|Tue Dec 11 2012 20:58:26|
Storage Wars Turns to Courtroom Wars with Allegations of Fraud
By: Ina Steiner
Ever wonder if bidding on abandoned storage lockers could land you a windfall - or at least keep you stocked with valuable inventory to sell on eBay? Fans of reality television show Storage Wars may be in for some disappointment after news emerged of a lawsuit alleging show producers seeded some storage units with valuable or unusual goods to make the show more interesting.|
"On each episode of the show, professional buyers bid on storage units and then resell everything of value at their own consignment stores or to buyers directly."
But one of those buyers, a cast member of the show, filed a lawsuit against cable network A&E and the show's producer, Original Productions LLC. In his complaint, Dave Hester alleges, "although the Series is intended to be a truthful "reality series," depicting people bidding on auctions of abandoned storage lockers, A&E has committed a fraud on the public and its television audience in violation of the communications Act of 1934, which makes it illegal for broadcasters to rig a contest of intellectual skill with the intent to deceive the viewing public."
Many viewers are aware that reality television shows may not be exactly representative of the particular situation they are portraying, but nevertheless, it's easy to believe some people may have been drawn to bidding on abandoned storage lockers as a result of the show. A discussion forum on A&E shows viewers were debating a year ago about whether Storage Wars was staged.
Hester appears on the show bidding against others on storage locker contents for his consignment store called Rags to Riches. Today's lawsuit reveals that, according to Hester, the show was preparing to pay him a fee of $25,000 per episode with a guaranteed minimum of 26 items; $2500 per month for the duration of production; and a non-accountable expense account of $124,500 and a $25,000 signing bonus. He has since closed the storefronts due to the demands of the show and now operates his business reselling on eBay, Amazon.com and Craigslist. You can also find him on Twitter.
Lots of reality shows portraying auctions, pawn shops and picking have aired over the last decade. Will the Storage Wars allegations hurt all of these television shows, similar to what happened to TV quiz shows in the 1950s?
If there are any fans of reality TV shows, let us know what you think of today's news, and whether it matters if reality TV shows are staged.
Will today's news change your viewing habits?
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