HOUSTON – If you're planning to hire an estate sale company, you should know there are no laws or licensing for the industry. Many Houston homeowners learned the hard way you have to be diligent in dealing with anyone you hire to sell your stuff.
Consumer expert Amy Davis has new details in the case of a local estate sale company owner accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars in money and property from her customers.
We first introduced you to Rena Head in 2013 and again in 2016.
Head is the owner of An Elegant Estate Sale. Linda McSwain hired the company to sell her elderly parents' belongings in 2015. McSwain says Head never paid her a dime after she sold the property.
Cindy Wertz said Head owes her more than $20,000 from her sale.
"They've left me in a mess. They've left me in a big mess." Wertz told Davis back in 2016, as she walked through her home she says Head left filthy and in disarray.
After our story, the Harris County District Attorney's office finally took Wertz and McSwain's cases. Police arrested Head in 2018 and charged her with felony theft.
"I was thrilled. We've been working on getting her indicted in Harris County ever since it happened," said McSwain.
KPRC2 continued to receive complaints from other consumers before the charges were filed. Head and her husband remained active in the estate sale business.
Head was arrested in Liberty County this year on theft charges from an estate sale there. In September, she pleaded guilty in exchange for 10 years probation. The judge ordered her to pay $18,500 restitution and complete 200 hours of community service.
Head is still awaiting trial in Harris County for Wertz and McSwain's cases.
"The stuff that she stole from us, that's gone," said Wertz. "But I want justice. I want her behind bars."
If you hire someone to help sell your property, it's not only important that you get everything in writing like how much they will charge you and when you will be paid your share of the money, you should do a criminal background check on the owners. Both Rena and her husband Phil Head are convicted felons. Had customers known that, they may not have hired them.
Over the next month, we are updating big consumer stories and investigations from years past in a segment we’re calling #ThrowbackThursday. If you have remembered a story you want to know more about, let us know by sending us a message or using the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday in a message to @KPRC2AmyDavis on Facebook.