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Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about buying retail returns, from the UK's leading online auction house.
4 Mins

Retail Returns: FAQs

Ellie Hinton
Ellie Hinton

Retail returns are one of our most regular auctions here at William George, where you'll normally find at least two of these happening every week. As well as offering the opportunity to get your hands on big brands at budget prices, they have great money-making potential too. 

Check out our FAQs to learn more...

What is a retail return?

Retail return auctions are made up of items that customers have decided to return, excess and end of line stock. With Covid having a huge impact on all of us, we now return more goods than ever before, and this can be for minor reasons such as ordering the wrong size shoes.

Some goods go back on the shelf, but a vast quantity come to us which we then sell at a much-discounted price, often with no reserve price.

As soon as the stock has left the warehouse or shop, the item is classed as used. This means, when buying a retail returned item, you can expect anything from a brand new, untouched item all the way to something that could’ve been returned within a guarantee period after 3 years, is well used or damaged.

What brands do you have?

We run auctions for items sourced from John Lewis, JD Williams and Homebase (just to name a few) so you can expect to see some really incredible stock here at William George. We have electronics, appliances, homeware, furniture for indoors and outdoors…you name it, we sell it!

What condition do they come in?

Conditions vary and depend on the auction. We have raw customer returns which are completely unchecked so you can expect a mixed bag, and, in some auctions, you can see graded stock which will consist of some new items and some used. It’s worth doing your research on the auction itself to get a good understanding of the condition before bidding.

How do I know how much to bid?

When it comes to bidding, I would recommend bidding on items you know well and have a genuine interest in. For example, if you have a love for coffee machines and have your heart set on a Sage Oracle, come to auction and save yourself a lot of cash. Bid what you think is a fair price and what you can afford. Again, do your research beforehand, see what they’re retailing at and work out how much you will be paying, taking VAT, Buyer’s Premium and delivery into consideration.

Can I collect?

Always read the auction details beforehand. You will notice if you scroll toward the bottom of the listing that it will clearly state whether the vendor offers delivery or collection. We can also get you a shipping quote before the auction ends so there are no hidden surprises.

What benefits can I receive from buying retail returns?

If you are looking for benefits, there are plenty! Buying retail returns can help in so many ways - you could furnish your house, buy all your Christmas gifts or resell your stock and make some extra money from it. Also, as these types of purchases normally come as a pallet load, you’re receiving lots of items at once rather than buying thing individually, so you get a decent haul in one go.

How can I sell my retail returns?

Pretty easily! There are several things you can do to maximise the profit you make. Here are some suggestions:

  1. As soon as the pallet arrives, make sure everything is present. Copy the exact manifest to make sure you are including everything correctly.
  2. As returns can sometimes require some attention, check every bit of your order over, ensuring all is clean and any necessary repairs or tweaks are made.
  3. Take captivating, honest photographs of your stock.
  4. Price your items based on how you feel the condition is and take a look around to get price comparisons for the same or similar products.
  5. List your items!

How do I get started?

It’s so simple. Take a look at our live auctions, see what we have to offer and if anything takes your fancy, click the ‘register to bid’ button on the auction itself.

Once you’ve done this, you can go ahead and start bidding. You can choose to watch the auction and place gradual bids or if you’re unable to sit and watch the auction, you can place a max bid and let the computer do the work for you. It really is that straight forward.

Happy bidding!