Consignment shop cautionary tale: Item stolen: What now?

Don't Waste Your Money

Consignment shops have exploded in popularity because they offer you a way to easily unload old clothing and furniture, and make money at the same time.

But there's something many people don't know about some consignment shops, and it concerns what happens if something you bring disappears.

Where's my Coach purse?

Erin Gross loves handbags. This busy mom buys them, gets some use from them, then resells them. Until one vanished.

"She said that it was either stolen or donated, and I was pretty much out of luck," Gross said.

She  recently took a $300 Coach purse to a consignment shop, figuring it to be a risk-free way to make extra money.  She learned there were risks.

"You would think that your would take something there and it would be fine," Gross said. "It never crossed my mind that it would be stolen."

But since it was stolen, the store won't pay her for it.

All Stated in Contract

Store owner Pricilla Sandlin told us she's done everything she can do to find the bag, but said it comes down to the contract that Gross and other customers are required to sign. 

Among other things, it clearly states the store won't pay if your item is lost, damaged, or stolen.

"There's theft," Sandlin explained. "We do the best we can. We have cameras. We view them at night to try to see if we can catch them. We try. But we always tell customers, read your contract."

It's a lesson for anyone who consigns because different stores have different policies.

Gross now knows that, and wants to share what she learned with other women who consign.  "Definitely ask upfront," she said. "I've learned my lesson on that one, unfortunately.

Other Stores May Have Different Policies

This store did nothing wrong, but not all shops have the same policy.

Some stores tell us if an item is stolen, they still pay the customer as if it sold to keep the customer happy and to retain them as a customer.

The bottom line: always read the contract and ask questions, because rules vary. That way you don't waste your money.

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