Sunday, September 11, 2011

Warning - Avoid Rendells in Devon

Warning, I recommend buyers and sellers avoid Rendells Stonepark in Ashburton and find some better Devon auctions. Rendells auctions are part of Rendells Estate Agents in Chagford, Exeter, Newton Abbot, and Totnes.

Why? Because Rendells Stonepark Auctions are almost certainly auction house cheats. Director Clive Morgan (middle name "Cheater") and his alleged bit on the side Joyce Ward apparently have a racket going, and I will tell you how it works.

A friend of mine, a fellow sword collector, had his eye on lot 868 in their 28th April 2011 auction. He made his absentee commission bid, which was confirmed, repeat confirmed back to him. After the auction he contacted Joyce Ward at the auction house to see if he had won, he was told "No, unfortunately not". He then asked how much the hammer price was for the item and Joyce Ward messed up, she somehow forgot my friend had actually bid on the lot.

Lot 868 had sold for just £280, which was way under what my friend had bid, and was way under what the sword was worth; a conservative estimate of the real auction value being £1200. So my friend emailed Rendells Stonepark Auctions again and said, "I must be the winner then, as I bid a lot more". He was then stonewalled by Rendelss Auctions, so he wrote to director Clive Morgan. Mr CC Morgan claimed it had been a mistake, that my friend's bid had not been registered, even though he had a written confirmation that it had. "OK, fair enough" said my friend, "So you owe me and the seller of the item compensation for breach of contract right?". Oh dear, Mr Clearly Cheating Morgan was not going to have that, and basically said "F off and sue me".

But then my friend got an anonymous email saying the situation was no mistake and was a very common event at Rendells in Devon. The person claimed to work for Mr. Morgan and had seen the emails between my friend and the auction house. The alleged fraud goes like this;

Mr. Morgan has a circle of friends, of course. If something comes up for auction that he knows one of them would like, he lets them know and they have a look. If a friend tells him they want the lot, they agree what it should sell for and Mr. Morgan then goes about devaluing it
publicly by any means; claiming it might be a reproduction, failing to see a raised paddle in the auction, failing to honour absentee commission bids. So, the friend then buys the lot at a very low price, pays Rendells Devon their invoice, and then pays Mr. Clive Morgan in cash the shortfall in commission / premium that would have been earned by Rendells had the lot been sold honestly and the correct hammer price achieved. Mr. Morgan's friend saves money, Mr. Morgan cheats the taxman.

Of course, the losers in all of this are the seller and the buyers; the seller gets cheated out of what they should have realized, the buyers cheated out of owning what they had bid for.

So, really, you should consider avoiding Rendells in Devon at all costs. Perhaps using a different auction house such as Bearne's in Okehampton, Bonhams in Exeter, Clevedon Salerooms, Dreweatts in Bristol, Eldreds on Plympton, Lawrences in Crewkerne, Martin Spencer-Thomas in Exmouth, Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood in Hontion & Exeter, Chilcotts in Honiton, to name a few.

Alternatively search on Google for a dealer who will offer you mid-estimate, try searching for "selling a sword" for example if you are (or just replace "sword" with whatever it is you are selling). Though do not go by Rendells estimates, as they may well have been fixed on the low side, to say the very least.