Know Your eBay Buying Terms

Part of the eBay For Dummies Cheat Sheet

To become an eBay power user, it's best to understand some common terms and definitions that you'll see frequently on the website. Bolster your buying (and selling) expertise by understanding these important eBay terms:

  • Reserve price: The minimum price a seller is willing to accept for an item up for auction, kept secret during bidding. Setting a reserve price is optional, and only the seller knows it. If the bidding doesn’t exceed the reserve, the seller has the option not to sell the item. eBay charges the seller a small fee for this option.

  • Starting 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. Starting bid amounts are less than auction reserve prices.

  • Make Offer: A seller can place a Best Offer button on a Fixed Price listing. This means if you’d like to get the item a tad cheaper, the seller may be okay with that. Understand that the seller will review your offer, and may turn down the offer if they feel it is too low or doesn’t cover the seller’s costs.

  • Buy It Now: You may have the option of purchasing an auction item when this option appears on the item page. If you feel this price is a bit more than you want to pay, place a bid at the starting bid level (or the most you’d like to pay). That way the Buy It Now 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 proxy (automatic) bidding 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.

  • Second Chance Offer: A seller whose reserve price has not been met, or who has more than one of an item after a successful auction, can offer the item(s) still in stock to runner-up bidders. You are not required to purchase the item. But if you bid on it once, why not?

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