How to protect yourself from estate sales scams

HOUSTON – Amy Sharp and Jason Leopard are in the middle of a battle they never dreamed they would be in.

A battle to get more than $5,000 that was stolen from them by an estate sales company, that they hired to sell their late father’s most precious possessions.

We’re literally talking about selling off the furniture, rare antiques, knick-knacks and prized possessions that they grew up with in the house with their mother and father, and having to do all this right after their father died.

A Houston family says an estate sale company took their money. KPRC 2 Investigator Bill Spencer looks into estate sale fraud. (Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

”This was my last thing that I’m supposed to be doing for my dad and I can’t do it because this woman has taken our money,” Amy said.

“I mean, we’re already grieving from a loss and then having to sell precious heirlooms of our family and getting no compensation for it whatsoever, it’s amoral,” Jason said.

According to the contract, Jason, Amy and another sister, were to pay the estate sales company 40% of everything sold at their father’s house and the family would get the remaining 60%, roughly $5,100 dollars, but more than six months later they’ve gotten nothing. Not one dime.

“It’s unfortunate, but a lot of people do get ripped off when it comes to having items sold for them through an estate sales company because there is no specific do’s and don’ts to all of this. There’s no regulation in the state of Texas for estate sales,” said Carolina Petriciolet with the Greater Houston Better Business Bureau.

A Houston family says an estate sale company took their money. KPRC 2 Investigator Bill Spencer looks into estate sale fraud. (Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Now, to keep you from getting robbed by an estate sales shark, we’re sitting down with Carolina to teach you three key steps to take before hiring an estate sales company.

“So the first thing you see at the top of the BBB page is a space to find business and that’s what we’re going to do, is enter the business name right there,” Carolina said.

Now, we enter the name of the business that actually took Amy and Jason’s money and boom!

Right there on the website it pops up exactly how many complaints that company has gotten and there is also the official rating the BBB has given that company, in this case a F, the very worst rating they can give.

The website also lists the number of complaints against the company and what those people that are complaining are saying about the company.

  • Step two: Check social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.

Check both the name of the company and the name of the owner of the company.

Again, we do that with the name of the person that Amy and Jason dealt with and up pop several warnings from former customers.

  • Step three: The easiest of the steps by far, check with your closest friends to see if they have an estate sales company they have worked with and would highly recommend.

Word of mouth, personal recommendations from friends can be the most valuable information because you are talking to someone who has already been through this and knows what they are talking about.

Now, you may noticed we never named the company or the company owner who ripped Amy and her brother Jason off, that is because we are still carefully investigating this company and looking for more victims who’ve been hurt by this company.

If you have been shafted by an estate sales company recently, please email me and tell me the name of that company. You can reach me at

Remember is you are swindled by an estate sales company, you are not just losing thousands of dollars, but you are also losing your parents most prized possessions.

About the Author

Emmy-winning investigative reporter, insanely competitive tennis player, skier, weightlifter, crazy rock & roll drummer (John Bonham is my hero). Husband to Veronica and loving cat father to Bella and Meemo.

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