By Aron Hsiao. eBay Expert
Aron Hsiao is a former eBay employee and a longtime eBay buyer and seller. A computing and technology expert and six-time author, Aron joined eBay in 2000 and continues to sell on eBay today. Through thousands of transactions Aron continues to maintain a perfect feedback score and profile; he has never received a negative rating.
You can learn more about my work, hobbies, and areas of expertise on my Google+ profile .
If you're new to eBay, you may have noticed that there are two basic kinds of listings—auction-format listings and fixed-price listings. Fixed price listings behave just as you expect most kinds of online shopping to behave; you click a button to make a purchase, then pay for it.
Auction format listings, however, can be much more mysterious for new eBay shoppers, and the item pricing and bidding system for auction listings can make what should be an easy task (making a purchase) seem unnecessarily complex.
Here is what you need to know about the items you find in eBay searches and how to "bid on" them.
Two Kinds of Items: Fixed Price and Auction
In general, items on eBay are being sold in two basic ways:
- Fixed price items are easy to identify because they have a "Buy It Now" button with a price listed next to it. You can buy this kind of item simply by clicking the "Buy It Now" button. You will pay the price listed next to the button.
- A few items have both kinds of buttons and show two prices at once. Items like this are for sale both ways. If nobody uses the "Buy It Now" button, the item goes to the highest bidder when time is up.
How to Bid (What You MUST Know)
If an item you're interested in has a "Place Bid" button (meaning that it's an auction item), you'll
have to bid on and "win" it in order to buy it. To do so, enter a dollar value into the box (your bid) and click "Place Bid."
Before you decide to bid, however, but there are some things you should know:
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- eBay auctions accept bids only for a specific amount of time. In a traditional non-eBay auction, bidders frantically place competing bids. When bidding slows to nothing, the auctioneer pounds the gavel and the item is sold. On eBay, auctions are open to bids for exactly 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10 days. When time is up, the high bidder wins, even if people are still frantically bidding.
Technically, this is all you need to know to bid on eBay auction items. Learning about eBay's automatic bidding system, however, can reduce your frustration and improve your bidding success. Read on to learn how to use it.