Plainfield warehouse serves as auction hub for returned goods at deep discounts

Keywords Plainfield / Retail
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ALLSURPLUS DEALS
Items purchased by online bidders are ready for in-person pickup at AllSurplus Deals in Plainfield. (IBJ photo/Dave Lindquist)

At least one question springs to mind when a 70-inch TV is listed for $5: How is that price possible?

For AllSurplus Deals, an online auction hub that opened Nov. 17 in a Plainfield warehouse, deep discounts are possible because the company deals with returned and overstock items.

It’s important to note that $5 is the opening bid in an auction, and auction winners pick up their merchandise at the warehouse at 1399 S. Perry Road.

A high volume of transactions also plays a role in low prices, said Jeff Rechtzigel, a vice president at Liquidity Services, the company that’s distributed returned and overstock items in a B2B format from the Plainfield warehouse for nearly 20 years.

Based in Maryland, Liquidity operates eight warehouses in the United States. AllSurplus Deals is the company’s direct-to-consumer brand that’s launched at five of the locations.

Rechtzigel said AllSurplus Deals represents an important segment of the reverse supply chain or circular economy. He said 17% of items sold by retailers are returned.

“Even if something is coming out of its intended use, it still has value,” said Rechtzigel, noting that returned and overstock items commonly are discarded and often destined for landfills.

In 2021, Liquidity Services reported the recycling of around 435,900 pounds of electronic items, nearly 1.2 million pounds of wood material and 2.5 million pounds of cardboard across its warehouses.

At the 190,000-square-foot Plainfield warehouse, items are sorted and photographed for listing at the AllSurplus Deals website. Rechtzigel said his company works with eight of the country’s 10 largest retailers.

“It’s not perfect on-the-shelf inventory at a retail store,” Rechtzigel said. “It came back from that retailer. It’s been opened. It may not have every accessory. It’s simply our job to get that product back in the hands of consumers.”

On Monday, two 70-inch Westinghouse Roku TVs were up for auction at the Plainfield online hub. Bidding had reached $52 and $9, respectively.

Rechtzigel said most auctions last 24 hours and a common bidding increment is $2.

A holiday wreath, patio umbrella and handheld digital voice recorder also were among about 500 items available at the website.

Rechtzigel said customers are welcome to inspect items when picking up purchases in hand-offs that are scheduled by appointment.

“If they see something they don’t like, they can return it,” he said.

No returns are possible, however, after departure from the parking lot.

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