By Marsha Collier

Despite all your best efforts, sometimes your eBay auction ends with no bids, or bids that aren’t even close to your reserve price. Or maybe a buyer won your item, but the transaction didn’t go through. If an auction fizzles like that, eBay takes pity on you and offers you the chance to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.

The best way to improve your chances of selling a relisted item is by making changes to the listing. eBay says the majority of the items put up for auction should sell. If you sell your item the second time around (in most cases), eBay rewards you with a refund of your Insertion Fee. You receive your refund after at least one billing cycle. Accept this refund as a reward for learning the ropes.

In the case of an unsold or unpaid item, you may (only in this situation) qualify for an Insertion Fee credit by relisting the item. If the item sells the second time, eBay will refund the Insertion Fee for relisting.

You must only use eBay’s Relist feature to receive the credit. After the item is filed as unpaid, you can use the Relist link on the unpaid item page or do the following:

  1. Go to your My eBay page.
  2. On the left side of the page in the Selling area, click the Sold link. You arrive at the page without Sold Listings. You’ll be able to find the unpaid item because it’s specially marked.
  3. Click the Relist link from the drop-down menu next to the unpaid item.

If your item doesn’t sell after two tries, better take a different tack. If you want to be eligible for a new Insertion-Fee refund (when your item hasn’t sold twice in a row), you must use the Sell Similar option. This sets up the item in a new cycle for eBay. To get your third shot at selling, do the following (from the Unsold section of your My eBay Selling page):

  1. Click the drop-down menu next to the auction item that you want to relist and choose Sell Similar. You’re taken to the original listing form with all the information filled in.
  2. Make your changes to the auction, launch it, and pray!

The more specific your item title, the more you improve your odds of being profitable. If you’re selling an old Monopoly game, don’t just title it Old Monopoly board game; call it Rare 1959 Monopoly Game Complete in Box.

Here’s a list of ideas that you can use to improve your auction’s odds for success:

  • Change the item category. See if the item sold better in another category.
  • Add a picture. If two identical items are up for auction at the same time, the item with a photo gets more and higher bids.
  • Spruce up the title and description. Make it enticing and grab those search engines.
  • Set a lower minimum bid. The first bidders will think they’re getting a bargain, and others will want a hot item.
  • Set a lower reserve price or cancel the reserve. A reserve price often scares away bidders who fear it’s too high.
  • Change the duration of the auction. Maybe you need some more time.

Long-time eBay veterans say that reducing or canceling your reserve price makes an auction very attractive to buyers.