It's estimated that Amazon ships nearly 8 billion packages a year and of those packages, anywhere from 5 to 15% are returned. That is a huge number of returned items that surely rival the number of socks lost in the wash each year, right?
It’s also no surprise that consumers are far more likely to return an online purchase than an in-store purchase, and Amazon's lenient policies certainly lean in the favor of customers.
But what happens to all these returned items?
Well, if they don't make it back on the shelf for whatever reason, then they end up as an unclaimed package, sitting on a massive pallet full of other lonely packages that never made it to their destination.
In this article, we’re going to discuss how you can get your hands on these unclaimed items so you can release them back into the wild, selling them for a (hopefully) tidy profit.
What are Amazon Unclaimed Packages?
It's pretty self-explanatory really, but Amazon unclaimed packages are parcels that have been returned to the Amazon warehouse and remain unclaimed.
There're many reasons these packages remain unclaimed, including but not limited to:
- Undeliverable or incorrect shipping address
- Incorrect items returned
- Packages lost in the mail
- Packages not picked up from the post office by customers
- Damaged returns
You may see these unclaimed items being referred to as unclaimed mail, unclaimed boxes, unclaimed post, etc.
Whatever the reason for becoming an unclaimed item, Amazon cannot resell each one of these products. Often it’s easier to just refund and abandon the package and because of the sheer volume of orders that Amazon receives, you can imagine that these unclaimed packages can pile up rather fast.
Rather than opening all the unclaimed mail individually and working out what to do with the products, unclaimed Amazon packages are sold as large lots via auction sites.
This is where an opportunity presents itself for the savvy online sellers out there.
How Can You Buy Unclaimed Amazon Packages?
Some sites that sell the unclaimed packages are massive marketplaces themselves with warehouses all around the US and Canada. There's also talk around the internet about buying unclaimed amazon packages from places like Craigslist, Facebook marketplace and eBay, but my warning to you is, be wary.
We're not talking about a few stray packages here, we're talking about large lots of unclaimed items that may cost you a tidy four-figure sum or more.
So if you're browsing online and you intend to buy Amazon unclaimed packages, make sure it's from a legitimate liquidation site.
Here's some of the more popular Amazon liquidation sites:
One of the larger dealers in liquidation stocks, Liquidation.com also deals in various government, machinery and education auctions on their sister sites. They're headquartered in Maryland with a further 9 warehouse locations around the USA.
With humble roots dating back to 2008, BULQ comes under the banner of sustainable return and resale enterprise Optoro, a company on a mission to revolutionize the 9.6billion pounds of returns that end up in landfill every year in the USA.
American Pallet Liquidators
American pallet liquidators have locations in Indiana and Kentucky where they invite buyers to visit and browse current unclaimed packages in their warehouses. The goods they have in stock can be purchased immediately and you can have it loaded into your vehicle there and then.
Direct Liquidation is a large organization with 12 locations across the USA and 1 in Canada. Not only do they handle Amazon unclaimed package auctions, but they also serve other major retailers such as Lowes and Walmart.
Unlike many other liquidators and auction sites listed here, BlueLots serves more as an ecommerce marketplace where companies and individuals can sell their stock for a fee. They handle the freight and logistics but they do not appear to hold their own inventory, only that of their sellers.
Based in New Jersey, 888Lots have been around since 2015 and they form part of the global liquidation wholesale outfit Palacci Group who also operate EuroLots and BritDeals.
Quicklotz is a Florida based company with 35 years of experience in retail and wholesale. They have offices in Florida and New York, besides various liquidation warehouses for 9 locations across the USA.
What Type of Products Will I Get?
This is a common question and whilst we all secretly hope to receive a hundred mystery boxes full of Louis Vuitton bags, sadly, that just isn't the reality.
Whenever you purchase unclaimed mail, you're always taking a risk, but if you play your cards right, you can make a decent living off reselling unclaimed parcels.
Let's look at some of the different scenarios involved in buying unclaimed amazon packages.
The "Safe" Way
Many auction and liquidation sites will offer bulk lots of products for a fixed price, and they'll even give you an estimated retail price.
Take, for example, this listing for camera lens protectors over at BlueLots. If you're an online or retail arbitrage seller, or you run a consumer electronics or mobile accessory store on Amazon, this might be an easy decision stock purchase for you.
You know what you're getting and if the numbers stack up, this is a pretty straight-forward, low-risk acquisition for you.
Bigger Risk, Bigger Payday (Potential)
Many liquidation websites will offer "Uninspected Returns" where the condition of the items on the pallet is not known.
Something like this pallet available from BULQ is definitely more of a "mystery box" but you still get an sign of the type of products included and the approximate retail value.
If you feel confident in selling these products, then there may be potential to profit $2-$3k on something like this. Don't forget to consider shipping costs, prepping for FBA, and other seller related costs before you count your profits!
High Roller Gaylord Guru
If you've got a healthy-looking budget and want to go big, you can look at buying unclaimed packages by the "Truckload". Many of the liquidation marketplaces have a section for truckloads which is literally an entire truck's worth of goods, usually amounting to 20 or more pallets.
This truckload listing by QuickLot contains a heap of general merchandise items that have been listed as "customer returns - great condition".
The product description for this Amazon truckload states:
"You will find general merchandise items such as sporting goods, fitness equipment, furniture, computers, electronics, home décor, accessories, housewares, appliances, large toys, tool, grills & outdoor items."
"we have found items that retail for more than $1,000!"
So, in theory, this could be a huge payday for you, but the skeptic in me always takes things like this with a grain of salt. Dig a little deeper and even request an inspection before buying a truckload like this.
Making Money With Unclaimed Amazon Packages
It's one thing finding the right unclaimed packages to buy, but it's another thing offloading them and making money.
It would be easy for me to assume that you're here reading this article because you're already a savvy Amazon seller, which is there is the most logical way to sell these products, but I could be totally wrong!
There's more than just selling on Amazon for turning a profit with unclaimed Amazon packages, so let's discuss some options.
Amazon Online Arbitrage
Before we get too creative here, I have to disclose that this is my number one pick. And for many reasons. My strategy here would be to buy several brand new products in online auctions, ship them directly to my FBA prep center, and then straight on to the Amazon FBA warehouse to be sold.
At around $40 a piece, subject to some quick due diligence, of course, this massage gun lot seems like it could be a quick and easy flip.
Sure, this may not be as exciting as some of the other options below, but this is a lower risk, low-hanging fruit strategy similar to what you'd learn if you took the OA Challenge.
Sell Individual Items on Marketplaces
If you're partial to a bit of haggling, then you could turn a profit by purchasing a few mystery boxes from an auction site, unboxing them and then flipping the items on Facebook Marketplace.
You could also try your luck on Craigslist and eBay, but to be completely honest, the idea of doing this just makes me feel sick. 🤣 I prefer a "cleaner", hands-off approach like arbitrage with Amazon FBA.
Produce Unboxing Video Content
I was researching this topic prior to writing about it and found a hilarious video by The Craft DIY Guy. This isn't exactly what he does for a living, but the video below has over 70,000 views in its first 3 months of being on YouTube!
You could film unboxing videos and post them on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and so on. If you have a flair for presenting and like to have a laugh, then this could be a great little business for you.
Ultimately, you would monetize your content with ads if you went down this path, but you may also get sponsorship opportunities down the track.
You could also then flip the items you unboxed on Amazon or another marketplace to recoup your costs.
Start an Ecommerce Store
The box of unclaimed packages that The Craft DIY Guy unboxed in his video was purchased from an online store called Fun Delivered.
They're a Florida based company that buys unclaimed Amazon packages and then flips them without opening the individual parcels. Double mystery!
This one sounds like a lot of fun but you would need to consider various additional costs like shipping and advertising.
Ways to Avoid Getting Scammed With Unclaimed Mail
It can be very tempting to pull out the credit card and start bidding on various online auctions for unclaimed packages, but you need to be mindful that there have been some known scams floating around the internet in the past.
Use a little common-sense and follow these tips to stay safe from scammers:
#1 Avoid Clicking on Facebook Ads
Some unclaimed package scammers have run ads on Facebook, so before you go clicking any ads and handing over your details, do a little research and check out the Facebook page that's running the ads first.
#2 Research the Liquidation Business
Before you bid or buy, make sure you're looking at legit auctions. There's a lot of websites selling unclaimed Amazon packages, so be sure to do your due diligence. Check the website's SSL certificate, check online reviews, browse the site and their social media profiles to look for anything that seems off.
You may even find that some of the biggest liquidation companies get copied by scammers, so whilst the website or social profile may look like the real deal, it could be a knock-off. Be weary of this practice.
#3 Start Small
Before you fork out $20k for a monster truck full of mystery boxes, try purchasing some smaller lots from your chosen auction site. This will give you a feel for how they work, what the quality of their service is like, and ultimately it will give you a little peace-of-mind if you decide to make a larger investment.
#4 Read the Fine Print
Not all unclaimed Amazon boxes are the same. Some products may be without original packaging or they may even be damaged. The auction sites may have varying terms and conditions too, so make sure you read up on what you are buying and who you are buying from before finalizing your purchase.
Final Thoughts on Amazon Unclaimed Packages
It's got a certain thrill to it, that's for sure. Almost like playing the lottery. What I love about this opportunity with unclaimed Amazon packages is that you can play it safe and grab yourself a small order of valuable items that you know will turn a profit, or you can go full maverick and bet your entire hand on a truckload of blind boxes!
Of course, I don't recommend the latter, but it all comes down to your appetite for risk.
Whilst I think it may become frustrating if all you did was buy unclaimed Amazon packages intending to resell, it certainly is another excellent skill to have at your disposal.
Mix in a little online or retail arbitrage with a few liquidation pallets on the odd occasion and you've got yourself an ecommerce business with huge potential.