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eBay Hacks by David A. Karp

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Manipulating Buy-It-Now Auctions

Save money with the loopholes of the Buy-It-Now feature.

The Buy-It-Now feature that appears in some auctions allows a bidder to bypass the bidding process and end an auction early at some predetermined price. Whether or not this is a good deal for the buyer, however, depends on the Buy-It-Now price the seller has chosen.

The Buy-It-Now option remains visible on the auction page until the first bid is placed, after which it disappears. (The exception is reserve-price auctions, where the Buy-It-Now will be available as long as the reserve hasn’t been met, regardless of the number of bids.) There are several ways to use this to your advantage.

Start with the Obvious

Some of the best deals I’ve gotten on eBay have been Buy-It-Now items, where the seller specified too low a Buy-It-Now price, and I snatched it before anyone else got a chance. If you see a good price, why wait? Just click Buy-It-Now and end the auction without bidding.

Warning

There may be a reason that an auction has a low Buy-It-Now price; make sure you read the auction description carefully before you commit. Buyers have the same obligation to complete Buy-It-Now transactions as those that end normally.

Sort your search results by Newly Listed, and the newest Buy-It-Now auctions will appear first. This gives you a good chance to catch early deals, as they’re unlikely to last more than a few hours.

Undercut the Buy-It-Now Feature

Auctions with too high a Buy-It-Now price are just as common as ...

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