Surplus and salvage merchandise includes closeouts, overstock, customer return merchandise, surplus and liquidation merchandise.
You can usually purchase the merchandise in quantities ranging from lots, pallets, trailers & container loads, and purchasing items in this manner can allow the seller to earn huge profits. In fact, many auction sellers DO make large profits selling this type of merchandise in online auctions.
However, be aware that salvage merchandise is junk. Junk doesn't always mean it's ready for the trash dump, but there are many categories of merchandise it just isn't wise to purchase salvage items from, such as computers, electronics, household appliances, etc.
You need to be very careful when dealing with these types of merchandise, and have a way to be certain the items you are buying is exactly what was advertised to you by the dealer. You should always make sure you live close enough to the dealer to inspect the merchandise personally before you pay for it, or you should be willing to travel to the location of the merchandise. The plane ticket could be well worth the time and money spent if you find out the truck load of merchandise you just bought for $5,000 is 80% trash, un-sellable, and you have no way to get your money back. It's too late at that point, so don't let it get that far.
Additional sources of surplus and salvage dealer information: Make sure that before you get involved with ANY surplus and salvage dealer, you check out their report with the Better Business Bureau Online, as well as the BBB in their area.
International Marketing Association Of Surplus Dealers: http://www.surplus.net
National Retail Equipment Liquidators (Nrel.com)