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Buyer tips for auction-style listings

Whether you're new to eBay or are an experienced shopper, these auction tips can help you bid and buy safely.

Do your research

Learn all you can about the item. Read the item description carefully. Make sure you understand details about P&P and payment options. Don't make assumptions about information that isn't included in the description.
Find answers to your questions. If you have any questions or are unsure about something, click the Ask a question link in the listing. Common questions include "Do you accept returns?" and "How will you deliver the item?" If you've already bid on an item and you're having a problem communicating with a seller through email, you can request the seller's contact information.
Check the seller's Feedback profile. From the listing, click the seller's Fefedback score. This is the number in brackets next to the seller's user ID. On the Feedback profile page, you'll see what other buyers have to say about doing business with the seller. Make sure you look through the seller's overall ratings and detailed seller ratings, as well as Feedback comments. Learn more about Feedback.
Research the item's value. Look at similar completed listings by searching completed listings. You can also visit online shops that sell similar items and talk to friends to help determine what the item is worth.
Make sure the item is legal and allowed. If you have any doubts as to whether the item you're interested in is allowed, check our policies on prohibited, questionable and infringing items.

Consider your buying options

Determine the maximum amount that you're willing to pay for the item. Take into consideration what the item is worth to you, how difficult it will be for you to find another one and how soon you need it. Then decide the highest price that you're willing to pay.
Understand what entering a maximum bid means. Our automatic bidding system means you can enter your maximum bid once and the system will automatically increase your bid only as much as is needed for you to stay the highest bidder without going over your maximum bid.
Make every bid a serious one. Make sure you don't bid on multiple similar items from different sellers if you only want one. If you're the winning bidder in more than one auction, you're obliged to purchase all the items you've won.
Consider Buy it now. Does the listing you're interested in have a Buy it now option? If so, consider whether you're willing to pay the Buy it now price in order to guarantee that you get the item without having to wait for the auction-style to end.
Consider Best Offer. If the seller offers Best Offer, come up with a price that you believe would be the best price for both you and the seller and make an offer for that amount. In some categories, you and the seller can send each other counteroffers until you come to a price you both agree on.

Plan ahead

Make sure your contact information is up-to-date. Check your personal information to make sure it is correct. Also, check that any spam blocking software that you have installed doesn't prevent a seller from communicating with you.
Start early if you want to buy with Best Offer. The way to win with Best Offer is to start early in the listing so you can allow time for the seller to respond.
Plan for alternate access. To help you stay on top of your bidding and purchasing while on the go, make sure you've downloaded the eBay app for your mobile device.

Contact Customer Support

If you have an additional question about this subject, please email us at Customer Support.
If you would like to ask a question on another subject, please use the Contact Us page.

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