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Unclaimed Luggage Auctions - A Beginner's Guide

By Edited Apr 25, 2016 0 0

Unclaimed luggage auctions occur whenever airlines accumulate so many abandoned bags, lost suitcases and duffles that have been left behind, and they become enough of a burden to manage that they decide to sell them off. Although you can visit these special sales and lay down some money on the unclaimed baggage you find, you can also visit professional auction houses that buy up these packages and then resell them separately or en masse. What's the main reason to even consider dealing with strangers' lost belongings? For one thing, you can obtain nice electronics and goods for much cheaper than you would normally have to pay. For another, you never quite know what you're going to find in a given bag - you might strike it rich with some jewelry or precious stones. 

Spike TV Luggage Wars Show

Introducing Luggage Wars From Spike TV

Hoping to capitalize on their smash hit success with Auction Hunters, that follows professional storage pickers Allen Haff and Clinton "Ton" Jones around the country as they seek out the biggest scores in repossessed storage auctions, Spike TV is ready to roll out its next entry into this niche. 

Luggage Wars is the next show that will cover much of the same territory, yet in a different area. Unclaimed luggage auctions are unknown to most of the American public, but they still represent tremendous opportunity for the savvy buyer who knows how to turn another person's misfortune into their own profit. 

Although there is definitely money to be made in auctioning off lost airline baggage, you might be surprised at how infrequently bags are lost in transit compared to the frequency with which storage units are defaulted on and eventually sold off to the public. 

Storage auction units can definitely claim higher volume because there are facilities all over the country that have multiple tenants falling behind on their rent at any given time, meaning that you'll always be able to find a storage unit for sale in your state. 

However, the air carrier industry actually does a surprisingly good job of returning lost luggage to its rightful owners. In fact, 99.5% of luggage ultimately finds its way to its rightful owners, although this number includes bags that are originally misplaced or irretrievable at the time of arrival. 

Airlines that are responsible for duffles, suitcases and backpacks that have been separated from their owners spend a great deal of time, effort and money to seek out their customers and return their bags to them. They go to great lengths to accomplish this in order to ensure customer loyalty and to prevent one bad experience from swearing a customer off a particular carrier off forever. 

But don't let the percentages fool you. In Miami International airport, one of the busiest in the world, an average of 10,000 bags per year go missing and unclaimed, leading to near constant auction fodder. When the bags can't be rejoined to their rightful owners for long enough, they are eligible for the chopping block. 

Other Luggage Auction Shows

Even the travel channel is hoping to move in on this airport auction action by debuting their new show "Baggage Battles" which follows three teams of professional auctioneers, antiquers or bargain hunters as they hop from one busy airport to another in search of left-behind treasures. 

London can probably boast some of the highest incidences of totally unclaimed baggage that ends up getting sold off. Some experts estimate the lost baggage turnover rate to reach as high as half a million pieces of luggage per year. 

How to Bid On Lost Luggage In the USA

If you want to try your hand at making money off of these abandoned bags, there's one central spot that's been laying claim to the unclaimed for many years now. The Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama has uniquely positioned itself to purchase and take possession of baggage that languishes unspoken for in our major airports for long enough. 

Thanks to special arrangements and contracts, the Unclaimed Baggage Center accepts and purchases truckloads of these lost travelers' bags. What do they do with all of them? First, they carefully open and go through all the items and separate and sort the goods and belongings found inside. 

Next, they parcel the goods they find together depending on their category and prepare them for sale by cleaning them up and refurbishing the items that require it. Finally, they are listed for sale on their website, where people can lock-in excellent discounts on cameras, laptops, clothing and toiletries so long as they don't mind them being previously owned. 

Bidding On Lost Luggage In the U.K.

Greasby's auction house is the big wig of unclaimed luggage sales on the other side of the pond. Specialty items will be removed individually, such as cameras and other pricey electronics, but the rest of well-packed suitcases will stay together and be sold whole, so that buyers who come to the auction house will be able to take their chances on bundled clothing and personal items. 

Is it a great way to get rich? It could be depending on your luck and determination and the travel plans of the person who lost the bag in the first place! When you try to make money on other people's abandoned or reposssessed goods, whether they be storage units or baggage, it's a numbers game to start with. 

The more bags you buy up, the better your chances of finding something truly mint and worth a pretty penny inside. The better prices you can get the bags for to start with, the better your chances of making your margin by buying low and re-selling very high. 

What's the future of unclaimed luggage auctions in the United States? Will it translate as well into the kind of cultural smash hit success that the networks are hoping for? It certainly has the potential to go viral and become popular because there are elements of intrigue and humor that can be exploited in the pursuit of excellent reality television. 

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