Common Questions Pertaining to All Auctions

Below are common questions and answers about buying at all CWSAMS government auctions. FAQ links for specific types of live and online auctions are listed below these Common questions. If you have additional questions, please see the Terms of Sale for the specific auction you are interested in, or email us at

Common Questions

Yes. All live and online auctions are open to the public.

Registration for live auctions take place at the sale location. To register for online auctions go to Register and create an account. (Please note: In addition to creating an account, please see your specific auctions Terms of Sale for bid deposit requirement).

Auctions are subject to our terms and conditions. These cover matters like payment, removal, and other contract terms. Please see the sale you are interested in for specific terms.

Yes. A refundable deposit (U.S. funds only) is typically required to participate in both live and online auctions. Please see the deposit requirements for the auction you are interested in.

Acceptable forms of payment will vary depending on the type of auction. Payment must always be with U.S. funds. Please refer to the Terms of Sale for each auction for specific payment requirements.

Buyer’s premiums are not charged at the US Treasury Real Property, General Property and US Customs auctions. Buyer’s premiums are sometimes charged at other sales. Please see the Terms of Sale for each auction for Buyer’s Premium information.

Yes. Preview dates and times are posted on each specific auction’s page.

These previews are for the buyers’ benefit. CWS provides brief descriptions of the merchandise offered for sale. This description is to inform buyers of items available for sale and to give bidders enough information to determine if they are interested in inspecting the merchandise. Bidders are cautioned that all weights, measurements, descriptions and export status listed must be considered approximations and do not create any warranty that the merchandise actually conforms to such descriptions. Again, failure to view or inspect merchandise shall not constitute cause for cancellation of sale.

CWSAMS has been representing the U.S. Department of the Treasury, its legacy agencies, and other public & private entities for the marketing and sale of real and personal property for the past 26 years. Our corporate office is located outside of Washington D.C. in Manassas, VA, with other offices throughout the United States. Please contact us directly at with additional questions.

It comes from federal government seizures and forfeitures, property abandoned at U.S. ports, and local government & private agencies.

The merchandise offered for sale varies from new to salvage. All known information for specific items is available on the website. Bidders are urged to inspect the property/merchandise prior to bidding.

Export Only property is merchandise that is deemed by the U.S. Government to not be sellable for use within the United States, and is therefore sold for “export only”. Without exception, “export only” property must exit the country and cannot be registered, used, or sold again in the United States. Buyers unfamiliar with the export process are cautioned against bidding on “export only” property until they have familiarized themselves with the export process.

Buyers are strongly encouraged to investigate export options prior to purchasing “export only” property. It is recommended that purchasers engage the services of a Customs broker or bonded carrier if they are unfamiliar with export requirements. CWSAMS is not authorized to, and cannot provide assistance with the export process. Buyers are responsible for complying with all applicable Federal licensing and permit regulations prior to exportation. CWSAMS does not warrant the availability of such licensor permits, or provide a list of the requirements that must be met. The failure of the Buyer to obtain necessary licensing will not result in the return of any monies tendered for the goods.

Tips for new importers and exporters can be found on the CBP website at Detailed export information can be found on the CBP website at Broker information may also be found at Click on the state and the appropriate Port. After the Port location and contact information, you may find a link for “Brokers” if one is available for that port.

All forms required for exportation may be obtained at a nominal cost from the local CBP office.

No. It is the buyer’s responsibility to have property shipped. The Buyer may send an agent/shipping company to pick up the property on their behalf. The agent would need to have a copy of your sale receipt and your photo ID, as well as a signed Authorization to have the property released to them. Some buyers use the UPS Store or other shipping companies for pickup. For your convenience, listed are some Local Shippers near the major sale centers. Please see the Terms of Sale for your specific auction for details.

Specific Types of Auctions

Below are FAQ links to the specific types of auctions currently offered by CWSAMS. These include, U.S. Department of the Treasury Seized Real Property, U.S. Department of the Treasury Seized General Property (Personal property), U.S. Customs General Order (GO) Merchandise (Merchandise abandoned at the Import Docs) and the Los Angeles County Public Administrator Estate Auctions.

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