Learn about events, happenings and more

ALLBIDS as featured on Today Tonight

Sunday, 05 September 2010 | Hariestu W

You can get goods at 40 to 80 per cent off the retail price. The only catch is they come with a bit of history.

Rob Evans is the founder of, an online auction house
that amongst other things, sells goods on behalf of the Australian
Federal Police. That's items seized in raids, impounded or found to be
the proceeds of crime.

"People just come in and get a bargain," Evans said.

"This is Aladdin's cave, even Ali Baba would be impressed! We've got everything, camera lenses, cameras, blackberry phones."

"The police have got to send these items to public auction so we're just a vehicle for that."

"You see the odd crow bar come through as well and it’s obviously been
used in crime, it's probably a cheap way for people to pick up cheap
tools isn't it!"

You can score yourself a mobile phone for $13 or a camera for $20. Some items are near new, others are still in the box.

"Apart from the billiard table we've sold almost everything from army
tanks down to jewellery and everything in between. You just never know
what you're gonna get," Evans said.

"When you've got high end items worth $50,000 to 60,000 some people walk away with $20,000 to 30,000," Evans said.

The same goes at Ross' auction house in Perth. There are so many seized
items to clear out they hold a police auction every six weeks.

"We get everything from brand new motorcycles, high-end sports cars,
Hi-Fi equipment, Playstations, anything you can think of that can be
stolen recovered, forfeited and seized," Matt from Ross' said.

A Honda motorbike will go under the hammer with just three kilometres on
 the clock - apparently the owner was arrested as he drove out of the

And it's not only stolen property that people are wanting to get their
hands on. Another market is lost property. Ever wondered where your
jacket or watch ends up if you lose it on a train or bus, and forgot to
claim it? Just ask Michelle House from

"Sometimes companies do lost property auctions, like Australia Post,
some of the airlines some of the train lines," House said. "A really
good buy from a lost property auction would be picking up a phone for
$10 that might be in the shop for $750."

She says while you can save, beware, you're also taking a risk. Many
goods don't come with a warranty and delivery cost is another

"You need to add up all of those and make sure you're still getting that bargain."

Around the country, some transport companies hold their own lost
property auctions advertised in the local paper. But not every company
is alike.

Forget to claim your lost property on a Qantas flight, and it doesn't go
 to charity. After a period of time staff get a chance to bid for it.
Lost property in taxis, if unclaimed after 24 hours, can be scooped up
by the driver if the owner isn't tracked down. Then there are auctions
for repossessed items.

"A repossessed item is where somebody has had a judgement enforced and
the item has been repossessed and can go up for sale to the public,"
House said.

Bailiff Sheriff Australia is an online directory for these auctions held
 in every state. Camper vans, furniture and even whole apartments can go
 for a third of the price.

"You can jump on and be a subscriber and find out when auctions are. You
 could also do that through the other websites like the public trustee
in your state and jump on there be a subscriber," House said.