Do Unclaimed Packages Go to Amazon Heaven? No, But You Can Buy Them
Have you ever wondered what happens to packages that get lost in the mail? Do they end up in Amazon package heaven?
Well, sometimes, they end up in a big pile in the woods. But, most of the time, you can find these unclaimed or lost packages for sale online — and it’s not just Amazon packages. You can buy lost and unclaimed packages from all kinds of sources and sell what you find as a side gig.
You just need to know where to look — and we’re here to help.
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7 Places to Buy Unclaimed Packages
Here are the best places you can make a profit from buying lost and unclaimed packages. Keep in mind that you may not always find unclaimed packages on these sites but you may find other items to resell.
The grandfather of online auctions, eBay, is another spot where you can find unclaimed packages.
Currently, eBay lists several auctions with bids ranging from $20 to $90 for anywhere between two and 10 packages. Buyer beware, though, you have no idea what you’re bidding on. (One seller even says packages are “intended for entertainment.”) You could be buying fancy jewelry or a bag of rocks. You’ll never know until you open the packages.
Should you find some winners, you could sell them on eBay.
If an item is lost or unclaimed for 90 days through the United States Postal Service, it may be auctioned off on GovDeals.
This site works with the USPS to claim and sell unclaimed mail. You’ll most likely have to pick up whatever you buy though and packages may be sold in lots.
GovDeals is like eBay for governments. You can bid on anything from a gold ring to a violin to a pottery wheel to a used police vehicle. The site lets you search by categories — and there’s a lot of them.
Liquidation.com is another auction site, but they allow you to see the name brand you are buying.
Everything is sold in lots or pallets, and you may or may not be able to see what they contain. At the least, you may know what category the lots are in, so if you’re looking for kitchen equipment there’s no danger of buying a bunch of shoes. Or you may just buy dozens of unopened packages with no idea what’s inside.
Liquidation.com says it’s the largest B2B liquidation marketplace in North America with 70% to 90% off retail prices.
4. Swap Madness
If you’d rather purchase your unclaimed packages in person, then Swap Madness might be for you.
This site helps you look for swap meets and flea markets nearest you in all 50 states. Once you find your specific area or town, the site breaks down all the swap meet and flea market options, with hours, address and contact information.
There’s no guarantee you’ll find unclaimed packages at any given flea market, so you may want to contact them ahead of time before you go.
Once you go through 888Lots free application process and become a verified customer, you can begin bidding on individual items, as well as lots — which can be either fixed priced or branded and biddable. Lots are broken down by category. You can buy a box of just clothes or lawn and garden things with a detailed list of everything in the box.
When it comes to individual items, the online store offers large discounts and also gives you what the item’s estimated retail price is on Amazon.
BlueLots is another one of the auction sites that actually allows you to see what items you are bidding on — and, typically, these are large lots of items. When we checked, you could bid on 75 necklaces for $99, 341 kids knit beanies for $129 and six massage guns for $229.
“Some of the largest retailers in the world, as well as wholesale and closeout suppliers, sell their excess inventory on our marketplace,” according to BlueLots. “Our goal is to make it easy for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses by providing access to great inventory, exceptional software, and high quality support to fuel our buyers’ success.”
7. Facebook Marketplace
If you choose to buy unclaimed packages or pallets through Facebook Marketplace, be sure to know who you are buying from. Look under seller details to see reviews and make sure you’re buying from someone with a reputable rating.
Facebook Marketplace also makes it easy to buy from sellers in your area — allowing you to skip shipping costs.
Why Buy Unclaimed Packages?
What’s the point? Good question.
Other than the serendipity of the “treasure hunt” experience — opening mystery boxes in which you don’t know what’s inside — a lot of these package buyers like to flip the products to make a profit.
After buying the items, they sell them on many of the same websites we’ve already listed. If that sounds appealing to you, here are a few ways you can make money selling unclaimed packages.
- You can open an eBay store and flip the items you’ve bought to make money. Look to buy some of the best items to sell on an eBay store.
- If you don’t like the hassle of finding a flea market near you to resell your stuff, there are at least a dozen online flea markets willing to help.
- You can also sell your stuff quite easily right from your smartphone, using one of many apps. Your options include Facebook, Decluttr, Poshmark and many more.
Last Word: Watch Out for Scams
With any website that uses third-party sellers, you have to watch out for scams. That’s no different when you are buying unclaimed packages.
These steps can help you stay away from scams.
- Do your research and only buy from trusted websites and sellers.
- Pay attention to reviews from buyers who purchased from that vendor. Treat it like your Uber driver reviews. Would you ride with a driver who had three stars out of five? The lower the rating, the more risk you take on as a buyer.
- Look up a business to see if they have a Better Business Bureau (BBB) ranking. For example, this company has a 1 star rating with nearly 500 reviews. Avoid these fraudulent companies like movie theaters in 2020.
- Shop local. Pay attention to local swap meets and flea markets using Swap Madness. Not only does this allow you to buy from people in your community whom you’re more likely to trust, you’ll also save money by skipping shipping fees.
Robert Bruce is a senior staff writer at The Penny Hoarder covering earning, saving and managing money. He has written about personal finance for more than a decade.