Do you have questions about or are new to bidding?
#1 You are obligated to your bid. Bid wisely!
#2 Proxy Bidding
#3 How to Bid
#4 When not to bid
#5 Bid Retractions
#6 Bidding on 'Reserve Price' Auctions
#7 Pre-approved and Blocked Bidders
#8 Understanding Dutch Auction Bidding
#9 Avoiding Transaction Problems
#10 Related Help Topics: Specialty Bidding
Click on 'view answers' for helpful information about bidding and the above topics.
How to Bid
Q - How do I place a bid?
A - 1. Carefully review the item listing, and click the “Place Bid” button.
2. Enter your maximum bid.
3. Click the “Continue” button.
4. Review your bid, and click the “Confirm Bid” button.
eBay will bid on your behalf up to your maximum. You'll get an email confirming your bid. And at the end of the listing, you'll receive another email indicating whether you've won the item, with an explanation of next steps.
*Tip: Until you click the "Confirm Bid" button, your bid will not be entered into the system. Always review your bid amount before confirming to avoid mistakes such as typos. Should an error occur in the bid amount, simply use the back button on your browser and re-enter the correct bid amount.
Q - What are some good bidding strategies?
A - Everyone has their own way of bidding.
Some prefer to bid early in the listing using eBay's proxy bidding system.
Others will place the item in My eBay, Watched Items, and bid late in the auction....even as late as the last few seconds. This is referred to as Sniping, which is defined as "the art of placing a bid, with a high proxy, during the last few seconds of an auction. The intent is to leave no time for a manually placed reactive bid from another bidder."
See post #2 regarding 'Proxy Bidding'
See here to learn about Snipe Bidding -
Q - What is the most efficient way to bid?
A - A good general rule of thumb frequently given by Answer Center Responders is to:
Bid the maximum amount you are willing to pay.
Bid as late in the auction as you are comfortable...the later the better.
Many seasoned eBayers will agree that the most inefficient way to bid, is called "nibble bidding". Nibble bidding occurs when a member bids against another members proxy bid by bidding one increment at a time in an attempt to outbid the earlier proxy. Or, in a reserve price auction.....the bidder will bid in increments in an attempt to reach the reserve price.
As a rule, retracting a bid is not allowed on eBay (see link below).
Q - I accidentally typed a 'comma' rather than a 'decimal point'. My high bid is $5,000 when I only meant to bid $50. Can I retract?
A - Yes. This is one of few reason to legitimately retract your bid. You must, however, immediately re-bid the correct amount.
Q - Are there any other valid reasons to retract a bid?
A - Yes. Should you bid on an item, and afterward the seller significantly changes the description of the item, you are allowed to retract.
Also, should you need to contact the seller and are unable to, this is a valid reason to retract. Unable to contact the seller means that you attempted to send an email, and it came back as undeliverable.....or, you tried to call them on the telephone and found that the number has been disconnected. Simply not receiving a response to an email, or not getting an answer to a phone call, does not mean that the seller cannot be contacted.
Q - I don't have a valid reason to retract my bid, but I need to. What else can I do?
A - You may contact the seller and ask politely if they would be willing to 'cancel' your bid for you. They are not obligated to do so, but they might agree. If not, you must honor your bid should you win.
Q - Is it possible to retract a 'Buy it Now' ?
A - No. There is no equivalent for bid retraction in Buy It Now listings. Once you've confirmed your purchase, you are obligated to pay the seller.
Read here about 'timing' your retraction and accountability: http://pages.ebay.com/help/buy/bid-retract.html
Link to Retraction Guidelines and retraction form: http://offer.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?RetractBidShow
Pre-approved and Blocked Bidders
Q - I tried to bid on a listing and I was blocked from bidding. Why?
A - It could be one or more of several reasons. Sellers have the option of blocking bids from members who:
*Are registered in countries to which they don't ship
*Have a negative feedback score
*Have received Unpaid Item strikes
*Are currently winning or have bought '1-100' of your items in the last 10 days
*Do not have a PayPal account
Sellers may also block a specific User ID for any of their listings, or
* Pre-approve a list of bidders/buyers for a particular listing
* Cancel bids for their item listing
See also: Buyer Activity Limits: http://pages.ebay.com/help/tp/activity-limits.html
You are obligated to your bid. Bid wisely!
Q - Is my bid binding? If I win, do I have to pay the seller?
A - Yes. Except for a very few circumstances, each bid you place enters you into a binding contract.
Q - What should I do before placing a bid?
A - Carefully review the item listing.
Review the sellers feedback.
Know the shipping costs before you bid.
Ask any and all questions (using the 'ask seller a question' link) before bidding.
Carefully consider your bid amount. Do not bid more than you are willing to pay.
(Don’t forget to consider the cost of shipping when you have a bid amount in mind)
Q - How do I recognize a fraudulent listing?
A - Read here to educate yourself against being a victim of fraud:
1. Learn as much as possible about the product and seller.
2. Understand the retailers' refund and return policies.
3. Use a secure checkout and payment process.
4. If an offer sounds highly suspicious or too good to be true, it probably is.
Q - What is proxy bidding?
A - (From the 'Help' pages) Here's how bidding on eBay works:
1. When you place a bid, you enter the maximum amount you'd be willing to pay for the item. Your maximum amount is kept confidential from other bidders and the seller.
2. The eBay system compares your bid to those of the other bidders.
3. The system places bids on your behalf, using only as much of your bid as is necessary to maintain your high bid position (or to meet the reserve price). The system will bid up to your maximum amount.
4. If another bidder has a higher maximum, you'll be outbid. BUT, if no other bidder has a higher maximum, you win the item. And you could pay significantly less than your maximum price! This means you don't have to keep coming back to re-bid every time another bid is placed.
Q - I entered a proxy bid, but I changed my mind and would like to bid more. How do I bid more?
A - Simply bid again. You can always raise your bid, you just can't lower it.
Bidding Tips: http://pages.ebay.com/help/buy/bidding-ov.html#how
Bidding Tutorial: http://pages.ebay.com/education/gettingstarted/researching.html
Practice Bidding Page: http://pages.ebay.com/education/tutorial/course1/bidding/index.html
Bidding on 'Reserve Price' Auctions
Q - I bid on an auction that has a reserve price, but I didn't meet the reserve. Am I obligated to my bid?
A - No. If you did not meet the reserve price, you are free to move on to another auction.
Q - I placed a bid on a 'reserve price' auction that also had a 'buy it now' option. Why didn't the 'buy it now' go away when I bid?
A - On a reserve price listing, the 'buy it now' will remain until the reserve is met.
Q - What happens if I'm the high bidder on a 'reserve price' auction and the seller lowers the reserve amount?
A - The seller can only lower the reserve amount to one bid increment above your high bid.
When not to bid
Q - What are some reasons to NOT bid on an auction?
A - There are many reasons for not bidding on an auction. Some include:
* If there is any discrepancy in the description or the sellers terms of sale that raise questions concerning the item, you should not bid without first clarifying with the seller.
* If, after viewing and considering the sellers feedback, you feel uncomfortable for any reason about purchasing from that seller, find another seller.
* If the shipping costs are not stated, or if a shipping calculator is not provided, you should not bid before asking seller for a quote on shipping costs.
* If the high bid on an item is already more than you are willing to pay, do not bid any higher.
Q - I was outbid on an item. Can I bid on another one like it?
A - Never bid on like items. For instance, if you bid on an item, only to be outbid later.....never bid on another 'like' item thinking that since you were outbid on the first one, you are no longer obligated to that bid. Just because you were outbid, doesn't mean that you might not still win the item. Winning an auction in which you were outbid usually occurs as a result of the high bidder retracting their bid (a violation) or the seller cancelling the high bid. (sellers may cancel a bid for any reason). In such a case, your bid would then become the high bid once again, and you would be obligated to pay for the item should you win.
Q - What if I didn't meet the reserve price on an auction? Am I still obligated to my bid?
A - No. If you bid on an item in which the reserve price was not met, you are free to move on and bid on another 'like' item.
Sellers can lower the reserve amount on their listings, but only to an amount one increment above your highest bid.