Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Caring Transitions Online Auctions..... Scam?

Hello Everyone,

Before I get into talking about my next big purchase, I need to say something. This is both for you and for the internet in case someone has some questions and does a search. My most recent purchase came from "Caring Transitions Online Auctions" which is a franchise company that is for "Senior Relocating, Downsizing, and Estates". They sell things on their website in an auction format. You're free to purchase from anywhere, but they are pretty demanding that you have to pick the item up in person, usually a few days after the auction ends. The auction I bid on ended on Wednesday and you had to pick it up on Friday between 8 and 5. You also have to pay before you go pick it up. However, you can use a shipping service they're affiliated with for a nominal co$$$t. 
I found them advertising something through Craigslist, it was a lot of dolls that I was interested in, including one that was on my wish list. It also had several that would be good to get. The auction had several days left to go so I waited before bidding. It also had a couple other bidders already going in, but I figured that I could at least try to get it. On the last day with several hours to go I placed my bid. For a while I was the highest bidder, but was outbid. I bid again, was outbid, then bid again. I was finally the highest bidder and waited for the clock to run out. The interesting thing about CT Online Auctions is that new bids add more time to the clock. I thought that this meant that if someone outbid the winner at the last second more time would be added to give a chance for the no longer winner to try and become the highest bidder again. But it's not as simple as that, at the final few minutes anytime anyone bids, any amount it adds more time. I was dealing with "Bidder1951". They would bid a few dollars every few minutes raising the price and adding more time to the clock. Let's say the auction was at 20 dollars, my max was 40. Every 2 minutes they would raise the bid by 2 dollars, then the price would be 22, then 24, then 26, ect. This would also add more time as they crept the bid forward.
And while they didn't outbid me, they came close several times. Only close, because I will admit I panicked and upped my bid several times. It was slightly more than I wanted to pay but I will say that in the heat of the moment I had to do it. Eventually I forced myself to walk away from the computer. I told myself I had done all I could do and had to step away.
I came back to find that I had won the auction.... by one cent. I had bid 70.03 and "Bidder1951" stopped at 70.02, which in all history of bidding has never happened to me. I've had auctions end with a few cents below my highest bid, but never one cent. That whole situation feels really odd to me. I did a search online for "Bidder1951" and it revealed they've been the winner of several auctions from all over the Eastern Coast, I saw New York, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Normally this wouldn't be such a concern except that these people are so strict about picking up the items in person, on random days. Also, on the auction I was watching, Bidder1951 was bidding on a lot of items, a lot of random items. I can think of a few reasons why someone would bid on a variety of items within an auction, but with everything combined it feels somewhat skeevy.
So what does this mean? Nothing really. I don't have any definite proof, but from all these usual occurrences, I feel like I was scammed. I wouldn't be shocked that Bidder1951 was working for Caring Transitions Auctions and had access to the highest bid information and used it to drive up prices yet remaining to not outbid the real buyers. It wouldn't cost CT Auctions anything, if by some random chance this fake bidder won anything, they'd just not send out an invoice and it would end up as unpurchased merchandise (Which they did have. When you went to go pick up your item they have a "tag sale" you could look at). I am annoyed that I got played like that, but at least I learned something, and hopefully by posting this online if anyone is looking for information they can read it and at least hear about my experiences. 

24 comments:

  1. I've learned in the world of auctions to bide my time. I will wait for the last minutes of any auction then go in with my bid. I would bid myself up when I 1st started using ebay. Now I know better. It may very well have been a shill bidder and now you know about them. Patience is needed when dealing with shills

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  2. Dear Aubrey,

    I am sorry to hear your experience left you concerned. I hope that I can provide you with answers to your questions and alleviate your concern.
    Important features on the way the website conducts auctions:
    1. The website attempts to "simulate" a live auction. Auctions will not end until bidding has ceased. If people continue bidding, time will be automatically added to the end of the auction until people stop bidding. This is why during your recent purchase, the time was extended; another bidder (Bidder1951) was increasing their bid by the default amount of $2. You were simply lucky that the other bidder happened to stop placing bids just under your maximum amount. Most bidders appreciate the fact that if they are outbid, they will have notice and time to place another bid, similar to a live auction. I can assure you, we do not engage in shill bidding. It is illegal; you were not played.
    2. For every feature that people like about the way in which the website works there are those who dislike that same feature. We always want to know what our bidders like and dislike about it. In fact, the Corporate group is in the process of creating a better auction site, so feel free to forward your comments to us.
    3. We value local purchase and pickup but are happy to ship items for the convenience of the buyer. CT online auctions frequently have bidders from all over the USA and Canada bidding on our auction site. Prior to bidding, we are very clear and upfront on the auction site regarding pickup times for purchases and the ability to contact us for questions. We have set times for pick-up and we are strict about those times because we are working in our client’s home and we want to disturb them as few times as possible. It can be extremely emotional for our client depending on the circumstance of the sale.

    In the interest of full disclosure, my husband and I own and operate the Caring Transitions of the Angeles Foothills in southern California. Our Mission is to offer a compassionate partnership with individuals and families as they transition to a different stage of life. Our support to them may involve “repurposing” their excess stuff through an estate sale or online auction and/or helping them relocate into a senior community.
    I hope this helps... If you have more questions or concerns, I would be glad to help. Please feel free to email me at: WDale@CaringTransitions.net

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    1. I have been active in Caring Transitions online auctions for a couple of years. I learned somewhat early that I was bidding against one of the local franchise owners who's intent was on running up the bid amount. On several occasions, tag items available on the pickup day were the same ones I had stopped bidding on against the same bidder. Through indirect questions to the CT staff I learned that the owner of the franchise had won the items but asked the staff to sell them at pickup day, and that they had to be sold at full auction price. After a few times this happened I stopped bidding against him. He may have been found out since he has dropped auctions entirely.

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    2. i personally have bid on WDale's auctions. She is on the up and up. Very honest dealer. The one I am concerned about is the Tucson caring transitions auctions - they always get it wrong.

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    4. Wynesta Dale does not handle problems in the least. If she has a non paying bidder, she will expect you to buy the item if you are the under bidder. In addition, she used my purchased items as ransom so that I would buy other items that the high bidder did not pay for. She became irate on the phone telling me that although I was not the winning bidder, I was obligated to purchase the items. I had to contact PayPal to start a non receipt claim and only than did she make an effort to take my items to the shipper. I would never purchase anything from her auctions again. She seems sweet until she doesn't get her way and than watch out.

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    5. I never heard of having to pay for an item you didn't win!! I hope you didn't?

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    6. No I did not pay for any items I didn't win. W.Dale insisted that I pay for the items I was the under bidder for because the high bidders didn't pay for. I called Caring Transitions head office in Ohio and they set her straight. She refused to send me the items that I won and paid for in her auction so I complained to PayPal and than she shipped the items. I would never bid in W. DALE'S AUCTION EVER AGAIN.

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    7. No I did not pay for any items I didn't win. W.Dale insisted that I pay for the items I was the under bidder for because the high bidders didn't pay for. I called Caring Transitions head office in Ohio and they set her straight. She refused to send me the items that I won and paid for in her auction so I complained to PayPal and than she shipped the items. I would never bid in W. DALE'S AUCTION EVER AGAIN.

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  3. Today was the first and last time I will be using this site. If the countdown says 10 seconds or whatever it should be over in 10 seconds. Thanks but no thanks I'll stick with EBAY.

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    1. Awesome!! I am so happy dumb and stupid people such as yourself won't be bidding anymore. The auctions run smoothly with our dumb and stupid people! Hooray!

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  4. Also somewhat coincidentally, the number of junk emails I receive went through the roof after signing up as a bidder. My auctions don't end for a few days still. We'll see how they turn out.

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  5. Good and amazing article, thanks for sharing your knowledge!
    auctions review online

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  6. I wanted to share my horrible experience with this company. I bid on a "vintage stereo cabinet".... When my husband went to pick this up, the table had 90% of the surface of table top replaced with a piece of dark colored cardboard/particle board. Since the particle board was painted or stained the same color as the table it was NOT evident in the small, grainy photos they post online nor was it mentioned in the description. Buyer beware of this company. This is a major ripoff.

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    1. Each auction "store" is a franchise and are different in their photography and identification skills. My area has Brian and his team in Charleston SC store. They are so full of knowledge and integrity I often bid on description alone without even viewing the photos! I will continue to shop until they retire or I do

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    2. That is what stopped me from bidding, no detailed descriptions.. I sell on ebay and make sure I have descriptions down to a piece of fuzz!!

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  7. I wanted to share my horrible experience with this company. I bid on a "vintage stereo cabinet".... When my husband went to pick this up, the table had 90% of the surface of table top replaced with a piece of dark colored cardboard/particle board. Since the particle board was painted or stained the same color as the table it was NOT evident in the small, grainy photos they post online nor was it mentioned in the description. Buyer beware of this company. This is a major ripoff.

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  8. yep, grainy photos in the age of crystal clear photo technology - that was the red flag right there. i too was a victim of the "grainy photo" when i list on Ebay or Etsy i always make sure photos are good or else risk negative feedback. How shady

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  9. Great detailed information, I’ll be visiting you more frequently, here is very interesting information.
    auctions review online

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  10. I am a CT Franchise owner. I can see where you would be suspicious of some of the things that you mentioned but here is the glitch. CT Corporate does not condone offices doing this and all activity is visible to corporate. We also have to actually invoice and pay royalties on all sales. So if I went in and bid on items to up the bid or keep it for going for less than I wanted, I have a nightmare of paperwork to do in addition to paying to not sell the items. Not all of the offices use online auctions at all but the ones that I know that do have been very helpful when a customer arrived to pick up an item that they had an issue with at pick up. The limited pick up time is actually a cost saving measure that helps keep starting bids at 1.00 with no reserve. The office saves money by not having to staff and prep a 3 day traditional estate sale. This helps keep our buyers premiums lower than many online auctions. As a brand we police other offices to make sure that the name is not tarnished which affects us all. If this was an ongoing "scam" I assure you that eventually corporate would find out and put a stop to it. They don't tolerate anything that negatively affects us all. In addition, each office posts their own sales and corporate only sees what we invoice. I realize that there are always unscrupulous people in any organization but a suspicion with one office should not be a representation of all of us. By the way, I DO NOT use the online auction feature so this reply does not benefit me directly. I assure you that any issues with a sale (especially the scenario where the item ended up being for sale on pick up day) would be nipped in the bud if corporate was made aware of the situation. Hope this helps

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    1. Speaking of scams, I noticed Caring Transitions is mentioned in the October 2, 2017 issue of The New Yorker in an articled titled, "How the Elderly Lose Their Rights".

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  11. I did not intentionally comment as "unknown" on my previous post. I didn't realize it until after it posted. I own Caring Transitions of N.E. Trinity Valley.

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  12. I live in Northern Colorado and I have had nothing but Amazing Results. I have suggested to several family, friends and even strangers to use CT online auctions. They are a class act and very professional. I like the policy of only having a few hours to pick up the items. Who wants to open their home for 8 hours to allow people to run in and out all day, NOT ME. The CT online auction is the best thing next to sliced bread. You sit at home in your PJ's (if you prefer) on your computer, while having a snack and bid on awesome fun items. There are several pictures to each item and usually a pretty good description of the condition of the item. I have never came home with anything that I wasn't satisfied with. It is a big job to go into these homes and not know what the condition of the homes or the belongings are in. The staff stays all day/weeks taking pictures, writing descriptions, taking measurements and then dealing with all types of people the day of pick up.I am seriously thinking about hiring them to take care of us with downsizing. I'm not sure where you all live, but come to Colorado and see how it's really done. You won't be disappointed.

    Thank you to K.M. and S.M. of Northern Colorado Caring Transitions. You have been "The Angels" that our residents needed in downsizing. I can't THANK YOU enough for what you do. MC

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  13. Caring Transitions is not an organization that I consider even remotely reputable.
    Affiliated with "guardianship" entities that/who are questionable.
    Be careful where you or your loved ones retire

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/09/how-the-elderly-lose-their-right

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