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Using eBay

UserRemoved 16 526
5 Oct 2004 11:11AM
Have any of you guys used eBay for buying or selling? I've made up my mind to sell my film cameras and I thought I'd start off by selling a Tamron SP500 mirror, and test the water. It sat there for a week with a few bids coming in (6 in all) and reached the heady price of 32. I watched it down the last minute of the auction (refreshing all the time) and the price stayed at 32. When I checked the sale price it was 51. I couldn't see how many bids there had been in the last minute, but I guess somebody who knew the system put in a tactical bid.

This seems to be a bit naff. Surely there should be some different mechanism, like continuing to auction the item until a particular amount of time has elapsed from the last bid (like a minute or so) instead of a rigid cut-off. That would be a bit more like a real auction, instead of a lottery or at least a sealed bid auction. Or am I misunderstanding the process.
randomrubble 16 3.0k 12 United Kingdom
5 Oct 2004 11:18AM
You understand it perfectly. The final price for most ebay items is set in that last minute, many watchers won't eevn bid until the last minute of the auction. It is a lottery for sellers because you really have no Idea if you'll get a good price 'til its over.
raziel_uk 16 4.9k
5 Oct 2004 11:21AM
I actually know someone that is regularly paid by her friends to "ebay-sit" for them when they are away.

She keeps an eye on how auctions are going and puts a bid in within the last few minutes if her friend is losing.

Not a bad way to earn a few extra pennies I would think - certainly better than baby-sitting!

digicammad 17 22.0k 39 United Kingdom
5 Oct 2004 11:22AM
Techno, what you saw was a tactic called Sniping. I have used it myself.

The reason it is popular is because there are a breed of bidders on eBay who do not understand the way the system works. Instead of simply bidding the maximum they are prepared to pay and letting the system do the job they put in a low opening bid to test the water. When they see they have been outbid they then up their bid and so on.

By waiting until the last mimute before placing your bid you give them less time to react and therefore stand a chance of getting a bargain.

I don't mind getting sniped when I am selling stuff, I always make sure I get the minimum I want anyway, but some sellers don't like it.

UserRemoved 16 526
5 Oct 2004 11:36AM
So it's basically like a sealed bid auction, because you have no chance of reacting quickly enough to a higher bid in the last minute - even if you manage to see it, which I didn't.

The other strange thing I noticed is that on some items the same person was bidding several times without a higher bid having been put in (several days before cut off). Very odd.
debs 17 176 United Kingdom
5 Oct 2004 11:40AM
as mentioned above, if a lens is currently at say 150 with bidding, and I wish to make a bid, I will need to bid at least 155.

If I put in 180, it will put my bid in at 155. If you then came along and put a bid in +5 to say 160, it would automatically increase my bid to 165 and so on with anyone who adds bids, until it reaches my maximum of 180. Similarly, if I add a bid, and someone else has say a maximum bid of 170, the bid will automatically increase.

What a lot of people do including myself is wait until say the last 5 minutes and put in your maximum bid, to see if you have others also interested. You can then make a decision to up your bid if you really want the item.

A lot of people wait until the last 30 seconds, and then put in their best bid, sometimes they win, and othertimes they don't because someone already has a higher maximum bid already logged !!

I hope this makes sense .... maybe I've confused you even more!!

A good tip is to research the market for a week before you wish to sell an item, search and mark items to "watch this item", you can then get a feel for what your product you wish to sell goes for, and it will give you a good idea, and also a starting price. I tend to pitch a starting price and no reserve, I find it cheaper, and you usually get more bidders - but obviously you do run the risk of selling something possibly cheaper than you might wish.

Good luck
digicammad 17 22.0k 39 United Kingdom
5 Oct 2004 11:43AM
If you see the same name crop up multiple times with no rival bidder in between it means there have been rival bids but not high enough to beat their bid. eBay doesn't bother showing the rival bids, only those which are winning at any point in time.
tiptoe 16 267
5 Oct 2004 11:44AM
I buy and sell on Ebay and I always use auctionsniper (
This places my bid 5 seconds before the auction ends.
If I show my interest in the item early in the bidding it simply pushes the price up as others try to outbid my offer.
Usually I win the auction but if not that's because the item has gone beyond what I'm prepared to pay for it.
ONLY place a proxy bid amount that you are willing to pay. I know someone who was determined to buy a retired paperweight worth 220 max. They thought they were being clever and left a bid of 610 only someone else had the same idea and left a bid of 600. My friend won at 605 - and the seller wouldn't agree to cancel the auction.
That's a very hard lesson to learn.
Carabosse 17 41.5k 270 England
5 Oct 2004 11:53AM
"Retired paperweight"..... hmmm.... always wanted one - what on earth is it? Lol!! Grin

You're a bit of an expert on all this Ian, quite clearly. Smile
digicammad 17 22.0k 39 United Kingdom
5 Oct 2004 11:56AM
Don't know about expert CB, but eBay is the first place I look when I want to buy and sell so I have taken care to learn the pros and cons. Too many people don't understand it and then slag it off when they end up selling for too little or buying for too much. Used properly it's as safe as your local shops.

Carabosse 17 41.5k 270 England
5 Oct 2004 11:58AM
Well I might have a go at eBay unless Jessops offer me a huge trade-in price for my F717 (LMAO!!)
UserRemoved 16 526
5 Oct 2004 12:10PM
Thanks for the info - that's brilliant. It's amazing how much knowledge there is in this forum. I had no idea that it worked like Debs said. They don't tell you that - or maybe I missed it.
digicammad 17 22.0k 39 United Kingdom
5 Oct 2004 12:22PM
It's all there somewhere techno, just take a look in the sellers guides and buyers guides. They even give you advice as to what to do if a winning bidder doesn't contact you.

UserRemoved 16 6.2k 1
5 Oct 2004 12:45PM
Nothing much to add to above - I've bought a lot on eBay (including my Sigma) and never had a problem.

Bit of pyschology and research all makes for a smooth transaction. Research extends to checking other bidders to determine level of interest and sometimes checking that seller exists (electoral register)
ahollowa 16 1.1k England
5 Oct 2004 1:10PM
I'm sure this info is there somewhere if I could be bothered to look but I can't so maybe someone could quickly tell me .....
How does the seller and buyer securly exchange purchase and money? I have thought of buying on Ebay but am worried that if I send off the bid money I may never see the goods, or if I do they are not what I ordered (worse condition etc).



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