HOUSTON - A Houston area estate sale company is under fire accused of selling family's mementos and walking away with the cash.
Charles Francis hired "An Elegant Estate Sale" to help him sell his parent's possessions from their La Marque home of 43 years after they both passed away.
"Forty-three years of memories, collectibles, furniture, you name it," said Francis. "My dad was a big antique radio collector; and now it's all gone."
The contract Francis signed said he'd get his share of the money no later than 30 days after the sale. That was in June.
On July 5, he received a text from the owner of the estate sale company telling him after expenses, he would receive $11,820.37. Two weeks later, she texted again with a new amount of $5,832.45. Nearly two months later, he hasn't received a dime.
"Nothing. Absolutely nothing, except broken promises," Francis said.
Consumer Expert Amy Davis caught up with Rena Head, the owner of An Elegant Estate Sale, at another sale in Seabrook.
"You've got a contract with him that says he'll get paid within 10 to 30 days after the sale. You did sell a lot of his stuff," Davis said to Head.
"I did sell a lot of his stuff," Head said. "But you've gotta understand. My commission is my commission."
The contract states Head would keep 35 percent of the gross sales after she subtracted expenses like advertising and cleaning.
"How much is it that you figure you owe them?" Davis asked Head.
"Approximately some $1,300 some odd dollars," she replied.
The biggest dispute is over two antique cars Head thought would be included in the sale. Francis says they were never part of the agreement.
"How do you go from $11,823 to $5,800 down to $1,300? What in the world is going on?" asked Francis. "That is beyond bad bookkeeping."
Francis has now learned Head and her husband both have criminal records. She was convicted of running an illegal game room in 2006.
Her husband Phillip Head, who was at the estate sale we dropped in on, is on probation until 2039 for selling bogus annuities and trusts to senior citizens upwards of $200,000.
"I know he's on probation. Should he be here helping with this business?" Davis asked Head.
"Why not?" Head replied.
"I'm just asking in light of his crimes dealing with money," Davis explained.
"He's not dealing with the money. I'm dealing with the money."
We checked the terms of Phillip Head's probation. He is required to tell all potential employers about his convictions if the position involves financial responsibility. In this case, it appears he just helps his wife with the business.
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