Live

Watch CBSN Live

​Guess where your store returns end up for resale

The holidays are long gone, but it's the most wonderful time of the year for Michael Ringelsten, the owner of Shorewood Liquidators outside Chicago.

That's because his company is where many items go when they're returned to sellers like Amazon, Home Depot and Sears.

His warehouse is overflowing with everything from GoPros, Xboxes and an entire wall of drills. Once they're tested, Shorewood auctions them off at about half the price.

"Consumers assume when they return it its put back on to the shelf, which isn't the case," Ringelsten told CBS News' Adriana Diaz.

Ringelsten's business has jumped 1,000 percent in the past four years, and online shopping is a big reason why: Americans returned $260 billion worth of items last year.

Tobin Moore, the CEO of Optoro.com, helps stores process those returns, and says restocking items can be expensive for retailers. "So often retailers just liquidate them for pennies on the dollar or in some cases throw them away in a landfill...because it's more cost effective," he explained.

Items that survive end up at discount retailers, pawn shops and flea markets; some companies also sell the goods online.

View CBS News In