Lawsuits accuse Columbia estate sale company of not paying customers

EstateSaleGuys of South Carolina, LLC

A Columbia company that liquidates household furnishings through estate and consignment sales is the target of several lawsuits that allege customers do not receive proceeds for months.

The complaints allege Estate Sale Guys of South Carolina and company executive Tony Hendon agree to conduct estate sales for customers and to turn over proceeds after deducting fees and expenses. Four lawsuits filed in Richland County since December allege the company agreed to handle estate sales for two elderly people who were downsizing, a man whose wife had passed away, and a South Carolina woman who moved to Florida. One of the lawsuits has been settled.

The lawsuits alleged the company did not provide a written summary of the sales’ results or turn over the proceeds when promised.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Richland County deputies are looking into some complaints against the company with a goal of achieving restitution. “A lot of people don’t follow up on things like this, allowing a loss that we are willing to investigate,” he said.

Hendon declined to comment when contacted at his home last week. His lawyer, William Watkins, sent an email to The State saying he had instructed his client not to talk because of the pending lawsuits. But in his answers to the lawsuits filed in Richland County, Watkins denied wrongdoing by Hendon and Estate Sale Guys of South Carolina.

The answers to the lawsuits also say that Hendon is an employee of the firm. Records filed with the S.C. Secretary of State’s office show he is the company’s registered agent.

The firm’s website says Estate Sale Guys is “South Carolina’s Premier Estate Sale Company.” The company offers a “steady, experienced hand with the valuation and equitable distribution or liquidation of personal property.”

The most recent lawsuit against Hendon and the company was filed in July by a York County man whose elderly father lived in Lugoff. The plaintiff, Wilson Daughtry Jr., says he contracted with Hendon and the company in December to conduct an estate sale of his father’s personal property. The sale was held Jan. 9-11 at the father’s home and the proceeds totaled more than $26,000. The lawsuit says Daughtry is owed just more than $15,000.

The contract called for the company to provide a written summary of the sale results within 14 business days. The summary was supposed to show total sales as well as fees and expenses deducted. The company also was supposed to deliver a check for the full amount owed to Daughtry.

As of July 30, Daughtry had not received any proceeds from the sale, according to the lawsuit. Hendon and the company “have been unjustly enriched at the expense of” Daughtry, the lawsuit alleges.

Daughtry’s lawsuit also says Estate Sale Guys committed unfair trade practices by proceeding with the estate sale while the company was “experiencing financial difficulty” and, therefore, knew net proceeds from the sale would not be paid to Daughtry.

Construction consultant Jim Tharp of Lexington said he has received nothing from the company since it conducted a sale nine months ago at his former home in the Heathwood neighborhood. Tharp hired Estate Sale Guys to sell the assets of his deceased wife. The lawsuit said Tharp has contacted Hendon by telephone and text messages and visited the company’s office to obtain an accounting of the sale and the money owed him.

“The only conclusion you can draw from this is they intend not to pay you,” said Tharp, whose lawsuit says he is owed $97,000.

Drucy Glass said she accepted $4,300 last year from the company – a third of what she said was due – to settle a lawsuit over the sale of furnishings from her mother-in-law’s home in Lexington. Her lawyer, Thomas Bunch, said the payment probably was a better outcome than a protracted legal effort to obtain more.

“It’s going to cost you a lot of money to pursue a case in the civil court system as a forum to right a wrong,” he said.

Tim Flach: 803-771-8483