Sniping on eBay

I didn’t write this, but saw it written on a public forum. I thought it was such a succinct explanation that it was worth preserving.


Item X is for sale in an eBay auction. The item is currently up at £10. Fred is the highest bidder. Fred has bid £20, but eBay hasn’t disclosed that amount yet.

You decide that the maximum you want to pay is £50….

Scenario 1
You bid £50 in the closing seconds. eBay sets the highest current bid at £21 (£1 more than Fred’s bid).
Fred does not have a chance to reconsider his bid. You win the item for £21.

Scenario 2
You bid £50 with several days left to go. eBay sets the highest current bid at £21.
Fred notices this, sucks air through his teeth and decides that perhaps he *could* go to £30 after all.
Fred bids £30. eBay automatically sets current amount to £31 (again £1 more than Fred’s highest bid).
You are still the highest bidder.
Fred is annoyed and bids £35. eBay sets the current amount to £36. Fred gives up and goes back to looking for internet porn.
The auction ends, you win the item for £36.

Scenario 3
You bid £50 with several days left to go. eBay sets the highest current bid at £21.
The auction owner notices your bid and shill bids against you. He reveals your highest bid amount by bidding more than you. He then cancels his bid and bids again at £49, which is £1 less than your maximum.
The auction ends, you win the item for £50.

In all cases, you’ve won. In all cases you’ve not paid more than your maximum. In two of the three cases, you’ve acted foolishly and have been parted from more money than you need have been.

About DataHamster

The Data Hamster stores facts and information in its capacious cheek pouches and regurgitates them from time to time.

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