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Utah family loses deceased loved one's possessions to storage unit auction

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Utah family loses deceased loved one’s possessions to storage unit auction (KUTV)

A Utah family is hoping to track down their deceased loved ones’ possessions that were sold in an auction at a storage unit facility.

Hope Thompson-Gorman says the family fell behind on payments for the storage unit but didn’t realize it until after everything was sold.

“My aunt called to find out how much she owed and found out they sold it,” Thompson-Gorman said.

The contents of the unit belonged to Thompson-Gorman’s late grandparents and her brother who died 10 years ago.

“Everything we have left of them is in there ... things probably ended up in trash cans or the D.I., or I’m hopeful that people still have them,” she said.

The unit in question was at the SafeSite storage facility in Clearfield. The family says it was unit #40.

A representative of the storage facility told 2News the business can’t comment on specifics of the family’s case, but indicated there is a very robust process the facility follows before a storage unit is sold at auction.

SafeSite claims they send multiple delinquent notices to the contact on file with a unit and then issues a "final letter" notifying the unit owner that the contents will be sold at auction. SafeSite indicated that it also sends the account to collections and posts a notice of auction in the newspaper before an auction of the unit is conducted. A spokesperson for SafeSite said he manager sometimes will provide a courtesy call to remind customers of an impending auction.

“We’ve been in business for 43+ years and strive to keep abreast of all legal issues regarding this industry in order to protect the interests of our customers, owners and ourselves,” SafeSite general manager Susie Checketts told 2News in an email.

There are several state statutes that outline what actions a storage unit facility can take with a delinquent account.

Thompson-Gorman says her family did not see any such notices and the emergency contacts on the storage unit account, including herself, did not receive calls that the account was behind.

“I can guarantee that I didn’t get a call, and I was the emergency contact. My dad did not get a call, and he’s the other emergency contact,” she said.

Regardless of why the contents were sold without the family knowing, Thompson-Gorman says her family is now focused on tracking down the family heirlooms, including photo albums and a clock collection from her late grandmother.

She says her family is willing to pay for the return of the items if the person who bought them will let them know where their family’s items are.

“I would love if they would contact me. I don’t have a lot of money, but I will pay,” she said.

To contact reporter Jeremy Harris, you can email him at jeremyharris@kutv.com.

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