It happens to the inexperienced and the experienced alike. Because of the uncertainty that comes with purchasing liquidation pallets and lots, there is always the very real chance that what you purchase won't actually make you any money, or worse... you lose your investment.
But the question I see often is,
"Hey I just purchased this lot/pallet and it's complete junk! I will be lucky to make any of my money back! What can I do?!"
Who is responsible?
Short answer: You, not the liquidator.
Are there exceptions? Yes.
Let's look at this from a different viewpoint. Most of you reading this are either resellers already or you're an aspiring reseller, learning all you can before you bite the bullet and get started.
Either way, it's probable that online platforms such as eBay, Amazon, Mercari, etc. are part of your business model. When you list those items on those platforms, it is very important that your listings state critical information that will help your consumer decide if that product is something they want to buy.
If they fail to read the listing, that causes a huge problem. It generally starts with a back and forth email/messaging, a return case being opened, and sometimes frustration and irritation on both sides. A lot of that could have been avoided if the consumer would only have just read the listing [Insert frustrated groan and facepalm here].
This is exactly the kind of mindset you need to have when it comes to purchasing from liquidators. Read everything that the websites say about the products you're interested in buying.
If you do not know the unique jargon in a particular listing, ask. If you can, go to the liquidator in person. Ask questions, view the pallets and see what kind of items you can expect. Watch unboxing videos from those particular liquidators.
Gather all the information you can, because YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for that purchase.
Because of the nature of this business, liquidators cannot be held responsible for inspecting every single item. If that were the case, then they might as well resell it themselves, right? Many do not realize that selling pallets requires a huge overhead cost for space and manpower, so the margins on pallets are very small and the money is in quantity of sales. They want to move these pallets as quickly as possible.
That also means that smart liquidators are wanting your repeat business. The reselling industry is quite small and the competition is growing. MOST liquidators do not want to hustle you because they want you to come back and be repeat customers. They want you to be successful.
In short, if you win, they win.
Remember: No one will protect your business and your investment like you will. How can you reduce the chances that you get a bad pallet? The easy answer comes with building business relationships and asking lots of questions.
Any good liquidator wants to be able to please it's consumers. Feedback is a great way to have input in what is working and not working for you as a consumer. Giving feedback is also a great way to begin building relationships with the liquidators you use often.
When you are frustrated with the outcome of an investment, it's tempting to take it out on a liquidator, but that won't work in your favor. Ever.
I consider myself a kind person, but I will admit that I am twice as more likely to help someone who is kind and respectful than someone who is not.
The number one reason to contact your liquidator for the purchase of a bad pallet is if that pallet was misrepresented in the listing. It could have been an honest mistake-- a pallet put in the wrong place, or maybe the simply didn't know and it was misrepresented to them. It's good to be able to give the business a chance to redeem itself and make a wrong, right.
Here's a personal example of when we contacted a liquidator:
A while back, we purchased Amazon Return pallets from a local liquidator. We were familiar with these pallets as we have purchased dozens of these pallets of the course of a few years. We asked the right questions and started building relationships. However, when we brought these pallets home, we quickly realized that something was not right. We had been given inaccurate information.
We were told that the liquidator's source for these items pulled items that could be easily shipped on eBay. In this case, we were okay with that, because we were purchasing these with the intention of selling them at our local flea market. But when we unboxed the pallets, we saw that these were uncharacteristic of typical Amazon Return pallets. In all 3 pallets, there were no items worth over $100. Many of the items were broken, more than the typical amount we have come to expect from Amazon Return pallets in the past.
When we contacted the liquidator to press further about the selection process for these pallets, we were then informed that not only did the source for those pallets pull easily shippable items, they actually pulled ALL items over $100. In short, the pallets we received were HEAVILY cherry-picked. The liquidator eventually made it right with us by giving us a refund, but the trust was broken and we took our business somewhere else.
This was a time that warranted the contacting of the liquidator.
If what you purchased was not what was advertised such as:
- Pallet/Lot was advertised 40-50 pieces, but you only received 35.
- Pallet/Lot was advertised as SHELF PULLS, but you clearly received RETURNS.
- Pallet/Lot was advertised to come from AMAZON, but you received a TARGET pallet/lot.
Information like this is integral to making a proper business decision on whether or not to purchase that item. If that information is false, then it is up to the liquidator to make that right.
But, if the items included in the pallet were advertised correctly, but you do not have a means to sell them, or they simply were not worth enough to cover the cost, that, my friends, is just part of the game.