RETURN pallets have become the latest cash-out craze as they allow shoppers to make a lot of money with little investment.
The brown boxes are filled with goods sent back to businesses and then auctioned off at low prices, with their exact contents often remaining a mystery.
It can be a gamble – but if you’re lucky you can get your hands on some undamaged valuables which can then be whipped around for a profit.
ANITA MARKOFF tells you everything you need to know to get started on the lucrative trend.
What is a Return Pallet?
Return pallets are packages of returned goods sold at hugely discounted prices per pallet – and often invisible, so you’re betting on what’s inside.
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Goods may have been returned for any reason, whether faulty or simply unwanted by the customer.
Pallets may also contain surplus items and bankrupt inventory from businesses.
What kind of items are in the pallets?
It could be just about anything.
But sites selling return pallets are usually organized by category, lot size, brands, retailers, and location.
Depending on where you buy, they may contain small electrical items such as toasters and kettles, or larger items like refrigerators and washing machines. Other companies sell dresses, accessories and makeup.
From the auction description, you have no idea what’s inside these brown boxes and that’s what makes them fun and exciting.
How much does it cost?
THE price is determined by adding the total selling price of all items on the pallet, but the goods inside may be in any condition.
Some parts may be missing and products may be broken. It’s up to you to fix everything.
If you end up bidding and winning an auction, you can arrange to have the pallet shipped directly to you, but it usually makes more economic sense to look for lots that sell in your geographic area.
Which companies sell return pallets?
Many major retailers and websites are jumping into the pallet return action, from Amazon and Argos to Currys and John Lewis.
Amazon has partnered with B-Stock to launch Amazon Liquidation Auctions – the official marketplace for buying overstock merchandise.
Currently, they are only accepting applications from the United States.
But in the UK, you can register separately on the Amazon EU Liquidation Auctions marketplace.
Pallets of electrical goods are sold through websites such as MartHill International, wholesaleclearance.co.uk, discounthouse.co.uk and eBay.
And Very also sells return pallets containing things like clothing, electrical appliances, and home and garden items.
How to make money with pallets?
GENERALLY, the more you are willing to buy, the lower the cost of the pallet.
Although you’re unlikely to know exactly what’s inside, the lot will usually have an “estimated retail value”.
If they are savvy, shoppers can make a lot of money refurbishing and reselling used products online.
Did people manage to make a good profit?
ABSOLUTELY – not all purchases are a major source of income, but there are some shining examples of people cashing in on their pallet purchases.
For example, earlier this year, money-saving specialist Holly Smith, who runs the Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK group, bought a lucky palette from a company called Gem Wholesale.
She spent £200 on the lot, which contained items from Argos, Very and Amazon, as well as very expensive products.
This included TWO Shark vacuum cleaners, one worth £269, the other £479, plus a crushed velvet bedside table, a Fisher-Price bouncer chair, a mini scooter, a Ninjago Lego set at 28 £, two dining chairs and two Christmas trees.
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