Have you ever wondered what’s in all those Amazon boxes and USPS packages filling the numerous delivery vehicles?
Maybe you’ve been watching Amazon mystery box unwrapping videos on TikTok, where the person unboxes luxury clothing, electronics, and other valuable items.
It may surprise you that not every ordered item arrives at the buyer’s doorstep as it may get lost in the mail for various reasons.
Instead of restocking the items or burying them in a landfill, retailers sell them at often discounted rates. As a result, you may be able to buy single items or entire pallets of goodies.
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?
Just like you declutter your house and sell unwanted items periodically, retailers and package shippers have to get rid of excess merchandise that’s non-deliverable, or a third-party seller won’t take delivery.
There are several reasons why:
- Incorrect 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 some risks involved with buying unclaimed items. Here are some things to consider before you buy:
- Do you know the item before buying it?: Many legit listings state what item you’re buying so you can decide which sales to pursue and which ones to avoid. Other listings are non-descript, 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.
- 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.
As you will most likely need bulk quantities, this can be a fun hobby if you’re looking for a side hustle or running 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.
You can purchase items directly from major retailers, including Amazon and Home Depot, and individual sellers at Liquidation.com.
In my mind, they are the best overall site for finding unclaimed items, and they also operate GovDeals.com (that 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.
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.
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
The U.S. Postal Service states that the agency “occasionally” auctions off undeliverable mail held at the Mail Recovery Center. 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.