Obviously this guide is only my opinion and based on my own personal experiences over the years of using E-bay. I cannot be held responsible for anything that happens to you as a result of following any of my 'suggestions'.
1. The number one rule, with any auction, is know the going rate for the item your after. Use the advanced search to look for the winning prices of completed auctions for the same item. It's amazing the number of times I've seen bidding wars break out and the price escalate over the cost of a self same new one from an Ebay online shop !!!
Set the maximum amount that your prepared to pay and stick to it.!!! Remember there could be someone more eager than you who's prepared to pay more so be prepared to be disappointed. Better luck next time.
Searching - remember typing errors occur to all of us so look for mispellings in the item your searching for. Check items title and description for makers name, model etc. I usually look at the first page of matching items and the last. Why ? Because the last page contains the latest posted on Ebay and so
may not have been seen yet by other eager buyers and the first contains those ending soonest and which might be worth bidding on at the last second if it's under my budget for that item. I've often found good 'Buy It Now' prices on the last page of a search and snapped them up before others realise it's there and that it's a darn good price too !
If I see a reasonable 'Buy It Now' price then I buy it because it's reasonable and my research has shown that I'm probably going to have to play close to or above that price in an open auction. Remember you never get anything for free so be prepared to compromise on price for that 'must have' item.
Sniping - this is a perfectly legal and valid way to try and outbid the current highest bidder by leaving him no time to up his bid manually. Typically a snipe placed 3 seconds from the end is hard to counter manually so safest is to set your maximum high enough when placing your bid. No sniper can win if your prepared to pay more than him and you already have your maximum '
in the pot' so to speak. I have had amazing bargains this way but only because I was prepared to pay more, than the highest bidder, with my snipe ! Hey it's a cut throat business buying on Ebay ;-)
Thwarting competing buyers - If you see a 'Buy It Now' price which is so reasonable that someone is bound to snap it up, but you still don't want to pay even that, then place a bid at the minimum level. This (usually) removes the 'Buy It Now' option and levels the playing field for the remainder of the auction for any potential bidders/buyers. Dirty trick huh ? Well then Ebay should leave the 'Buy It Now' option until bidding gets up to, say, 75% of the 'Buy It Now' price before removing it. I don't know why they don't anyway !
I hope some of this homespun info is of use but don't use it against me next time I'm chasing that 'must have' item.
Happy Ebaying !!
How to win auctions or E-bay/Auction psychology
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10 July 2008
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