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Product Conditions

Product Conditions

Different companies or programs may use varying product definitions to describe the condition of the goods being sold. Terms such as Liquidation, Salvage, Closeouts, Shelf Pulls, Overstocks and Returns are often used in the liquidation industry. We use the umbrella term Liquidation Merchandise to describe any kind products which are being liquidated. At Via Trading we use 9 different general product conditions to group and describe the products we sell:

  • Customer Returns
  • Shelf Pulls
  • Overstocks
  • Master Case
  • Pre-Worn
  • Defective
  • Tested-Working
  • Refurbished
  • Irregulars

Customer Returns

What are Customer Returns?

Customer Returns are items that were once sold from the store (or website) and are then returned by the consumer in varying conditions.

Sometimes also referred to as Salvage Goods, Customer Returns are typically items that have been purchased from a store (or online store) but then returned by a customer. Stores have varying individual return policies as well as product liquidation policies which can affect the type & condition of products you may see in varying loads. Though policy will vary from store to store – Large Majority of Customer return goods simply undergo a cursory visual check at the store level prior to making their way into a return load. Higher value items may be subject to more thorough inspection prior to being selected for liquidation.

The general “quality” of customer return loads can vary significantly from program to program and it is common that some programs may have a 50% or greater Defective rate while others are only 10% or 20%. Return loads with low defective rates are sometimes referred to as “Clean” Customer Return Loads. Return Loads with very high defective rates are at times referred to as Salvage Loads.

Customer Returns typically have the following characteristics and stores can decide to liquidate these goods for a number of reasons:

  • Defective when returned by the customer
  • Cosmetic blemishes or slight defects
  • Out of box goods
  • Missing minor or major components (remote controls, manuals, covers, cables)
  • In-store display items
  • Damaged exterior packaging
  • Items that the store does not want to or cannot re-shelve
  • One or more features does not work
  • Store is overstocked with such items
  • Out of season items
  • Discontinued items
  • Defaced barcodes and/or labels
  • Signs of handling – both external packaging and the item itself

Often, additional internal store tracking or return labels can be found on the items. All customer return goods are always sold with no warranty or guarantee. Any warranties found with the goods are invalid and cannot legally be used. Programs vary from store to store – please see listing descriptions and ask your Account Manager for further information on any particular listing.

Many stores do not have separate programs to liquidate customer returns or excess new merchandise & new shelf-pull or overstock merchandise can commonly be found in customer return loads. Via Trading will always define a listing as ‘Customer Returns’ even if it includes a significant % of Shelf-Pull or Overstock Merchandise. Depending on the product category and each stores liquidation policy – working percentages on customer return loads can vary greatly.

Furthermore, working percentage definitions can also vary depending on the category of goods in question. Often when one refers to ‘working percentage’ of products they are referring to the ‘salable percentage’ of the load. (For example if we are talking about a 6 piece cookware set and 1 piece is missing or damaged – though one may consider the item as ‘not working’ or ‘defective’ it still has a resale value and one can still recover a percentage of the product’s original value). Generally speaking, the recognized industry average when trying to estimate working percentages is said to be around 65-75% working, 20% repairable, and the remainder throwaway/scrap/parts, etc.

In practice, no individual load or pallet will have that exact breakdown, but these percentages are fairly representative when describing the average expected condition of the goods when purchasing them regularly. Ultimately, this is a rough approximation and the actual working percentage on any given pallet or load can be much worse or better.

Purchasing Customer Returns and reselling them for profit is a tried, tested and proven concept. However, before launching into a business venture involving liquidation merchandise, you should know that:

  • Typically liquidators such as Via Trading operate a no returns policy with all sales deemed final and all goods sold AS-IS irrespective of condition unless otherwise stated.
  • Purchasing customer returns is not for everyone.
  • There is a risk your purchases may not be profitable and this risk increases when purchasing customer returns.
  • There is a steep learning curve that newcomers to the industry typically experience and one should expect to do much better once they have more experience with such goods.
  • In many cases items are not retail-ready, and dealing with liquidation goods requires considerably more work in terms of researching, processing, pricing & creativity than dealing with new wholesale master case items.

Purchasing department store returns is not for everyone. This is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. The payoffs are high for those prepared to work hard and put effort in their purchases in order to create the highest possible return on investment. This is a “get-rich” slowly scheme with hard work, dedication & creativity.

In order to maximize your success with this type of merchandise, you need to be prepared to process, test, check and research pricing on the goods prior to selling them. In the long term (and over several purchases), most people in this industry agree that the payoffs and returns are very profitable and that the long-term risk is generally minimal. Liquidation goods and customer returns are normally priced accordingly, and allow you to profit handsomely while still offering your own customers excellent deals on items.

  • If you are not prepared to test items, do not purchase customer returns.
  • If you are not prepared to repair items, do not purchase customer returns.
  • If you only want to deal with 100% retail ready items do not purchase customer returns.
  • If you are not prepared to expect a percentage of items to be out of box, defective, cosmetically blemished etc., do not purchase customer returns.

Please do not get this wrong – after all we do not want to discourage you. This is a profitable business for the large majority and the industry as a whole is approximately $100 billion in size. Bottom line is: if you are prepared to put in a fair share of work and effort, then this could be very profitable for you. If not, we do have new overstock items that are typically in better selling condition and require minimal work on your part. More experienced buyers can benefit from our Graded Potential Revenue Calculator specifically designed to estimate your potential revenues from a customer return load filled with a variety of items in different conditions.


What are New Overstocks?

New Overstocks are items that were never exposed for sale in a retail setting though they may no longer be in their original master case or factory packaging.

New overstocks, also often referred to as Closeouts, tend to be goods which typically have never been merchandised or exposed for sale in a retail store. Such goods can materialize from retailers, importers, manufacturers or distributors who are closing down or simply have discontinued or excess goods in their warehouse that they need to move. Via Trading also sources & offers liquidation services to freight forwarders, logistics industries, manufacturers, insurance & financial institutions and the like. Overstock goods tend to be in 100% New Condition.

New Overstock items typically have the following characteristics:

  • Items are typically 100% retail-ready and in new condition
  • No additional retail/discount or warehouse labels/tags on the items
  • Items are in their original retail packaging but can occasionally also be loose-packed
  • Packaging and item tend to be in good condition with no excessive signs of handling

Programs vary from store to store – please see listing descriptions and ask your Account Manager for further information on any particular item.


What are Shelf Pulls?

Shelf pulls are items that were already exposed for sale in a retail environment but have been “pulled” from the shelfs and chosen to be liquidated by the store. These goods are typically New and have never been used

Shelf pulls are typically excess goods that have been displayed for sale in a store or online but have never been purchased by a customer. Shelf pulls are typically considered excess inventory from store shelves. In the vast majority of cases, shelf pulls require much less work than customer returns in terms of testing and repairing, but you should expect to have some checking work to do as well as cleaning off potentially dusty items and removing price tags (if necessary) before reselling the items.

Shelf pulls would have been handled multiple times during the process of getting them from the store back to a Liquidator & a small % of items may shows signs of excessive handling & may have stains or slight imperfections.

Shelf pulls will typically be in good selling condition and may have some or all of the following characteristics:

  • End of season & seasonal goods
  • Discontinued goods
  • Items may still have their original retail pricing stickers/tags on them
  • Items may have additional retail discount tags on them
  • Packaging or item may show signs of handling
  • Exterior packaging is often in less than perfect condition
  • May be defaced/de-labeled (inner labels or tags removed to prevent return to the original store)
  • Some items may still have retail security sensors attached
  • A percentage of the items may be out of box or in open boxes
  • A percentage of the items may be in-store display units or samples
  • Short-dated or expired goods may be found in some lots

Programs vary from store to store – please see listing descriptions and ask your Account Manager for further information on any particular item.


What are Irregulars?

Irregulars (depending on commodity also referred to as Scratch And Dent) are generally new products that are being discarded or liquidated as a result of improper or defective manufacturing. In some cases this term is also used to describe Furniture or Large Appliances which may have some scratch and dents but are otherwise fully functional. They can also be called “imperfect goods”. In the majority of cases, irregular items have very small manufacturing defects such as the wrong color thread, improper stitching, slight discoloration from the intended item’s color, other minor blemishes, scratches, dents, discoloration or other imperfections.

Irregular items may have the following characteristics:

  • Appear in new condition with no signs of prior use
  • In or out of original factory packaging
  • May show signs of manufacturing defects (improper stitching, etc.)
  • May show small stains that occurred during manufacturing
  • May have scratches and dents
  • Mostly retail-ready


What are Tested-Working Goods?

Via Trading will occasionally offer items that have gone through a testing process and are deemed functional or “tested-working.” These items may be a mix of overstocks, shelf pulls and customer returns and are typically higher end, more expensive units.

  • Typically but not necessarily in original box
  • May or may not contain all needed items/components (remotes, cables, manuals, etc.)
  • Most or all functions work and item can be categorized as functional for resale purposes
  • Item may show signs of handling and usage
  • Items may have additional labels, price tags and/or internal identification labels or stickers

Programs vary from store to store – please see listing descriptions and ask your Account Manager for further information on any particular item.


What are Master Case Goods?

Master Case goods are typically 100% new in original manufacturer’s packaging and are fully functional and complete. These goods have not been exposed for sale in any retail environment and products can be considered 100% new and retail-ready.

Wholesale master case items may have the following characteristics:

  • 100% new
  • In original factory or manufacturer’s packaging
  • Will include all parts, components, accessories and documentation
  • No visual signs of wear, usage or excessive handling
  • Retail-ready


What are Refurbished Goods?

Via Trading also offers “refurbished” goods for sale on a periodic basis. Refurbished goods are items that have gone through a process to test and restore the items to their original working condition. Often these items are repackaged in generic boxes and may not include all the items found in the original manufacturer’s packaging.

Refurbished goods may have the following characteristics:

  • Items should all be in good working condition
  • All needed parts/components are typically included
  • Items may or may not come with the manufacturer warranty (see specific listing for details)
  • Items may be repackaged in generic boxes
  • Items may show signs of slight usage or cosmetic blemishes

Programs vary from store to store – please see listing descriptions and ask your Account Manager for further information on any particular item.


What are Defective Goods?

Via Trading will occasionally offer tested not-working or “defective” pallets or loads. Such items are typically higher end electronics which have gone through a testing process, visually defective items, incomplete sets (like furniture, housewares, etc), items good for spare parts only or out of date items. Defective goods have the potential to be profitable if you have the ability to repair or strip them of their parts for resale.

They may have the following characteristics:

  • Items have gone through a testing process and have been deemed not working
  • Items may be visually defective or incomplete
  • Incomplete or partial sets or parts
  • Items may be brand new but with a major quality control flaw, making them defective (for example dodgy audio on a stereo system)

Programs vary from store to store – please see listing descriptions and ask your Account Manager for further information on any particular item.


What are Pre-Worn Goods?

Via Trading periodically offers a pre-worn (used) clothing. These goods can come from a range of sources and are available year-round. Our pre-worn goods go through an inspection process to ensure quality control and offer tremendous value for money for the right market.

Pre-worn goods may have the following characteristics:

  • Pre-worn clothing has previously been used or worn
  • Lots may be made up of discontinued brands, models or styles
  • Items may show signs of fray and usage
  • There are typically no retail tags, labels or additional store markings on the items
  • Can be sold by the unit, pallet or by weight

Programs vary from store to store – please see listing descriptions and ask your Account Manager for further information on any particular item.


When purchasing liquidation goods and depending on your business needs, it is important to take into account the product consistency or regularity of the goods you are purchasing. The information in this section is general and may or may not apply to you specifically. Each customer is unique and may have his own specific needs, pricing policies, etc. The availability of particular types of merchandise should affect the types of goods you purchase and the way you choose to process, sell and price the goods. Goods available in the liquidation industry can typically be broken down into 3 categories:

Consistent Regular Goods

Available on a regular basis either immediately or within a few days

    Non-Consistent Goods

    Available periodically, significant waiting times between availability

One-off, Opportunistic Purchases

Typically one-time offers on goods which once sold, will not be back in stock or will only be back in stock after a very extended period of time).

Consistent Goods (Ongoing, Regular)

Many of our pallets, loads and truckloads are items that we sell on an ongoing basis- meaning we either have them in stock all the time, or we receive new stock very shortly after we sell out. We have dozens of listings like these that we have been offering for years and will continue to offer for as long as they are available.

Consistent ongoing goods are important to note because:

  • Consistent supply of similar goods can help build and grow a business
  • Knowing you can get more of the same type of merchandise as soon as (or before) you run out allows you to have a consistent flow of product for your customers, and increases your customers’ loyalty.
  • Dealing with consistent types of goods that you can purchase again and again allows you to be more flexible and competitive with pricing since you can easily re-purchase such goods.
  • Working with the same type of products over time can make you extremely familiar with any particular program and allows you to further leverage that growing knowledge to maximize your returns.

If items can be easily re-purchased, your aim would be to price the items in order to maximize your Absolute profits

Example: say you purchase “X” product for $10. Better buy and sell 100 units for $20 (and make $1,000 gross profit), than to hold out for $25 and only buy and sell 50 units (and make a gross profit of $750).

Inconsistent Goods (Sporadic Availability)

Several loads and truckloads available in the industry are only available on an inconsistent basis and have relatively low and sporadic supply (ex: designer handbags). Non-Consistent ongoing goods are important to note because:

  • They are unlikely to be readily available for re-purchase and may have significant waiting times between availabilities.
  • It is difficult to keep a regular supply of such goods for your customers
  • Building customer loyalty and growing your business is more difficult when dealing with merchandise that has an inconsistent supply
  • You should maximize potential profit from goods which are not available on a regular basis. Once they are sold you won’t be able to purchase them again anytime soon and you should therefore price them accordingly. For example, for items that are not easily/readily available to purchase again, it is better to take 2 weeks to sell them for $40/unit than selling them in one week for $30/unit.

One-Off Deals & Opportunistic Lots

Occasionally, there will be one-off deals which, once sold, will no longer be available again (such as many of our LiquidateNow listings, discontinued models, goods from insurance companies, store/warehouse closures etc). Typically, once these goods are sold, similar deals will most likely not be available again. Such deals can be very profitable and are considered to be opportunistic. Buyers should always aim to maximize their selling price and profit on such purchases as stock is limited and typically there will be little competition and supply of similar items. Furthermore, similar goods cannot be re-purchased so as long as your price is competitive and you can sell the items in due time, there is no need to price them too cheaply.

If it is consistent, regular merchandise that you can order every week, you can make it your bread-and-butter and sell it for cheap and quickly. If the merchandise is more elusive or will not be in stock again after we sell out, you can purchase a larger quantity in one go, or sell it at a higher profit margin to maximize your returns. You can also let your customers know that it is a limited-time-offer product, raising its value and appeal.

What are Seasonal Goods?

New overstocks are typically new goods that have never been purchased by a customer, but that are considered excess inventory from stores for a variety of reasons. The following will explain how purchasing seasonal overstocks can present a great opportunity for eBayers, online vendors and retailers who have some storage space available. Seasonal Overstocks refers to merchandise that is typically sold during a specific season of the year. Outdoor furniture, air conditioners, heaters, winter clothing, summer clothing and holiday decorations are all examples of seasonal overstocks.

Via Trading carries seasonal overstocks at prices significantly below wholesale. You can purchase these products in bulk by the case, pallet, load or truckload. We have found that seasonal overstock merchandise can offer a unique opportunity that no other type of overstock merchandise can. It can be a very good short term investment to purchase these items during their off-season while they are cheaper and more readily available than when they are in season and in high demand.

With a small storage space and some up-front capital, you can purchase a load or container load of seasonal overstock product and hold it for a season. You can then resell it when it comes back into season for a higher profit margin. As such, seasonal overstocks can be a sound short term investment by putting your money into a real tangible asset that will increase in value when the season comes back around.

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