It’s a scenario that can happen to both rookie and seasoned resellers alike. The world of purchasing liquidation pallets is filled with uncertainties. There’s always the risk that your investment might not yield the returns you hoped for—or worse, result in a loss. The questions is when do you call your liquidator for a bad pallet?
When you find yourself in a situation where you’ve just acquired a lot or pallet that appears to be a dud, and you’re wondering, “What can I do?!”—who’s responsible for the outcome?
The short answer: You are, not the liquidator.
However, there are exceptions to this rule, and in this article, we’ll explore when and how to contact your liquidator when things don’t go as planned.
Taking Responsibility: It Starts with You
Whether you’re already a reseller or considering entering the world of reselling, chances are online platforms like eBay, Amazon, and Mercari are integral to your business model. When listing items on these platforms, it’s crucial to provide essential information that helps potential buyers make informed decisions. Unfortunately, not all buyers read the listings carefully, leading to misunderstandings, return cases, and sometimes frustration.
This mindset—of taking responsibility for proper communication—is precisely what you need when dealing with liquidators. Thoroughly read all available information and descriptions. If you encounter unfamiliar terms or concepts in a listing, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Whenever possible, visit the liquidator in person, ask questions, and inspect the pallets. Watching unboxing videos related to specific liquidators can also provide valuable insights.
Remember, YOU are accountable for your purchase, just as buyers on online platforms are responsible for reading and understanding product listings. Due to the nature of the liquidation business, liquidators cannot inspect every single item thoroughly. For them, the goal is to move pallets quickly, as margins are slim, and success lies in quantity.
Most reputable liquidators want to build lasting relationships with their customers. They want to see you succeed. If you thrive, they thrive.
The Exception: Misrepresentation
While you are primarily responsible for your purchases, there are situations where it’s appropriate to contact your liquidator. If the pallet you received was misrepresented in such a way that it affected your decision is the main example. This misrepresentation could be an honest mistake or the result of incorrect information being passed down the supply chain.
An Example of When To Call Your Liquidator:
We once purchased Amazon Return pallets from a local liquidator. We were familiar with this product type and had asked the right questions, building a good relationship with the liquidator. However, upon unboxing the pallets, we discovered something was amiss. The information provided was inaccurate. We were told after the purchase that the source for these items had pulled easily shippable items for eBay, which was acceptable to us, as we planned to sell them at our local flea market. However, upon inspection, we found that these pallets did not align with typical Amazon Return pallets. There were no items worth over $100, and many items were broken, exceeding the usual defect rate we’d come to expect.
When we pressed the liquidator about the selection process for these pallets, we were informed that the source had actually pulled ALL items over $100. In essence, the pallets we received were heavily cherry-picked. The liquidator eventually issued a refund, but trust had been compromised, and we decided to take our business elsewhere.
This situation warranted contacting the liquidator because the pallet was misrepresented in the listing. If what you purchased doesn’t align with the advertised information—such as receiving fewer items than promised, receiving returns instead of shelf pulls, or receiving items from a different source than advertised—then it’s the liquidator’s responsibility to make it right. This is when you would call your liquidator.
However, if the items in the pallet were accurately described, but you found them difficult to sell or they didn’t cover your costs–that’s part of the risk inherent in this business. In such cases, it’s all part of the game.
In the world of reselling and liquidation, taking responsibility for your purchases is paramount. Read listings carefully, ask questions, and gather information before making decisions. While most of the accountability rests with you, there are exceptions—particularly when the pallet or lot you receive doesn’t align with the information provided in the listing.
Ultimately, it’s about building relationships and understanding that both you and your liquidator want to succeed. Honest communication and feedback can go a long way in creating a mutually beneficial partnership. Know when it is appropriate to call your liquidator, and ultimately, when you know it’s your responsiblity. This doesn’t negate the fact that if you have constructive feedback and a relationship to match, that you shouldn’t tell them. But the intention behind that conversation must be clear.
Remember, while no one will protect your business and investments like you will, understanding when and how to contact your liquidator can make a significant difference when things don’t go as planned.