After an eBay Auction: Side Deals or Second Chances?

If an eBay bidder is outbid on an item that he or she really wants or if the auction's reserve price isn't met, the bidder may message the seller and see whether the seller is willing to make another deal. Maybe the seller has another similar item — or is willing to sell the item directly rather than run a whole new auction.

You need to know that this could happen — but eBay doesn't sanction this outside activity.

If the seller has more than one of the item, or the original auction winner doesn't go through with the deal, the seller can make a Second Chance offer. This is a legal eBay-sanctioned second chance for underbidders (unsuccessful bidders) who participated in the auction. Second Chance offers can also be made in reserve auctions if the reserve price wasn't met.

Any side deals other than Second Chance offers are unprotected. Here's an example: Jack collects autographed final scripts from hit television sitcoms. So when the curtain fell on Seinfeld, he had to have a script. Not surprisingly, he found one on eBay with a final price tag that was way out of his league.

But he knew that by placing a bid, he made it likelier that someone else with a signed script to sell might see his name and try to make a deal. And he was right.

After the auction closed, he received a message from a guy who worked on the final show and had a script signed by all the actors. He offered it to Jack for $1,000 less than the final auction price on eBay. Tempted as he was to take the offer, Jack understood that eBay's rules and regulations wouldn't help him out if the deal turned sour.

He was also aware that he wouldn't receive the benefit of feedback or any eBay Buyer Protection for the transaction.

If you even think about making a side deal, remember that not only does eBay strictly prohibit this activity, but eBay can also suspend you if you are reported for making a side deal. And if you're the victim of a side-deal scam, eBay's rules and regulations don't offer you any protection. Watch out!

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