(them) and resell. I have a feeling the later is the case. I have even offered to pay overtime for their labor if I was running late or had to come on another day. I do understand that it is not as efficient for them to have these pick-ups spread out over a number of days.
I believe California Law requires an auction house to warehouse the item(s) and they are allowed to charge a reasonable handling and storage fee for doing so. I do not believe they can keep your money and not allow you to get the merchandise. I know that California is very specific about customer credit balances with a business, like an old bank account or an over-paid accounts payable balance, in that the business cannot keep the money no mater how long it has been, and must turn over any sums/assets to the state.
So is this auction house allowed to do what they do? Is the fact that they declare a specific pick-up date/time make these actions allowable?
Thank you,
Doug Urbick
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Infolawyer replied 1 year ago.
They are not allowed to do so. Any fees and any refusal to access absent payment of a fee has to be expressly disclosed in contract. Failure to do so is a breach of contract and consumer fraud. It may be pursued with company, and then through the BBB and attorney general office; as well as through a lawyer and court. If others so affected, a class action is even feasible.
Expert:  Infolawyer replied 1 year ago.
Kindly let me know if that is clear and acceptable.
Expert:  Infolawyer replied 1 year ago.
Please click on a positive rating.