NESA Code of Ethics
Across the country we find as many different ways of running an estate sale as there are companies who conduct them. There are regional differences and normatives to be sure, and what works in one place often does not work in another.
Ethics are different than business strategies though; they are about conduct and behavior. They are established through an active process between social, governmental, and business interest to protect consumers.
The NESA Code of Ethics takes into consideration the challenges of running an estate sales business, pertinent federal law, as well as best practices concerning consumer protections.
I. Business Operation
1-1 NESA Members shall not engage in business practices which could damage the public welfare, or bring discredit to NESA or to the estate sale industry as a whole.
1-2 NESA Members shall operate with integrity in their business practices, advertising, representations of service and experience, and interactions with clients & customers.
1-3 NESA Members shall comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws including but not limited to, licensing, sales tax, employee classifications, benefits and consumer protection.
1-4 NESA Members shall have appropriate insurance, including, but not limited to, liability and workers’ compensation insurance.
1-5 NESA NESA Members shall maintain accurate bookkeeping of their business income and expenses.
1-6 NESA Members because of their position of trust must always endeavor to provide accurate information to their clients, prospective clients, or to the general public.
1-7 NESA Members must always endeavor to provide accurate valuation of sales items.
1-8 NESA Members shall refrain from misrepresenting or exaggerating their qualifications or capabilities whether verbally, in print, or online.
1-9 NESA Members shall not deny equal professional services, employment, or discriminate against any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
1-10 NESA Members shall not participate in any discussions that would lead to potential antitrust issues such as collusion, boycotts, market allocation, fee/commission fixing, or any other practice as addressed in the Sherman Antitrust Act.
II. Client Interaction and Interest
2-1 NESA Members shall maintain, as their highest obligation, a fiduciary responsibility to the Client and only act in the best interests of the Client in relation to the personal property being sold by the NESA Member on behalf of the Client. While this obligation to the Client is primary, it does not relieve Members of their obligation to treat all parties honestly.
2-2 NESA Members will make reasonable efforts to optimize sale results on behalf of their Clients.
2-3 NESA Members shall not knowingly or willingly mislead a Client about the value of their personal property in an attempt to secure an onsite-off site estate sale, be employed as a broker of sales items, or when agreeing to consign items to future sales.
2-4 NESA Members when under contract to conduct an onsite-off site estate sale, employed as a broker of sales items, or when agreeing to consign items to future sales, shall act in an impartial manner and endeavor to avoid any conflict of interest.
2-5 NESA Members shall use written agreements outlining the scope of their proposed services. These written agreements shall at minimum detail the following: Division of Responsibilities, Commissions, Potential or Conditional Fees, Dates of Sale and Project Completion Timelines, Payment Schedules, Employee or Company Purchasing Policies, and Insurance Company Contact Information.
2-6 NESA Members will provide their Clients a copy of all signed agreements at the time of the signing of those agreements or within a time period not to exceed five (5) business days. Members will retain a copy, either physical or electronic, for no less than five (5) years from the end of service.
2-7 NESA Members shall not set fees for preparing appraisals or other valuations contingent upon the amount of the appraisal or valuation.
2-8 NESA Members shall provide current Email Addresses, and Business or Cell Phone Numbers to their Clients.
2-9 NESA Members shall provide a written accounting of the sale results and a disbursement of Client’s proceeds as outlined in the written sale agreement, but no less than twenty (20) business days from the last day of the Client’s sale.
2-10 NESA Members shall endeavor to protect client confidential information.
2-11 To serve sellers and limit conflicts of interests, NESA members may provide Estate Buy-Out services, under the following conditions:
- Seller was informed offers are based upon estimated valuations and expenses.
- Seller was not knowingly mislead about the value of their personal property.
- Seller and buyer sign a NESA Buy-Out Disclosure Statement for Buyouts conducted away from NESA Member’s place of business.
- Buyouts conducted from NESA Member’s place of business may have NESA Buyout Disclosure statement publicly posted in lieu of Seller’s signature.
III. Professionalism and Practices Within the Industry
3-1 NESA Members shall treat all other estate sale companies in a professional and honest manner and shall not knowingly or willingly engage in actions or practices against their competitors in a manner that is deemed by NESA to be unprofessional or unethical. Prohibited actions include the posting of negative web or print reviews or the disseminating of unfounded information about their competitors, NESA, or the industry as a whole.
3-2 NESA Member marketing materials, websites, or printed materials shall in no way be deceptive or misleading as to the skills, accreditation, or sales results of their company.
3-3 NESA Members shall not knowingly or willingly interfere with another estate sale company’s written contract rights. This does not preclude members from general advertising, making public announcements about their services, or otherwise soliciting clients. This code does not restrict reasonable and fair competition among estate sale companies.
3-4 NESA Members shall not use the proprietary work of another estate sale company without the expressed written permission of the company that created the work.
IV. Responsibilities to NESA
4-1 NESA Members shall work to improve the estate sale industry and NESA by sharing lessons of experience to the benefit of all Members.
4-2 NESA Members shall strive to stay informed and educated about relevant matters affecting the estate sale industry on a local, state, and national level.
4-3 NESA Members agree to abide by all NESA bylaws and other regulations as approved by the governing Board and shall do no harm to NESA.
4-4 NESA Members shall take all necessary action to be knowledgeable of the NESA Code of Ethics and are responsible to educate their staff on their duties and obligations under the Code.
4-5 NESA Members agree to not interfere with any investigation or action brought by NESA and will respond to requests for information in accordance with the NESA complaint procedure.