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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 13337
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I am 81yrs old and wanting to avoid dispute between my sons

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I am 81yrs old and wanting to avoid dispute between my sons when I die I decided to sell various items of value -18ct gold watch other gold items and various silver pieces. I contacted an Auction house in Glasgow and an auctioneer calleed to value the items. We agreed thre values and I allowed him to take the goods away against a receipt.I now presume the sale to be past but until today no contact. Now I am advised that some items have sold and others have not. I am also notified that unsold items must be removed within 7 days of sale otherwise they will be sold without reserve so that they may be reimbursed for expences,the sale was 3 weeks ago.They hold around £3k of my belongings.I did write when I had not been advised of the outcome of the sale.(29.04.2015) Can you help me to have my property returned. I am on state pension so unable to instruct a solicitor. Kind regards, ***** *****

Thank you for your question.
Were you given terms and conditions of trading?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I was not aware that I had been given them. He listed the items on an a 4 flimsy paper asked me to sign it as being a true list,this I did. He then used the list whilst taking the items to the car. We disagreed at the method of boxing the silver,no seperate wrapping of each piece.

When he was leaving he gave me the list neatly folded.

When I received the Post Sale Note I was unhappy with the changes to the agreed reserve prices. He was not interested in my comments.

I then wrote listing my grievances,a letter requiring a reply, no reply.

Today another Pre Sale List advising that all unsold items must be uplifted within 7 days of the sale. Sale was 3 weeks ago. With no contact how was I to know a) that the sale had been held and b) what wa sold and what not. I am worried tht I will lose my belongings. The watch has not been out of the presentation box. I require urgent advice. Thank you Brian

The first point is that the auction house can't impose terms and conditions of contract "after the event". That's why I asked you if there were any handed to you at the time and your seem to say that this was not the case.
So your contract is that there were a number of items to be sold at a reserve price and that some of them were sold and others weren't. For that reason the auction house have to account to you for the money achieved for the sold items, less commission, as well as either hand back or re auction the remaining items on the same basis as before, ie, with a reserve price.
As far as returning the items are concerned there is no agreement as to how this was to be done therefore they can't insist that you collect the items.
However, whatever the law is you need a practical solution. You and your wife can't travel. I suggest you appoint an agent to act for you. This could be one of your sons, or you could call a lawyer who does legal aid work. You would be entitled to legal aid to deal with a dispute with the auction house and to get return of your items.
You can ask the Law Society to recommend someone in your area. Many lawyers may also do a home visit to see you. Use the Find a Solicitor link at
JGM and other Scots Law Specialists are ready to help you