Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I bid on auctions? 
  2.  What are the different auction types? 
  3. Can I retract my bid? 
  4. How do I know if I'm outbid? 
  5. How do I know if I've won? 
  6. How does proxy bidding work? 
  7. Payment Questions?
  1. How do I bid on auctions?
    • Are you registered? If not visit the Public Surplus website and we will help you get registered.
    • What category are you looking for? Click on the category or subcategory on the main Catalog page to choose which area you want to look at.
    • What item are you looking for? Once you find the correct category and subcategory, scroll through the list of items until you find an item that interests you. Clicking on the auction title will take you to the bid page.
    • How do I make a bid on an item? Enter the amount you want to bid on the item and click the "Submit" button. Before you make an offer on an item, however, please thoroughly read all of the terms of the bid, such as payment methods, shipping, and item description. Some agencies have their own Terms and Conditions. Please make sure you read those.

     
  2. What are the different auction types?
    Public Surplus uses two auction formats:

    • Simple Auctions - Simple auctions limit the auction to a single item or 'lot' of items. The highest bidder wins the item/lot. Some auctions use a reserve price - an unlisted price that must be met before anyone can win the auction. If the reserve price is not met prior to the auction end, the seller is not obligated to sell the item.
    • Dutch Auctions - Dutch auctions allow multiple items to be sold under one auction. Bidders can specify a price and quantity of items they want to purchase. If there are more items requested than available, the highest bidder will receive their full quantity before the other requests are filled.

     
  3. Can I retract my bid?
    No. Bids are binding contracts. However, if you feel that you have a legitimate reason to withdraw your offer, you may contact The City via email at NYCSurplus@dcas.nyc.gov. On the main bid page there is a section that contains information on the auction contact. If the seller does allow the bid to be retracted, be aware that this cancels any further bids you may make on this particular auction.

  4. How do I know if I'm outbid?
    As soon as someone has placed a bid higher than yours, an email will be sent informing you that you have been outbid. If you have placed a proxy bid, you are only notified once someone has beaten your maximum amount.

  5. How do I know if I've won?
    Shortly after an auction ends, the winner of the auction will receive an email telling them they have won. If you receive an email informing you that you have won an auction, it is your responsibility as the awarded bidder to contact to contact the City and or the seller/Agency to arrange for pickup/removal. Please note that an exchange cannot take place until payment has been received.

  6. How does proxy bidding work?
    Proxy bids are when you place the maximum amount that you are willing to pay for an auction and Public Surplus automatically increases the amount of your initial bid for you in set increments. For example, a TV is being sold that you would like to bid on. It's currently listed at $60.00 with an increment level of $5.00. You don't want to pay more than $100.00. The proxy bid will set your first bid at $65.00 so that you are the winning bidder. If another bid is made for $75.00, the proxy bid will automatically increase your bid amount to $80.00. It will continue doing this until it reaches your maximum bid amount of $100.00. Proxy bids are very useful for when you don't want to have to watch an auction to verify your bidding status. When you are finally outbid, you will receive an email notification.

    If there is a reserve price, proxy bidding will automatically bid to try and meet the reserve price. If your maximum bid is lower than the reserve price, your bid will stop at your maximum bid. If the reserve has been met, and your maximum bid amount has not been reached, your bid will stop at the reserve price, and only proxy bid again when another bidder tries to outbid you.

  7. Payment Questions