The General Services Administration (GSA) is the “business side” of the U.S. government. They were established over 50 years ago by President Truman. GSA manages all excess Federal assets. The website, GSA Auctions, is a way for GSA to get rid of these excess and surplus items. All items were purchased with Federal tax dollars and are auctioned off to the general public at reasonable starting bids. The public is allowed to bid on both single and/or multiple items. To bid, consumers must register on GSA Auction’s homepage. However, consumers do not have to register to simply browse their selection.
Most, if not all, of the items do not have the option to be shipped to you. Most of the items need to be picked up. If you cannot personally pick up your item that you won, you must provide a letter that states the name of the person you have authorized to pick up your item, the sale and lot number of the item, and your signature. The person picking up your item must present their photo id and your receipt of the item.
Most of the items sold on GSA Auctions are larger items (military equipment, vehicles, boats, helicopters, houses, trailers, etc.) at a very reasonable starting bid. They were owned previously by a government entity so all sellers can be trusted.
Their site is very straightforward and basic, which can be good for some consumers. They have a thorough FAQ section and a phone number and/or email in case any consumer has any questions.
It is completely free to browse and bid on items on their site.
You cannot list personal items on their site. So if you are looking to be a seller, this site is not for you. This is a big negative for many.
Being a government owned site, they have very strict guidelines on the whole process. Your credit may be checked in some cases and your account balances (for whatever payment you will be using) will be checked in all cases.
Unless mentioned otherwise, all items have to be personally picked up and removed from their site. This is a hassle, especially being that some of these items are very large and may be across the country.
Experience with GSAAuctions - 15+ years of active purchasing Satisfaction- Mixed. Closing price- No other fees a definite plus. Prices for frequently sold items are usually competitive but not an absolute bargain given the risk. "As is" rules. Payment - By bank draft or credit/ debt card within a couple of business days of close. Hi bid items may have an extended time with permission of the Contracting Officer. Reliability of descriptions- Sometimes good but generally wanting. What is written supposedly rules..but not always. Some (but not all) of the Contracting Officers writing the offerings often make significant errors, posting incorrect photos, getting equipment models or quantities incorrect, posting in the wrong categories and vague listings. Assume anything using a computer has had all software removed along with any HDD. Do not expect to get more than the listing; from my experience, getting more than bargained for is quite rare. It is rare to be able to use industrial, lab or medical equipment without some sort of significant maintenance. Costly or near-impossible to find parts are often missing even though the item had been reported in working condition when removed from service. Famous vague listing repeats include GSA Virginia warehouse for "x number of pallets of laboratory equipment," and the auction goes for perhaps $30k or more. But is a detailed manifest of the sale items given? Not even available from the lazy onsite personnel. NASA Glenn, Houston, Huntsville and Kennedy item descriptions tend to be better but are usually well beyond usefulness and often have been parted out, and expect absolutely no help with prior-to-close additional info or post removal help. (And they require a declaration of citizenship before removal.) But there are site exceptions with very helpful people and the bid prices often reflect that. Experienced bidders often know. Needing more item info? Often, onsite property custodians are unavailable or will not/ are not knowledgeable so questions go unanswered. Usually they just want to get rid of the items with as little hassle as possible. All items in the listing have been removed, even the junk, and not thrown away onsite. The GSA Property Release is draconian. Once the item is removed off site, it is yours in the "as is" condition regardless of the stated condition or what the auction photos show or property custodian may have told you. Most of the time items have to be removed with 10 business days of the close of auction even if the property custodian is unavailable, (as on vacation or in training) and removal cannot be made until they return. Sometimes the Contracting Officer will grant a removal extension, but some will not. Failure to remove the item on time results in a charge up to the price of the item limited to $325 or 10 percent of the bid, which ever is more. Very high bid item forfeiture will be less. One time I forgot about removal because of extenuating circumstances; by the time I remembered, too late, too bad. And no courtesy warnings of impending forfeiture.