Campus: CSU San Marcos -- January 7, 2005

University Surplus Auction Vacates the Warehouse for the Internet

In the past, Cal State San Marcos has held annual public auctions on campus to sell off surplus property stored up during the year. Times are changing. As an effort to streamline and decrease costs associated with the process, the university is turning to the online internet giant eBay.

Currently, the majority of the property being offered by the university consists of computer equipment, but a wide variety of items could become available in the future, including office furniture, educational materials, and lab equipment.

According to Jim Carr of the university's materials management department, there are several reasons why moving to an online auction service makes good sense. "We've found that eBay provides an excellent venue for offering our surplus property to the general public, which is mandated by state law," explained Carr. "This also allows us to offer a longer bidding time on the purchase of an item, not just 'auction day.'"

Rather than storing up items throughout the year for one major event, items can be sold as they become available. This reduces the need for long-term storage space and eliminates the cost and effort required to hire an auctioneer and organize one large sales event each year.

According to Carr, auctioneers used by the university in the past charged approximately a 30 percent commission on all sales. With eBay, required selling fees and related costs should only add up to five or 10 percent of the overall sales.

Contact: Paige Jennings, 760/750-4048 or

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