Get Answers: Storage Unit Auctions

5:40 PM, Jul 25, 2011   |    comments
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Some people rely on self storage units to have a place for things they might not have the space for.

But what about those who store personal files in outdoor storage, and get backed up on rent?

This week's topic came from a question originally submitted to the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia. It asked, "What is the storage company's responsibility in protecting personal information?"

The question came from someone who says they got behind on their storage rent and the storage company is auctioning off their items this week, including personal medical records and tax returns that were stored in the unit.

I spoke to a local storage company about their policy and the law, when it comes to auctioning those types of files.

Jack Upshaw opened up shop 14 years ago.

In that time, All-American Storage in Warner Robins held around 20 storage auctions.

"We don't do a whole lot of auctions, one of the reasons, we've got a great manager, she works with anybody she possibly can in any way she possibly can," he says.

But for those who fall behind on rent, after several late fees and notices, items in their unit are sold to the highest bidder.

Upshaw says by the time an auction comes around, the rent is usually three months past due.

"Our computer prints out a list of whoever is late daily," says Upshaw.

When auction time comes around, bidders cannot pick through the storage unit, they can only see the items from outside the door.

The highest bidder gets all contents inside, that includes any personal files or information that originally belonged to the renter.

"Legally, whomever purchases that unit owns those records at that point."

But Upshaw says, for units storing things like social security infomation and medical records he tries to help out where he can.

"We always mention that at the auction. If there are any personal information, we would appreciate if they would let us contact the people to give them those personal items. Again, it's entirely up to whomever buys the unit," Upshaw says.

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