If you spend any time at all on TikTok, you’ve probably come across this weird trend where people buy unclaimed packages (usually Amazon orders) and open them on video. It’s a complete mystery what they might get. Some people have gotten very expensive items, like purses and electronics, other times people get weird vitamins and cheap phone cases.
How does this work and is it worth buying unclaimed packages
What is an unclaimed package?
Officially, unclaimed packages are items that people just never picked up from the post office. Sometimes, packages don’t get delivered to your door, but rather you are left a note that you need to come pick up a package. The post office only has to hold that package for 90 days before it’s no longer yours and they can do whatever they want with it.
But when you’re looking at buying unclaimed packages, you’re also often looking at packages that were ultimately undeliverable (or just not delivered) for some reason. Sometimes addresses are wrong, more often than not, mailing labels get damaged and the package just doesn’t make it to its destination. Have you ever had a package go missing? It may have ended up in an unclaimed package bin.
The great thing about these resale sites is that the items don’t just get thrown in the garbage. (At least not right away – who knows what the person who buys them might do with them.) And I’m all about reducing waste.
Where do you buy unclaimed packages?
There are a lot of places where you can buy unclaimed packages. Formally, you can buy unclaimed packages at Liquidation or GovDeals, but on these sites, items are typically sold in large lots, so if you want to buy from one of these sites, be ready to fork out some cash. But there are plenty of people who buy these lots of unclaimed packages and then break them down into smaller lots. You can find unclaimed packages at swap meets and some thrift stores, and right now, there are small lots of packages on Etsy and Mercari.
Is it worth buying unclaimed packages?
The big risk to buying unclaimed packages is that you don’t know what you’re getting. You could be getting something really cool or you could be getting something that isn’t worth what you spent on it. It’s definitely a gamble. That said, it’s a gamble that some people really enjoy. They enjoy the adventure of the mystery package. To them, it feels like treasure hunting.
Personally, if I were going to buy, I think I’d rather go in and check out the packages in person and make my choices there. It’s fun to pick up a package and try to guess what’s inside.
But overall, in my opinion, no, it’s not worth buying unclaimed packages if you’re looking to make money. But if you’ve just got some fun money burning a hole in your pocket and are okay if you don’t come out ahead, by all means, take up the adventure and see what you can find.
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Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.