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For Seniors: How to Know Whether to Bid or Buy on eBay

A particularly quirky situation can arise when an eBay auction has some characteristics of a fixed-price sale. In this case, you see the Place Bid button along with the Buy It Now button. In that situation, you need to make the choice whether you should bid on the item or buy it outright.

  • If you like the item so much that you don’t want to chance losing it (and you’re willing to pay the listed price), click the Buy It Now button.

  • If you’d like to take your chances on winning the item at a lower price than the Buy It Now price on the listing, you can place a bid on the item. Just click the Place Bid button and go for it.

After a bid is placed (by you or someone else), the Buy It Now option disappears . . . unless the seller has put a reserve price on the listing. If the seller has a reserve price, the option to Buy It Now won’t disappear until a bid meets that amount.

When the Buy It Now button is gone, the listing becomes a standard auction, and the item will be sold to the highest bidder. If you’re still bidding, be sure to keep an eye on the listing by looking in the Bidding area of your My eBay page each day until the auction is over.

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