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How to Respond to an eBay Buyer’s Initial Inquiries

Know Your eBay Auction Terms

Bolster your buying (and selling) vocabulary with these basic eBay terms:

  • Reserve price: The minimum price a seller is willing to accept for an item up for auction. Setting a reserve is optional, and only the seller knows the reserve price. If the bidding doesn’t exceed the reserve, the seller has the option to keep the item. eBay charges the seller a small fee for this option.
  • Minimum bid: The lowest acceptable bid for an item, set by the seller. This amount must be determined by the seller and is not kept secret. Minimum bid amounts are often different from reserve prices.
  • Multiple Item (Dutch) auction: An auction that allows a seller to put multiple identical items up for sale instead of holding multiple separate auctions. The seller must sell all items at the lowest winning price. You can bid on one, some, or all of the items.
  • BIN (Buy It Now): You have the option of purchasing an item with the BIN option. If you feel the BIN price is a bit more than you want to pay, place a bid at the minimum bid level (or the most you’d like to pay). That way, the BIN option disappears, and you may just win the item at the lower price.
  • Proxy bid: You can decide the most you’re willing to pay for an item and allow eBay’s bidding program to place bids for you while you go on with your life. The proxy bidder ups the ante incrementally to beat out your competition until you’re outbid or win the auction.
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