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Q: FedEx/UPS/USPS Lost Packages ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: FedEx/UPS/USPS Lost Packages
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: darlingm-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 25 May 2004 16:15 PDT
Expires: 24 Jun 2004 16:15 PDT
Question ID: 351903
Freight companies (FedEx/UPS/USPS/etc) usually offer insurance on
packages.  When packages are lost, the courier pays the shipper the
amount the package was insured for.  I remember hearing a few years
ago of one of the main couriers holding auctions for the goods that
piled up after labels were unreadable or torn off - in a type of
"salvage" sale/auction.

I would really like to find out how my company could participate in
these sales/auctions if they exist.

Being a $200 question, I will be very specific about what kind of an
answer I am looking for.  I don't want to pay for something that I do
not feel is worthwile, or have a researcher spend time on this and
find out it was a waste of time.

I would accept a "potentially benefitial" answer about ONE of the
three couriers I mention, or a "non-benefitial" answer about all THREE
couriers I mention.  Basically, if the researcher gets information I
would love to receive, they can stop there rather than answer for all
three (I would certainly appreciate hitting all three if time

* I would accept "potentially benefitial" information that covers ONE
courier of either FedEx/UPS/USPS.
   - To be "potentially benefitial", I mean information for ONE of the
three mentioned couriers a sale/auction for "lost" merchandise - where
merchandise can be purchased individually rather than purchased blind
in truckloads.  I would need information on how to contact the
courier's appropriate department, so I could try to have my company
participate in the sale/auction.  I won't hold the researcher
responsible if that contact disallows my company to participate for
some reason (like you have to purchase $10 million worth of stuff
annually, etc.)

* I would accept non-benefitial information that covers all THREE
couriers of FedEx/UPS/USPS
   - I understand that the information I get back might be completely
useless.  Maybe they sell stuff blind in truckloads.  Maybe they let
it rot in a warehouse somewhere.  If the answer shows that my company
can't do anything with any of these three carriers, I will be happy at
least knowing.

I am most interested in such a sale/auction happening in St. Louis.  I
am not sure which of the three couriers I mention holds it, but if
information is given for this city, a nice tip will be given.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 25 May 2004 17:18 PDT
Hello darlingm-ga,

Thanks for your question.  It was refreshingly well-put, which
(believe me!) is much appreciated.  I would like to ask for a bit of
clarification, though.

I know that USPS has a well-establixhed auction program, and I'll look
into the details of that.  I'll also see what there is to see about
FedEx and UPS, though at a first pass, there doesn't seem to be much
out there.

I'd be reluctant to provide an answer, though, that only offered one
out of three freight companies as a useful source -- even though you
said that it would be OK to do that.

My question:  Are you interested in learning about private companies
that specialize in "recovery management"?  They basically unload stuff
(excess inventory, undeliverable merchandise, etc) as a service to
companies that don't want to deal with themselves.  This can be
straight sale, auctions, or other means of getting rid of unwanted
items.  I don't know if FedEx and UPS make use of such companies, but
they might!

If that's of interest, I can also focus some attention on recovery
management companies in the St Louis area.  Of course, this would be
in addition to what I can find on the three companies you asked about.

Let me know.  


Clarification of Question by darlingm-ga on 25 May 2004 20:46 PDT
I appreciate that you are reluctant to provide an answer for one of
the three freight companies.  I really do.  I will stand by my
original post, however if you are able to provide an answer for more
than one of the freight companies, you have no idea how greatful I
would be!  I put in the "one of three" option because this information
is important enough to me, that I would rather get one of the couriers
solved and then move on to the next ones - rather than have the
researchers ignore the question if it is too large of a research
project.  I assume USPS will be much easier to track down than the
more private companies, but they are certainly one of the couriers I
want to know about.

As for your question:

I am primarily interested in how I can purchase packages that don't
get delivered by UPS or FedEx.  I am somewhat interested in what USPS
does with them, but I am pretty sure the merchandise I am looking for
would rarely be shipped through USPS.

So, if these couriers use a recovery management company(s), then I
would be interested in these companies (primarily ones they use in St.
Louis, but not limited to there.)  If these couriers don't use a
recovery management company, then I wouldn't be interested in these
other companies.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 26 May 2004 12:44 PDT
Whew.  Getting information from the private companies is tougher than
pulling teeth.  They just don't want to admit that they have
undelivered packages, I suppose.

I am making progress, though, and hope to have an answer for you later
this week, as I hear back from a few of my queries.

In the mean mentioned that there is certain "merchandise I
am looking for...".  Can you tell me any more about this?

The reason I ask is that an organization like FedEx is actually
several different companies, and they each handle different sorts of
"stuff" and have different ways of dealing with it.

In particular, there is a huge difference in the handling of
regular-sized packages and really big (say, over 100 pounds)

Which category would your particular item(s) be in?

Let me know if you can.  In the mean time, I'll still be searching...


Clarification of Question by darlingm-ga on 26 May 2004 13:07 PDT
I really appreciate all the work you are doing.  I sure hope it turns
up something.  I know what you mean that they don't want to admit they
have undelivered packages.  Hehehe... Even when you have a tracking
number that hasn't been delivered and hasn't been scanned for a week
they still don't want to admit they have a single undelivered package.

In a public form, I don't want to go into detail about exactly what we
are looking for.  I see what you are getting at (regular services
versus specialized services), and I can certainly say that we are
primarily looking for packages shipped in regular services.  It would
be electronic equipment, however they may not know it.  It seems they
don't always open the packages enough to see the insides before they
sell it.  The packages would be mainly in the 1-25lbs range (perhaps a
bit more but not much) and sized well within the regular service
Subject: Re: FedEx/UPS/USPS Lost Packages
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 02 Jun 2004 07:38 PDT
Hello again, darlingm-ga.

Well, I've pulled as many teeth as I can from FedEx, UPS and the Post
Office, and I have some information for you.  I'm not sure if it's
beneficial, potentially beneficial, or non-beneficial.  I'll post what
I have, and you be the judge.

Before rating the answer I've posted below, please let me know if
there is anything else you need.  If you would like any additional
explanation of something I've written -- or if you simply need more
information -- just post a Request for Clarification, and I'll be
happy to assist you further.

All the best,




A call to the FedEx toll free number -- 800-Go-FedEx (800-463-3339) at
first wasn't very helpful, but with a bit of insistent cajoling, the
customer service representative finally referred me to:

FedEx "Overgoods Department" Memphis

The Overgoods Department was kind enough to tell me that they had
absolutely no idea what happened to their packages after they left
Overgoods, but referred me to:


which I assumed was another FedEx number, but turned out to belong to
a group calling itself NorthWest Research, who apparently does
investigative work for FedEX, including trying to track down the
senders or intended recipients of lost packages.

NW Research confessed that, yes, after a certain length of time,
unclaimed packages do go to a commercial auction service known as

also known as "One Incredible Auction" [ ]

As the Bukoos site says:

"I felt like a kid in a candy store"

and they promise a unique shopping experience of "surplus" items.  

Details about the auctions at Bukoos can be found here:

which brings me to the "is this beneficial...?" question.  

The Bukoos auctions are in Utah.  Whether that is useful to you or not
is a matter for you to decide, I suppose.  However, it does appear
that Utah is something of the surplus-packages-auction capital of the
US...lots of stuff ends up out there.

The Bukoos site does not make any specific reference to FedEx or to
overgoods in general, but my understanding is that they handle the
unclaimed FedEx overgoods.

The Bukoos site posts pictures and descriptions of the auction items
shortly before the auction itself.  When I visited the site, there
were no current items listed, but you may want to check back to have a
look for yourself:

You can see some lots from prior sales at this link from Google Images:



The Post Office is more straightforward, but once again, there doesn't
appear to be much happening right in your neighborhood.

According to the Post Office's Auction website at:

undeliverable items are auctioned off at the Atlanta Mail Recovery
Center...the next auction is scheduled for June 9, 2004, and appear to
be held every few weeks.

Note that a Google search on "mail recovery centers" mentions USPS
locations in St Paul, Minnesota, and San Francisco, CA, as well as a
trial auction service on eBay.  However, none of these options appear
to be active at the current time -- only the Atlanta center has any
USPS auction activity.



A call to the UPS toll free number at 800-742-5877 confirmed that,
like FedEx, UPS also has overgoods operations, which they referred to
as "tracing and claims processing".

They were not terribly specific, however, about the ultimate
disposition of these unclaimed packages.

They did say that "UPS does not auction these items to the general
public", but they also said that the items go to one or more "salvage
vendors", at least one of which is located in Utah!

Given the location, it seems possible that these goods, too, end up at, but UPS would neither confirm nor deny this.


One last thing worth noting.  In the course of my research, I came
across the following site:

which lists surplus/salvage retailers around the country, including
five operators in Missouri, in case you wanted to check them out.

I hope this information is helpful to you in your quest for unclaimed

As I said above, if there is anything else you need, just let me know,
and I'll be happy to assist you as best I can.

Subject: Re: FedEx/UPS/USPS Lost Packages
From: tv1011-ga on 14 Jun 2004 12:41 PDT
Hello Friends,
I'm new to this site and was surprised to see questions of this
nature!  Being from Utah I'm very familiar with Bukoos as well as
NPS-market place.

A personal friend of mine brokered the property for Bukoos and I have
been there a few times to check things out.  They have 3 types of
business available.
1. Retail store.  Requires a membership (Costco, Sams Club).  With the
membership you are able to purchase items displayed on warehouse
shelves.  Some of it is pretty good stuff, much of it is overpriced so
after you get the colored sticker discount you my be getting closer to
wholesale prices.  You would need to be there early on a Friday to get
the "good stuff".
2. Bucket purchases.  Usually stuff like pencils, pens, hats, cheap
golf balls... mostly promotional type items.
3. Auctions.  These are usually heavily attended by the public so
prices often go to retail or above.  Again, you would have to attend
each week to find the good stuff.

The UPS items go to a place called National Product Sales (NPS).  They
have 3 locations in Salt Lake City and Kaysville, Utah.  Check out their web site.  You can click on
their eBay auctions to see some of what they end up with.

I shop 2 of their stores weekly and find exceptional bargains.  If you
are looking for Industrial, Automotive, Sporting Goods, tools, wheels,
tires etc... then the place to go is directly west of the Salt Lake
International airport in a complex called the International Center. 
It would be a 3 minute taxi ride.  Last week I found a new set of
Enkei wheels that retail for $425 which I purchased for $160.  I also
bought 72 CCM brand roller hockey pucks for $1.00 each.  These retail
for around $7.00.

Their other store is like a Target for surplus.  They have a large
surplus grocery area and a large general merchandise area.  I have
found some good deals here as well.  They have an interesting section
that has collectibles, some priced as high as $10,000.  You would
really have to know what you're looking at there!  The key to finding
great bargains is shopping weekly.

Hope this additional info is helpful!
Subject: Re: FedEx/UPS/USPS Lost Packages
From: pafalafa-ga on 14 Jun 2004 12:53 PDT
tv1011-ga...thanks for that added info...hope it's a help to darlingm-ga.


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