For over 10 years, some of the UK’s if not world’s biggest parcel companies have at one time or another sold goods from undelivered and unclaimed consignments via public auction.
I would go there on the viewing days, take notes and do some research online. The following day I’d return to bid on some items. The items I bid on successfully, I would go on to sell for profit.
Conditions of carriage normally quote the words disposal and/or dispose but what does dispose really mean?
Dispose – get rid of by throwing away or giving or selling to someone else.
Only damaged items are thrown away if they cannot be salvaged. The majority is sold on.
Its good to know where your valuable items could end up if you experience the misfortune of them being lost in transit. Alternatively, you might want to visit an auction house to pick up a bargain or even buy and sell goods on-line like I once did.
Here is an insight into my personal experience from having bought items from many well-established auction houses that legitimately sold goods on behalf of parcel companies.
Before APC Overnight, I regularly attended live public auctions to buy goods for resale. The goods at most auctions were from companies that had gone into liquidation. The first auction house where I discovered undelivered parcels was Warwick Auctions in my hometown of Coventry. This was back in 2002.
Warwick Auctions typically gave bidders the opportunity to view and inspect items one day prior to the sale, commonly known as the viewing day. Viewing was also available on auction day an hour before the sale commenced.
There were all-sorts of goods for sale with many people bidding on typical consumer items. I took more of an interest in commercial goods that were not so easily identifiable. I took notes of part numbers and serial numbers and did my research on-line using Google. I’d contact manufacturers for more information as well as potential customers to establish the resale value.
I would return on the day of sale which was normally the following day, hoping that other bidders showed little or no interest in the items I planned to bid on. Unfortunately, this was rarely the case. There were people far more experienced and knowledgeable who had been buying undelivered parcels, many years before me.
Warwick Auctions and other auction houses that I attended were all open to the general public. You simply had to fill in a form with your details, leave a refundable deposit at reception and you would be provided with a bidding card. On the card was printed your bidding number for the day. All you had to do was hold it up during the sale to indicate to the auctioneer that you wished to place a bid on an item being sold.
Over the years, I was fairly successful. This was simply because I did a lot research and grew more confident in asking questions about products of which had no prior knowledge. I also spent a lot of time e-mailing and phoning potential customers either acting as a buyer or seller. This was to establish the lowest resale price so I didn’t bid too high on items in the sale room.
The most notable experience from buying goods at these auctions was an overnight trip to Hong Kong to sell some telecommunications equipment. Normally, I would have used a courier but the goods had already been lost once, and I was not prepared to take the risk at the time.
I had no previous experience of selling most of the items that I bid on. There were many speculative purchases because manufacturers and potential customers did not always get back to me before the auction.
I was not always successful. Sometimes, my bids were run up by others in the sale room and this diminished the profit I would eventually make. Other times, my research was poor and I overpaid for goods. I did come across faulty goods but this was rare.
Before eBay really took off, I found most of my customers through Google. I e-mailed and called them direct. These days most goods from undelivered and unclaimed consignments are simply listed and sold via eBay as its the most flexible on-line marketplace.
The other auction house that I attended frequently was based in Birmingham. In addition to ‘goods lost in transit’, it also sold lost property from West Midlands Police.
A chance encounter with APC Overnight was the result of my product research on some goods that I had considered bidding on at the auction house in Birmingham – Biddle & Webb.
During my product enquiries, I learned that the goods were actually destined for an APC customer. I was confused because the goods being sold by the auction house, were on behalf of another parcel company altogether.
So I contacted them to verify my findings and this subsequently led to me purchasing and collecting their undelivered and unclaimed consignments every 3 months, for almost 5 years.
Another auction house that was once located in Birmingham and then moved to Bristol was City Auctioneering. They have in the past sold goods on behalf well-known parcel companies including the recently defunct courier firm City-Link.
At the present moment in time, I have no idea on what the administrators of propose to do with the vast amount of undelivered parcels sitting in City-Link depots across the country.
In the meantime, if your goods have been declared lost by City-Link and you’ve not received compensation, please complete the REPORT LOST form so that Lost Parcels can actively search for your goods.Where APC marked items “U.I.D”, City-Link marked them “No-ID”