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How to Buy Unclaimed Packages From Amazon & USPS

Last updated 03/19/2024 by

Lacey Stark

Edited by

Fact checked by

You can buy unclaimed Amazon packages or unclaimed mail from the United States Postal Service (USPS) or other delivery services through liquidation companies, flea markets, or e-commerce shops. The caveat is you may never know what you’re going to get until you open the mystery boxes. Still, this can be a fun game or even a side business. The fact remains there are a ton of unclaimed items and it could be worthwhile to get in on the action.
Maybe you’ve seen videos on TikTok or YouTube where hosts film themselves opening up mystery boxes. Sometimes they discover great finds such as popular electronics or expensive jewelry at well below retail prices — other times they find a bunch of useless junk.
Still, the idea of a surprise gift taps into our natural curiosity and you might wonder how you too can buy unclaimed Amazon packages. Today we’ll sort through the process of buying post office or Amazon unclaimed packages through auction sites or other means. We’ll also discuss concerns about shipping costs and online scams and whether you can ever know what’s inside that mystery box before you buy it.

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Why are there so many unclaimed items?

There are a lot of reasons why packages get lost or go unclaimed. This is particularly true since the pandemic hit in 2020, which had Americans buying even more things online than ever before. The more packages going around, the more chance some of them will get lost. A few reasons for unclaimed Amazon boxes or other misplaced packages include:
  • Incorrect mailing address
  • The mailing label fell off
  • The recipient moved to a new address
  • Package was lost in the mail
  • Box was misplaced in the warehouse
  • Recipient never picked up the package at the post office
Other items that might fall into the category of unclaimed packages could include customer returns that don’t go back into circulation or shelf-pulls (basically, excess goods).

Where do unclaimed Amazon and USPS packages end up?

As the postal service or Amazon accumulate unclaimed boxes, they typically auction off the items in bulk. Sometimes the money earned from the sale of these mystery boxes goes to charity, which is a nice side benefit of liquidating unclaimed boxes or parcels.
So the unclaimed items get auctioned off in lots, and the buyers of those lots — often e-commerce sites or brick-and-mortar stores — then sell the individual mystery boxes. Sometimes a liquidation site, like American Pallet Liquidators, will purchase the lots and resell them as single pallets or even truckloads of the stuff to individuals or vendors.

How to buy unclaimed packages

As mentioned, most often Amazon and the post office sell off liquidation stocks at various auctions like and Usually, e-commerce companies or vendors bid on them and then sell them directly to customers.
However, you can purchase directly from these sites as well, although you may have to buy large lots if you’re going through a direct liquidation site, which can be costly. Here are some other places to get ahold of unclaimed mail.

Local swap meets

Local swap meets or flea markets can be one of the more fun ways to buy mystery boxes and unclaimed USPS packages, and also one of the cheapest. One TikTok creator credited with starting the whole “unboxing” trend bought a hundred mystery boxes for just a dollar apiece. Plus, when you pick up the unclaimed mail yourself, there are zero shipping costs.
You can find a swap meet or flea market near you by checking sites such as or Keep in mind they won’t all sell unclaimed Amazon packages, so be sure to do your research before you head out.

Facebook Marketplace

Another good (possibly local) option to find unclaimed Amazon packages is on Facebook Marketplace. Just be sure to buy from a reputable seller. The Marketplace lists reviews and vendor details, which should make it easier to find a trustworthy seller.
You may be able to have the mystery boxes sent directly to you for reasonable prices, or you might be able to pick them up yourself if the seller is local.

Liquidation companies

There are liquidation websites as mentioned above, but there is probably also a local liquidation company or two in your area where you can find undeliverable Amazon packages.
However, keep in mind that liquidation companies may require you to pick up the items. You’ll probably also have to buy large lots or pallets rather than individual misplaced packages, so make sure you have the space to store whatever you buy.


Yes, you can even get unclaimed Amazon packages from third-party sellers on Amazon itself. Oftentimes the shipping is free (always a bonus), and you frequently get a description of the items or at least a category of the type of goods.
Etsy, eBay, and other e-commerce sites usually also have unclaimed lots for sale too. As with other online marketplaces, be sure to verify that you’re buying from a reputable seller.

USPS Mail Recovery Center

The Mail Recovery Center is the official lost and found department for undeliverable and non-returnable mail. According to the USPS, “occasionally” the MRC will auction off the items held.
Auctions usually start at 10:00 a.m., but you can view the available merchandise beginning at 8:30 a.m. Merchandise is only sold in lots, not by individual item, and you can purchase a catalog on the day of the auction for a small fee.
If you want to start buying unclaimed packages but aren’t sure how you’ll pay for them, consider looking into a credit card with a 0% APR introductory offer. Since this promotional APR typically lasts over a year, you can purchase mystery boxes and pay off your balance, all without paying any interest.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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Considerations when buying unclaimed Amazon packages

While it can be fun and could even end up becoming a great side hustle for you, buying unclaimed packages is not without its risks. There are a few things you should think about before buying your first unclaimed Amazon package.

Do you know what you’re buying?

Depending on where you buy the unclaimed lots, you may or may not have any inkling of what’s inside those liquidation pallets or mystery boxes. Some auction sites or vendors will at least give you an idea of what you’re bidding on.
For example, listings might say, “Books, clothes, electronics, toys, or assorted tools,” but rarely more specific than that. Some of the biggest liquidation companies will just sell everything as a question mark, and it’s truly a roll of the dice if you’ll find any items of value or a bunch of junk.

Quantity of undeliverable Amazon packages

Do you want to buy a single mystery box or a whole pallet? Depending on what you’re paying, it could be a serious risk to your wallet. Sure, you could find a treasure trove revealed or, more likely, a bunch of stuff you don’t need or want.
Think about how much you’re willing to risk when you have no idea what you might find. You may want to start with a single undelivered package before you start buying up entire unclaimed lots.

Condition of the items

Theoretically, a lot of these unclaimed orders came from major retailers such as Target, Amazon, or Home Depot. This means they should be professionally packaged and in perfect condition.
It’s also possible that unclaimed returns or other liquidation items have been bounced around a bit between multiple trucks and delivery attempts, and you run the chance of purchasing damaged goods.
IMPORTANT! Keep in mind that warranties of any kind for total mystery boxes are pretty much non-existent — that’s all part of the risk of buying unclaimed Amazon packages.

Shipping costs

Single unclaimed Amazon packages can often be shipped for very little money — often a free or flat delivery charge. But some liquidation sites may require you to come and pick up entire pallets or lots because the shipping costs are exorbitant.
For this reason, many purchasers of unclaimed items prefer to buy locally from a liquidation company or at a swap meet to save money when buying blind boxes.

How to avoid scams when you buy Amazon unclaimed packages

While there are plenty of legitimate ways to find unclaimed Amazon packages, there are bound to be a ton of scams out there, especially online. You’ll want to be careful about the liquidation sites, vendors, or others who deal in unclaimed parcels. Here are a few things to watch out for.
  • Know who you’re buying from. Use trusted liquidation websites like,, or buy from well-established e-commerce sites like Etsy or eBay.
  • Read reviews. When in doubt, be sure a website has been vetted or has reviews so you can figure out if they’re legit auctions or vendors rather than scammers.
  • Read the fine print. Even if the site seems above-board, before you buy unclaimed Amazon packages or other unclaimed mail, carefully go over the terms and conditions of the sale. These can vary a lot by liquidation company or website and they may not offer returns in any case.
  • Shop local. If possible, try to buy from local venues such as a local swap meet, flea market, or a liquidation business based in your area. It’s harder to deceive people on a local level than it is through random online websites, auction sites, or unknown marketplaces.

Pro Tip

If you want to buy Amazon unclaimed packages as a side hustle — either to sell individual mystery boxes or sell the actual items — visit some of the biggest liquidation companies first. These companies tend to have the biggest warehouses so you can walk around and try to get a feel for the pallets of unclaimed parcels.


Are major retailers’ return pallets worth it?

Retailers like Amazon, Home Depot, and Target (among others) offer direct liquidation auctions through This is where small and large businesses can bid on pallets or truckloads of customer returns, overstock, and other liquidation inventory and score some great deals.
True, this is “B” stock for a reason, so there may be imperfections or other issues. However, you can buy in specific categories — furniture, flooring, home décor, sporting goods, etc. — and they typically list the estimated retail price. This way you can keep your bid price low enough to make the purchase more than worthwhile.

Key Takeaways

  • You can buy unclaimed Amazon packages or USPS packages from several online and brick-and-mortar stores. Most often these packages are unclaimed because the mail carrier was unable to locate the intended recipient for a specified period of time.
  • There are many safe ways to buy unclaimed Amazon packages or USPS packages. This includes liquidation sites, local swap meets, e-commerce websites, local vendors, or other online options such as Facebook Marketplace.
  • Some liquidation sites or other e-commerce companies will have pictures or descriptions of unwrapped valuable items or refurbished stock that you can buy for less than their estimated retail price. Other listings may only give you a category or no description at all.
  • If you’re buying unclaimed packages from legit auctions, you can decide whether to offer a bid price or skip the auction altogether and pay fixed prices for liquidation pallets.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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