DALLAS (CBS 11 News/CBSDFW.COM) – Bill and Audrin Smith lived in a home off Royal and Webb Chapel in Dallas for 51-years. Their daughter, Melinda Wells, grew up there.
“She cooked feasts galore,” Wells said. “It was just a great place to be.”
But, after her Dad passed away, Wells’ mother moved into assisted living.
“We needed the funds from the house, and the estate sale so I could put her in a nice place,” Wells said.
Wells turned to Estate Classics in Dallas. The store’s website says it provides estate sale services. Wells says she met the owner, Lori Huey, and signed a contract agreeing to pay Huey 30% of the sale.
“You hire someone you trust, and you think they are going to take the best care of it and that didn’t happen,” she said.
More than a year later, Wells says she’s still waiting for a full accounting of what items from her parent’s house sold, and she says she’s still waiting to get paid.
“It’s hard when you look back at all the memories they worked for to get, that meant so much to them, and that you have nothing for it,” said Wells who says she did receive a check from Huey for $2400 which bounced. Then Wells says Lori Huey sent a replacement check for less money, so Wells sent it back. After her mom passed away, Wells filed a lawsuit.
“This was my parents life for all these years, and their memories, and my memories growing up,” Wells said. “I don’t want someone else to go through this the pain and the hurt.”
Charleen Reece says something similar happened to her. After her husband passed away, she decided to downsize.
“When you’re down and out, and you’re emotional anyhow, and you have to get rid of stuff that reminds you of person you love and you can’t keep it, you’re out of room,” said Reece who showed CBS 11 the pictures of items she says she turned over to Lori Huey’s store.
“I think I gave her about $2500, and all she paid me was 250 dollars,” she said.
Reece says Huey did not provide her with an accurate accounting of what items sold.
“When she tells you what she sold for something, it comes off the top of her head,” Reece said.
CBS11 has spoken to several other people who also say they’re unhappy former customers of Estate Classics. Kathy Stowe tells us by e-mail – “It’s time that she stops all of her dishonest practices.” Rebekah Vereen says “Huey refused to pay me,” and Grace Glover says “She needs to be stopped.”
Lori Huey closed her first store on Preston Road in Dallas and opened a new location further south which is where we found her. She didn’t want to talk on camera while she’s still fighting Wells in court, but she did send us this statement.
“Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you regarding your proposed story. As you may not know, I have been blessed to have successfully represented some 1,700 plus clients while working in the Estate Sales and Consignment businesses for the last 30 years and, as a small business owner have had the pleasure of working with over 250 people in various positions. During my 30 year tenure in the Estate Sales and Consignment businesses I have, in an effort to exceed the needs and wants of my extremely varied clientele, always strived to provide my services in a considerate and professional manner that was far above and beyond the terms of our agreements.
You alluded to the fact that your proposed story is based upon your having spoken to a few dissatisfied clients and former employees. As any reasonable person knows it is impossible to satisfy every client and employee 100 percent of the time. As they say, some people are never satisfied! Perhaps it would benefit you to speak to 10 times that many happy clients and employees to get a true and accurate picture for your story. Given the vast number of clients I have acceptably served and the number of people I have worked with, it would only be fair to say that under any microscopic examination I have a 99 percent success rate as a professional business woman and employer. As to your assertion that the Better Business Bureau has an “F” rating for me, you yourself verified that this is a result of a couple of complaints that were never responded to by me because I never received the written complaint material from the BBB. Let me once again reassure you that if I had received the BBB material I would have honestly responded and would have, without question, maintained my good name.
Unfortunately, at this time I will be unable to appear on camera because one person, who is part of the less than 1 percent of unsatisfied clients, has chosen to litigate rather than seek to agree when we went to arbitration. So on advice of counsel I will have to wait until the outcome of that litigation before I may publicly address your questions and successfully defend my good name.
I trust that in the spirit of fair play, if you run your story prior to my availability for an on camera interview, that you will at least present the whole story and all of the facts including those as set forth herein.”
Huey told CBS11 that many people think their valuables are worth more than they are.
The Better Business Bureau offers advice for dealing with estate sales and consignment shops on the following links:
- Better Business Bureau – How to hold an Estate Sale
- Tips for selecting an honest company for your Estate Sale
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