Attorney General Cuomo Obtains $150,000 Settlement With Syracuse Auction House For Ignoring Customers

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (April 21, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $150,000 settlement with two Syracuse-area auction companies that failed to pay customers for products sold and then ignored repeated customer attempts to recover their money.  

“This settlement is a victory for Syracuse consumers and a warning for businesses that refuse to respond to their customers,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “We learned of this case through consumer complaints, and we were able to achieve a positive result that not only provides recourse for those who were wronged, but also puts measures in place to prevent any more consumers from falling victim to fraudulent practices by these auction houses.”

T.W. Conroy and Associates and its affiliated eBay drop-off store, My Sister the Lister, both of West Main St., Eldridge and owned by Timothy W. Conroy, failed to pay customers for their sold items and were non responsive to inquiries. Consumers indicated that they were unable to confirm the final sale price of items that had been sold at auction and were unable to retrieve items that had not been sold.

T.W. Conroy portrays itself as a comprehensive, professional auction service for the distribution of single items and entire collections, including auctions of antiques, house contents, real estate and business liquidations. My Sister the Lister claims to handle the entire online auction process including: photography and description of items, price research, posting online, and coordination of payment and shipping. In advertisements, the company claims, “All you have to do is sit back and wait for your check to come in the mail!”
The Attorney General’s settlement requires T.W. Conroy and My Sister the Lister to fully reimburse a total of approximately $150,000 to 22 defrauded customers. To ensure legal customer service going forward, the companies must also provide all customers with complete auction contracts and sufficient documentation confirming the final price obtained for their items. Both businesses must respond promptly to customer inquiries and pay all customers within 30 days of the sale of their items.  In addition to restitution, T.W. Conroy must pay $15,000 in costs and penalties.

Consumers who believe they may have been defrauded by T.W. Conroy or My Sister the Lister are urged to contact the Attorney General’s Syracuse Regional Office at 315-448-4848.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Judith C. Malkin under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge Ed Thompson of the Syracuse Regional Office. Law Department Investigator Andrea Burnham and Consumer Frauds Representative Tracy Burt assisted in the investigation.