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Tips For Bidding at Online Government Surplus Auctions


Online government surplus auctions

Looking for bargains on used electronic equipment, computers, industrial equipment, or office furniture? Every few months we host online government surplus auctions such as the upcoming San Diego Community College Warehouse.

If you’re a novice to online auctions or government auctions in general, here are a few tips to help you get started:

Familiarize yourself with registration and bidding policies.

Every auction company is different, so make sure you read all the fine print before registering and bidding. Most companies will require a deposit (At Cal Auctions we hold $100 on your MC/Visa) and almost all will charge a buyer’s premium, which is an additional percentage charge on top of the winning amount. Buyer’s premiums go to the auction house for administrative costs.

If you win any items from our auctions, the buyer’s premium is 15%. For example, if the winning bid on an item is $100, your card will be charged $115. Visit our buyers information page to read more about our registration and buying process.

Inspect the items, if possible.

Inspection/preview day(s) typically take place right before the last day of the auction. This is when you’ll be able to take a look at all the items you are interested in. Take note of the lot numbers you’d like to bid on as it will make it easier to find when you do come down to inspection. If you’re unable to attend a preview day, contact the auction company with any questions about a specific item before placing any bids.

Keep in mind that items are sold in AS IS condition.

When buying at government surplus auctions there are usually no warranties or guarantees on any items. Don’t make any assumptions, especially on electronic products. This is why we highly recommend attending a preview day so there are no surprises when you come to pick up the items. That brings us to our next tip…

Bring your own equipment for removal or make arrangements for shipping.

If you’ve won anything (congrats!), be prepared to bring moving equipment, boxes, etc. on removal day – especially if it’s a large lot of equipment or pallets full of items.

If you’re the winning bidder and don’t reside in the local area, you will need to make arrangements with a shipping company to have items mailed to you. We have a partner here in San Diego, Pak Mail La Jolla, who can ship just about any item to any location around the world.

Hopefully these tips will help you as you start learning more about online government surplus auctions. For more tips, read our previous post on how to get the best deals at surplus auctions.