Amazon ships over a million packages a day and if you’re like me, you buy a lot and return a lot. Well, where do those return packages go? What if something gets lost and unclaimed?
As a side hustle, entrepreneurs buy them sight unseen, open them up, and sell those returns on sites like eBay, Craigslist, Poshmark, and others. Or they can keep them.
If you’ve been thinking about buying a few to start a side hustle buying unclaimed Amazon packages and selling them on other sites – we can help you find them.
If you have a bigger budget, consider buying an entire Amazon return pallets and flipping that.
This guide shows how to buy unclaimed Amazon or USPS packages locally or online:
Table of Contents
- What are Amazon Unclaimed Packages?
- What to Consider Before Buying Unclaimed Items
- Places Nearby to Buy Unclaimed Items
- Facebook Marketplace
- Swap Meets
- Pallet Liquidation Sales
- 888 Lots
- Unclaimed Mail Stores Near You
- USPS Mail Recovery Center
- Final Thoughts on Buying Unclaimed Packages
What are Amazon Unclaimed Packages?
There are many reasons why there are unclaimed packages from Amazon.
Just like you declutter your house and sell unwanted items, retailers and package shippers have to get rid of excess merchandise that may be non-deliverable or a third-party seller won’t accept delivery.
There are several reasons why:
- Incorrect or undeliverable mailing addresses
- Packages get lost in the mail or in the warehouse
- The recipient doesn’t pick it up at the post office within 30 days
- Customer returns
- Damaged during shipping
- Seller no longer wants to sell on Amazon (shelf pulls)
Thanks to this clearance bonanza, you can often buy items for as little as $1 and potentially sell for more.
Amazon and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) are the two biggest parties looking for ways to offload these non-deliverable packages to cut their losses.
As a result, they partner with various marketplaces and auction sites to find eager buyers.
What to Consider Before Buying Unclaimed Items
There are risks with buying unclaimed items, especially since you’ll be buying it sight unseen.
Here are some things to consider before you buy:
- Do you know the item before buying it? Many legit listings state what you’re buying so you can decide which to pursue and which to avoid. Other listings are generic or list a type of item and you must buy the box and open it to find out.
- Item Quantity: Depending on the vendor and listing, you might be able to buy single items. Others require you to buy the entire lot or pallet.
- Item Condition: The items might be new and undamaged. However, the shipping and return process can be brutal, and some items might be in fair or damaged condition. The seller may list the quality in the listing details but if it’s multiple items, you may get varying conditions (some of which may not be suitable for resale)
- Shipping Options: Many listings require picking up the sold items in person as shipping is crazy expensive for a lot. However, single items can be shipped. You will see the shipping policy in the auction listing but be ready to procure a truck and trailer to pick up your treasure.
Much of what is available comes in bulk quantities, so this can be a fun hobby if you’re looking for a side hustle or you run a variety store that sells unique secondhand items.
If your acquisition cost is low enough, you can potentially flip these items on top reselling platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace.
Places Nearby to Buy Unclaimed Items
You will have the most success finding unclaimed boxes if you live near a distribution center or store specializing in selling this merchandise to individuals.
Even if you don’t, you may be able to find listings online.
You can purchase items directly from major retailers, including Amazon, Wayfair, and Home Depot, and individual sellers at Liquidation.com.
They even have a specific category page just for Amazon.com packages. They describe it as “Here you will find an assortment of previously unsold inventory in either shelf-pull and damaged condition from an Amazon facility. All auctions are fulfilled and shipped from an Amazon warehouse.”
In my mind, they are the best overall site for finding unclaimed items. They also operate GovDeals.com, which is an auction site that sells surplus items from government and educational agencies. They have an expansive inventory for many product categories.
You can find listings in most states, but Liquidation.com distribution warehouses in the following cities can facilitate local pickups:
- Phoenix, AZ
- Hebron, KY
- Plainfield, IN
- North Wilkesboro, NC
- Las Vegas, NV
- Pittston, PA
- Garland, TX
- Brampton, Ontario
The Amazon auctions are through the Amazon FBA program and ship directly from an Amazon warehouse. You can retrieve shipping quotes before bidding to estimate your total costs, which is extremely helpful for calculating potential profits.
Each listing also includes shipping information to help you calculate those costs:
You can easily purchase unclaimed packages, pallets, and freight through Facebook Marketplace. There are also ways you can have products shipped directly to you.
Be sure to purchase from a reputable seller to avoid disappointment. Marketplace lists the seller details and customer reviews to make the research process easier.
It’s a bit riskier on Facebook Marketplace because you’re buying from third parties.
Local swap meets, and flea markets are well-known for the variety of products you won’t find at traditional merchandise stores or even thrift stores.
You can find the swap meets nearby through Swap Madness. This online directory doesn’t list which locations offer unclaimed boxes, so you will need to conduct some research. You can ask swap meet attendees if they know where to go as well.
Inspect the products to verify they are legitimate and not reproductions. One benefit of in-person shopping is that you can test before you try.
Pallet Liquidation Sales
Metro areas will likely have pallet liquidation stores that may sell unboxed items and mystery boxes. Local pickup is usually required. Find your closest location by researching “pallet liquidation near me.”
You can buy individual items and lots from 888 Lots. Shipping can cost as little as $1 per item, but that fee can be high if you must obtain multiple items in a single lot.
There is a special deals section and a negotiation tab that can help you find some of the best offers.
This website lists the current Amazon selling price and the MSRP to help you decide if flipping the product can be profitable.
Unclaimed Mail Stores Near You
You may also have success at stores that sell unclaimed mail and packages. To find potential options, you can type “unclaimed mail store near me” into your preferred search engine.
One store that went viral after a 2021 TikTok video is Treasure Hunt in Evansville, IN. This retail location offloads one semi-trailer per week of discounted goodies. If you live within driving distance, get there as soon as the goods become available, as the shelves can be empty until the next shipment.
Buying from third-party sellers on Amazon can also be worth pursuing. Many listings sell from $10 to $40 and may have free shipping.
The listing description can tell you what product category you will be buying from. For example, it can be jewelry or electronics. Be sure to verify the seller’s reputation to avoid scams.
You can find similar offerings on other retail sites, including Etsy, Poshmark, and eBay. Simply go to your favorite marketplace and type in “unclaimed packages.” Many listings sell from $25 to $100 for approximately ten items.
With this option, you most likely do not find out what’s inside and the street value until you open them up.
If you live in a rural area without many shopping options or want to take the guesswork of what you’re getting, BlueLots is a great fit.
You can bid on brand-new products, and shelf pulls. Minimum bids start at $100 plus shipping.
USPS Mail Recovery Center
What happens when the U.S. Postal Services loses a package? If they think it’s worth more than $25 (or $20 for mailpieces containing cash), they send it to the USPS Mail REcovery Center.
The U.S. Postal Service states that the agency “occasionally” auctions off undeliverable mail held at the Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The contents can be worth more than $25 per package and sold if the USPS cannot forward the item or return it to the sender.
USPS auctions happen relatively infrequently and post on GovDeals.com. Additionally, you must buy the entire lot, which can become quite expensive, and you may need to pick up the item locally.
Therefore, focusing your efforts on packages from Amazon and other retailers can be more rewarding.
Final Thoughts on Buying Unclaimed Packages
Purchasing unclaimed Amazon or USPS packages is an unconventional way to try and turn a profit. But it can be fun to do something out of the ordinary or look for a different way to find good deals.
If you’re thinking about giving it a shot, you’ll have the most success profiting from undelivered boxes if you can pick them up locally. Minimizing shipping costs helps keep your entry price low, so you don’t lose money on items you won’t be using for your own business or around the house.