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Saturday, July 31st
Of all of the government auction sites we evaluated, GSA Auctions is the only one with a .gov website - making it clear that this is actually part of a Federal Government system. You'll only find "surplus federal assets" here, and as such, be prepared to provide your Social Security number when you register your free account for auction bidding.
You probably won't be overly impressed with the inventory on offer through GSA Auctions. When we made our most recent visit to the site, there were approximately 700 items on auction, most of them being vehicles (271) and furniture (155). We did get a little excited when we saw "NASA/Shuttle/Hubble" in the list, but unsurprisingly, the inventory count there was 0. Because this service is strictly limited to federal surplus, you won't see the types of merchandise you see with local and state auctions.
Browse By Location
Browsing what's on offer can be fun, especially since most items have a low minimum bid of just $10 or $25. Just be sure to check location details before you enter a bid; otherwise, you could wind up driving a long way to pick up that "bargain" of a desk chair. Consider using the "Browse by Location" dropdown, so that you're only looking at merchandise that you're willing (and able) to pick up within the required timeframe.
Be sure to read all details very carefully: most of the government auction items are sold as-is and not warranted. For example, on a listing described as "MISC COUCH", the listing said that it was usable, but repairs may be required and parts may be missing. You can schedule an inspection prior to bidding, but that might not be reasonable if you don't happen to live within a short drive of where the item is being held.
Lower BBB Rating
We weren't thrilled to see that GSA Auctions has a "C" rating from the Better Business Bureau (and, frankly, we were surprised to learn that a governmental service can actually have a BBB listing and grade). There were only two complaints registered there, and only one of them had gone unanswered, but that was enough for the BBB to give GSA Auctions a lower rating.
Find More Elsewhere
From our perspective, GSA Auctions gets an average ranking. We love government auction sites that are free to use and that make it easy to see all of the available details about the items listed there. But, because this service only features federal surplus items, it doesn't have as much to offer as our higher-rated government auction sites. There's no risk involved with using GSA Auctions for browsing to see what's out there, but in the end you'll probably find more with a service that includes local and state auctions as well.
That depends on what you're trying to purchase. There are many services that promise to connect you with great deals on seized jewelry, surplus vehicles, or even abandoned homes. Instead of having to visit the local courthouse or visit a far-flung warehouse somewhere, you can use your computer - or even your smartphone - to browse auction listings, bid on items, and even submit payment.
Why do people buy from government auctions? Most of them are looking for a great deal on new and used merchandise. And, not many shoppers are aware of the available resources to connect them with the goods on offer by various local, state and federal agencies. These governmental offices aren't trying to make a profit: more often than not, they just want to clear out their warehouses and get what they can, especially for items that are used or in less-than-perfect condition.
However, no two government auction sites are the same. Some act strictly as a clearinghouse for federal agencies, while others carry both government-auctioned items and overstock deals from other sources. And, while some sites give you access to these listings at no cost, you may find that the more robust platforms expect a membership fee in exchange for providing you with the most updated lists of government auctions around the country.
How can you tell which government auction site to use? Here are several criteria to factor in when deciding on the service that's right for you:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best government auction sites on the internet today. We hope this information helps you find all of the merchandise you're looking for - at bargain prices!
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