Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Well, tonight I found myself knee deep in a dilemma that I have found myself in a few times in the past. Here's the scenario...

You see a card on ebay. A card that is rare and one you consider to be a 'must have'. You see the starting bid sitting at .99 cents and there is no reserve on the auction.

You place a bid on the card. More of a reminder bid, a small hit on the price (I tend to wait until late in the auction to fully play my hand). I come back to the computer later that day, or maybe the next day only to find that the card listing has been pulled from ebay and all bids have been wiped from the board.

The seller decided to sell the card to someone who offered him a price to end the auction early.

It's stung - quite a lot in the past. To the point where I started asking sellers of rare items "are you planning on letting the auction run its course or are you accepting offers to end the auction early?" It was more of a buffer move rather than an attempt to swipe the card out from everyone's noses.

Well, the situation came up again tonight. A card appeared and I knew without a doubt that offers would be made on it. So I simply asked "are you letting the auction run its course? will you be taking offers?" The response - "Sure, fire away."

What to do? If I do nothing, I'm sure someone else will make an offer and I will be out of luck obtaining the card. If I make an offer, I will 'stooping to the level' that others have done to me in the past.

This has happened to me a couple times before. In both instances, I have been the first bidder (and one time the first viewer of the auction). My feeling is that, if nobody has yet bid on the item, then there is less of a chance of 'swiping it' out of someone's hands. If there is a bid on it, I won't even ask.

Back to tonight's item. So I'm the first bidder and the auction has been up only for a matter of minutes. I've been told by the seller that he is accepting offers and to 'fire away'. So, I do just that.

Within minutes, a deal is done. Unfortunately, in the meantime, two other people have put 'feeler' bids on the card. Now I feel bad. Actually, I feel more torn than bad.

What is the right move in this instance? Do you hope that nobody makes an offer and let the auction run its course? Do you refrain from making an offer and accept the fact that you might not even have a shot at it? Do you make an offer and go through the door that the seller has cracked open?

This subject always comes to the forefront of my mind when I see a rare card come up for bids. I'm still not sure what the best card to play is.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter.


  1. You didn't swoop in after the first bids so I wouldn't feel bad. Even if you did, EBAY is just a marketplace so whatever the buyer and seller are comfortable doing is up to them. That said, back in the day, I had a 1/1 Shawn Green card that I put up for auction. I had bids up to about $300 and I had a potential buyer contact me and ask if I would end the auction early for the high bid of $300 (he wasn't the highest bidder). The auction still had 2 or 3 days and I told him I didn't think it was fair to the other bidders to do that. He said he was buying cards for Shawn's family (dubious claim) and they really wanted the card. I said that's fine, bid away. The card sold for $350 and he didn't get it. I didn't feel bad about making him participate in the auction and I didn't feel bad that he didn't win the card.

  2. IMO it's the person that is the selling the cards responsibility to turn the other cheek if a bidder puts in an offer to end it early. Because if everybody did that it defeats the purpose of eBay which is a fair, unbiased auction, that anybody can have a chance of winning. You really shouldn't be put in that position in the first place.

  3. I've never had an issue like this with ebay, yet, but I think once any standard auction has started, the seller shouldn't be allowed to cut it short for any reason, especially with the offer option on ebay now.

  4. I agree, the seller is the one who can ultimately control these things. But what do you do if the seller decides to accept offers outside of ebay?

    I would prefer that all auctions run their course - that's the whole purpose of ebay. But having learned in the past that this is not always the case, what do you do?

  5. Isn't it against eBay's rules to even do this?

    It's been a long time since I've checked the company's rules, but I remember that eBay frowned mightily upon a seller ending an auction prematurely to proceed with a deal outside the eBay arena.

  6. I think it is. That said, I have seen it happen quite a lot.

    I've also seen this one...seller puts an item up for auction starting at .99 cents, it has one or two very low bids, then moments before the auction is to end - the seller puts a stop to the auction because he will be taking a huge loos on the item.

    Ultimately, if you put the item up on ebay - you should let the auction run its course.

    But as a buyer, knowing that this stuff happens - what do you do? Hope you have a seller that will adhere to the ebay rules or sit back and watch as an item you want glides right on by?

  7. I stick to the rule someone told me a while ago... "All is fair on eBay". If a card is there and I need it, I will now do anything and everything to get it because I have been burned too many times thinking the seller will let the auction run.

    When I sell I turn down offers mainly because I am curious to see what it will end at if so many people want it.