Finding Salvage Merchandise to Sell on eBay - dummies

Finding Salvage Merchandise to Sell on eBay

By Marsha Collier

If you’re looking for items to sell on ebay, salvage merchandise is retail merchandise that has been returned, exchanged, or shelf-pulled for some reason. Generally, this merchandise is sold as-is and where-is, and may be in new condition. To buy this merchandise, you must have your resale permit (complete with sales tax number) and be prepared to pay the shipping to your location, unless you’re buying the merchandise on eBay.

The liquidation business has been thriving as a well-kept secret for years. As long as you have space to store salvage merchandise and a way to sell it, you can acquire it for as low as 10 cents on the dollar. To buy this type of merchandise at bottom-of-the-barrel prices, you must be willing to accept truckloads of merchandise at a time.

Several types of salvage merchandise are available:

  • Unclaimed freight: If, for some reason, a portion of the shipment arrives incomplete, contains the wrong items, or is damaged, the entire shipment may be refused by the merchant. The trucking company is stuck with as much as a truckload of freight. The original seller may not want to pay the freight charges to return the merchandise to his or her warehouse, and so the freight becomes the trucker’s problem. The trucking companies arrive at agreements with liquidators to buy this freight in the various areas that the liquidators serve. This way, truckers are never far from a location where they can dump, er, drop off merchandise.

  • Returns: Did you know that after you buy something, decide you don’t want it, and return it to the store or mail-order house, it can never be sold as new again (in most states anyway)? Such merchandise is generally sent to a liquidator who agrees in advance to pay a flat percentage for goods. The liquidator must move the merchandise to someone else. All major retailers liquidate returns, and much of this merchandise ends up on eBay or in closeout stores.

    If you’re handy at repairing electronics or computers, you may easily be able to revitalize damaged merchandise, often using parts from two unsalable items to come up with one that you can sell in like-new working condition.

  • Liquidations: Liquidators buy liquidation merchandise by truckloads and sell it in smaller lots. The merchandise comes from financially stressed or bankrupt companies that need to raise cash quickly.

  • Seasonal overstocks: At the end of the season, a store may find its shelves overloaded with seasonal merchandise (such as swimsuits in August) that it must get rid of to make room for the fall and winter stock. These brand-new items become salvage merchandise because they’re seasonal overstocks.

  • Shelf-pulls: Have you ever passed up one item in the store for the one behind it in the display because its box was in better condition? That box you just passed up may be destined to become a shelf-pull. The item inside may be in perfect condition, but it’s cosmetically unsalable in the retail-store environment.