Most of the time, the height of activity on an eBay auction takes place during the last moments of the listing before it ends. However, you almost always have folks bidding early, and bidding more than once. The more inexperienced tend to bid one increment up and are unaware of the ability to place a "maximum" bid (we will look at this later) and people bookmark the listing, leaving tell-tale indications that there are others interested in the item. The more such activity that goes on during the auction, the more the price gets jacked up, and the higher the incidence of "auction fever," especially nearing the end of the listing!

This is a close-up of the auction. You can see there is only 5 minutes and 31 seconds left. The price had gone up to $12.50 - not bad and still well under half of what the Buy-It-Now listing was offering.

Note that there are now 4 bidders on here. I have not place a bid yet. I won't until the last five seconds of the listing!

There are a few things I want to go over:

Before you consider purchasing from a seller, you MUST look at the seller's rating (feedback.) This is VERY important!

The numbers tell you some, but the feedback tells all. Don't worry about positive feedback. Look at the negative feedback for two things

  1. Who the seller is (to whom the feedback had been left)
  2. Who the buyers are (who left the feedback)

Who the Seller Is

Look for complaints about items not being as listed, late shipping, broken or defective items when such defects have not been declared in the listing, deception and anything for which the seller is at fault - and how the seller has handled the situation. This could be refunding, or lack thereof, communication, rudeness, practicing good business manners, etc.

Who the Buyers Are

Some people can be jerks! They can be extreme idiots and unfortunately this has destroyed legitimate, well-meaning eBay businesses. Sadly, misapplied negative feedback only shows up in the numbers on the front end and it terribly damages the reputation of hard-working and honest sellers trying to make a living in a volatile environment.

Sometimes sellers deserve negative or neutral feedback and other times, they do not!

Buyers have been known to leave negative feedback, even after having been refunded!

Anything Under 99.6% Is Considered "Terrible."

This percentage is the ratio of positive feedback against the negative and neutral. It warrants investigation. However there are things to consider here:

  • Number of sales
  • What the feedback says
  • Consistency in the complaints
  • Seller's intentions

If the seller has had very few completed listings beyond 10 or 12, say under 20 per se, a single negative feedback will demolish the seller's rating!

All it takes is one idiot leaving unwarranted negative feedback! On the other hand, the seller could have been at fault and deserved the feedback!

Sellers with very high completed listings under their belt with a rating like this says more about the seller than the buyers. Look for patterns. You will find them. You will also find a few idiots leaving feedback as well. The feedback tells you a LOT about the situation. Many people just see the numbers and do not bother looking at the complaints.

Read them before interacting with the listing!

Let's look at the bid history now. I know this is mounting to a lot of stuff here, but using this case, I'm going over what I do when I use eBay. In Case #2, these details will not be discussed and will be far more pictorial...

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MBrownie Premium
Thanks for the great info Daniel. I don't know much about Ebay but your information has now peaked my interest!
When you are new to eBay or haven't used it very much, it is very easy to get caught up in doing the way eBay suggests, which isn't always in your best interest.

I've been around eBay now since 2001, though for a long space of time, I did not use it. The last couple years, I've been using it extensively again, but most of the tricks I know now I've learnt in the first three years using it, learnt by doing.

It's sad to see folks on the first day of an auction placing bids on it. When I see that, and enough people having done it, I pass that auction by.
JewelCarol Premium
Great stuff, thanks for sharing, Daniel. :)
WilliamBH Premium
Great info .. Cheers, William
lstrickland Premium
Hi Daniel thank you for the information.
onmyownterms Premium
Thanks for sharing!