Lucky Mom

May. 29, 2006

eBay - Frustrations With Bidding

Okay, so there are zillions of people out there buying and selling like mad on eBay. It must work well as everyone seems to be getting something out of it.

I, personally, use Craigslist for my selling needs (don’t really want to have to ship stuff right now) but was curious about the buying thing. So, I set myself up with an account and was ready to go.

Not sure exactly what I needed to buy though, so scanned through some things I didn’t REALLY need so I could throw a bid out there. I felt like I was playing Black Jack in Vegas but oh how it is so less intimidating than Vegas.

So, I toss out my bid like the proud gambler that I decided I wanted to be! Would I win or lose?

$18.00 on the Burberry baby booties! Not exactly a need but something fun to bid on and I wouldn’t be too upset if I didn’t ‘win’.

I didn’t ‘win’. I lost the booties. I was semi-okay with that but oddly felt a bit defeated.

I decided a few days later to try again but this time on something I really did want. A Coach Diaper bag. I saw it in the store and really loved it but it wasn’t exactly the perfect size so I passed on the $368.00 price tag. I’d look on eBay!

I found exactly ONE on eBay. Brand new with tags. Or is it, ‘NWT’, I’m not sure; I’m still learning the codes.

It started around $100.00 and I thought I had quite a way to go as I did like the bag a lot so I entered my bid.

As time went by, the bidding price began climbing and I started getting nervous as I didn’t (uh…still don’t) understand the ‘Current bid’ v. ‘Maximum bid’ v. 'You must bid higher than US $___' thing as eBay’s proxy bid system is supposed to conceal your maximum bid but it kept telling me to bid higher than the highest bid though I already had. Huh?

Anyway, I really, really wanted this bag and time was running out. I got myself to the highest bidder position but was nervous someone else would swoop in and get the bag at the last minute. So, I was ready. Ready to raise my bid as the seconds ticked away.

At about 15 seconds left, I raised my bid. Suddenly it told me to bid higher than $____so I did. It told me I was outbid again! WTF? I quickly bid a much higher amount in the last few seconds and I bloody LOST. Lost my Coach Diaper bag. When I looked at the 'winner' of my bag, it wasn’t even my highest bid??

I obviously do NOT get this blasted system. So, being that I consider myself not to be a complete idiot, I took the bidding tutorial and practiced bidding. Apparently, I am an idiot.

It still didn’t completely make sense and I have residual questions that do not appear to get answered in the tutorial. There are many ‘secrets to eBay’ websites (for a nice fee) but I don’t trust I will really get the ‘secrets’. Actually I'm pretty peeved there are secrets and not just FAQ's that answer all your darned questions.

I still don’t get it. I’m doomed to pay full price I guess. Sorry, husband!

4 Comments Posted (Add Yours)


I find eBay pretty hard to use as well. It's especially daunting if you're an infrequent user and so are not familiar with the interface and the processes involved in buying and/or selling.

Looks like I'm not the only one either.

I've never really understood why it's so complicated to buy or sell something on eBay.

That's probably why the few times I've bought something off eBay I've used the 'buy it now' feature and why I tend to use even though I could buy the same goods off eBay.


Christian - interesting article, especially the part about the seller not getting the best price. I agree, I would have paid more but didn't know the 'sniper' was going to swing in and 'steal' in the last second at the price he/she did.

The feedback issue in the article is also interesting.


For what it's worth, you can take all the guesswork and frustration out of the bidding process by subscribing to a "sniper" service. Sounds extreme, I know, but it can save you lots of time and money and costs about $.10 per bid. Basically you just enter the item # and the maximum amount you're willing to pay. Then the service enters your bid in the last 15 seconds of the auction. So you either win or lose but at least you don't have to sit by the computer or get caught up in the must-win mentality and end up losing your shirt! I used to use - I assume it's still around.


Kelly D. - thanks for the tip. I knew there had to be some kind of system I didn't know about!