Frequently Asked Questions:

Where does the surplus property come from?SWAP Building

The surplus property comes from UW-Madison departments, other UW System campuses, and Wisconsin state agencies from around the state.

How does the auction work?

The auction makes an item available for a predetermined amount of time.  The starting bid is the lowest amount that can be bid during the auction.  Once somebody bids, every bid thereafter must be bid higher than the current bid.  The highest bid at the end of the auction timeframe wins!

What is Auto-Extend?

Auto-Extend is a feature that prevents auctions from being won by sniping.  Sniping is the practice of placing a higher bid at the last possible moment (often seconds before the end of the auction), giving the other bidders no time to outbid the sniper.  SWAP Online Auction's software automatically extends the auction for a pre-determined amount of time if a bid is placed in the last minute, allowing other bidders the opportunity to counter the newest high-bid.  The auction ends once the bidding stops for a pre-determined amount of time. 

What is a proxy-bid?

Proxy bidding allows you to bid the highest amount you’re willing to pay for an item and walk away!  The bidding system will automatically place bids for you in pre-specified increments until your maximum amount is reached.  Use this method if you cannot continually monitor the auction or if you’d like to bid on several items at once.

What is a reserve-price auction?

A Reserve Price is a hidden minimum price and is the lowest amount that the seller is willing to sell an item for.  In a Reserve Price auction, the seller may choose to not sell the item if the final bid amount does not meet the Reserve Price.  During the auction, the listing will either say “Reserve not met” or “Reserve met”.  If the auction ends with the final bid price lower than the Reserve Price, the seller will have the option to either accept the final bid price, relist the auction item, or they may opt to retain the surplus property for their own use.

Can I inspect the items up for bid?

No.  Due to the University's efforts to combat COVID, the SWAP warehouse is closed for auction viewing.  Winning bidders will have an opportunity to inspect purchased items at the pick-up time and SWAP will refund the customer if a discrepancy with the auction listing is discovered.  

Can I view the results of finished auctions?

Yes.  On the main page of the auction site, there is a search box with the text "Enter Keywords".  Type the name of the item(s) you're interested in viewing and click "Search".  When the search results are shown, you'll have an opportunity to choose "Completed" auctions as well as some additional options for filtering or sorting the results.  

Is there any guarantee with the auction items?

No, all items sold through the SWAP Online Auction or the SWAP sales floor are sold AS-IS, there are NO RETURNS OR EXCHANGES, and NO WARRENTY either implied or given. 

Will I be notified of my bid status?

Yes, you will receive an email everytime you bid, when/if you are out-bid, and when you are the apparent winner of the auction.

How can I pay for my auction item?

Payment must be made over the telephone using a Visa or Mastercard.  SWAP can be reached at (608) 497-4420 Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

How long do I have to remove the item I’ve purchased?

Winning bidders have 5 business days to pay for and pick up their auction item(s).  If arrangements are made with a SWAP representative during those 5 days we may be able to extend the deadline but this decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.  Items not picked up within 5 business days, and with no prior arrangement in place, are subject to relisting on the SWAP Online Auction, placement on the SWAP sales floor, or disposal.

Do you ship?

No, SWAP does not arrange shipping.  If the winning bidders chooses to arrange shipping on their own, SWAP can usually palletize larger items and provide the customer dimensions and weights for the items.  We are not able to package smaller items for shipping.