SAN MARCOS, Calif. - A local estate sale company called Pro Estate Liquidators is accused of preying on the elderly and those grieving the loss of a loved one.
One woman said she handed over more than 1,000 of her mother's treasured heirlooms.
“I don't have any living relatives except my son,” said Mary Champlin, of San Marcos.
She said she kept her mother's spirit alive by keeping heirlooms including china, antique lamps and silverware.
But when her disabled husband needed a wheelchair lift and her home needed to be more wheelchair-accessible, Champlin decided to sell the heirlooms. She said she felt she had no other options.
“It's around $10,000 to 15,000 dollars to have it done,” she said.
She hired Pro Estate Liquidators to sell the items because the owners, Jasmine Jones and Tonna Keith, seemed competent and caring.
“Very friendly, we'll take good care of you," said Champlin when she described the two. "They've got it down to a science, those two thieves. And they are thieves of the worst kind."
Champlin said she signed a contract that should have guaranteed her 50 percent of the estate sale and gave the women more than 1,000 pieces from her mother's collection.
She was expecting at least $10,000, but she said she only received $700.
She said she has no idea what happened to the rest of her heirlooms because Jones and Keith have disappeared.
“I've called them over 100 times," said Champlin, who added that she has received no response from the two.
Sheryl Bilbrey of the Better Business Bureau said Pro Estate Liquidators started operating in May, but the business has already received six complaints.
"They're very new, they're behaving very badly," said Bilbrey.
Bilbrey said all complaints were unanswered or completely ignored. Pro Estate Liquidators currently has an "F" rating from the BBB.
“To collect six complaints in such a short period of time is significant so we've very alarmed and would encourage consumers not to do business with this company,” Bilbrey said.
Champlin said she plans to keep fighting for what she believes she is owed.
“I have nothing,” she said through tears. “Because it was my mother's. It was part of her and I still miss her."
10News contacted both Jones and Keith, but neither have returned calls.