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The Best Government Auction Sites

Where Can You Find the Best Government Auctions?

Government auctions provide a unique opportunity for individuals to acquire a wide range of items at affordable prices. Whether you're looking for vehicles, real estate, electronics, or even jewelry, government auctions offer a treasure trove of options.

The appeal of these auctions lies in the potential for finding high-quality items at significantly reduced prices. With the convenience of online platforms, participating in government auctions has never been easier. From the comfort of your own home, you can browse through a vast selection of items and place bids with just a few clicks.

Monday, June 17th

2024 Government Auction Site Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Police Auctions Review 5 Star Rating

Police Auctions

5 Star Rating
  • Cost: free to join
  • Government and non-government auctions
  • More than 150,000 auctions per year
  • 100% money-back guarantee
  • 7-day return policy
  • "A+" rating and accreditation from the BBB
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Established in 1999 by Vortal Group, Inc., Police Auctions has grown to become the leading platform for government auctions on the internet. With over 7 million members, it offers comprehensive and up-to-date government auction data. In addition to government auctions, Police Auctions also features a thriving non-government auction business, including $1 no-reserve auctions that showcase a variety of exciting items like certified diamond rings, collectibles, and gold coins.

Non-government auctions increase variety

While Police Auctions does indeed provide current and updated government auctions, a significant portion of its offerings can be best described as "non-government, $1 no reserve" auctions. These auctions feature a diverse array of merchandise, including baseball cards, diamond rings, gold coins, and much more. In other words, while you can find great deals on this platform, they may not exclusively pertain to seized or abandoned property auctioned by police departments or other agencies. However, this does open up the market a little and there are well over 2,000 different listings in just "jewelry" . On the other hand, the listings in other areas are slimmer than some companies in our review.

Get an account to see government auctions

To explore the government auctions, select the corresponding tab on the top bar. This will take you to a page where you can enter your zip code to see the listings in your area. For example, there were 333 different options for seized boats from government auctions near our location. However, in order to get the details about these auctions, you'll have to make an account with Police Auctions. Customers are not able to browse government auctions without an account.

Mobile experience

In 2013, the company embraced a mobile-first approach, delivering an enhanced auction experience with real-time bidding and excellent customer support. The Police Auction app is available on the Google Play store and the Apple store with an average rating of 3 stars out of 5 across both platforms.

Best Government Auctions

100% money-back guarantee

The company takes pride in its commitment to customer satisfaction, offering timely support and a 100% money-back guarantee on purchased items. For any inquiries, users can conveniently reach out through the support form, with a prompt response time of approximately 12 hours. Customers can take advantage of this within 7 days of purchasing their item at Police Auctions, which is one of the higher time frames in our evaluation.

Top scores from the BBB

One aspect that sets Police Auctions apart is its outstanding reputation within the industry. Among the government auction services we researched, this platform enjoys one of the best reputations. With a perfect "A+" grade from the Better Business Bureau and accreditation since 2003, Police Auctions has consistently maintained high standards. While a few complaints have been registered with the BBB, these instances occurred more than a year ago and were promptly and professionally addressed by the representatives of Police Auctions. Customer feedback further validates the service's excellence with customers praising the site as a place where they can both easily buy government auction items and sell their own items at auction and earn a little extra cash.

Excellent customer feedback

While a few complaints have been registered with the BBB, these instances occurred more than a year ago and were promptly and professionally addressed by the representatives of Police Auctions. Customer feedback further validates the service's excellence with customers praising the site as a place where they can both easily buy government auction items and sell their own items at auction and earn a little extra cash.

Top option for variety

While Police Auctions tends to have a heavier emphasis on non-governmental auctions, particularly within the jewelry category, it presents a broad range of possibilities to cater to the needs of bidders from various backgrounds. Furthermore, few government auction platforms enjoy the level of trust and positive reputation that Police Auctions has achieved. If you seek a well-rounded selection of auctions with no fees, this is a great option for you.

All Surplus Review 4.5 Star Rating

All Surplus

4.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: free to browse
  • Auctions and buy now options
  • Easy to browse and search
  • Around 12.5% in buyer's premiums
  • "A+" rating from the BBB for parent company

All Surplus, the world's leading marketplace for business surplus, is powered by Liquidity Services LLC, a trusted and experienced company in the surplus industry with over $10 billion in completed sales and more than 15,000 sellers.

Almost 5 million buyers

This platform directly connects sellers with a vast network of 4.8 million registered buyers, offering attractive rates without additional costs like transportation, inspections, or hidden fees. Through its multi-channel sales approach, All Surplus ensures higher net returns by accurately reflecting market values and reducing unnecessary fees, providing sellers with a streamlined and profitable selling experience backed by a reputable and thriving marketplace.

Auction or buy now

One of the benefits of All Surplus is the shopping style. Unlike some options in this review that ask you to find an auction that is currently in process in your area, All Surplus allows you to browse all items on the site for free. Functioning like a more traditional shopping site, just with items recovered by the government, you can find a wide variety of items that are easy to shop and search for. Additionally, instead of just bidding on auctions, you can shop three different ways. You can either bid like a traditional auction, make offers that the seller can accept, or there are a variety of listings on All Surprise that you can choose to "buy now" at the listed price. The flexibility is great for more casual shoppers.

Best Government Auctions

Free to join

Going along with the shopping style, the main bonus for All Surplus is that it's open access. You don't have to pay for a membership to search through the items on sale at this site. Using All Surplus is completely free of charge. Some of the tiers of purchase do require you to create an account in order to make offers or bid at auctions, but there is no cost associated with making an account at All Surplus.

Great filters for easy searching

The search features at All Surplus make it super easy to shop. You can search for anything you want or use their categories. Each page allows you to use their filters to narrow down your search. The available filters include:

  • Category
  • Region and radius
  • Currency
  • Price
  • Sale type
  • Event type
  • Seller
  • Tier

As a bonus, when you look at the shopping categories, you can easily see how many different items are available in each category. For example, there were 3,963 items available in the "industrial, commercial equipment" category at the time of our review.

Buy autos or boats

One of the largest categories at All Surplus is motor vehicles. If you're looking for a cheaper-than-average car (or a dream boat), it's easy to browse their 2,000+ individual items which include a variety of work trucks, used police interceptors, daily driving vehicles, and novelty motor vehicles like dump trucks, jet skis, and racing boats.

Best Government Auctions

Detailed descriptions and transparent fees

The descriptions on listings are particularly helpful to customers. Before even clicking on the item, you can see some basic information including what kind of purchase is available (auction, offer, or buy now), and the price. When you get into the listing, the information is clearly organized in the same places on each listing, making it easy to understand what you're looking at, at a glance. Some of these details include:

  • Make/brand of the item
  • Condition of the item
  • Year the item was manufactured
  • Lot number for the item

This is also where you will see any notes about taxes or percentages for buyer's premiums, which can change the final price of your purchase, and are important to take into account when you bid. For example, in one listing we checked for a like-new refrigerator, the buyer's premium was 12.5% of the cost of the item and taxes would be added after purchase. However, we appreciate the transparency of having the premium displayed on the listing in a very visible spot.

Parent company scores high

When it comes to reviews, All Surplus doesn't have a lot of buzz. There aren't a lot of reviews for this website. For example, one third-party review site had just over 80 reviews at the time that we checked. This is much lower than we'd expect from a site that boasts a network of millions of buyers. The average star rating for All Surplus wasn't so impressive, but its parent company does a little better. All Surplus is owned by Liquidity Services LLC, which does have an impressive "A+" rating from the BBB.

Close second to our top option

Overall, All Surplus is best for customers who like to browse without getting into an auction right away. It's free to use this site, though you do need to make an account in order to begin buying or bidding. They also have great filters and item descriptions with transparency regarding fees. Despite a few low ratings from customers, the site has top marks from the BBB, and it has some of the highest numbers for total listings for government auction sites. So, if you want a place with flexible purchase options, a lot of items to buy, and a great user experience, All Surplus is the place to go.

Government Auction Review 4 Star Rating

Government Auction

4 Star Rating
  • Cost: free to browse and join
  • Highlights land auctions
  • 100% refund for damaged items
  • Case-by-case returns for non-damaged items
  • Buy-it-now shopping option
  • "A+" rating from the BBB

If you're looking for real estate, Government Auction is a great site for you to check out. Government Auction has established itself as a prominent online auction company specializing in land and asset sales worldwide for over a decade.

Clear title guarantee

All land sold in their surplus auctions comes with a guarantee of a clear title or a refund. Their flexible financing options require no credit checks or qualifications, with low down payments and monthly installments. Apart from land, Government Auction offers a diverse range of items, including GIA diamonds, rare coins, fine art, and antiques, with over one million assets sold to date. Visit their live online auction website regularly for exciting deals and valuable treasures.

Buy land now

While Government Auction does offer items other than land, they started by specializing in land auctions. With a history spanning over 12 years, Government Auction has become a trusted name in the online surplus land auction industry, having successfully sold more than 20,000 properties. In addition to land, you can also buy jewelry, purses, gold, artwork, technology, and automobiles among other options.

Best Government Auctions

Free to use

Another free-to-use site, Government Auction does allow users to browse before they sign up. However, if you want to make bids or see the auctions on the site, you will have to make an account. On the bright side, you can save items for later with an account, which is a bonus.

Bid or buy it now

One of the advantages of Government Auction is you can either participate in traditional auctions or you can browse a selection of "buy-it-now" options. Government Auction allows you to freely browse all the items on their site. While it does specialize in land auctions, there is a decent variety of buy-it-now listings to shop through. There are even listings for land on the buy-it-now listings. However, there are fewer listings available on this site than others, which could make it hard to find what you're looking for. For example, there were zero listings for land in Florida at the time of this review.

Not enough listings

The shopping experience at Government Auction was better than some sites with no filters, but it was still a little confusing. While you can search items by name or by the auction type you're looking for, the listings are under hyper-specific titles, which can make it hard to browse a large number of items in one go. For example, one of the categories was "Tv-Star Trek" which only had one listing inside it. Additionally, there were only 215 total items available at Government Auction which really lowers its ability to be competitive with other auction sites in this review.

Best Government Auctions

Returns available

In the case of damaged goods, if you receive a defective or damaged item, there will be no charge for return shipping. You'll have the option to choose a replacement item or receive a full refund of 100%. Customers can contact customer service at Government Auction and ship the item back free of charge. This is a great guarantee that we don't see from many auctions online. They also note that there is a possibility to make returns on items that are not damaged. However, this requires the customer to contact support within 3 days of receiving the item and the situation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If you purchase land, there is a 100% money-back guarantee if the land sold doesn't have a clear title.

Customer-first mentality

While there aren't a lot of items for sale on Government Auction, that doesn't stop customers from enjoying its services. Across the board, Government Auction has an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. On top of that, the business has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau. Customers love working with their service team. When one customer ran into an issue where they accidentally bought property they couldn't afford, they were able to process a refund through Government Auction and resolve the issue with no stress. We love seeing a company that puts customers first.

Top option for land auctions

Overall, Government Auction provides a customer-centric experience with its generous return policy and dedication to customer satisfaction. With an impressive average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars and an "A+" rating from the BBB, Government Auction demonstrates its commitment to putting customers first. The only drawback for Government Auction is that the inventory may be limited. The focus of this site is land sales, and there aren't as many listings for other items customers might want from an auction. For this reason, Government Auction isn't one of the top auctions in our review, but it is the best auction to reliably purchase land.

US Auction Online Review 3.5 Star Rating

US Auction Online

3.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: free to browse and join
  • Limited quality guarantee
  • Fixed shipping rates
  • Reduced premiums on some items
  • Specializes in antiques and art

If you're looking for a place to get designer items, luxury art, watches, or even perfumes, US Auction Online is a great place to start. Unlike some of the other sites which offer a very wide range of items, US Auction Online is more focused. They offer novelty coins, original art pieces, or full suits from bespoke tailors or designer brands. However, you won't find large-scale items like furniture or vehicles at this auction site, so if those are your must-have items, you might need to keep shopping.

Confused about sourcing

While US Auction Online does appear to auction government items sourced from different consignors and listing agents, the site also promises that the items sold here are all ethically sourced. However, it doesn't specifically say where and from whom the items are sourced from. They also note that they allow general businesses to sell here, so you may not be getting only government auction items at US Auction Online.

Join to best enjoy browsing

One of the main benefits of US Auction Online is that it's completely free to use and join the site. There are no membership fees here. However, in order to get the best out of browsing with US Auction Online, you do have to make an account. If you don't you won't be able to see where any of the bids are on any of the auction items available. And while there's a wide variety, there's no way to get even a baseline idea of what they cost without joining the site first.

Best Government Auctions

Mid-level browsing experience

While it isn't hard to get around the US Auction Online site in the slightest, there could be more attention paid to helpful filters to enhance the search process. Right now, customers are limited to clicking on the array of categories along the left side of the screen. The only available filters are the "default" , "featured" and "lot number" filters. There is no way to filter by bid price or by name, though you can search for particular items in the top search bar.

Very limited quality guarantee

According to US Auction Online's return policy, all items available for sale are subject to an "as is" condition policy. They do provide a limited guarantee which covers the authenticity of hand signatures, stones, metals, and watch makes and movements. However, attributes such as weight, size, estimated value, origin, grade, quality, age, condition, rarity, and importance are not guaranteed for any item. So, once a sale is made, it is considered final. Any disputes regarding the purchase must be raised within ten days of receiving the item.

Shipping policy

For all purchases at US Auction Online, a fixed shipping fee is specified for each item, which includes the costs associated with shipping and handling. It's important to be aware that shipment rates to Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico are double the standard fee due to the higher expenses involved in shipping to these areas.

Best Government Auctions

Reduced premiums on some items

One feature that stood out to us was their options with reduced buyer's premium. We love both that the company is transparent about there being buyer's premiums on all the items as well as offering some listings with reduced premiums for easier purchase. There were 4 pages of items with reduced premiums with 75 items per page, meaning there are at least 300 items at US Auction online that will have premiums lower than the industry standard of 12.5%.

No buzz about US Auction Online

One downside to US Auction Online is their reputation: they just don't have one. We checked third-party review sites as well as the Better Business Bureau, and there's just no buzz about US Auction Online. The best we could find were sites that verified that US Auction Online is a completely legitimate business site and not a scam, which is heartening. However, we would have loved to know how customers who use US Auction Online feel about the prices, shipping process, and customer service. For now, you'll have to use your judgment on US Auction Online.

Top option for clothes and antiques

Overall, US Auction Online has an impressive stock of auctions available and lists some very impressive items including fine art and luxury clothing. They stand out of the pack with their unique focus on home decor and wearables over larger-scale items. If you're looking for a new car, this might not be the site for you, but if you like antiques, autographed photos, or a tailored Italian suit, this could be a fun place to shop with your next government auction.

Property Room Review 3 Star Rating

Property Room

3 Star Rating
  • Cost: free to browse and join
  • Auction-style and buy now
  • Auctions as low as $1
  • Returns available
  • "A+" rating from the BBB

Property Room calls itself the "leading" police auction website for over two decades. However, this platform doesn't have the same amount of items for sale compared with some of the top performers in this review, including others that specifically offer police auctions. On the other hand, Property Room has over 2.2 million registered bidders and an ever-changing selection of items, including the potential addition of firearms. The site is also completely free to use and browse, so you don't have to worry about paying for a membership.

Most auctions start low

With most auctions starting at just $1 and featuring no reserve prices, participants are guaranteed an enjoyable experience. Law enforcement agencies utilize Property Room to auction off seized, found, and unclaimed personal property, clearing out their own property rooms and sending the items to the platform for nationwide bidding.

You can buy right away

The shopping options at Property Room include the traditional online auction format as well as a "buy now" feature for many listings. So, if you're looking for something you need in a rush or you don't want to get in a bidding war with other customers, you can select the filter for "buy now" and only see listings that allow you to purchase the item right away. This feature makes the site more accessible to casual shoppers as well as die-hard auction fans.

Amount of listings isn't competitive

While some of the listings on Property Room are really exciting, they don't have a lot of them. For example, in the cars, trucks, and vans section, there were only 33 total listings. In electronics, which is also usually a heavy-hitter, there were only 383 total listings. While these are constantly changing and you might see more or less depending on when you visit the site, compared to other auction sites at the time of this review, Property Room just didn't stack up with its total listings.

Best Government Auctions

Options for returns

While they don't list the exact parameters for returns, Property Room does offer returns. For customers who wish to initiate a return, they have 10 business days to contact customer support. However, the terms and conditions on the site say that determining refunds or returns will be case-by-case.

Clear item descriptions

One thing we like about browsing the Property Room is their item descriptions. Using clear headings to separate out the different topics in the descriptions, Property Room makes it very easy for customers to understand the key ideas and important factors in their product descriptions. For example, on one item we checked out, there were headers for shipping information and warranty information that were very clearly marked. And, the listing also showed the condition of the items and the required bid increment. However, the listing did now show any information about taxes or fees that were present on other auction sites, so it's unclear if those fees are waived here or if they just aren't overtly listed.

Customers are concerned about fees

An "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau also helps Property Room to stand out. But when you check out user reviews, it doesn't stack up as well as some other options in our evaluation. With just over 25 total reviews, the business only has an average rating of 1.5 stars out of 5. Customers complain about shipping not being reliable as well as there being hidden fees after winning your bid. This knocks down the company's reputation a decent amount in our opinion; however, it is important to note that this is a small number of reviews, and may not reflect the experience of most users or customers of Property Room.

Not the best, but not the worst

Overall, Property Room isn't deeply impressive, but neither is it the worst option out there. It has fewer listings than we'd like, but the items are interesting and the prices for bids start low enough to make the site worth browsing. Additionally, you can buy right away if you want to, which opens the site up to more casual shoppers. However, if you're looking for the most transparent site in terms of fees and taxes or a site with a great customer reputation, you might want to pass on this one.

Gov Deals Review 2.5 Star Rating

Gov Deals

2.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: free to browse and join
  • 12.5% buyer's premium
  • Many different types of products
  • Authentic government auctions from agencies nationwide
  • "A+" rating with the BBB

Gov Deals is another company in our review owned by Liquidity Services Inc., and it functions as an intermediary platform - facilitating the buying and selling of surplus assets between the public and government agencies. This comprehensive service covers a wide spectrum of assets, as evident from a single visit to the site. The inventory spans everything from Agricultural Equipment and Commodities to Woodworking Equipment, encompassing a vast array of items.

Free to browse auctions

One notable advantage of Gov Deals is its open access policy. Like a few options mentioned in our review, Gov Deals allows you to freely browse all the items on their site without any cost. This means you'll have no trouble finding a diverse range of products and can easily search for what you need. Fortunately, users are not required to create an account to access detailed information about any merchandise. In fact, contact details of each seller, questions from other interested parties, and additional relevant information are readily available to aid in decision-making prior to placing a bid.

Not as many listings as other sites

When utilizing Gov Deals, certain categories of merchandise will be more abundant than others. However, overall, there are fewer items at Gov Deals than other open-access websites in our review. For example, the highest number of items was 1,777 listings for furniture which is lower than most competitors. Automobiles only had 496 items at the time of this evaluation, which is much lower than most rival auction sites as well.

Searching here is a hassle

When it comes to the Gov Deals website, one aspect that falls disappointingly short is its search filters. In fact, the search filters on this platform are almost non-existent. Unlike other online auction services that provide robust filtering options to help users narrow down their search and find specific items, Gov Deals fails to deliver in this regard. The absence of comprehensive search filters makes it frustratingly difficult for users to efficiently navigate through the vast inventory of government-recovered items. Whether you're looking for a particular category, region, price range, or any other specific criteria, the limited search filters offered by Gov Deals make the process unnecessarily cumbersome and time-consuming.

Best Government Auctions

Full transparency in listings

Reading the details provided for each item becomes crucial, as they contain important information about buyers' premiums, taxes, and shipping/delivery/pick-up requirements. For example, on one listing we checked out, the listing information let buyers know about a 12.5% buyer's premium, the required bid increments, and what fees might be incurred when paying via PayPal vs. wire transfer. Additionally, the item needed to be moved by the buyer. With items like pianos or large furniture, this could incur additional costs for shipping and transportation, so it's helpful to know what the seller's policies are for those items in particular. The only downside to these listing descriptions is they appear to be random. Some sellers provide more information than others and the formatting can change drastically from listing to listing.

High score with the BBB...

Regarding reputation, it is ideal to select a government auction platform with a strong track record. How does Gov Deals fare in this aspect? The service still maintains an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau. Additionally, the parent company, Liquidity Services LLC, has an "A+" rating from the BBB - and it's great to see both the parent company and subsidiary have high ratings.

...but not customers

Unfortunately, with respect to customer reviews, the ratings aren't so good. Across several review sites which only had around 50 total reviews, the Gov Deals only received a 2-star average out of 5. Customers complained about dealing with the Gov Deals customer service team, and one noted that their account was locked for no reason and they couldn't get in. With no positive reviews to balance out these comments, it makes us less confident about the service Gov Delas provides.

Just doesn't stack up against competition

While Gov Deals stands out as a straightforward platform with minimal distractions, offering primarily government-related merchandise and free access to all users, it's hard to get overly excited due to the very poor customer reviews for this service. Since it has fewer listings and no filters to help you browse, Gov Deals isn't as good as other free-access auction sites.

Gov Planet Review 1.5 Star Rating

Gov Planet

1.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: free to use
  • Specializes in military surplus
  • State tax applies to each order

If your main focus is on government and military surplus auctions, Gov Planet is a platform that caters to your needs. This site offers heavy equipment such as military vehicles, field gear, and even electronics. However, if you're in search of great deals on jewelry or home amenities, Gov Planet might not meet your expectations in terms of selection.

Free to access

One notable advantage of Gov Planet is that you can freely browse through all the items available on the site without any commitment. There are no subscription fees or pay-for-access plans required. On top of the free access, Gov Planet also offers a variety of ways to buy. You can choose from an auction format or a "make offer" format, if you don't want to wait for the auction to complete. This offers customers more flexibility and more hope to get an item right away.

Too few listings to be competitive

One huge drawback to Gov Planet is the limited selection. Not only are there fewer categories here than on other sites, but the total number of listings in each category is also quite low. For example, there were only 41 different items available in the furniture category at the time of this review, and the highest number of items was in the "refrigerated trailers" category with only 603 total listings. This is much lower than rival free-to-browse government auction sites.

Best Government Auctions

Great filter system

Surprisingly, the shopping experience on Gov Planet is incredibly user-friendly with its search functionality. Whether you have a specific item in mind or prefer browsing through categories, the platform caters to your needs. With convenient filters available on each page, such as type, buying format, location, price, and more depending on the item you're seeking, you can easily narrow down your search and find exactly what you're looking for.

Info at a glance

Gov Planet provides the added benefit of displaying the number of items available in each shopping category, resulting in a quick overview of the inventory. Additionally, you have the option to view items that were sold in past auctions, giving you insights into the availability of a particular type of equipment. A quick glance will provide you with essential information such as the item's location, number of bids, minimum bid increment, and the auction's ending date.

Slightly confusing listing details

One thing that Gov Planet does well is its details. On top of the normal payment information, each listing will have important information like state-required taxes that could affect the final purchase price. For example, an item that we checked out was being sold in Pennsylvania and had an additional 15% added to the cost of the state sales tax. There weren't any mentions of the buyers' premiums we saw at other sites, which made it unclear if Gov Planet doesn't charge the 12.5% premium or if it just isn't transparent that they charge that to you later.

Best Government Auctions

Buyer has all the responsibility

Additionally, you should pay close attention to the inspection report, which is located in a separate tab. Gov Planet emphasizes that it is your responsibility as the buyer to review the entire inspection report before evaluating an item. This ensures that you are aware of any potential defects or issues. Failing to thoroughly review the report could result in discovering problems with the purchased equipment after the fact, with no recourse available.

"F" ratings across the board

Despite Gov Planet's interesting focus on military surplus, we strongly advise against using this service. The reason is clear: Gov Planet itself has received an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau. Additionally, the parent company of Gov Planet, Iron Planet, has received the same "F" rating from the BBB. The company has complaints on multiple third-party review platforms with an overall star average of 1.2 out of 5 stars. This is one of the lowest ratings we've seen in a long time, so we can't recommend you spend your money on an auction at this site.

Check out other places first

Considering the limited selection offered and the poor reputation of its parent company, Gov Planet is a risky choice for government auctions. With "F" ratings on both the parent company and subsidiary company, we can't recommend using this option. Unless you only want to look at military items, there isn't a great reason to use Gov Planet. We urge you to explore alternative platforms that provide a more reliable and satisfying experience.

GSA Auctions Review 1.5 Star Rating

GSA Auctions

1.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: free to browse and make an account
  • Clearinghouse for surplus federal assets only

Among the various government auction sites we assessed, GSA Auctions stands out as the sole platform with a .gov website, unequivocally affirming its affiliation with the Federal Government system. This platform exclusively focuses on "surplus federal assets," necessitating the provision of your Social Security number when registering a free account for auction bidding (and who really wants to do THAT these days?).

Low number of listings

While the inventory available on GSA Auctions may not leave you awestruck, it is important to note that this platform primarily features vehicles with only 485 listings and "miscellaneous" with only 151 listings. Given its strict limitation to federal surplus, GSA Auctions lacks the diverse merchandise categories typically found in local and state auctions.

Completely free to use

The one great point of GSA Auctions is that they don't charge for their services. You can browse and make an account totally for free. The only time customers will spend money at GSA Auctions is when they buy something or win an auction. Compared to other options that charge to have a membership for the site, GSA is a better choice.

Not a great user interface

Browsing on GSA Auctions really isn't a lovely experience. While you can separate out the listings according to category, location, or status, there aren't a lot of search filters once you get into the actual categories as we'd like. There are some options to change the order the listings appear, but narrowing it down with filters isn't really possible in a meaningful way. It can make shopping for what you want much more difficult at GSA Auctions than at other sites that are more customer-oriented.

Best Government Auctions

Details on listings aren't transparent

Paying close attention to the provided details is essential, as most government auction items are sold on an "as-is" basis and do not come with warranties. It's also a little hard to find everything that you need in the listing details. There isn't a particular order for the information, so you do have to scroll through a lot of writing to be able to find everything you might need. Luckily, most listings have the basics at the top, like the make or model for items that include that. However, the listings don't provide any information on taxes or buyers' premiums, which could mean there are extra charges for customers when they finally win their auction.

Ratings have gone down recently

We were not particularly pleased to discover that GSA Auctions has slid from a "C" grade to an "F" from the Better Business Bureau. On top of that, there aren't any reviews for this service at third-party review sites. There are a few blogs and discussion boards that are asking "Has anyone used this site?" which raises a few red flags about how safe GSA Auctions is as a place to spend your money. If no one has heard of it, we're a little worried about their reliability. That plus their "F" rating really knocks them down the list in our review.

No positives except for free use

From our perspective, GSA Auctions is a below-average site. While we appreciate government auction sites that offer free access, GSA Auctions falls short with the number of available items in comparison to our higher-rated government auction platforms. Adding to that less-than-impressive element, they also have an "F" rating from the BBB and no review presence. Overall, we can't recommend GSA Auctions. If you're looking for a reliable place to bid and win a government auction, check out some of the top-rated options on our list instead.

Public Surplus Review 1 Star Rating

Public Surplus

1 Star Rating
  • Cost: free to use for buyers
  • Listing descriptions include shipping practices

Public Surplus is an auction site that focuses on providing an experience beyond being a mere auction site. The site appears to have been opened in 2003, and by the look of its interface, the site hasn't been updated since. The user experience on this site is completely subpar. We know government auctions interface with government sites, but we expect them to be better designed than a basic government database.

Site is out of date

If you're in search of a user-friendly government auction site with a modern design, Public Surplus might not be the best option. This website is one of the most outdated. It doesn't even fit a standard browser window. On top of that, all of the categories for the listings are written on the left side of the browser and there is no way to filter anything except by alphabetizing the listings by title or by price.

Unnecessarily complex

Additionally, they have two separate buttons for seller and buyer registration, which is unnecessarily complex for one site to have two different kinds of accounts. And, if that isn't complicated enough, they note that in order to finish registering your account, a Public Surplus account representative will be in touch with you to activate your account. Why?!

Extremely low number of listings

On top of our other concerns, the site also doesn't offer a wide variety of items for sale. There are 7+ pages of vehicles on Public Surplus with an average of 25 vehicles per page. While this can look like a lot if you're scrolling through each listing the way the site forces you to, it is a fairly low total of around 175 listings. The number of listings for technology also had around 175 listings total.

Best Government Auctions

Cluttered listing descriptions

Unfortunately, the listings themselves aren't super helpful. The descriptions are cluttered and hard to read at a glance. On the listings we checked out, the main details about the auction were available like the current price and the starting point for the bid. The description usually included whether or not shipping would be provided by the seller, which was helpful. However, we couldn't find any details about fees or taxes which might impact the final cost once the sale has gone through.

Free for buyers but not sellers

Interestingly, while Public Surplus is free to use and join for customers, for the agencies that are selling on the site, there is a cost. According to the Public Surplus FAQ, they have departed from the "one size fits all" pricing approach. Instead, pricing is now determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account various factors such as the agency's business volume, the value of listed items, and unique needs. So, they don't tell agencies how much it will cost to list on Public Surplus, but there will be a fee in most cases.

Site is "shady" according to reviewers

When we find customers on discussion boards asking questions like "Has anyone ever heard of X" , we get a little worried. And that was exactly what we found when looking for customer reviews for Public Surplus. The reviews we did find on SiteJabber were disappointing. The average score was 1.7 stars out of 5 and customers repeatedly left reviews stating that Public Surplus was the "worst" online auction site or that they had "shady" practices. On top of it all, the company has a horrible "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau, so it might be safer just to stay away.

Don't trust Public Surplus

In almost every way Public Surplus falls short of expectations and can be considered one of the worst options in our review. The site's outdated design and lack of user-friendly features make it difficult to navigate and browse listings. While they do offer a decent number of items for sale, the cluttered listing descriptions and absence of crucial details such as fees and taxes hinder the overall experience. The site's reputation is also questionable, as numerous reviewers have labeled it as one of the worst auction sites out there. Better off looking somewhere else for your next government auction.

Government Auctions Review 1 Star Rating

Government Auctions

1 Star Rating
  • Cost: $19.95/month subscription fee
  • 3-day free trial
  • Large number of listings
  • Access to government auctions

From the get-go, the appearance of the Government Auctions website will not convince you that it's the best option available. And unfortunately, that impression would be correct. While this used to be one of the better sites out there, Government Auctions has fallen in reputation recently, and it's fallen a lot. For a company that used to have an "A+" rating from the BBB to slide all the way down to an "F" rating raises a lot of red flags for us.

Terrible website experience

If you're looking for a site that's easy to browse and has a modern design, you might want to keep moving. Government Auctions is one of the most outdated sites in our review. The front page looks like something from a scam site. While it says it is featured on a variety of review sites or news sites, there isn't anything out there to verify it. Further, it says that it holds BBB accreditation, which is no longer true.

In a word: Ugh

The worst part about the website design here is that if you want to search for specific listings, you have to put in a keyword search or state search. If you choose keywords, you will get a long scrolling list of items that match your keyword with no photos or relevant details like price visible. Furthermore, the keyword search is simply done by finding matching letters in the listings. For example, if you search "car" it will show you results like "shopping cart" because the letters "car" are in the listing title. Ugh.

Membership required to shop

In order to see anything of use from this website, you have to pay a subscription fee. For $19.95 per month, individuals can enjoy unlimited access to the service, with the freedom to cancel anytime. There is a 3-day trial, if you're not sure if you'll like the service, and Government Auctions promises that users can cancel before the trial period ends without incurring any charges. For a sneak peek at the available items, Government Auctions maintains active social media channels where you can find photos of items featured in ongoing auctions. However, this requires a lot of off-site sleuthing and isn't ideal for casual customers who just want to browse.

Best Government Auctions

Limited by location

In terms of the items available on Government Auctions, everything is limited by location. Every item, even autos, and the generically labeled "items" require users to put in their zip code to see available listings. While there were plenty of options in categories like "auto" , it was hard to search through them as there are no filters available. However, there were 7 pages of autos in our area, so there is a decent selection if you're willing to browse for a while.

"F" rating and bad vibes

One significant reason for our concern about Government Auctions is the company's rating at the BBB. The company used to hold an "A+" rating and now has slid all the way down to an "F" rating. Additionally, the company has recently lost its accreditation, which is an even greater concern. On top of this very low rating, there are almost no customer reviews on third-party websites. The only feedback out there is on discussion boards or blogs where customers are asking questions about scams or the legitimacy of the site, which gives us some seriously bad vibes.

Last place pick

While this used to be one of the top websites out there, we can no longer recommend Government Auctions as a place for customers to shop with confidence. With their sudden drop in rating from the BBB, the outdated website, and the general difficulty browsing the site, this option really stands out as one of the worst in our review. If you take into account the fact that you also have to pay for this service, it easily becomes the last-place option for government auctions.

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Continued from above...

Government auctions occur when federal, state, or local government agencies need to sell surplus items, seized property, or assets obtained through various means. These auctions can feature a diverse array of goods, including cars, trucks, boats, furniture, electronics, jewelry, and even real estate. The items up for auction are often in good condition and can be acquired at prices well below their market value. Government auctions are especially attractive to bargain hunters, collectors, and entrepreneurs looking for investment opportunities.

One of the advantages of government auctions is the transparency and legitimacy they offer. Since these auctions are conducted by government agencies, you can have confidence in the authenticity and legal status of the items being sold. Additionally, government auctions follow strict guidelines and procedures, ensuring a fair and regulated environment for both buyers and sellers. This level of oversight provides peace of mind and minimizes the risks associated with purchasing items from unknown or unreliable sources.

Online platforms have revolutionized the way government auctions are conducted. With a few simple clicks, you can access comprehensive catalogs of available items, view detailed descriptions, and browse accompanying photographs. This digital convenience allows you to participate in auctions from anywhere, at any time, expanding your access to a wider range of auctions and items. Furthermore, online auctions typically provide robust bidding systems and notifications to keep you informed about the progress of your bids and competing offers.

Overall, government auctions present a unique opportunity to find valuable items at affordable prices. The convenience of online platforms, coupled with the transparency and regulated nature of these auctions, makes them an appealing option for savvy shoppers and investors. Whether you're looking for personal items or seeking business opportunities, exploring government auctions can be a rewarding experience that opens the door to exciting deals and unexpected treasures.

When checking out government auctions online, it may be hard to decide where to trust and find the best deals. If you're not sure where to start bidding, we've put together this list of criteria to help you find the government auction for your needs:

  • Price. One of the most important factors for many people is the price. Some online auction sites require you to pay a membership fee in order to even shop there. Keep that in mind as you browse the different options and decide what services are worth paying for or if you can get a better service for free.
  • Number of listings. Some auction sites offer more items than others. While the nature of auctions means that the number of listings will change almost daily, you want to make sure you're shopping at a place with a wide variety to help you have a higher chance of getting what you need.
  • Types of items. Not all auction sites focus on the same merchandise. Some in this review focus on real estate, some focus on military vehicles, while others offer a unique collection of luxury items. Keep in mind what types of merchandise you're looking to buy at your next auction and let that guide where you shop.
  • Customer satisfaction. With auction sites there can already be some worry about getting scammed. We totally understand. That's why checking out customer feedback for different sites can be a big help in deciding where you want to spend your money. Auction lovers just like you are out there, and they're rating companies so you can know who to trust and who to stay away from.

To simplify the process of finding the best government auction for you, Top Consumer Reviews has checked out and evaluated the best options online today. Hopefully, this helps you enjoy browsing the vast array of items and get some dream deals on your next government auction bid!

The Best Government Auction Sites Compare Government Auction Sites Compare Government Auction Site Reviews What are the best Government Auction Sites Best Government Auction Site Reviews

Government Auction Site FAQ

That depends! Sometimes items come when an office closes or gets downsized. Other auctions feature seized or abandoned property. And, some merchandise is simply surplus: more was bought than what was needed in the end, so the agency tries to recoup some of the taxpayers' money by auctioning off the extra items.
More accurately, is there anything you can't buy? While vehicles and furniture tend to be the most commonly-found products listed in government auctions, you might spot anything from a topaz ring to a military tank!
Yes. That's the point of buying items through an auction, after all. But, like any other kind of option, it's up to you to do the research first. Otherwise, you might wind up with a not-so-good deal if you fail to read the fine print on the item's condition or actual value.
Sometimes. Many sites will allow you to browse for free, but to place a bid you'll need to become a paying subscriber to the service. But, there are a few sites that let you browse and bid at no cost; they usually make their money through buyer fees once the auction has been completed.
Definitely not! Government auctions now are almost exclusively online.
Read the details on each auction before entering a bid. Smaller items might be available for shipping, and even bigger ones like cars and boats may be delivered for a (sizeable) fee. On the other hand, you may have to pick up your auction wins - so keep an eye on the location of anything you're bidding on.
That's one of the most common complaints you'll find with some government auctions. Again, read the fine print to determine if there's been an inspection of your item, and/or if the auction site warranties the condition of the item (especially if you take delivery and it doesn't match what was stated in the inspection).
Most government auction services have been around for many years, just taking what used to happen at the courthouse and city hall over to the internet for convenience. However, there are some sites that offer little more than cheap jewelry and a handful of government auctions on the site. Check the reputation of a service before creating an account or entering your payment information!

Compare Government Auction Sites

Select any 2 Government Auction Sites to compare them head to head

  • Police Auctions
  • All Surplus
  • Government Auction
  • US Auction Online
  • Property Room
  • Gov Deals
  • Gov Planet
  • GSA Auctions
  • Public Surplus
  • Government Auctions
Police Auctions vs All Surplus Police Auctions vs Government Auction Police Auctions vs US Auction Online Police Auctions vs Property Room Police Auctions vs Gov Deals Police Auctions vs Gov Planet Police Auctions vs GSA Auctions Police Auctions vs Public Surplus Police Auctions vs Government Auctions All Surplus vs Government Auction All Surplus vs US Auction Online All Surplus vs Property Room All Surplus vs Gov Deals All Surplus vs Gov Planet All Surplus vs GSA Auctions All Surplus vs Public Surplus All Surplus vs Government Auctions Government Auction vs US Auction Online Government Auction vs Property Room Government Auction vs Gov Deals Government Auction vs Gov Planet Government Auction vs GSA Auctions Government Auction vs Public Surplus Government Auction vs Government Auctions US Auction Online vs Property Room US Auction Online vs Gov Deals US Auction Online vs Gov Planet US Auction Online vs GSA Auctions US Auction Online vs Public Surplus US Auction Online vs Government Auctions Property Room vs Gov Deals Property Room vs Gov Planet Property Room vs GSA Auctions Property Room vs Public Surplus Property Room vs Government Auctions Gov Deals vs Gov Planet Gov Deals vs GSA Auctions Gov Deals vs Public Surplus Gov Deals vs Government Auctions Gov Planet vs GSA Auctions Gov Planet vs Public Surplus Gov Planet vs Government Auctions GSA Auctions vs Public Surplus GSA Auctions vs Government Auctions Public Surplus vs Government Auctions
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