Yes, you can legally purchase unclaimed mail and packages. We will explain how

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What happens to these Amazons and US Postal Service Packages who has never arrived at your door? It’s a good possibility that someone bought them. Items that have been lost in transit from one delivery truck to another or misplaced in a warehouse — after months of not being claimed — may end up auctioned off or for sale at local swap meets. (Amazon usually refunds customers or replaces missing items.)

You may recall that in 2021, TikTok became obsessed with buying unclaimed packages that never made it to their destination. Some TikTok creators posted videos warehouses full of mysterious items for sale and waiting to be unpacked. While some contain cheaper fare like socks, TikTokers have also unboxed gift cards, Nike sneakers, and branded handbags — like real-life versions of video game loot boxes. Postal Service auctions display some of the items before purchase so you can get an idea of ​​what you are getting.

We’ll walk you through how to buy unclaimed packages from Amazon, the US Postal Service, and other delivery services. We’ll also tell you how to find companies that claim to sell mystery boxes but could potentially scam you.

Check these websites to find auctions for unclaimed parcels

If a Postal Service package has not been claimed within 90 days, it will likely be auctioned on GovDeals, a company with which the United States Postal Service sells unclaimed items. Items can be sold in bundles rather than individually – so you may end up with a bunch of extra stuff to sift through, resell, or give away. On the site, you can browse the categories that interest you, such as sports equipment, beauty products and clothing.

The website Liquidation lets you choose the company you want to buy bulk plans from, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot. For some items, you can see what you’re bidding on, but other listings will only show you images of the boxes or pallets and the category they belong to, along with an estimated retail price. Depending on the size and weight of the items you receive, you can expect shipping costs to exceed $100.

An Amazon spokesperson told CNET that if an undelivered package comes back to Amazon, an employee removes the item from the packaging and inspects it to determine if the item can be resold. Otherwise, it is sold to other customers or liquidators, returned to suppliers or given to charities.

Where to Buy Undelivered Amazon and Postal Packages

If you are looking to purchase items that have never been delivered, you can research sellers in your area to see if there is a local swap meet or other places that sell undelivered items. Websites like madness exchange can help you identify a vendor who might have packages for sale – for example, a flea market stall.

Note that some days may be better than others for finding packages. For example, a TikToker visited Treasure Hunt in Evansville, Indiana, after being replenished with packages and finding a large number of items to purchase. An Insider reporter visited the same store on a weekday just before the store restocks and finds everything picked up.

If you plan to travel several hours to get to one of these stores, we recommend that you call ahead to find out when shipments are expected to arrive.

Three stacked boxes sitting on the porch

TikTok users have found bundles priced as low as $1 each.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Watch out for scams and avoid thefts

Unless you can see exactly what you are buying, you run the risk of buying items that are of no value to you. What you want to avoid is putting money in the hands of someone who isn’t giving you anything.

We suggest checking the Better Business Bureau website and read customer reviews to make sure the seller is legit. A company I found on the BBB site had reviews from customers who said they did not receive their packages after several months and received fake tracking numbers.

For legitimate sellers and sources, we recommend going through sanctioned unclaimed parcel auctions, such as GovDeals.

What to know about unclaimed UPS and FedEx packages

FedEx and UPS do not specify on their sites what they do with unclaimed packages, although some Reddit users say UPS sends the items to be auctioned.

To find out more, see our favorite Amazon shopping tip to get great discounts.

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