Buyer Education

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How To Bid On An Item
How Does it Work?
eBay uses an automatic bidding system to make bidding on auction listings more convenient and less time-consuming for buyers. There is nothing you have to set up in order to bid in this way. When you bid on an auction-style listing, you will be placing bids using this method.

What is Proxy Bidding?
  • 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.
  • The eBay system compares your bid to those of the other bidders.
  • The system places bids on your behalf, using only as much of your bid as is necessary to maintain your high bid position. The system will bid up to your maximum amount.
  • If another bidder has a higher maximum, you'll be outbid. BUT, if no other bidder has a higher maximum, you win the item. This means you could pay significantly less than your maximum price, so you don't have to keep coming back to re-bid every time another bid is placed.

What Happens if I am Outbid?
You have been outbid when another buyer has placed a higher maximum bid than yours, and you are not the current winning bidder.

Sometimes you'll be outbid as soon as you enter your bid, even though the bid you entered was higher than the current bid shown on the item listing. When this happens, you will usually be notified immediately, and you'll be given a chance to make another bid.

Does eBay Notify Me if I am Outbid?
Unless you have changed your notification preferences, when another buyer's bid exceeds your maximum price, you'll receive an email letting you know that you have been outbid. You can use the link in this email to return to the item page and increase your bid.

An email is also automatically sent to losing bidders at the end of the auction, informing them that they didn't win the item. It also highlights items that are similar to the one they lost.

What Is Sniping?
Placing a high bid in the closing seconds of an auction-style listing is called "sniping" within the eBay Community. Sniping is part of the eBay experience, and all bids placed before a listing ends are valid, even if they're placed one second before the listing ends.

To help avoid disappointment, ensure that the maximum bid you enter on the item page is the highest price that you're willing to pay. The eBay bidding system automatically increases your bid up to the maximum price you specify, so entering a higher maximum may help prevent you from being outbid in the closing seconds of a listing.

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