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We bought a pallet of Amazon returns for $325. This is what we got.

People often buy these mystery return pallets so they can flip the items inside for a profit at a yard sale or online marketplace.

INDIANAPOLIS — We end up returning a lot of the stuff we buy. 

But it doesn't always make sense for retailers to resell the items. So instead, companies pack up the stuff and sell off pallets to liquidators that anyone can buy. 

People often buy these mystery return pallets so they can flip the items inside for a profit at a yard sale or online marketplace. The goal is to double what you spent on the purchase. 

But buying a pallet is a gamble.

While you can select the product category or store where the items come from, products are random and you can't see what's inside the box until you buy it. 

Some items are brand new, while others may be broken.

Joe Barton owns Barton's Discounts, an Indianapolis liquidator where you can buy these pallets.

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"Amazon, typically, you can expect 15% on average of that product to be damaged or needing fixed in some way. And then, you get to some of the hardware retailers where it might be more than 15%. It could be 25% to 30%," Barton said. 

As for who is buying them, it varies. 

"There's a lot of people that have a flea market booth, and then, there's the larger buyers that might a truckload of pallets that have discount stores or mini discount stores," he said.

WTHR purchased a pallet of Amazon returns for $325 to see if it's a bargain or bust.

Here are some of the items we got inside and their estimated retail price:

  • Roomba - $200
  • 2 Ikich toasters - $35 each
  • Winegard air antennae - $138
  • Worx GutterPro - $46
  • Colemant three-person tent - $96
  • Teton Sports sleeping bag - $60
  • Foxelli trekking poles - $40
  • Eureka 3-in-1 swivel vacuum - $35
  • Razor scooter- $37
  • Allen bike rack - $96
  • 10 Ashley River cat carriers - $21 each
  • Buffalo Games Skee-ball - $35

While we didn't test everything, some of the items that were broken or needed repairs included a juicer, ice bucket and ceiling fan.

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Excluding those, we estimate the retail value of everything is more than $1,500.  

While the dollar amount seems high, what you can sell the stuff for may be a different story. People likely aren't paying full price for the items. Some products are also very specific, which might take longer to offload. You would also need to test the products first. 

But based on the number of new and working items, the goal of doubling the investment wouldn't be an issue.

NOTE: WTHR plans to donate the items from the pallet. 

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