Company Forecloses On Wrong Condo, Throws Out Everything

It’s still unclear exactly what’s going on between this Las Vegas woman and a realty company, but they definitely sent someone to clean out her home when they weren’t supposed to. She says they came and emptied the place of everything she owned, all because of an address mistake with the foreclosed property next door. They say she’s misrepresenting the amount of her belongings to the media.

Las Vegas Now, the local CBS affiliate, reported yesterday that Nilly Mauck’s condo was “trashed out,” a foreclosure term for removing everything left behind by a previous owner, even though her condo wasn’t the one that had been foreclosed on.

A few weeks ago, the foreclosed home was supposed to get locks changed but Mauck says that’s not what happened. “I came home to pick up something and there was a note on my door from the Brenkus Team of Keller and Williams Realty stating that they accidentally re-keyed the wrong door,” she said.

It was a problem Mauck thought was fixed, until she came home to find a man going into her home. Mauck says everything inside was missing.

She told the news station that she asked the realty company for compensation but was only offered $5,000.

If you watch the accompanying video report, however, the reporter points out that the realty company contacted them right before going to air and said that the photos she gave the media don’t match up with what they found in the apartment. There are about two dozen “before” photos on the TV station’s website, and they show a nearly empty condo.

So what’s going on? As of this morning there’s no update on either side’s claims. Honestly, it doesn’t look like Mauck had much more than $5,000 worth of property in the condo; on the other hand, if strangers showed up and threw it all away it seems like she deserves more than just the market value of the goods.

“Las Vegas Woman Victim of Foreclosure Mistake” [LasVegasNow.com] (Thanks to William!)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Esquire99 says:

    Shit happens. People make mistakes. So long as the realty company makes her whole, I don’t really see a problem. Based on the pictures, I agree that she probably didn’t have much more than $5000 worth of stuff. The fact the realty company screwed up doesn’t give her the right to take them to the cleaners. The only difficult part here is valuing items that aren’t readily replaceable, like personal papers, pictures, etc. that might have been in there. I think that the replacement value of all of the readily replaceable items, including reasonable compensation for those which cannot be replaced, is sufficient. No need for her to have a windfall here.

    • katstermonster says:

      No problem, except for the fact that it never should have happened. Details.

    • treimel says:

      And you seriously think 5,000 will do that?

      • treimel says:

        Oh, also, there are other actions here–trespassing, for a start.

      • Esquire99 says:

        I didn’t say that. I said, based on the pictures, I agree with consumerist that she doesn’t appear to have had more than $5k worth of stuff. That could be incorrect. I think that she is owed whatever it costs to replace the replaceable items (whatever it costs) plus compensation for the items that are not readily replaceable.

        • admiral_stabbin says:

          Would you still feel the same if the numbers were different?

          For example, if a McMansion were cleared of ~$125K in personal property (which would likely be a lot more stuff than ~$5K in a condo), would that change whether or not you believe punitive damages should apply?

          I agree that she shouldn’t seek a multi-million dollar windfall, but just asking the realty company to be more careful next time also doesn’t feel like the right answer.

          • Esquire99 says:

            The numbers don’t matter to me. They owe her whatever it takes to make her whole. If she had $1,000,000 worth of property, she is owed that and nothing more (save for compensation for irreplaceable items). The actions, as described here, are insufficient to convince me that this conduct was egregious enough to warrant punitive damages.

            • Apeweek says:

              How about refusing to tell her where her stuff is, or to let her dumpster dive?

              Do you really believe they “have no idea” where her stuff went?

              Nope, nothing to get mad about here.

            • chargernj says:

              Ok, but how can you “make whole” the time and effort and missed work that this lady had to incur while sorting all of this out? How do you “make whole” the stress that she felt at the moment she came home and saw what had happened. I can’t agree with you that punative damages are not called for here.

              Define “make whole”

        • treimel says:

          And what about the trespass? Moreover, you assume no scope for punitives without knowing what they knew and when they knew it?
          Also, the problem with these photos is that they don’t clearly show clothing, jewelry, etc. that could add up quickly. I’m sorry, but it seems to me if they can get away with settling for 5k after cleaning someone out, they will have gotten off very cheaply indeed. I basically agree with your analysis as to “no windfall,” I just don’t agree that things such as punitives are always a “windfall.” (And, yes, I’m well aware of how rare punitives are.)

          • treimel says:

            One more thing–look at the pics again: there are clearly places where you can see where furniture has been removed. These aren’t genuine “before” pics.

          • Esquire99 says:

            I 100% agree that the photos aren’t conclusive. As I stated in the original comment, based on the pictures I don’t see more than $5k worth of stuff. That’s not to say the pictures are accurate. Further, as I’ve restated a few times, I’m not saying $5k is sufficient. I think she is entitled to be made whole, regardless of the cost. I simply don’t think punitive damages or damages for “emotional distress” are appropriate. As to damages for trespass, I don’t really have a problem with that.

    • Emperor Norton I says:

      Wrong!
      There’s punitive damages for what they did to her due solely to their incompetence. That’s worth far more than a measly $5,000!
      The more they get stuck for is all the more reason they might take better care the next time they have to do this.

      • Esquire99 says:

        I disagree. There was no malice here, it was a mistake. I don’t believe everyone is entitled to extra compensation simply because they have been wronged. She deserves to be made whole and nothing else.

        • stuckinms says:

          I believe juries repeatedly award money damages for things like this all the time.

        • dreamcatcher2 says:

          Individuals can be thrown in jail for crimes that lack intent. Why do you think that companies cannot be subject to punitive damages for crimes that lack intent?

          • stuckinms says:

            How about the fact that they, not once, but TWICE, got the address wrong? Once they made the first mistake, shouldn’t they have taken extra precautions to ensure it didn’t happen again? It seems they were quite negligent.

        • treimel says:

          Well, the law disagrees–in every state in the union you are entitled to presumed damages merely for the tresspass. Moreover, exemplary or punitive damages happen in conversion cases.

          • Esquire99 says:

            While that may be true (I know it is at common law, but that doesn’t mean every state follows it still), you’re only entitled to nominal damages for trespass.

            • treimel says:

              Presumed |= nominal. That is to say, it’s nominal on up. I don’t know where you got the idea that trespass actions can only end in “nominal” damages, but It’s simply not true.

              • treimel says:

                Also, in many states, trespass = damages multiplier. I don’t believe it’s true in Nevada, but there are several states where the actual damages are doubled in a trespass (generally, an intentional one).

              • Esquire99 says:

                I agree that it’s nominal on up. I suppose I was simply trying to point out that the presumed damages are only nominal.

        • Apeweek says:

          How do you even know it was a mistake?

          I could commit crimes all day and call them mistakes, too. This is why “oops” is not a very effective courtroom defense.

        • kujospam says:

          Well, I keep my tax info on my computer. If I get audited and do not have both my paper copies or the one on my computer so that I cannot prove my information, i can be jailed and fined. Which is worth over 30,000 dollars. They at least owe her 100,000 dollars. Sure you can’t tell everything that was in her apartment, nor can you tell everything that was on her pc. But they are responsible for it. If they cannot bring every single original object of her’s back and prove that it was hers she should be able to ask for anything. Even a million dollars. If you think that is too high then maybe you shouldn’t be doing that job. She also needs money for hotel expenses, eatting out, loss of property while they have it.

    • stuckinms says:

      Are you kidding? She doesn’t deserve more than $5000 in compensation for someone incorrectly gaining access to her home and discarding everything she owns??? What about compensation for a hotel room while she tries to replace her belongings? What about compensation for the emotional distress this would cause? People receive compensation for emotional distress for way more ridiculous situations than this. They threw away her wedding dress, baby photos, her jewelry. It is particularly disturbing that they don’t even know WHERE her belongings are.

      I think an over-zealous company should accept all fault for not checking a simple address before they emptied this person’s home ESPECIALLY after they already caused her problems by re-keying her home and realizing their mistake. This shit should happen, and there should be NO room for mistakes such as these. I wonder how you’d feel if this happened to you.

      She may not deserve the $100,000 to $200,000 she originally asked for, but she certainly deserves more than $5000.

      • stuckinms says:

        **shouldn’t** not *should* happen

      • Esquire99 says:

        While I didn’t explicitly state it, I certainly think she is entitled to be reimbursed for any expenses she incurs due to the screw-up (hotel, etc.). I think damages for “Emotional distress” are complete and utter bullshit, though I accept that the law allows them in certain circumstances. Further, I didn’t say she was only entitled to $5k; I said she is only entitled to be made whole, regardless of what it costs.

        • Megalomania says:

          I think emotional distress is pretty valid considering that holy shit, you don’t own anything anymore. They came into her house and took everything – you don’t think maybe you’d be more than a little shaken up after that? Imagine all your tax records, gone. Maybe you digitized them, backed them up a couple times over, just to be safe – oh, wait, they “threw out” your computer too. Did you have a bunch of personal information on your computer? Well, it’s probably sitting in some stranger’s house right now. Remember the spare keys for your car? Well, better hope no one decided to keep those. If we assume you’re a lawyer, ‘esquire99′, have fun telling all your clients that any privileged information you had should just be considered out there in public.

          Guess what too – now she has to worry about finding replacements for absolutely everything. Had a comfortable couch? Better hope you can find an identical one. Did you have an old big screen rear projection TV? Have fun settling for a smaller one or dropping thousands on a LCD or plasma cause they don’t make those anymore and you better believe its value to someone else isn’t near enough to cover that. That whole closet full of clothes, fitted suits, dress shoes… better hope you don’t forget anything when they want you to enumerate towards a value or else you’re shit out of luck.

          This is nothing but a massive burden on her in countless ways, absolutely wrecking any privacy she had. Sure, it wasn’t intentional that they wrecked her life, but the fact remains that she’ll be suffering the consequences of this long after they forget about it.

    • Elcheecho says:

      ridiculous. intent in this case doesn’t matter. if some random dude decided to rob my place, I’d want the punishment to be a heck of a lot more than just the replacement cost.

      How much more could she possibly be asking for? Enough to make the realty company drag this on in public?

      I’ll bet you think it’s ok for banks and cell companies to stick on random fees so long as they offer credit them later.

    • dreamcatcher2 says:

      I don’t understand this mentality. First, it’s not up to us to say “she looks like she was poor, so her claim of having jewelery is a lie.” Second, This company was incredibly sloppy, which resulted in the company stealing and discarding everything she owned and refusing to immediately help her. This is quite simply a criminal act. This puts an enormous burden on the woman in terms of how inconvenient it is living now without any of her belongings and the enormous amount of time and effort it will require to replace them all. My gosh, they threw out her computer! Can you imagine if somebody threw out your computer? I have so much stuff on there that would be difficult/impossible to replace.

      Replacement value does not seem sufficient to me both in terms of the incomprehensible impact that this has on this woman’s life, and ALSO in terms of the fact that when companies make such egregious errors, it is not sufficient to let them off with a slap on the wrist. This ridiculous and unforgivable mistake should cost the company a lot of money, as a punitive measure to prevent them from making the same mistake again. Or, most likely, this will cause their insurance company to increase the oversight they have on companies like this, and ensure they have procedures in place to prevent this kind of idiocy.

    • bananaballs says:

      Yes, shit happens. And yes, people make mistakes. And sometimes mistakes are made that destroy people’s lives, and this qualifies as one of them. If this happened to me, and I was awarded 50 grand, I still wouldn’t consider the reward a windfall because I’d rather have all my stuff in the first place. And let’s not forget that time is money.

      I love how the people that are the first to tell you you should have read the fine print when dealing with a corporation that screws you over intentionally are also the first to tell you that it’s just a “mistake” when a corporation screws you over accidentally. I’m just going to add a “TM” after my name so I can fuck up and these people will forever defend me.

    • Tied To The Whippin' Post says:

      I saw in the pictures that there was a washer, but no dryer. No bed (mattress, yes) that was set up, empty area under the bathroom sink. What person lives in a home for 2 years and doesn’t have any of those things? Those pictures were definitely taken AFTER items were removed. There was an expensive camera tri-pod mount but no camera anywhere near it….what’s up with that? Owns the pod but not the camera that mounts to it?? Heck, I threw out over five grand worth of trash when I moved out of my house this past year. Something is very fishy with this and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was on the cleaner’s end of the fishing net.

      • RandomHookup says:

        Maybe it was the camera taking the picture?

      • kmw2 says:

        I agree. They took the pictures to cover their asses when they were half done, not before they started the process. The $5,000 value is suspiciously low, anyhow. I am practically allergic to stuff, and that figure wouldn’t even cover replacement cost of my computers.

      • Kryndar says:

        Not saying this is the case for most people, or even come close to explaining anything in this situation, but I hate beds, I always keep my matress on the floor.

    • nodaybuttoday says:

      You can’t put a dollar value on things like your wedding dress or photo albums. The company was obviously careless and deserves to have to pay for their mistakes. You know it’s funny–when an individual makes a “mistake” like making a late payment on a credit card… being $5 short on a payment for a loan, etc. the company PUNISHES them with huge interest rate increases and fees. But when a company makes a mistake, they shouldn’t have to be penalized?

      • Esquire99 says:

        I agree (re: photos, etc.) and that’s why I said she’s entitled to reasonable compensation for items that aren’t readily replaceable.

        • Apeweek says:

          Punitive awards are deterrents. You and I are punished with late fees so that we won’t make payments late.

          Companies need to be punished, too. So they won’t, say, carelessly raid the wrong condo.

          Why should little folks like us be punished for our mistakes, but not companies? I would really like to know why you think this.

        • jamar0303 says:

          So who’s to say that her figure is unreasonably high for such items?

    • _hi_ says:

      Bill of Rights
      Section IV

      The right to privacy and security against unreasonable searches and seizures; search warrants.

      • Esquire99 says:

        Only applies to the government…

        • treimel says:

          No, invasion of provacy is a tort against private persons in many jurisdictions.

          • Esquire99 says:

            Invasion of privacy may be a statutory or common-law tort in certain jurisdictions, but it has nothing to do with the 4th Amendment. The 4th Amendment only applies against the Government.

            • treimel says:

              Yeah, and its agents. I never mentioned the Fourth Amendment, the OP did. You know I’m also a memeber of the bar, right? I mean, at some point, I think a certain level of knowledge can be assumed for civility’s sake–I was pointing out that privacy is indeed an issue in many jurisdictions for private actors. Guess waht? Nevada is one of those places. See In Montesano v. Donrey Media Group, 99 Nev. 644, 668 P.2d 1081 (1983),
              The 1L con law ? Thanks, but no thanks.

              • Esquire99 says:

                The op in the thread cited the 4th amendment and attempted to summarize its prohibitions. I said it only applies to the government. You said “No…”, implying that the 4th Amendment didn’t apply only to the government. That’s what I was responding to. Your point about invasion of privacy being a tort was well taken, but as I said it has nothing to do with the 4th Amendment, since that was what _hi_ had cited.

    • TheFinalBoomer says:

      I am sure that if someone broke into your home and threw everything you own away you would be fine with “market value” right? I mean, its not like any of it would MEAN anything to you. I’m sure it all comes down to the dollars right? Right?

      • Esquire99 says:

        That’s not what I said. I said replacement value, plus compensation for the items that are not readily replaceable (such as those with special sentimental value). I’m not saying that she is only entitled to $5k, but merely that she doesn’t deserve a windfall here because the company screwed up. She deserves to be made whole, which includes compensation for the items that aren’t readily replaceable and for her expenses while this is sorted out (hotel, etc.).

        • Chongo says:

          Its too bad the woman who this happened to doesn’t have the same access to her shovel so they could dig herself out of a hole. Keep trying! your almost there.

    • hoi-polloi says:

      The condo owner asked for between $100,000 and $200,000, and the realty company is offering $5,000. Her amount seems inflated based upon the photos, but $5,000 is strikingly low. Think about what it would cost to replace every stitch of clothing you own. I hate ties, but I must have a dozen of them. Even at $25 each, you’re looking at $300. I have two inexpensive suits, which were around $300 each. Before you get to anything I actually wear on a regular basis, that’s approaching 20% of their offer.

      There are also some things that just can’t be replaced. While shit may happen, this wasn’t an unavoidable incident. As you mention, items like photos or computer files can’t be replaced, and you can’t readily put a value on those items. Isn’t it reasonable to provide compensation for that family’s inconvenience and suffering?

      • Sudonum says:

        We went through this after Katrina. It’s amazing how fast things add up. We had contents insurance on our flood policy for a maximum of something like $90k, we were well over $120k in replacement costs.

    • AnthonyC says:

      She specifically mentions jewelry, which doesn’t show up in her photos (understandably). My first thought was software on her computer- we don;t know what programs she had. Maybe she had a substantial CD or DVD collection in a binder in her closet.

      Moreover, even the basic items in the photos- furniture, large appliances, clothes- could easily be over $5000.

    • SanDiegoDude says:

      I disagree. I have photos and items from friends and relatives with a very high sentimental value, and if I came home to find the sanctity of my home has been destroyed because somebody couldn’t figure out a number on the door, you’re damn right I’d take that place to the cleaners. If they insist on the 5000 dollar payout, I’d take them to court and sue for the (emotional) pain and suffering caused by their carelessness.

    • Hoss says:

      Shit happens my ass. Maybe they weren’t removing a kidney but this is fukn close. How fuked up is an organization that they don’t have checks in place to ensure they got the right home? And who gave them the authority to distribute pictures of someone’s possessions taken from inside a private home they mistakenly invaded? Sleezy Sleezy Sleezy, fuked up all around.

      You need a reality check. What does $5,000 buy her? She needs to replace things, take time off to get everything in order, ect, ect. They obviously want her insurance to pay for their mistake. She should go for blood and get what she deserves and more

    • tbax929 says:

      I know you like the toe the line and side with big companies, but even you don’t believe the bullshit you’re selling in this post! Shit happens??? People make mistakes? Why do I never see posts like that from you when it’s the consumer who errs?

      • Esquire99 says:

        People clearly aren’t getting my point here. I’m not saying she is only owed $5k. I’m not saying her irreplaceable items aren’t worth anything. I’m saying she doesn’t deserve a windfall here because of the company’s mistake. She is entitled to whatever it costs to replace all of her property that is readily replaceable, and to compensation for the irreplaceable items. That figure might be $75k, I don’t know. My point is that I don’t think she is entitled to “punitive” damages or to damages for “pain and suffering” or “emotional distress.” She absolutely, 100% deserves to be made whole, whatever the cost. But she doesn’t deserve a windfall.

        • bananaballs says:

          Do you really think that punitive damages and/or awards for distress equal a windfall? Really really really? Let me guess, you like to stomp on puppies on your way to your job at the kitten glue factory. In all seriousness, if you are a lawyer (as your name suggests) and you really believe that then…I just…fuck. I don’t believe it. You can’t be.

        • Dondegroovily says:

          Let’s not forget that she probably had to stay in a hotel, you know, when your condo DOESN’T HAVE A BED. So, hell yeah on the pain and suffering. Big corps only listen to money, and the punitive fines are required so they won’t do it again.

        • myrna_minkoff says:

          If this was my place, I’d be looking for a huge payout, and here’s why: Stuff that looks like low-value “junk” to someone else, may be a priceless memento to someone else. How much would I be due if someone tossed the only photos I have of my dead parents in the trash? What’s the value of the souvenirs I’ve been collecting from my travels since I was 15?

          You can say “they’re just photos and trinkets,” but they mean the world to me.

          You use the term windfall as if it’s not something she’s due. While I agree money is an imperfect solution to this type of issue, it’s the best solution available. She’s due WAY more than the book value of the goods. Not to mention the time spent buying replacements and the sheer mental ickiness of knowing that strangers came into your home and went through all your personal belongings.

        • bairdwallace says:

          What happened is not that far from breaking and entering;yes it was an accident, but they should be covering more than just her losses.

        • Apeweek says:

          I love the language you used in the parent comment:

          “The fact the realty company screwed up doesn’t give her the right to take them to the cleaners.”

          Didn’t they take her to the cleaners?

        • thisistobehelpful says:

          The point of punitive damages is to punish. Negligence like this should be punished. A seven and a six don’t even remotely look like each other on paper, that’s pretty negligent.

        • NewsMuncher says:

          Having your house broken into and your stuff stolen does lead to emotional distress. People who have had their houses broken into report never feeling safe in their own home again. In this case the person would never feel safe leaving their home again.
          It’s a basic betrayal of trust, and violation of someone’s right to privacy.
          Would you like it if I came over to your house, opened the door and strolled around inside, going through your computer files, calling the people in your organizer? How about if I ate all the food in your pantry? What if the entrant abused the pet?

    • Scuba Steve says:

      This was negligence that should be punished. Harshly. I constantly worry about the maintenance people coming into my apartment and stealing my stuff, because honestly, I can’t replace a lot of the stuff in there. Vintage collectables, expensive and rare electronics, and hard to find gaming items. Of course, they’re allowed to enter my apartment at will, and have done so before.

      I always keep a webcam pointed at the door. Its the only defense I have.

      • Garybaldy says:

        Change your locks. Unless it states that you can not in the lease agreement.

      • levelone says:

        Many states have laws forbidding maintenance or managerial entry until 24 hour written notice has been given. Don’t you have any tentant protection laws where you live? Or was it part of your tenancy contract that they be allowed to just enter as they please?

      • Sumtron5000 says:

        Collect all the dog crap in your neighborhood and leave it on a newspaper behind the door. Or wet paint. or rig a bucket of tar and feathers, Home Alone style. Make sure you leave the webcam up!

    • WagTheDog says:

      She also deserves compensation for time spent replacing her goods.

    • Apeweek says:

      Love how so many people are conditioned to believe that big companies are entitled to their “windfalls”, but not ordinary people like you and me.

      And company stumbling on an extraordinary profit opportunity would take it, and we consider that just fine, even if profit comes at the expense of peoples’ health or livelihood.

      Why doesn’t this logic apply to the little guy?

      Malcolm X said: “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

    • KyleOrton says:

      There absolutely has to be something punitive here. The biggest problem is that corporations are given more power than your average citizen, so when they screw up it’s a bigger deal. And sending a message takes much more force. No company cares about a $5000 loss. Make them hurt and maybe they’ll try a bit harder next time.

    • vladthepaler says:

      Really? You don’t think this sort of thing should be deterred? I think it’s very dangerous to say that it’s ok to take whatever you want without permission provided you pay the rightful owner whatever you think it’d be worth on the open market.

    • magdelane says:

      This happened to me. I was on vacation and got a call from a family member watching the kitty. He came to feed her and found the locks changed and looking in the window saw most things missing… called us in a panic, called the cops, and called the rest of the family.
      The cops didn’t want to do anything… “looks like a foreclosure”
      WTF? IT WAS THE WRONG HOUSE!
      So I flew back ASAP, the family cleared everything else out, fully documented with photographs the ‘found’ state and the ‘end’ state. The realty company and the city sheriff that was supposedly observing the eviction claimed they were not at fault. I couldn’t get any compensation for the loss of easily $100k worth of possessions… Lawyers got involved, but because the place wasn’t entirely cleaned out I couldn’t prove how much was taken!!!!
      (the neighbors tried stopping them when they were robbing me blind, but were threatened with arrest) All of my records that I could have used to prove the worth were taken (computer, filing cabinet, bin of print photographs). What gives me nightmares to this day is that I knew that my possessions were stolen and not simply sent off to the dump as was claimed (“M’am, that’s in the dump across the river. It has no public access.Anyway, it’d all be under 10 feet of other trash by now if you would even be allowed to get in the facility”.) Business cards that were kept inside my jewelry box and a previously not-broken chain were found on the living room floor where my jewelry box was obviously dumped and the contents put into pockets. The artwork on the walls was gone, and not a sliver of that glass was found on the floor… my grandfather’s WWII coin collection vaporized…
      I hope those thieving bastards suffer for their dishonesty in hell, that touching my treasures burns their hands, and the money they got from the affair contaminates and poisons everything they spent it on.
      They ruined my life by invading my home ‘lawfully’
      and brushed it off, saying that I should just file a homeowner’s insurance claim.
      Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover this. Really. Check your policy.
      Never mind the priceless family heirlooms, and the guilt of not being able to save them.

      • ElizabethD says:

        That is AWFUL :-( I can’t believe you couldn’t recoup the cost of your belongings plus damages of some kind.

        Was your kitty still there?

        • magdelane says:

          The kity and bird were taken to animal control. I couldn’t get them back for a few days because they needed proof that I owned them, which to them was a picture of each. Nevermind that the address on my ID was the address on their ‘source’ tag.
          Luckily, they were unhurt. The bird didn’t seem to notice anything happened, but my cat now doesn’t trust men.

      • Esquire99 says:

        Everything else aside, I’m somewhat shocked that your homeowners policy wouldn’t cover this. I suppose since it wasn’t officially “theft” might be the reason, but that does truly surprise me.

        • magdelane says:

          yeah. precisely because it wasn’t cut-and-dry theft. And because I couldn’t file a police report within the window (goes back tot the “looks like a foreclosure” problem)
          Regardless, I’ll never get my family heirlooms back. And that’s what gets me the worst.

      • brooklynconsumerist says:

        You should sue them, a couple that I think were living in Nevada had the same thing happen and ended up being awarded 2.2 million dollars including damages.

      • Apeweek says:

        Any reasonable company in a business like this would store belongings for at least a day or two, to cover “mistakes” like this.

        The fact that they don’t says a lot. It says that they operate with impunity, don’t expect to be caught, and don’t expect to be punished.

        And the police aren’t even interested since it “looks like a foreclosure.”

        What a great idea for a new criminal enterprise! Get a truck, slap on an official-looking company name, and go commit “mistakes”. In fact, don’t fake a company name, register a real one. There’s not much difference.

        • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

          “Don’t expect to get caught”? They didn’t think they were doing anything wrong. No one is is going to spend the money storing stuff from every foreclosed home to cover mistakes that almost never happen. That added expense for all of the trash-outs that aren’t screwed up would cost a lot more than the $5000+ it’ll cost them for the once in a blue moon mistake.

          • stuckinms says:

            I think that if you’re going to foreclose on someone’s home, you’d better be DAMN sure you have the correct house. Otherwise, like another writer said, people could just slap an official-looking company sticker on the side of a van and start taking stuff from people’s houses. If it “looks like a foreclosure” to a sheriff, then they won’t bother even asking for paperwork, apparently.

            • magdelane says:

              Sheriff had the bad paperwork in hand when ‘observing’ the removal. The one who said “looks like a foreclosure” was a police officer who my relatives called to the scene as I was scrambling to get a flight back to town.
              Which was a huge part of the problem. The Sheriff’s department had little to do with the actual police force. The police didn’t’ want to get involved as soon as they found out that the sheriff had been there.

        • magdelane says:

          In the municipality where I lived, they were not required to hold the items at all. Additional damage was dealt because the municipality strictly forbids evicted goods from being put to the curb, and must be immediately hauled away. So neither I nor my neighbors could gather things back up.
          In trying to figure out how it all happened, I also discovered that the sheriff didn’t have to hand-deliver any eviction papers if he was ‘too busy’ to even warn the target… so I didn’t even have warning that there was a mix up. This happened back in early 2008, so I’m hoping something has changed. Not just for the sake of those who might end up in such a mistake, but also for families that might be at fault, or renters that could be kicked out of the rental property without warning and their belongings similarly disappeared.
          Horrible, horrible experience.
          I’ve come to think of it as an event much akin to a house fire, where no one was killed or physically hurt. And, that’s about the only way I was able to keep going and move on.

      • Theodore the Proud says:

        Did you contact a lawyer about this?

      • shepd says:

        Have you tried suing the police department? Seems like they’re the biggest failure in all of this.

        • magdelane says:

          It is a big game of pass the buck, and legal loopholes the way things are set up in the municipality…. The lawyer, after going rounds with everyone, came to the conclusion that there wasn’t a darn thing we could do. No evidence of what was taken, who ultimately made the mistake/was responsible, and the sheriff’s office is rather separate from the police force… making things even more complicated. (He wasn’t cheap, and his specialty was in property disputes/unlawful seizure.)
          Oh, the rage I was in… I wanted a righteous lawsuit like nothing else.

          • AustinTXProgrammer says:

            If they took everything from me like that, they would also be trying to take my freedom. I would hunt them down and then plead for leniency from the jury.

      • trujunglist says:

        jesus christ. I can’t even pretend to feel the amount of pain and anger you must feel even though reading your account gets my blood boiling (my blood has an admittedly low boiling point).

    • s73v3r says:

      This company deserves to be punished, and harshly. They deserve the corporate equivalent of cutting someone’s head off and impaling it upon a stake. That way it will serve as a warning to any other companies in this line of business that they DAMN WELL better make sure they have the correct house, triple and quadruple checking if need be.

    • zombie_batch says:

      A complete random company robs you of everything in your home, but because they call it a ‘mistake’ (you did nothing to deserve this, you are completely innocent and not even remotely related to the cause of this problem) that makes it OK to low ball the hell out of this person? She deserves a windfall.

      It doesn’t matter if all she had in her home was crackers. She was innocent and they twice broke into her home. TWICE. Weeks apart! They knew after the first breaking and entering they had the wrong location! The lost properties monetary value is of no consideration when you completely screw up like this and bring a major problem into an innocent person’s life. She deserves a windfall because this ‘mistake’ is unacceptable and unbelievable to have happened a second time.

    • JonBoy470 says:

      Esquire99, you are a frakking bonehead. I’m sorry, but if you are in the business of trashing out foreclosed homes, then getting the frakking address right is part of the basic due diligence that must be exercised in doing your job. I somehow doubt you’d be of the same opinion if it was your own home that was ransacked. Personally, I am of the opinion that if a property is foreclosed, the lender should be required to store any property or effects removed from the home indefinitely, and at the lender’s expense, just in case the rightful owners come calling for it.

      Personally, stories like this make me want to go out and buy a firearm. You might think twice about trashing out my place if I greet you at the door with a 12 gauge or a Beretta leveled at your face.

    • spamtasticus says:

      There is a picture of a computer in those “before” shots. All i can say is that if they ditched my computer and backup devices they would owe me well over $100,000 in lost development right there. I’m an unusual situation due to my business but I’m sure they will have a hard time arguing with the victim how much work was or was not in that computer.

    • varro says:

      Shit happens and people make mistakes.

      Us lawyers call it “negligence”.

    • trujunglist says:

      Even if they paid me for every item I have that was trashed (this would be nearly impossible to calculate due to the variety of collectibles and what not that I have), I would still expect some sort of amount far above the actual value since it took me, in some cases, years and years to even get those items. Actually, if they did give me a fair value for every item (again, this seems impossible since there are a lot of small items that I might not even be able to account for) AND some sort of windfall, I’d still be royally pissed off. Unless the windfall is outrageous, there is no way I’d be appeased. Why? Because you just stole my shit in the stupidest way possible. Not only that, but it was completely wasted by going to the dump. You’ve basically raped me and my beliefs about belongings and all I get is the retail value? Like another commenter said “If this happens to me, they will be taking away my freedom as well because they will be hunted down”

  2. Distahs says:

    This is one of those mistakes that make people snap and go on a killing spree.

  3. azntg says:

    She may not have much stuff to begin with, but whatever little she had in her condo it is her stuff and she is not the person who’s being foreclosed on. And time is money too.

    To me, it looks to me that Keller and Williams is equally guilty of misrepresenting the anguish to discover a trashed house and time to replace everything that was there.

    • tbax929 says:

      Having worked in insurance for most of my life, I can tell you that people usually vastly underrate the value of their belongings, particularly when they’re buying property insurance. Unless you’ve taken the time to go through and assess every single thing you’d have to replace, you’re probably not carrying enough property insurance.

      Those pics were definitely taken after items were removed. I don’t doubt that she had at least $100K (replacement value) in things. That’s not a lot of money, and it’s not hard to amass $100K worth of stuff.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        Really? I’d think more people would overvalue their posessions. I have $20k in renters insurance, mainly because I don’t have any really fancy electronics besides my computer. When and if I move in with my boyfriend though, he’s got a flatscreen a ps3 a $1000 computer. I’ll have to up it a bit at that point.

        • myrna_minkoff says:

          Think of it this way: The market value of your old clothes is basically nil. But if you had to replace every stitch of clothing tomorrow, it could easily top $10k even if you bought nothing fancier than some Gap jeans. Hell, underwear alone would probably cost you $300-500.

          But few people think of themselves as having $10k in clothes sitting in their closets.

      • rorschachex says:

        I absolutely agree. When I moved out of college from my frat, I did a quick evaluation of how much stuff I had and how much it cost. Mind you, I moved out without any furniture and, what I thought, was inexpensive stuff, short of my desktop and laptop computers. I had roughly $15k worth of stuff.

    • kalaratri says:

      People always forget about the mental trauma that goes along with a break in (and a break in is pretty much what this is).

      Many people upon finding they were robbed feel very insecure, have trouble sleeping, etc. And that’s ignoring the irreplaceable souvenirs, photos, whatever that got destroyed or tossed out by the thief.

  4. Skellbasher says:

    Regardless of the value of the contents, I think this woman has a clear right to additional compensation. Through no fault or mistake of her own, all contents of her dwelling, possibly most of what she owns, was thrown out.

    Should this go to a civil case, there would be significant reason to expect a punitive damage award.

    The parties responsible should open the checkbooks and get this taken care of.

  5. JohnDeere says:

    who cares what her crap is worth. she should be taken care of or someone should be prosecuted for breaking and entering and theft. they fix it or they go to jail.

  6. trellis23 says:

    I don’t believe for a second that those before pictures are legit. One, I find it hard to believe that someone owns and lives in a condo, with NO stuff. Secondly,some how she sleeps on a mattress only half on a boxspring and stores stuff in the bathtub? To me it looks more like, they realized the mistake when they were almost done and took some pictures, to claim “before.”

    • trellis23 says:

      Not to mention, just for the bed, chair, and washer alone… decent replacements should bring you up to 5000 with delivery.

      • stuckinms says:

        Agreed.

      • steveliv says:

        in what crazy marked up world do you live in? All three of the items you mentioned looked pretty mundane. I’m thinking $600 for the sofa, $600 for the washer, and maybe $800 for the bed including mattresses and box spring.

        • imimbles says:

          Anecdotal — but my boyfriend and I have purchased a fair bit of furniture in the past few months, and we’ve easily spent $2500 on just those three items. Our couch was ~$1100, our mattresses were ~$500, and our washer/dryer (combo) was ~$1100. We just sleep on a boxspring/mattress on the floor, no bed, but if we were to buy a bed, it alone would easily be $500.
          This is pretty low-end stuff, too, the goal was to try and spend little. So. That’s my two cents.

        • AstroPig7 says:

          Markup or not, that still leaves $3000 for everything else, which is still probably not enough considering that she also had jewelry and a wedding dress.

    • ekzachtly says:

      That’s my thought. It’s as if someone during the process realized that they had picked the wrong condo, and hastily took some pictures to try to cover their asses.

      • Shadowfax says:

        I don’t think they realized their mistake. I think this is probably their standard practice. “Take “before” pics 10 minutes before you’re done so that if anyone comes after us for any reason we can claim that most of what they say they had wasn’t there when we got there.”

    • icedteagirl says:

      I think you’re right. I think they’re trying to cover up bigtime. The article also says that nobody can tell her where they dumped her stuff. Not sure if that’s some sort of policy the company has, but the stuff shouldn’t have been thrown out so why can’t they at least try to figure out how to recover it? Sounds really fishy to me.

    • trellis23 says:

      AND, if you look at the pictures. There are two different kitchen pictures. One with stuff on the counters and IN the cupboards. And then another with all the stuff that was on the counter gone, and the cupboards empty, and some of their contents on the counters. This should be proof enough, that NONE of their pictures are actually BEFORE pictures.

    • Vanilla5 says:

      I think you’re absolutely right. I think they stopped when they were almost finished and realized the effed up and tried to take pictures of the condo and say that was what it looked like before.

      I don’t buy for a second that that’s what her condo looked like before. And all her clothes and whatnot are gone too? Those boots she had on look like the ones from Aldo that are over $120 a pair. All her belongings + clothes is gonna be waaaaay over $5K – they need to cough up some serious money here for her belongings + punitive damages.

    • stuckinms says:

      I looked at them again. In some of the pictures, there are indentation marks in the floor where there had clearly been furniture that is no longer there (pic 4). And even if those before pictures were correct, there is enough stuff in that place to not appear vacated. One of the first kitchen pictures shows the plates/bowls sitting on the counter and the last pictures shows them up in the cupboards. It’s obvious that at least SOME of these pictures were taken after they started removing her stuff.

      • Vanilla5 says:

        Good eyes. I hadn’t noticed the indentations.

      • majin_chichi says:

        The living room pictures are another example of this – the first one shows an end table with a lamp on it, looking rather oddly positioned. Later on in the set, there is another shot of the living room – with the same end table and lamp, but a couch in front of it this time (and no longer looking odd with a couch there). These pics were clearly mid-clearout.

    • travel_nut says:

      I completely agree with you. look at the picture with the computer. It’s not even hooked up! All the cables are just hanging there un-connected. I don’t know of a single person who keeps their computer completely disconnected and then re-connects the cables before use.

    • brooklynconsumerist says:

      Look at photo #4. The cable cord is yanked from the wall and the cable is cut. The photos show no television, no cable, no nothing. Now why cut the cable wire unless you’re too damn lazy to unhook it. These are definitely not “before” photos.

    • jaya9581 says:

      This.

      The large object in the pictures with the computer appears to be a headboard for a bed. There’s pretty clear furniture indentation marks in the carpet in at least one photo with no furniture nearby. There’s nothing plugged in, even though there’s several things such as lamps and a computer that should be. The bed is half off the boxspring; highly unlikely she sleeps that way.

      The dining table area looks remarkably nice, and the kitchen looks nice as well in photo 26 – some stuff displayed as decoration. My guess is that if she keeps those areas (particularly the kitchen which is no doubt well-used) looking nice, that the rest of the house didn’t look so sloppy.

    • harmony758 says:

      Not to mention the kids’s step in the bathroom. In all of the pics combined I saw 2 stuffed animal & a toy sword. That does not a happy kid make. Where are the rest of the child’s toys/clothes/food/anything?

    • varro says:

      Let’s hope that people on a jury come to the same conclusion as you.

      One of the pictures clearly shows indentations in the carpet where a piece of furniture was. There’s no evidence of a TV or entertainment area, and stuff is on the floor that should have been on shelves.

      It’s pretty clearly fabricated evidence by the trash-out company or realtors, and no person with common sense would say that those are “before” pictures.

    • JennQPublic says:

      I can’t believe nobody’s commented that there is nothing under the bathroom sink. Are we seriously supposed to believe a woman (any woman) has no make-up/perfume/bubble bath in her bathroom? I’m not really that high-maintenance, but I probably have $500 worth of good make-up and toiletries. My sister easily has a couple of grand worth.

      I know the half-empty bottles aren’t WORTH $500, but that’s what it would cost me to replace everything.

  7. Pinkbox says:

    I dunno about you guys, but I think if I had to buy new furniture, computer, etc. it would very easily be more than $5000. Clothing alone would add up pretty quickly, which they don’t show photos of.

    It looks like more than $5000 worth of items in her home to me, even though she didn’t seem to have a lot.

    She also apparently lost all of her computer data, and I imagine there are a lot of other personal effects as well.

    • ElizabethD says:

      My husband and I furnished his entire one-bedroom pied-a-terre (weekday) apartment for $3,000 with things from Ikea and Bob’s Discount Furniture — and they weren’t awful things, either. Fortunately he had a relocation allowance to cover these costs.

      • kujospam says:

        Yeah, but you have to build all of your furniture which most people do not due and that is an undue restriction on her. But I agree you can find nice things there.

    • madanthony says:

      the article says she demanded “$100,000 to $200,000″ to replace her stuff.

      $5000 is probably too little, but $200,000 is way too much. Also, if she had homeowner’s or renters insurance, it should cover the contents of her house, and then the insurance company would go after/subrogate against the trashout company or the Realtor.

      • Shadowfax says:

        I disagree, whether she had that much stuff or not. They burglarized her house. I don’t care if it was a mistake or deliberate. They did it. And they did it in an obviously careless manner, because the real way to do this is to triple-check the address, AND only go in the house if the property owner (the bank) has verified that address. They didn’t do that, and it seems they submitted false photographic “before” evidence. She should damn near own that company at this point.

        The trouble with incidents like this is that, if I were asked by a friend to go clean out his house, and I cleaned out the wrong house, I’d find myself in jail for burglary, and no one would give a flying crap if I claimed it was all just a big mistake. But because people acting for corporations can shield themselves behind the illegitimate legal concept of corporate personhood (the corporation did this! Not any one individual! So no one goes to jail!) and since it’s impossible to put a corporation in jail, then there has to be alternate means of punishment. Namely, compensate her for what she claims she lost, even if she claims she lost the Mona Lisa. And then pay her punitive damages equal to 15% of the net worth of the company. This “oh sure, pay her 5 grand and you’re punished” crap is like punishing a child by taking a tiny piece out of his candy bar. The company won’t feel it, will make up the “punishment” amount in about 5 minutes of operations, and therefore will not have a suitable incentive to make damn sure they don’t ever do it again. It’s time companies started being held accountable in ways that actually penalize them, so that they stop feeling like they can play fast and loose with innocent people.

  8. Tito151 says:

    I don’t trust some of these before pictures since the furniture is already moved around. It makes me think that the movers started grabbing stuff and taking it out and then pictures were starting to get taken. I also noticed that there is a Macbook Pro box in one of the pics, implying a Macbook Pro might be sitting around the house. Yet I don’t see any pics of a laptop sitting on a table. I bet that was one of the first things to “walk out of the house”. Of course, she may not have actually lost it in the excavation though.

    • lakecountrydave says:

      I agree. Plus, she has a computer and computer desk, but no chair? She does not own a TV, but has a desktop and a laptop computer (and a sword)? It just does not make sense.

  9. Chuck Norris' wig says:

    This has happened before and the people that I read about it happened to got about 7 figures.

  10. maximus says:

    Love the grammar: “yar property”

  11. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    All it’s gonna take is a few moms on jury to hear “baby pictures” and “wedding dress and photos” and she will be awarded whatever astronomical number she SHOULD sue for. A few comments on the original article state that by going to court the company involves their insurance carrier, therefore there will be assistance in paying up. But whatever it takes. I don’t own a lot, but if someone threw it’d away I’d go batshit crazy in about .2 seconds and hire the dirtiest Vegas lawyer I could find.

  12. Jerry Vandesic says:

    I don’t know why this isn’t a criminal matter. Someone should be charged with grand larceny and spending some time in jail.

    • _hi_ says:

      No in America when people break into your house you get to have a beer with the guy who broke into your house and the acting president. Then everything is oooo k.

      • Anathema777 says:

        Huh? In that story, the guy who “broke into” the house WAS the owner. The beer was shared among the house’s owner, the president, and the police officer who mistakenly tried to arrest the man.

        • psiphiorg says:

          Perhaps the previous poster meant that the cop was the one who “broke into” the professor’s house?

          • JonBoy470 says:

            This is why Florida’s on the right path with their “Castle” law.

            • failurate says:

              In the cowardly state of Wisconsin, a person could be in their home when another person breaks in and the homeowner’s only available legal option is to hide/flee and call the police.

              • Bog says:

                Really? That makes no sense. You have a right not to be robbed or burgled, you have a right to take action against being robbed. In Washington State you have the statutory and court affirmed right to kill an intruder or anyone trying to rob you. All that matters is that a felony is being conducted against you or your property. Stand your ground.

    • stuckinms says:

      Agreed. There’s no way that the expensive items in her condo (computer, camera, etc) just got thrown away. Somebody in this company walked off with them, which does amount to larceny, right?

    • Tim says:

      These people were acting under the orders of their employer, so the corporation would be charged with larceny. If convicted, it’d probably be a fine of a few thousand dollars, if that.

  13. greggen says:

    We had replacement value insurance and had a garage fire. Even though most of the stuff was crap (old computers, tv’s, furniture, 6 years of clothes from grown children) ex was a packrat. The insurance company wound up paying out almost 25K.

  14. morganlh85 says:

    I don’t give an eff about replacement value, or how many items were actually in the apartment. This is negligence and they need to pay her a hefty sum of punitive damages for the hassle this situation is causing this poor woman. One could even argue that because she had so FEW things, losing the FEW things she had to her name is even worse than if she had a houseful.

  15. solareclipse2 says:

    Condos aren’t cheap and the people I know who live in them have pretty nice things. Nobody I know would buy a condo over renting an apartment if they couldn’t afford to furnish it let alone have anything else.

    I have a house and I know my living room and bedroom sets cost at the very least 5k. Appliances easily rack up another few grand. I’d be looking for a few grand if my computers were missing seeing as they house school stuff, work projects, and other files that while I may have backups and hard copies of there’s no reason I should have to resort to getting them and verifying their integrity after someone got rid of my “working copies”.

    My wife would be on the war path if she discovered photos missing and her wedding dress gone.

    • mommiest says:

      I have known people who lived like this. They were usually single and had plowed all their excess cash into savings so they could get a condo or house. Furniture can come later.

      That said, I would like to see HER photographs. Maybe a friend or family member has pictures of them visiting? Just a thought.

    • madanthony says:

      some condos are actually pretty cheap – there are plenty of crappy apartments near me that were converted into crappy condos.

      And nowhere does it say if she owns the condo or was renting. Plenty of condos get rented out.

  16. Blueskylaw says:

    I would like to see how they would compensate me for my 9 inch Civil War Dahlgren naval cannon ball, Civil War – WW2 photographs, revolutionary and civil war documents, books and antiques. I would be scared for losing my items, but I would also be scared for them on my potential compensation claims, especially mental anguish.

    • kimmie says:

      Just an FYI, if you have renters insurance, check if you need seperate riders for those things. My policy excludes some things like antiques and I’ve got 3 seperate riders for other things not covered.

  17. blueduckconsumerist says:

    I do not own a home, but… can they DO that? Does foreclosure entitle them to seize everything on the property, not just the property & building itself? Wow.. what a scam!

    • dg says:

      Yes, they can do that – after a Judge enters a foreclosure order. Once that happens, the mortgage note holder (usually the bank) gets to come in and repossess the house. To get the house in a salable condition, they dispose of all the useless junk left behind which has nothing to do with a house sale.

      That means pretty much everything except the appliances, cabinets, carpet, window treatments, and fixtures get ripped out and tossed. If you want your stuff and you’re getting foreclosed on, then you have to GET IT OUT YOURSELF before the foreclosure takes effect.

      Now that said, most people getting foreclosed on don’t have money for a storage facility – so they take what they can and leave the rest… The bank gets to eat the costs of clean up, and typically the places are an absolute mess.

      That a mistake was made is quite unfortunate. These things happen (I’ve even heard of demolition companies tearing down the wrong house), but the Realty company needs to make her absolutely WHOLE – everything she says she had, she gets back. Along with compensating her for her time to wait around for deliveries, time to reconfigure things, lost data recovery, music downloads/video downloads, connection charges, etc.

      If I were that company – I’d just offer to pay off her mortgage, and see if she’d go for it… It’d probably be cheaper than the judgment against them will be…

  18. Mr.Gawn says:

    Something seems wrong here… 5000 doesnt seem like nearly enough compensation, especially since they tossed all her belonging..

    i mean i get this was an accident, but 5000 seems like an insult…
    i mean, if you appraised all my owning, it would prolly total roughly 6000

    but to me, if all that stuff were gone, i would have a heart attack because to me, some of those things are priceless

    • greggen says:

      Not just an accident, but why the heck cant they point her at her stuff? How can you clear out someone’s home and not know where you put the stuff???
      What if it was determined that something hazardous was stored there, or someone elses property? Stolen property?

      • oloranya says:

        Because it all goes into a dumpster immediately. There’s a show on TLC or something about companies who do this kind of work. They go in, toss everything in a dumpster, and it gets hauled away in a single day.

    • ArsonIsFun says:

      Agreed – Even if she didn’t have a lot of stuff, I’d expect a significant chunk of change for irreplaceable items, time/effort to replace what she lost, and a little something extra for screwing up her life …

    • kujospam says:

      If you appraised all my stuff it would probably be about 6,000 dollars, but to actually go and buy it fo market value it would be over 20,000 dollars. I do a lot of discount shopping where I try to get things sometimes up to 50% off. Trying to get those deals again just probably wouldn’t happen, not only that I would have to wait forever to get the stuff I already had.

  19. bcsus83 says:

    Were those photos taken by the company that cleaned out her apartment? Because I can’t see a reason why anyone would take photos of their condo like that. It looks like the photos were taken by the people who cleaned out her apartment as ‘proof’ that nothing was stolen….however, it looks like it was an after thought, and they were already mostly done to me. Who owns a washer, but not a dryer, especially when living in a condo, where outdoor space is slim to none? Who owns end tables, but not a couch or chairs to put them next to? Who doesn’t own a tv, or ANY electronics other than their computer? Who owns a bed, but NO dressers? It just doesn’t really make sense for the condo owner to have taken those photos in my book. I’d bet she truly had much more in that condo.

  20. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    OK, something doesn’t jive here, and someone tell me if they agree. Someone came and changed the locks. Which means the locks were still intact(I mean, how do you secure a home with no locks). She sees the sign. Apparently nothing was amiss. At a later time, she comes home to find someone going into the house. How did she gain access to her home after the mistake lock change? If the locksmiths left the door unlocked/unsecurable, the onus is on them for negligence, and I’m sure they are bonded/insured for just such a thing. If they handed out keys, after leaving the note about the mistake, to these home “cleaners”, it’s still on them. If the “cleaners” broke down the door, it’s breaking and entering on them. Also, if someone changed her locks, and she didn’t have them re-keyed, then she’s just an idiot. Am I missing something?

    • selianth says:

      I was just going to comment about this. They came and changed the locks, then realized their error directly afterwards, and left a note for her to call them. Presumably she got the new key from them at that point. I’m not trying to blame the victim here, but the first thing *I* would do at that point is call my own locksmith and get the locks changed *again*. This way I know exactly who has keys to my house (me, and me only).

    • selianth says:

      I was just going to comment about this. They came and changed the locks, then realized their error directly afterwards, and left a note for her to call them. Presumably she got the new key from them at that point. I’m not trying to blame the victim here, but the first thing *I* would do at that point is call my own locksmith and get the locks changed *again*. This way I know exactly who has keys to my house (me, and me only).

    • Skellbasher says:

      I read is as such.

      - Locksmith sent to change locks, changes wrong condo.
      – Condo management finds out, notifies owner. They give owner the new keys and apologize for the mistake. Owner naively thinks that the situation is done and over with.
      – In the meantime, locksmith hands of new keys to cleanout company. Locksmith doesn’t know / doesn’t care that they re-keyed the wrong house.
      – Condo management doesn’t bother to contact anyone that people are being sent to the wrong condo.
      – Cleanout company does their business.

      If the locksmith was giving the incorrect address to rekey by the forclosing agency, they’re mostly in the clear I’d think. Liability would depend on who knew they were working on the wrong condo, and when they knew it.

    • JiminyChristmas says:

      My understanding of the article is that:

      1. She came home and found the locks changed and the note on the door.
      2. As the note asks, she calls to arrange to get into her condo.
      3. She leaves the building.
      4. She gets a call saying that the locks are fixed.
      5. She returns to an empty apartment.

  21. tundey says:

    $5000 is such an insult. Regardless of the replacement value of her stuff, $5000 still sounds like way too little to compensate someone for wrongly trashing all her stuff including:

    “…my wedding dress, baby pictures, wedding photos, …”

    Those are irreplaceable. How do you buy your real wedding dress? What about the feeling of insecurity in your own house? $5000 is way too little. In fact, it’s an insult.

  22. Colonel Jack O'neill says:

    Those so called before pictures are not before pictures,
    You can see indention marks where furniture used to be.
    You got the computer, it’s all unplug. Who keeps they computer unplugged?
    You got the washer, but it looks like they took the dryer.
    The lamp on the side of the recliner isn’t even plugged in.
    Who sleeps with half they mattress on the floor.

    Also she been in that condo for 2 years, I know that’s not what it’s gonna look like in those pictures.
    But why not just give her her stuff back, they know what they did, and where her stuff is.

    • JCtheBuilder says:

      Yes, it is extremely obvious that those pictures were not taken at the start of the removal process. The computer is the most glaring example. All the cables are disconnected and looks like those early advertisements where marketers didn’t know how to setup computers.

      If anyone has seen a house towards the end of a moving process it looks exactly like this. Miscellaneous items tossed about and some random furniture. As long as she gets a good lawyer she is going to be getting a lot more than the $100,000 she initially asked for. And she definitely deserves it after they tried to cover up their mistake.

  23. Palmetto274 says:

    The before pictures are obviously not real before pictures. The are pictures were probably taken right “before” the company took realized they were in the wrong place. The offered compensation $5000 is definitely not enough even if those are real before photos. Mauck contacted Keller and Williams Realty to let them know they messed up with the lock and the company didn’t get it straightened out. I am sure Mauck’s time dealing with this mess and belongings are worth more than $5000.

  24. odLott says:

    Wow, this is a horrible thing to happen to anybody. I can see how she would think she deserves at least $100k and I can imagine there is no malice behind that, but I think she needs to mount a serious case if she wants to go for that kind of figure. A $5000 is egregious, if not stupid though. Had I been at that company, my lowball offer would have been $25,000 cash right away. That might have stopped it right there.

    • JiminyChristmas says:

      I bet you $5000 is the deductible on their business insurance policy and they just threw that number out there with the misguided hope they could make the whole thing go away with minimal inconvenience to themselves.

      What I would be interested to know is if the condo owner’s home insurance would cover the loss of her belongings. Of course, this could be a cluster$%^& of its own because if she’s behind in her payments who knows what the status of her escrow/insurance premiums is. It would work out better for her if she could collect from her own insurance and then let her insurer, who has their own lawyers, go after the evildoers.

      I agree with $25,000 as a lowball, though not outlandish, offer. That’s how about how much renter’s insurance I carried when I was in my early 20s and had no ‘valuables’ per se. $25K would have covered replacement value of clothes, kitchen items, tv/stereo, and my hodgepodge of inherited and yard sale furniture. For a real grown-up with things like new furniture and jewelry, I don’t see how they could be made whole for any less than $50,000.

  25. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    This woman deserves FAR more than the value of her things. She did nothing wrong and had her home invaded and her things stolen. I’m not sure why she can’t file criminal charges? Since when is it legal to accidentally take the wrong person’s things?

    Also, what if she had special photos, mementos, family heirlooms that meant something to HER but may not be worth a lot if you sold them? She probably feels incredibly violated as well.

    These people SUCK. They violated this woman and are blowing her off like it was a legit mistake. If it were me, I’d sue their asses off if they offered me so little $$$. She deserves extra compensation for being robbed of her possessions and for the feeling of violation she must have.

  26. rekoil says:

    I agree with those who think that the photos were taken after items were removed. The real suck is that she’ll have a very hard time proving that without her own photos, because…any receipts she might have kept have been presumably trashed as well.

  27. henrygates3 says:

    This is actually one of my fears, that one day I’ll come home and all my stuff will be destroyed in the back of a big truck because someone at some bank made a typo, or my car is towed away. This is one reason why we have photos of all our belongings in a safety deposit box (the other primary reason being for the insurance company in the event of fire, etc).

    Offering market value of your goods is BS, IMO, because while I take care of my used goods and property, most people don’t and it would take many many years to replace everything of equal quality.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      May I suggest webcams in your house? Easy to see people walking around. I have 4!

    • Slave For Turtles says:

      A Ryder truck pulled up here last week. Scared the bejezus out of me. Turned out it was UPS. They’re all out of regular brown trucks, so they’re renting. Seriously, I was spooked.

  28. Talonstryk says:

    I used to work for a real estate agent who handled foreclosures, and this sounds very suspicious to me.

    The steps that occur in NC:

    1) After the foreclosure is compete the mortgage company sends multiple letters stating that you no longer own the property and are ordered to vacate.

    2) ~30 days later, the property address is sent to a property manager (the real estate agent). The do a drive by inspection, checking for occupancy. If there is even a slight chance that someone might still be living in the property or there is significant personal property, you report the property as occupied and send a cash for keys letter. It basically states that they will give you a small amount of money to vacate the property, leaving it in a broom clean condition, and turn over your keys.

    3) If there is no response, it goes the the Eviction Process. This takes another 30 days. About a week before the eviction is to take place, the sheriff’s office posts an eviction notice on the property. On the day of the eviction, the sherif’s deputy meets a representative from the bank (the real estate agent) and a locksmith at the property to perform the eviction. If the house is occupied, the person has to leave. If it is vacant, pictures are immediately taken of every room and significant personal property. These are then submitted to the mortgage company. Whether vacant or occupied, personal property cannot be touched for ten days. During this time, the previous occupant can contact the real estate agent and arrange to remove their property.
    4) After the 10 days have expired, it is, by law, considered abandoned property. A “trash out” is ordered. If the cost to trash out the property is estimate to be greater than $500 dollars (which in the above case, it would have been), you have to obtain multiple bids for the job. The bidders are told to take there own pictures and if selected, to provide after trashout photos. Trash is set out by the curb for pickup, but furniture and such is usually gone within an hour, taken by scavengers.

    The reason these steps are in place are to prevent what happened in the above story. It sounds like someone jumped the gun and due process was not followed. You have to be extremely careful, as even though the mortgage company owns the property, they cannot enter an occupied house or remove personal property. At the least it is trespassing and theft. entering. Even if the property is vacant, if there is any personal property that could be of any significant value, a property eviction still has to be performed, which follows the same steps as a normal eviction.

    In essence, the mortgage company and the real estate agent are in the wrong. Someone could easily go to jail for this, and this is an easily winnable case for the homeowner. I hope she does. Real Estate agents that do this kind of work are under the gun from the mortgage company most of the time, and maybe this will open the mortgage company’s eyes enough to slow down and make sure the law is followed and peoples rights are protected.

  29. vladthepaler says:

    Should this be a police matter? Breaking in, burglary, etc.

    I don’t understand why the stolen property cannot be returned to its owner. It’s likely that at least some of it had sentimental value, it’s likely that it included documents with sensitive (medical/financial) information, etc. That is, things were taken from her that cannot be fairly valued at whatever they’d go for in a flea market. $5,000 is off by about two orders of magnitude, here.

  30. Froggmann says:

    Several years ago there was a fun to watch movie called “Fight Club”. From that movie a beautiful term made it’s debut out into the public, it was, “Asshole Tax”.

    Personally, I think that’s what should happen here, she should get back 3x the value of her property.

  31. evilpete says:

    The realty company was on notice that there was an error in the paperwork when they made the error of sending a locksmith to the wrong address.

    Doing it a second time is gross negligence

  32. Thomas Palmer says:

    Sometimes I give crazy advice, and even though this sounds extreme, it isn’t crazy. Ask them for $1,000,000 in compensation, and tell them if they don’t agree to that, you are going to court for $5,000,000. The extra, is of course for lawyer fees, and more grief compensation.

    If the condo contained irreplaceable items, then they need to pay up, if people came into my house and threw away my letters from my grandparents, photos of them as well as me growing up, etc, I would be beyond pissed.

    Just imagine your house going up in flames this second and you are nowhere around to save anything. You would be extremely saddened by the loss of your personal possessions (excluding the house itself).

    Extreme negligence means extreme payout so the company learns not to do this again. A $5000 check isn’t going to make them change their ways.

    • The_Red_Monkey says:

      Or you can go down to their office and take everything out of it. Eye for an Eye. I bet the realty company has some pretty nice shiat.

  33. The_Red_Monkey says:

    Its unlawful entry into the home. Those that did so are trespassing and breaking and entering. Its a criminal case as well as a civil one. I doubt her condo looked like that. Looks like they hauled half the stuff out then said, crap we need to document this.

    I think this serves as a reminder why its great to have an offsite backup of your personal data as well, especially the photos.

  34. aka_mich says:

    Looking through the pictures it seems some of them are somewhat contradictory to others as if the pictures were taken at different times during the process of emptying it out. Not to mention that the pictures are labeled as sent by Rob and Renea’s Home Preservation, who was the company doing the emptying. Seems to me those pictures may not be an accurate representation of what is in the condo before they entered it.

    Besides without an itemized list of everything taken from the apartment whose to tell what value everything has. We could be looking at a $5 dresser in a picture but if there is something worth $1000 in one of the drawers how is anyone able to prove it was there or not if you can’t take her word for it.

    • t0ph says:

      You are so right. These pictures were taken by the company that did the trash out. Not reliable data at all, plus it seems that they had already moved out the furniture, clothes etc.

      $5 k is not nearly enough, for the hassle or shock of this kind of crap.

  35. stuckinms says:

    This is one of those cases where I REALLY hope getting her story out on the Consumerist and other websites will get authorities involved and get her some help and what she is entitled to.

  36. keepher says:

    At first I thought the same thing, not much actually there, that 5,000 was reasonable.

    But after going off to actually accomplish something today I continued to mull on it. I’ve decided that they should pay a penalty for being stupid, for not doing the job they were supposed to do and for causing this person so many problems when she got swooped up in something that had nothing to do with her.

    I can tell you that if I was to come home and find my locks changed and stuff sitting on the ground because of someone’s screw up they would probably have to call out the military.

    • greggen says:

      not ‘stuff sitting on the ground’ but stuff gone.
      Being told that they had no idea where it was.
      This is no minor inconvenience keepher

  37. evilpete says:

    A lot of the companies that do this type of “cleaning” let their employees keep stuff since it is going the dump anyway. Some of these employees keep it for themselves other turn around and sell it for the extra $$

    If this is the case here, I can see why they “do not know” where her stuff is

  38. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Not blaming the OP, nor did I watch the accompanying video…so please don’t jump on me. Just playing devil’s advocate here…

    I notice this woman has a wedding dress but they don’t mention a husband in the story. So is she divorced? Or is she indeed married? Could she have had this condo prior to marriage, then moved into another home with her husband, and been using this condo for storage? Maybe she was in the midst of moving her stuff from the condo to her new home? Or was she indeed living here full time?

    Just curious…

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      perhaps she’s a widow. which makes losing her wedding photos several orders of magnitude worse

  39. erratapage says:

    How did they get these “before” photos? I’m no housekeeper, but things already look disturbed. People don’t take their own pictures of a messy house. I’d bank on the pictures being provided by the cleanout company. If so, I don’t think the pictures are worth even 10 words. I want to see the homeowner’s list of items lost. And then, I’ll add enough to the total so she can get a nice flat screen for her living room and bedroom.

    • pinkbunnyslippers says:

      That’s what I thought at first too, but they were taken by the people who came in to “trash out” the condo – not by the residents.

    • brooklynconsumerist says:

      I just posted but look at photo #4, where is the TV and cable box that were obviously attached to the wall where the cable connection was cut? These were definitely NOT “before” photos?

    • aka_mich says:

      Yep, the photos are labeled on the news site as sent by the same company that did the trashing.

  40. ElizabethD says:

    What a cautionary story. (And I agree with most here that this woman is entitled to far more than a measly $5K.)

    Now I’m inspired. This weekend I am going to take digital photos of our house and everything in it. (Fortunately, we downscaled by about 1/3 when we moved three years ago!) Photos and a document containing descriptions will be burned on 2 CDs, one stored in our safe deposit box and one in my office file cabinet (locked).

    Any other ideas for inventorying stuff before you’re ripped off by a foreclosure gone astray or a burglary?

    • pinkbunnyslippers says:

      What a fantastic idea – I had the same thought…going home tonight to take photos! LOL

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Me too…and also going to scan all the photos that I have that aren’t digital. Then I can put them on my extra hard drive and my photobucket, just in case.

      Somewhere I downloaded a home inventory sheet and I need to find that and fill it out. For most of my more expensive items, such as the electronics, I saved the receipts.

    • Chmeeee says:

      In general, it’s a good idea to keep a full backup of your computer somewhere other than your home, updated every few months or so. That will allow you to still have the pictures of your stuff as well. This protects your data (for me my single most significant “irreplaceable”) from theft, this BS, fire, hard drive failure, etc etc.

      I keep two external hard drives. One is setup for backup through Time Machine (built in Apple software) whenever it’s hooked up to the computer. That means that if my hard drive ever fails, I should have a fairly recent backup of all my crap. The second one is just an image of the first, updated whenever I get the chance. I keep that one at my parents place, so whatever comes of my house can’t possibly affect it. The locked drawer in my cubicle at work would also suffice.

    • trujunglist says:

      Mail the photos to your gmail account. At least that way once they take absolutely everything, including your safe, you’ll have it digitally to ram it up their asses

  41. brooklynconsumerist says:

    Photo #4 is the tell, where is the TV and cable box? The cable connection is yanked from the wall with force and cut, no reason to do that unless something is attached to it. Where are her clothes? Pots and pans? These are not “before” photos but photos taken by the clean and dispose service after they raided her place but before they were require to take “clean out” photos for the realtor and bank. Epic scam. Hopefully her friends have photos from when they were over for visits. Also, she should straight up sue them, that Nevada couple from 2005 I think ultimately ended up being awarded 2.2 million dollars including damages for the exact same mistake.

  42. hardtoremember says:

    I would bet they took those photos later in the process. For a company that would offer 5k for someones everything I don’t doubt it. I wrote them an email and I hope the rest of you will too.

  43. pot_roast says:

    The big question is where did they take all of the stuff? Did they just take it all to the dump? Leave it out on the curb for people to take? Can’t they find ANY of it?

  44. SyntaxError says:

    The realty company needs to bend over backwards to give this woman everything she wants, no matter the cost, to refurnish her entire condo and her life, regardless of what she had before.

    They have basically robbed her blind and have cost her in every way imaginable, so they should be penalized heavily.

    As for the “before” pictures, there’s no proof those pictures are indeed the “before” pictures. Looks more like they were taken half way through cleaning the place out.

    Are we really supposed to believe she has a bottle of Jack Daniels but no food?

  45. Sky75 says:

    Even my renter’s insurance covers me for $10,000 in lost property, and believe me, I don’t own sh*t. $5,000 is an insult to this poor woman – even if she didn’t live there anymore, even if she was in the process of moving to another place, this company effectively stole her belongings. They owe her something more than the pittance they’ve offered.

  46. KianteWench says:

    clothing alone would cost a pretty penny. Plus she has important documents she is going to have to petition states to get copies of, which costs money. She will also need to replace what little valuables (and I dont believe she had that little. This is obviously already been picked through) which will cost probably right at 5000. She also had people who did not belong in her home, illegally taking her things and trashing them. She deserves compensation for that as well as the time it will take to get new replacements

  47. Mknzybsofh says:

    Yeah I’d have to go with the lady on this. If you look at photo 4 and 22 you can see that the chair that was there in 4 is now missing in 22. Also why would she have only a washer and not a drier? Photo 13 shows where some storage boxes that used to sit there have been moved due to the imprints in the carpet. #12? why would anyone leave a computer not hooked up? There is no food at all in the place. People make mistakes yes. However, if this was a robbery the ladies insurance would pay out and someone would go to jail. So I put it to the people that made the mistake. Fess up and pay out or go to jail, there is no options on this.

  48. thisistobehelpful says:

    That is absolutely horrific and reprehensible. The condo may not be all that full but that is certainly more than $5000 worth of stuff that needs replacing. You can pay $1000 just for a regular mattress set. How about her clothes? There’s furniture, a computer a washing machine, dishes. She has to refurnish an entire house and reclothe herself. How is that not at least $5000? It’s not like she should be forced to purchase used items because someone else basically robbed her by accident. She should be able to purchase items at the cost she paid for them as she obviously was still using them.

    And imagine the loss of personal items. I cannot imagine the amount of anguish this woman is feeling.

  49. El-Brucio says:

    The company is scum for lowballing her for $5,000 dollars as compensation for breaking in and throwing away all of her stuff.

    I do however suspect the “before” pictures could be somewhat accurate. The article says she had a wedding dress, but no mention of a husband – perhaps a divorce? – as well as also mentioning she was behind on her payments. This opens the possibility that half of her furniture went with her husband – or perhaps in order to pay bills, she previously sold some of it.

    But still, $5,000 dollars? Just take a look in your closet and dresser and try imagining what all that would cost new. It ads up pretty quickly. Her wedding dress alone is probably over a thousand. I know many women who have a small fortune tied up in their shoes and purses alone. And you can’t reasonably expect people to buy used things to replace all of this stuff. And how can you put a price on items with personal meaning to you, like photos or special gifts?

    I hope her lawyer gets all the cash he can out of them.

  50. Tomas says:

    If someone cam in and did that to my apartment, they would have thrown away one-of-a-kind family heirlooms and pictures dating back to the civil war that do not even have a “market value” and are irreplaceable.

    Even just all my papers and pictures recording MY life are irreplaceable.

    I may only have $10-20K worth of property with “replacement value” easily determined, but how does one account for that other irreplaceable stuff?

    If nothing else, should this be considered theft and/or destruction of property? Who should be held responsible? Who provided the wrong address? I personally believe that they should not just have to “make her whole” by replacing everything removed, but should also have to pay heavily for any and all things of hers that are not able to be replaced.

    …I also firmly believe that just paying money is not enough to cause them to be more careful – jail time for the person(s) responsible for not adequately verifying the actual address is appropriate to get their attention and to reinforce “personal responsibility” for their actions.

  51. Hollasa says:

    Did Mauck give permission to have these pictures posted? Isn’t this an invasion of privacy, to add on to the invasion she’s already suffered?

  52. soj4life says:

    The pictures are even more bogus when the mom and pop removal company isn’t disclosing where the dumped this woman’s stuff. Also, why is a real estate company getting involved with this? The bank is the one that owns the condo now.

    100 to 200k is generous when those involved get sued and a real settlement comes down.

  53. Jubes says:

    I think its funny that the company clearly thought they were going to get away with giving the newspaper wrong photos. Good for the newspaper for taking a look at them and noticing things that others might have missed. I’m very curious to know how they will explain it. Regardless of how much stuff she actually had, this was a massive violation of her privacy so to offer $5000 is an insult.

  54. ktjamm says:

    Question: since all of her photos/computer/etc was taken destroyed, and none of it is recoverable, is there any grounds for “destruction of evidence” to help her justify her claims?

  55. megafly says:

    how much would it cost to replace all my tax records?

    What is the market price to replace the dress I was christened in?

    how about the book that my grandfather read when he was learning to speak english?

    Some things can never ever be replaced.

  56. megafly says:

    how much would it cost to replace all my tax records?

    What is the market price to replace the dress I was christened in?

    how about the book that my grandfather read when he was learning to speak english?

    Some things can never ever be replaced.

  57. mkupper says:

    There’s something fishy with those pictures. For example 28~0 shows a sofa with two red pillows. In the background you can see drapes and two white wires on the floor, and a lamp.

    Picture 07~10 is shot from nearly the same location. You can see the drapes, two white wires, and the lamp though the lamp is turned around. The sofa is gone. To the right of 07~10 is a partially visible wicker basket with some stuff on it. From the trash bin of books behind the wicker basket I’d say it’s stuff from the office desk or a bric-a-brac shelf.

    Picture 29 shows the same wicker basket with just a child’s sword on it and a chair. You can see the drapes, two white wires (though one ends around where the wall plug is), and a lamp that’s of the same style in the previous pictures. The lamp is not plugged in nor do I see a footprint for the table it would be sitting on.

    Picture 06~16 is of the same area as picture 29 except the chair is gone. You can see the footprint of the chair plus drag marks from when it was removed. There is a second footprint with triangle shaped indents. The lamp is still there.

    It’s clear these pictures were taken while stuff was being removed and are not “before” images. A television set should have been connected to the end of the white cord and it’s possible the triangle indent is from that.

    Why were these pictures taken? They are extremely poor from a site documentation perspective. I routinely take pictures of my house for insurance documentation perspective. First I do overall shots of the room from multiple overlapping angles so that someone can clearly see how stuff fits together. I then go around and take close-ups. Again, overlapping when possible. I see some evidence of overlapping, such as on the pantry shelves, but not enough to allow people to get the full picture.

    As it’s clear the pictures were taken during the move why did the trash-out company do the cleaning in such a haphazard way?

    My thinking is that Nilly Mauck’s family had moved out. She was still sleeping there but her husband and kids are gone. As she still pictures and other personal stuff I suspect it’s a recently separated family. I only see women’s clothes and one pillow on the bed. The children might still drop by as there are a few toys. The pictures were taken early on in the clearing out of Nilly Mauck’s property.

    It’s really disappointing that the trash-out company has no idea where her stuff is. Presumably she came home and immediately would have called the police. It might take a few days to figure out that a trash-out company was responsible but still the employees involved would know where the stuff was discarded.

    I don’t think the trash-out people realized mid-way through that they made a mistake and then staged some pictures. If they did, then they knowingly participated in an outright theft.

  58. Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

    Two word answer for the fake company photos: EXIF data.

  59. Bog says:

    Doesn’t matter if it “looked” like there was only $5,000 worth of “stuff.” There may have been items, pictuers, or collectibles that could have had a worth $50,000. There isn’t much limit on liability when someone breaks in to your home and steals what little you may own. The value is irrelevant. A mistake like this should cost the company a minimum of $100,000.00 just for damages on top of what was in the home.

  60. coren says:

    Say market value of all her stuff WAS 5000. It wasn’t, I know. I know she had a bunch of stuff that isn’t pictured because those pictures (wtf were they thinking releasing them?) clearly indicate other stuff was there (I mean I guess she could have moved it out herself, but what sense does that make at all? None). But go with that 5000 for a second.

    I probably have spent, or had spent on me, over 700 bucks for my current wardrobe. And I’m a guy, who works in a jeans/cargo pants and tshirt environment, so that means one set of nice interview clothes/shoes, about 8 pairs of pants and far too many shirts (oh, shirt.woot, why can’t I quit you?). And lots of socks. Lots, and lots of socks (socks and I do not last long together). Be that as it may, I bet if someone came in and gave a value for my clothes, most at least six months old, some 3 years old or more, they might come up with 100 bucks.

    I could probably get about half that amount of pants, some socks, a couple shirts and be out of money. Nevermind dress clothes. Nevermind the rest of clothes I had…fair market value =/= replacement cost. And like I said, jeans sneakers and tshirts – if she had a job where dressing up was required, the replacement value’s going up fast (and don’t tell me she had the virtually no clothes pictured here)

    Also, home preservation my fucking ass. What a fucking racket. Home invasion is more like it.

  61. saturnleia says:

    Here’s the damning sentence in the followup article about the attorney from the other side:

    “8 News Now examined the photos and noticed that the layout of the kitchens was different in each photo. Also, one photo in the series shows a different condo number. 8 News Now asked Marquis [the lawyer for the foreclosure company that claimed the woman is pretending to own more stuff than she did] about the differences in the photos and he didn’t have an answer.”

  62. girly says:

    To me this is a crime, not a mistake. The company was criminally negligent and stole the contents of the home.

  63. kittylauper says:

    A similar thing happened to me. An old apartment lease and my new apartment lease overlapped by a month, so I moved most of my things into the new place, and left a few things behind to get at a later date (before the lease would be over). The landlords assumed I was all moved out and threw the rest of my stuff away. I gave them an estimate of value, but they only gave me half of that stating that I didn’t have any receipts for the items and they were not new anyway. No, the items were not new, but I would have to BUY them new since they threw them away. You can’t buy half a tube of oil paint.

    Anyway, this person deserves whatever they estimate to be the value of what they threw away, and a little extra for her trouble. simple.

  64. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i’m living in fear of having my stuff inappropriately confiscated by law enforcement right now. the state revenue department keeps sending notices to a business but at my address.
    i contacted the previous homeowner, turns out she used to work for them and the current business owner has been notified but apparently hasn’t taken any steps to contact them to correct the address
    i can’t change the business address with the department of revenue because i am in no way affiliated with them.

    i accidentally opened one of the notices on my way from the mailbox to the house when i got home from work after dark because i was expecting my car tax bill and didn’t look at the addressee. imagine my surprise that it was notifying me of their option to send a sheriff out to confiscate property to auction for overdue 2008 taxes!

    i keep sending them back with ‘not at this address’ on the envelope and i keep sending back bigger, thicker, more official looking envelopes that are now starting to come in different colors to presumably signify their degree of seriousness.

    of course, the department of revenue has updated my address to send both my real estate taxes and my vehicle property tax here, so they do have some idea of who lives here. and received the notification of property title transfer so they know that the person who lives here now is not the person who lived here in 2008 or even the first half of 2009.

    i’d be remarkably upset if my things were confiscated, even if i managed to get them back before an auction.

    • mkupper says:

      catastrophegirl – take many pictures of your apartment/house. Every single room from every angle, the contents of every drawer. Make sure the pictures are stored with a friend or relative. If you have a video camera then bring that and walk in from the outside (showing the house number, etc.) and then a walking tour of the entire place. Ideally you do these with one or more witnesses. Put a notice explaining the situation on your front door, or in a plainly visible spot immediately inside the front door (for example, put a chair in the entryway so that people coming in will have to walk around it, see the notice, etc.). Make sure you take pictures of that too.

      Send a registered (with receipt) notice to whatever agencies are trying to go after the business telling them you live there now and giving as much information as you know about the former employee’s name, current address, etc. Also, include case numbers, etc. from the notices they are sending. Save all letters you get and send and make sure they are not stored in your apartment/house.

      What I’ve done for years is to take periodic pictures of my house and I store the data at my parent’s house. I take pictures of my parent’s stuff and store that at my house. It [provides off site evidence of the stuff we own and is cheaper than a safe deposit box.

  65. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    This one is simple… She should get the opportunity to visit all the homes of the folks who work for all the companies/parties involved in stealing her goods and while visiting these homes she gets to take and keep any items she takes a fancy to… and to prevent the f*cking irresponsible folks at these companies from removing any items they value from their homes prior to her visit they should be immediately locked out of their homes with no access to any of their stuff… similar to how her life is at the moment.

    Seems fair to me.

  66. hardtoremember says:

    This just happened partially to another person here. They only took a few things before they realized they had the wrong place. They insist that they took nothing so he is supposed to be quiet about it.
    This guy has been a customer of mine for the last 5 years and I really don’t believe that he is going to lie or try to get something for nothing. These companies don’t care about the people they hurt and I think that is being shown.

  67. nrolevol2 says:

    Even if her property isn’t considered a financial asset, I’m sure it was worth more to her (sentimentally anyway) and the emotional anguish that it causes. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what useless crap I own, I deserve more than 5000 based on the fact that I will be unable to sleep at night knowing that people can come in an wipe everything I have out without warning and in one day. That would give me nightmares. And stuff is personal too. She’s going to have to deal with the threat of identity theft or the fact that some stranger now knows her lifestyle. That gives me the creeps.

  68. sayahh says:

    Legal question: if they foreclosed the wrong house, but found a dead body inside the house, can they arrest the guy whose house got mistakenly broken into? What then? Do they have to disregard everything they saw in there in that case, because it wasn’t the right house to begin with?

    Posts like this makes me NOT want to ever buy a house, because if my neighbor had gotten laid off and not told me about it (and why should s/he?), my own house could be targeted by the authorities/banks/contractors, who’ll then just pass the buck, much like the Expedia/airline and USPS/FedEx SmartPost stories found on Consumerist.

    I wonder what would have happened if they had broken into (and thrown out stuff from) the house
    of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates. Or Cambridge, Mass. police Sgt. James Crowley’s house. Or any lawyer’s house, for that matter. (I’m thinking of the lawyer who contacted Amazon and gotten double his money back after he dropped some electronics device.)

  69. Torchwood says:

    At this point, both the reality agents and the clean-out company have no intention of fairly compensating the woman. She should contact an attorney and let a judge figure it out.

    We have the procedures for eviction for NC, what about Nevada?

  70. treimel says:

    Understood–sorry I was so brusque. I do think, though, that some of the impretus for the development of these torts against private actors is indeed indirectly attributable to American’s long-standing constitutional protections against governmental intrusions.

  71. Elcheecho says:

    how thin can this paragraph get?

  72. _hi_ says:

    Thinner and thinner!