Something fishy...

Paul N

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Two month ago, a guy about 35 walks in the store carrying 2 pieces of art, claiming they are "very expensive", and would like frames for them.

I spend about 1 hour showing him a few frames of choice and he selects two expensive frames for a total of $3223. He gives me his name, address, phone number and I write up a work-order for him.

He leaves his artwork with us and goes home to get a check for the deposit. We of course don't order the frames, pending his deposit. After one week and still no show, I call this guy and discover that it's a non-working number. Phone book and Internet search show no listing for him either.

OK, I wait another week and send him a letter stating that we cannot proceed without a deposit, and you guessed it, his address is wrong too.

His art is still here, we haven't lost anything (maybe gained some art of dubious value...), But what do you think might have happened? The wrong phone number and wrong address make me suspect insurance fraud or something else as fishy. Unless he died sudeenly? But that doesn't explain the wrong info he gave us.

What do you think? Have you had similar experience with such mysteries??
 

Rock

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Now that's weird. I've never had anything like that happen. Sure sounds fishy to me. If you have had them for a couple months now, you might want to check public records to see if he died. I guess the police may be able to help see if he is incarcerated or wanted for anything. Like you say, could be insurance fraud.

Rock
 

JFeig

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the definition of expensive art is any art that costs more that $5.00...........
shutup.gif
 

Rogatory

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Maybe it was a secret shopper who forgot to leave with the art.
 

Terry Hart cpf

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See the Warped thread re: Have you seen a UFO
or
Lose the artwork and he will show up the next day.
 

wpfay

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I'd check with police to see if they match anything that has been reported stolen.
The client seems to be using you to hide the work for some reason. Without accurate contact information you may be able to claim them as abandoned property, though you may not really want them.
In any event I would carry on with the attempts to make contact (registered letter, etc) so that if something does go south, you'll have a record of doing the right thing.

I've had clients die, leave town suddenly, hide items from a spouse during a divorce, hide items during an IRS audit, but nothing quite like this.
 

Paul N

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Originally posted by wpfay:
I'd check with police to see if they match anything that has been reported stolen.
The client seems to be using you to hide the work for some reason. Without accurate contact information you may be able to claim them as abandoned property, though you may not really want them.
In any event I would carry on with the attempts to make contact (registered letter, etc) so that if something does go south, you'll have a record of doing the right thing.

I've had clients die, leave town suddenly, hide items from a spouse during a divorce, hide items during an IRS audit, but nothing quite like this.
Thank you all for your feedback. I am really at a loss as to what the heck could have happened. I really don't want to think of insurance fraud but this is weird enough to start thinking about this possibility.

And I am VERY certain that 20 years from now the guy will show up with some lame story or maybe a plausible explanation (i.e, had amnesia, was abducted by aliens, was comatose for 20 years, etc) and demand his art back, long after I trashed the stuff!

But I will definitely start asking the police dept what they think.

PS: Say he shows up after 20 years, how much should I charge him for storage??
fire.gif
 

Paul N

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Originally posted by Terry Hart cpf:
See the Warped thread re: Have you seen a UFO
or
Lose the artwork and he will show up the next day.
We have maybe 20-25 pieces that people never picked up (moved away being the most obvious explanation, or they had framer's remorse...), and those pieces are from the last 10 years.

No one ever showed up to claim them, except one (she said she went to live in Europe 5 years ago). And guess what? the only one we couldn't find was her piece! Thank God she didn't care much for it.
 
D

Dermot

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Perhaps he was just simply embarrassed by the cost of framing them and did not want to say so…………..and decided to leave you with the job of disposing of the “worthless” art…..

I had a guy one time, who came to me and asked for two pieces of rubbish to be framed….. like you he was to drop off a deposit which he never did………a few years later he came looking for “one” of the pieces worth a lot back, as he wanted to sell it because he was broke……..he described the piece to me …….the description was of nothing I had ever seen…………he was either trying to scam me or he was on drugs ……….I told him I was going to call the police and report him for trying to scam me ………….he hit the door so fast that I thought he would take it of the hinges….
 

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo

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PS: Say he shows up after 20 years, how much should I charge him for storage??
$3223+ Interest

You haven't upset your compitition lately have you. Could of been someone jealous or upset enough with you to hope you would spend the money and start framing the pieces, and then youn would be out of pocket.

Sorry just a devious mind at work
shutup.gif
 

johnny

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Originally posted by PaulN:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Terry Hart cpf:
See the Warped thread re: Have you seen a UFO
or
Lose the artwork and he will show up the next day.
We have maybe 20-25 pieces that people never picked up (moved away being the most obvious explanation, or they had framer's remorse...), and those pieces are from the last 10 years.

No one ever showed up to claim them, except one (she said she went to live in Europe 5 years ago). And guess what? the only one we couldn't find was her piece! Thank God she didn't care much for it.
</font>[/QUOTE]Our record of 7 years was crushed a few weeks ago when someone came in asking about their piece which was dropped off in 1993.
icon45.gif


Paul, I've got artwork around here like that too. Did he seem like an airhead? I know that's the problem I have with some pieces. It's not nefarious, it's just plain dumbass with a side order of lazy. Unfortunately, I'd suggest keeping those pieces safe for quite a while.
 

framah

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I would definitely go to the police and find out if they might be stolen. Suggest to them that THEY keep them so "they will be safe" in case they really are stolen.
 

Tommy P

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I saw this plot on CSI....they found a hair from the guys dog clinging to the artwork and tracked him down in southern Borneo. He was running a scam of biblical proportions!!

Get ahold of those guys. They can solve anything.... :D

(sorry....it's been a slow day..)
 

Paul N

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Originally posted by johnny:


Paul, I've got artwork around here like that too. Did he seem like an airhead? I know that's the problem I have with some pieces. It's not nefarious, it's just plain dumbass with a side order of lazy. Unfortunately, I'd suggest keeping those pieces safe for quite a while.
Johnny:

He didn't seem like an airhead, but you could tell he knows Jack about art!

My theory: He went home and killed himself because he realized he paid a bundle for crappy art...


Or maybe his wife did that. Or even the butler.
 

Paul N

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Originally posted by Tom Partridge:
I saw this plot on CSI....they found a hair from the guys dog clinging to the artwork and tracked him down in southern Borneo. He was running a scam of biblical proportions!!

Get ahold of those guys. They can solve anything.... :D

(sorry....it's been a slow day..)
Art-murder-mystery, I like that!

And yes, the art looked like it was from a jungle in the bowels of Borneo.
 

Paul N

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Originally posted by OzDave:


You haven't upset your competition lately have you. Could of been someone jealous or upset enough with you to hope you would spend the money and start framing the pieces, and then youn would be out of pocket.

Sorry just a devious mind at work
shutup.gif
Nahh, I doubt my competitor (we are only 2 in this town) would think of such a scheme, or think I would fall for it.

But you gave me a good idea, I might bring said art to them and see if they can have it framed, while I run and get a deposit....
 

DTWDSM

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Check the local jail.

We had the owner of a semi pro basketball team come in and get a team jersey and another print framed for his office about mid July. Everything was done and we were trying to get him up until about 2 weeks ago when there was an article in the paper about how he had been in jail since the beginning of August for kidnapping and sexual abuse.

Anybody have a need for a Des Moines Heat Basketball jersey????
 

JohnR

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So....
How long do you have to keep abandoned art before you can toss or resell it?

John
 

Bill Henry-

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Paul and John (whoa, sounds like I’m talking to the Apostles),

In the past, when faced with this kind of problem, I have sent a certified letter to the abandoner with a request to the post office for a return receipt. In Paul’s case, since the address is nonexistent, it will be returned unopened. Don’t open it when you get it back.

In these letters, I have said to the effect, “the commissioned framing that you requested cannot begin until $xxx.xx has been received. Attempts on such and such a date to contact you by telephone at 555-5555 and a letter posted on such and such a date has been returned. Unless we hear from you by such and such a date, we shall consider the work abandoned and shall dispose of it at our discretion. Blah, blah, blah”.

Keep the certified letter just in the off chance that he shows up. If he does (unlikely) you can honestly tell him you did everything in your power to try to reach him. <u>Don’t</u> give him the certified letter, though!

If he wants to drag you into court (very unlikely), let the court open the letter and let them decide that you’ve gave a good faith effort to resolve this.
 

Paul N

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Originally posted by Bill Henry:
Paul and John (whoa, sounds like I’m talking to the Apostles),

In the past, when faced with this kind of problem, I have sent a certified letter to the abandoner with a request to the post office for a return receipt. In Paul’s case, since the address is nonexistent, it will be returned unopened. Don’t open it when you get it back.

In these letters, I have said to the effect, “the commissioned framing that you requested cannot begin until $xxx.xx has been received. Attempts on such and such a date to contact you by telephone at 555-5555 and a letter posted on such and such a date has been returned. Unless we hear from you by such and such a date, we shall consider the work abandoned and shall dispose of it at our discretion. Blah, blah, blah”.

Keep the certified letter just in the off chance that he shows up. If he does (unlikely) you can honestly tell him you did everything in your power to try to reach him. <u>Don’t</u> give him the certified letter, though!

If he wants to drag you into court (very unlikely), let the court open the letter and let them decide that you’ve gave a good faith effort to resolve this.
Thanks for the great advice Bill.

Actually I did send a letter, which was returned and is still unopened.

But I will send a second one, certified, and add the legalese you mentioned. Thanks again.
 

rosetl

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My guess is that he "bought them" with someone elses's identity & planned on paying for the framing that way too. The deposit thing scared him off as you may have had time to discover the deceit.

How did I come up with this? Well the same person "got" me, the furniture store next door AND a couple of big boxes selling framing in the area. This one had her own original "stuff" & a story to cover RUSH same day turnaround.
 
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