Site peddles gov surplus

When Georgia found itself with seven truckloads of surplus copy paper, it

turned to an Internet auction company that deals with excess.

With an online network of 100,000 traders scattered across about 100

countries, Washington, D.C.-based Liquidation.com facilitated the sale of

Georgia's 144 pallets of surplus paper. Originally valued at about $134,000,

the paper fetched nearly $42,000 — a higher price than what Georgia hoped

to get, company spokesman Hunter Hoffman said.

Liquidation.com, a marketplace for buying and selling surplus business-to-business

goods, is trying to expand into the government arena. Hoffman said the company

is negotiating contracts with three other states and the federal government,

and is marketing to municipalities.

"Surplus as a separate [revenue] entity is still being largely overlooked.

[Governments are] looking at millions of dollars of unrealized money that

can go back to the taxpayer," Hoffman said.

Through Liquidation.com's thousands of traders worldwide, sellers get

a better return. But the company also offers assurances. For instance, the

company only lists qualified buyers and sellers that register with the site.

Buyers can request a sample of the product and inspect it before making

a bid. And Liquidation.com also facilitates shipping for the seller to the

buyer that can be tracked via the Internet.

Before a sale is completed, a buyer has 48 hours to inspect the surplus

merchandise. In the meantime, Liquidation.com holds the buyer's money in

escrow until the buyer authorizes its release to the seller.

The company charges a 10 percent fee for all successful transactions,

Hoffman said. For example, in the Georgia deal, Liquidation.com received

about $4,200, which was deducted from the $42,000.

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