Unclaimed mail isn’t stored forever. If it were, we would very quickly run out of space to put it all. Instead, any mail that is left unclaimed for a certain period of time is going to be sold. In fact, you can even purchase unclaimed mail yourself. Although, there are a few things that you may want to do before you decide to take the plunge.
On this page, we are going to walk you through how to purchase unclaimed mail. We are also going to give you a little bit of an idea as to whether it is something that is worth doing. Our goal is to help you to decide whether purchasing unclaimed mail is going to be the right choice for you.
Can You Buy Unclaimed Mail In The US?
More and more people are now buying stuff using eCommerce. This means that millions of packages find themselves zipping their way across the United States every single week. While most of these will end up at their final destination, there are a lot of parcels that do not. There could be a multitude of reasons for this.
In some cases, for example, the parcel may have an incorrect address on it. Normally, these packages would be shipped back to the sender. However, a lot of senders may not include the returns info. Some may not even accept returns.
In some cases, the address label may have fallen off. This means that the mail system has absolutely no way of determining where that parcel needs to end up. They will sit on it for a while. However, eventually, they are going to need to move it on.
By far the most common reason for parcels becoming unclaimed is due to a failed delivery. For example, if you are not at home when the parcel arrives and there is no obvious safe location to place it, the delivery company will take it back with them. They will let you know, and it is your responsibility to collect it or to rearrange delivery. If you fail to do that, then your parcel will eventually become unclaimed.
Sooner or later, these parcels won’t be sticking around in the warehouses for long. It needs to be moved on, and this is the point where you can start to buy unclaimed mail, and the process is much, much easier than you may think. However, before we get to that point, let’s give you an overview of the requirements a piece of mail needs to meet before it can be sold on.
How Does Unclaimed Mail In The US Get Sold?
Firstly, we are only going to be talking about USPS parcels here. If an item is sent via another mail system, then chances are that they will have different requirements before something becomes classed as unclaimed mail. Some of those delivery services may not even sell the items on. Instead, they will always send it back to the original sender, or they just sit on the parcel for a while.
With the USPS, the mail item must be sitting unclaimed for at least 90-days. We assume that they will base this amount of time on the date that the item was stamped. This means that they may give it a few extra days beyond this. However, due to the way in which unclaimed mail is sold, chances are that the item will be sitting around for a lot longer than 90-days.
The USPS must also have exhausted all possible options for getting that parcel to the intended recipient. It needs to be clear that the package is never going to make it to its final destination. The USPS will not open the mail to check any details of the intended recipient, though. They will only be able to go on what is written on the front of the package.
USPS may also make an attempt to return it to the sender, although many senders will not accept the parcels. You may actually find that some of the most common items that become unclaimed mail are Amazon packages. For some reason, Amazon declines all of these returns, so the USPS has nothing to do other than sell them on.
Where Do You Buy Unclaimed Mail?
There are a variety of places the unclaimed mail is sent. The vast majority of it will end up on a site called GovDeals.com. This is a government contractor that deals with the selling of any surplus government items. This includes unclaimed mail. The USPS may use over sites on occasion. However, we would say the vast majority of it will end up on this website.
If you are looking to purchase returned Amazon parcels, then a lot of them will end up on a site called Liquidation.com. You may need to be running a business if you want to purchase from these sites.
The mail will never be opened when you buy it. It will almost always be sold in bulk. This means that you do not actually know what you are getting until the item arrives on your doorstep. Some people find the whole idea of that completely thrilling.
What Can You Buy In Unclaimed Mail?
Anything, and you won’t know what you are purchasing until it arrives on your doorstep.
The interesting thing about buying unclaimed mail is that the item will not have been opened before you make the purchase. This means that buying can make things a little bit of a gamble. You could be opening up a bunch of awesome products, or you may find something that you will have never purchased in a million years.
Do bear in mind that unclaimed mail is always going to be packages. For security reasons, USPS is not going to sell letters as unclaimed mail. They do not want to have people’s information stolen. Those items tend to be destroyed by the USPS.
Do bear in mind that you will only be able to purchase unclaimed mail in bulk. This can be dozens, sometimes hundreds, of different packages. Each and every one of those packages will contain something completely different. So, obviously, you should not be purchasing unclaimed mail if you are looking for something in particular.
We suppose the best way to compare buying unclaimed mail is to look at the TV show ‘Storage Wars’. In that TV show, contestants purchase storage lockers without knowing exactly what is inside of them. Sometimes they strike it lucky, and other times they end up with something that really holds no value.
Who Purchases Unclaimed Mail?
While everybody has the right to purchase unclaimed mail, it is fair to say that the bulk of purchasers normally fall into a few categories.
For starters, there seems to be a recent trend on sites like TikTok and YouTube for people to purchase unclaimed mail and unbox it on camera to get views. We suppose a good amount of this unclaimed mail ends up being donated.
In some cases, people purchase unclaimed mail with the sole intention of donating it to thrift and other charity stores. Not everything is going to be worth donating, but a good amount of it probably will be.
The vast majority of purchases, however, will come from online businesses and stores. These are the companies that try and snap up as much as they can at bargain-basement prices. They don’t really care what they are buying as long as they can make a profit from it. Believe us, when it comes to profit, there is a ton that can be made on unclaimed mail.
How Much Does Unclaimed Mail Cost?
Unclaimed mail is going to be sold via an auction system i.e. people will bid and the highest bid wins. This means that the price of unclaimed mail can vary.
There will likely be a picture of the unclaimed mail. So, if certain items are easily identifiable, then there is a good chance that the bid will be a lot higher than if all the contents of the package are hidden.
On average, you can expect to pay between $1 to $2 for smaller packages, with unclaimed mail that features larger parcels can easily stretch to $5 to $10 a box. However, as we said, the final price is going to be completely unpredictable. You should also bear in mind that you will need to pay for postage on top of this, which can easily double the cost.
Chances are that no matter how much you pay for each package, what is included inside will be worth a whole lot more. However, you still have to go through the rigmarole of selling it, and it is not always going to be worth the hassle of jumping through all of those hoops.
How Is The Unclaimed Mail Delivered?
This is going to be highly dependent on where you purchase it from. There will normally be details listed on the page.
In most cases, you are going to need to arrange the collection of the unclaimed mail yourself. Remember, this is going to be a lot of stuff, so shipping is going to be a hassle.
When the USPS can arrange the delivery for you, it is likely going to cost several hundred dollars to have it shipped to you. This is because it is going to need to be loaded onto a pallet and be delivered by truck. The shipping cost, in many cases, can easily end up costing more than the parcels cost to purchase.
Remember, if you buy any unclaimed mail from an auction, you have a legal obligation to pay for it and collect it. If you do not, then you have broken your contract and you could end up dealing with financial penalties. The government do not mess around when it comes to that sort of thing. This is why it is so important that you work out how much postage will cost before you make the purchase!
Is It Worth Buying Unclaimed Mail?
Honestly, it depends.
As we have said several times on this page; when you buy unclaimed mail, you are buying it in bulk. You may end up with hundreds of packages. They may only end up costing $1 to $2 each, but it is going to be a ton of packages. We think that there are a lot of people out there that vastly underestimate how much space this sort of stuff takes up. If you don’t have a huge amount of space in your home or place of business, then buying unclaimed mail probably is going to be worth it.
We have already said it before, but we should also point out that most of the stuff that you find in unclaimed mail is going to be rather useless. It is going to carry absolutely no value. It is a good as garbage. You will need to find some way to dispose of it. Remember, not all of it is going to be great for donating. Some stuff just has so little value that even charities are not going to take it off of your hands.
Honestly, the only people that we really recommend buying unclaimed mail are businesses that can sell general items. For example, those that are running eBay or Amazon online stores. If you are buying for personal fun, then it is just a waste of money and space. You may end up with something that is pretty good, but most of the time it is going to be terrible.
Don’t Let Your Mail Become Unclaimed
Hopefully, by now you will know everything there really is to know about unclaimed mail.
Buying unclaimed mail may seem great for you, but chances are that you don’t want your own mail to go missing. If you get a virtual mailbox with us here at US Global Mail, the risk of that happening is minimal. We will receive parcels for you. There is no danger of porch pirates running off with your Amazon purchases either!
With a virtual mailbox, you can see scans of your mail items from your computer or phone. We can also scan the documents within your envelopes, so you can see your mail digitally. Instead of needing to go the post office or your mailbox to pick up the mail & read it, you can read it online.