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«Table of Contents Chapter Title Page Introduction Consumer Tips Department Of Agriculture Department Of Defense Department Of Energy Federal ...»

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A Guide To

United States Federal


Sales Of

Real Estate

& Personal


Table of Contents

Chapter Title Page


Consumer Tips

Department Of Agriculture

Department Of Defense

Department Of Energy

Federal Department Insurance Corporation

General Services Administration

Government Printing Office

Department Of Housing And Urban Development

Department Of The Interior

Public Lands For Sale

Department Of Justice

U. S. Marshals National Sellers List National Aeronautics And Space Administration U. S. Postal Service Small Business Administration Tennessee Valley Authority U. S. Department Of The Treasury Department Of Veteran Affairs Buying Used Federal Personal Property United States Government Offices By States.

Glossary Introduction When the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection confiscates an imported necklace, or the Department of Defense no longer needs a power tool, or the U.

S. Marshals Service seizes a sports car from a drug dealer, all these items may become available for purchase by the public.

Although some surplus and forfeited items of the Federal Government are transferred to other Federal agencies or given to state and local governments, a staggering variety of items from vehicles to office equipment to real estate finds its way to the public through Federal Government sales.

This revised guide is published by the U. S. General Services Administration (GSA) in cooperation with 20 Federal sales programs. With informative listings from each Federal sales program, combined with practical consumer tips, this guide is designed to help you do business with the Federal agencies that sell

items to the public. This guide :

• Gives information about sales methods and sale locations,

• Describes items for sale,

• Lists addresses, telephone numbers, and websites for further information, and

• Has a glossary on page 29 that explains the sales terminology used by Federal agencies to describe the types of property available and the methods by which it is sold.

Use this guide to contact the appropriate government sales program. Uncle Sam may have something to sell that interests you.

A great online resource for finding out the latest on government sales and auctions is the Shopping and Auctions page at FirstGov.gov (www.firstgov.gov/shopping/ shopping.shtml). This page takes all of the Federal Government's sales and auctions of property, real estate, cars, souvenirs, books, and gifts and organizes it one easy-to-read-and-navigate page.

Sales and auctions are broken down into eight categories:

–  –  –

For Government and Non-Profit Buyers • Find Sales by Agency • Consumer Tips ● Be wary of offers to sell you "inside" information about Federal Government sales.

Information about Federal Government sales programs is typically available for free or at low cost from the Federal Government. Some Federal agencies maintain mailing lists with names of people interested in being notified about upcoming sales. In these cases, agencies may charge a subscription fee to maintain the list and cover mailing costs. Non governmental organizations that sell information about these sales often don't tell consumers that they can receive sales information just by contacting the agency's local or regional office. You may see advertisements offering to sell you access to little known sources of Federal Government property. It's likely that they are selling the names and addresses of the Federal Government agencies listed in this publication. Be aware that the information sold by non-governmental entities may not be accurate or up-to-date.

● Know where to find current Federal Government sales information.

To find information about specific upcoming sales, check the classified or business sections of national or local newspapers. Some sales programs may even advertise on local radio and television. Notices may also be also posted at post offices, town halls, and other local and Federal Government buildings.

Current information on sales programs is sometimes published in trade journals and periodicals, or online at the Federal Business Opportunities' (FedBizOpps) website, www.fedbizopps.gov.

Sales information may also be listed in the Federal Register, a daily publication listing Federal Government activities.The Federal Register is available at most libraries or through a yearly paid subscription from the Government Printing Office(GPO). To order a subscription, call toll-free 1(866)512-1800. In addition, the Federal Register can be accessed online at www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html.

If you need more information than is provided in this publication, you may be able to obtain it by directly contacting the local or regional office of the Federal agency that sponsors a particular sales program. Use this publication as a guide to identify the parent agency of the sales program. For example, if you are interested in learning more about the U.S. Marshals Service sales program, look under the Department of Justice in the "U.S. Government" listings in the phone directories of major cities in your state.

If you have difficulty locating the local office of a particular sales program, call the Federal Citizen Information Center's National Contact Center(NCC) for assistance. This service, provided by GSA, can tell you the location of the sales office closest to you. You can reach the NCC by calling toll-free 1(800)FED-INFO (that's 1-800-333-4636). The NCC is open for personal assistance from 8:00 a.m.

to 8:00 p.m. EasternTime, Monday through Friday.

● Do your homework before going to a Federal Government sale or auction.

Before attending, research the sale by contacting the sponsoring agency. Find out how and when the sale or auction will be held, what bidding procedure will be used, and what special restrictions or unusual conditions apply. It's important to ask what forms of payment are accepted. Most sales require a guaranteed method of payment such as money order, certified check, or cash. Credit cards are sometimes accepted. Also, look for information prior to the sale on the buyer's responsibility for property removal, inspection times prior to t he sale, and zoning rules if purchasing land in an urban area. In most cases, the "Invitation For Bid" will answer these types of questions. It is an informational piece released by the sponsoring Federal agency that contains a description of the property being offered for sale with the sale terms and conditions. It's wise for potential buyers to attend several sales to get a feel for the auction process. With just a little research, you can get the information that you need to make a successful purchase.

Most of the Federal agencies listed in this publication maintain websites that include detailed information about their particular sales program. Whenever possible, the websites for these agencies are provided.

● Inspect the property carefully before buying.

Chances are you will not find new or unused items at Federal Government sales.

And because the sales items are used, the condition of the goods will vary. For example, some forfeited vehicles may be in excellent condition, others may have high mileage or a stripped interior. Although information about the condition will be given, it is still necessary to inspect before you purchase. It is the buyer's responsibility to verify that the description of the item fits its actual condition. Find out if the goods are sold "as is" or can be returned. Most sales are final.

● Don't expect to buy a $1 yacht.

Goods in Federal Government sales programs are usually sold at fair market value. The "bargains" that you hear about are frequently mythical. The $1 yacht most likely has serious problems. For example, it may not have an interior or an engine. Remember, if it sounds too good to be t rue, it usually is. At many sales, the items are appraised prior to the sale and will not be sold if the bid price is below what is reasonable. For example, GSA's Federal Supply Service has a policy to sell property at fair market value, and often will not sell items if the bid price is below what is reasonable.

● You will not drive away from a Federal Government sale with a military jeep.

In 1971, based on safety statistics and vehicle tests, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommended that the M151 series vehicle not be sold to the public because it is unfit for public use. Ther efor e, M151 series jeeps cannot be driven. Disposal regulations on the M151 require that the vehicle body be crushed, shredded, or mutilated to prevent the jeep from being rebuilt.

Businesses that sell the "secrets" of buying surplus military property often take out enticing magazine and newspaper ads. "Just send $19.95 and learn how to buy surplus military jeeps," they say. However, these advertisements do not tell the consumer that the M151 series is unfit for public use and that older jeep models, such as the World War II M38, are virtually nonexistent today. Jeeps are now typically auctioned at sales for scrap metal or parts.

● Know where and how to complain.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free 1(877)FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1(866)653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

In addition, the U. S. Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement arm of the U. S. Postal Service, investigates allegations of mail fraud involving the U.S.

mail. Deceptive advertisements placed in newspapers or magazines which use the mail for delivery, would fall within the Inspection Service's Federal jurisdiction under the Mail Fraud Statute contained in Title 18, USC Section 1341. Address your complaints to the Inspection Service via your local Postmaster or obtain a Mail Fraud Complaint form by calling 1(800)372-8347. You may also send an email message to Fraud@uspis.gov and receive the form as an automatic response.

Other organizations that investigate and prosecute fraud include state Attorneys General, state and local consumer offices, and Better Business Bureaus. If you suspect that you have been tricked or misled, and you paid money for products or services that have little or no value, you can contact the above-mentioned organizations for further assistance. They are listed in the business or government listings of your local telephone directory.

If you wish to comment on the sales process used by Federal programs or on the merchandise purchased from a Federal agency, write directly to the sponsoring agency at the address listed in this publication. The U.S. Postal Service and the FTC want to know experiences you have had with misleading advertising.

However, neither the FTC nor the U.S. Postal Service has jurisdiction over the procedures and practices used by the agencies that sell property to the public.

Department of AgricultureWhat is sold

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sells trucks, ambulances, station wagons, sedans, office equipment, office furniture, computers, and laboratory items (typically microscopes and scales). Although the U.S. General Services Administration sells some of USDA's motor vehicles, USDA also sells vehicles at various field locations around the country.

How items are sold Personal property is sold through auction or sealed bid.

How sales are advertised Personal property sales information is advertised through notices in newspapers and Federal Government buildings. A mailing list is maintained for the Washington, DC metropolitan area for personal property sales only. To be placed on this mailing list, see the "For More Information" section. USDA field offices throughout the U.S. do not maintain mailing lists.

Special restrictions/conditions

For personal property sales, USDA prohibits employees who are directly involved in the sale or have used the property as an employee from participating in the sale. Other USDA employees are allow ed to bid. USDA requires guaranteed methods of payment such as money orders, certified checks, or cash.

For more information To learn about USDA personal property sales, look in the phone directories of the major cities of your state under the "U.S. Government" listings for the USDA office nearest you. Most likely, your state capital will have a USDA office.

Consult the USDA website at www.usda.gov/da/property.html.

To be placed on a mailing list to learn about USDA personal property sales in the

Washington, DC metropolitan area only, write:

U. S. Department of Agriculture Office of Operations Centralized Excess Property Operation 6351 Ammendale Rd.

Beltsville, MD 20705 Department of Defense Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) The Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) is responsible for the disposal of excess/surplus property received from the U.S. military services. The property is turned in to Defense Reutilization and Marketing Offices (DRMOs) located on or near military installations in the United States and in several foreign countries. Property processed through the disposal program varies in type and value -- from clothing to vehicles, from hardware to information technology, etc.

DRMS does not sell real estate. Property is first offered for reutilization within the Department of Defense (DoD), transfer to other federal agencies, or donation to state and local governments and other qualified organizations. Information on how to obtain this property and what is available from DRMS is displayed on the Internet at www.dla.mil/drms.

Excess property that is not reutilized, transferred, or donated may be sold to the public as surplus. DRMS manages the DoD surplus property sales program.

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