A Quick Guide to Online Auctions
To sum things up, online auctions can be fun or they also can be a real pain in the butt, if you start bidding without a plan!
I’ve been participating in online auctions for the last couple of years and have found some really great buys. Some I have won and some I have loss … And, I don’t know about you, but when you lose … it sucks, BIG TIME! Especially, when you had it all planned out, as to what you were going to do when you brought the item home.
But, enough about that, here’s my quick guide to online auctions and getting the items you want!
1. KNOW THE RULES OF THE AUCTION!
Knowing the rules of the auction is VERY IMPORTANT!
It tells you everything you need to know from the responsibility of the seller to the responsibility of the buyer. You’ll find out what additional fees (buyer’s premium – the most I’ve ever paid was 15%) are applied to the winning bid, along with any taxes (local/state taxes) you may have to pay.
Also, know that by participating in an auction, you are agreeing to its terms, if you are found to be the winner. You are bound to that agreement and will be held legally responsible. If you fail to follow the rules, you can be banned from participating in future online auctions and legal action can be taken against you to recover any funds owed to the seller.
2. Know the location of your item!
Is your item being held at a home, business or storage unit? Did your item come from a smoke/pet free environment or were there pets? A lot of these answers can be found in the description, if not, ask before bidding.
3. Research your item, before placing your bid!
Do not bid without knowing the value or the rating of your item, because you might have a real dud on your hands.
For example, if you’re looking to bid on 70″ flat screen television … find out the model number, review the specs, check out the reviews (visit multiple sites), check if the item has a site solely for its problems, make sure you have the space for your item, and lastly, make sure you have the help and the transportation to get your item back to your location.
It is very important for you to do your homework, because the sellers aren’t going to tell you, they’re going to let you find out for yourself. Electronics and appliances (small or large) are the main items you want to research, because if you had a television you loved, you wouldn’t want to leave it behind. You would take it with you! And, that goes for small appliances, too!
Also, it’s very important to have one or two people on standby, just in case you need help. These places often have your item in its original setting, so if it’s hanging somewhere, you’re going to need the tools and the help to get it down.
Help is often not provided by the sellers and depending on the item, it can be both awkward or heavy to move. For example, a man won a wall clock — instead, of the sellers having the clock ready for pick up, the clock was still on the wall and the buyer spent a good twenty minutes trying to remove it without damaging the wall. Now, don’t get me wrong, they did offer him a flashlight and moral support, but he still had to figure it out on his own!
4. Know Your Bidding System
Before you place your bid, it’s good to know what type of bidding system the sellers are using. I’ve had the opportunity to experience both … one I love, and the other … well, I’m on the fence and that’s only because you get no extra time when someone outbids you during the final seconds of the auction!
Let’s start with the one I love … the one I love alerts you when you’ve been outbidded, increases the auction time by 2 minutes or so (if it’s during the last few minutes of the auction), and allows a bidding war, if you’re interested.
The other system, is great for the buyers that like to jump in on the action during the last 30 seconds of the auction — this one sends out an outbid notice, but it does not extend the time on the auction clock.
Therefore, by the time you or the other people get their outbid notice and attempt to raise their bid, it’s often too late and the item is awarded to the highest bidder!
5. To Bid or Not to Bid …
I prefer to place my bids during the last 30 seconds of the auction and the reason for this is to reduce any chances of having a bidding war.
I’ve watched bidders go back and forth, only to lose to someone who watched the auction until the very end. Patience is a virtue.
Besides, I’m a firm believer that when you bid early, you’re only giving people more time to prepare and figure things out, so wait until the end and blow their minds!