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"or best offer" eBay question

On eBay do you all consider a listing showing a starting bid price with an "or best offer" as an indication that the seller is willing to accept an offer lower than the starting bid or is it more that they are treating the "obo" as something akin to a potential "buy it now" where a bidder can throw out something north of the starting bid in order to hopefully buy the item for under where it may possibly clear if the auction was to go to the end? Is the answer maybe that it could be either depending on the seller in which case my question would be what is the more frequent usage?

Thanks!

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    jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,997 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No. An auction with a best offer is designed to get bids on excess of the starting bid in order to end the auction early.

    Now, might a seller accept such an offer. Yes. But that is not how they are intended. That's why ebay lets you set a minimum acceptable offer higher than the starting bid.

    Personally, I will never accept an offer lower or even equal to the starting bid. If i start at $50 and you're willing to pay $50. Bid. If someone outbids you, THAT'S THE NATURE OF AUCTIONS. You want me to end it early, pay a premium.

    [These are the least understood things on ebay. ]

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    jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,997 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If a seller were willing to accept less, don't you think they'd start the bidding lower? There's no advantage to the seller to scare off bidders with too high a starting bid.

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    jeffas1974jeffas1974 Posts: 315 ✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf said:
    No. An auction with a best offer is designed to get bids on excess of the starting bid in order to end the auction early.

    Now, might a seller accept such an offer. Yes. But that is not how they are intended. That's why ebay lets you set a minimum acceptable offer higher than the starting bid.

    Personally, I will never accept an offer lower or even equal to the starting bid. If i start at $50 and you're willing to pay $50. Bid. If someone outbids you, THAT'S THE NATURE OF AUCTIONS. You want me to end it early, pay a premium.

    [These are the least understood things on ebay. ]

    Thanks @jmlanzaf. I usually participate in straight up auctions but have expanded my search to include ones with "obo" as well. The first couple that I came across ended up with no bids so on the one where I threw out a best offer lower than the starting bid my offer was accepted and so that's why it didn't even cross my mind until earlier today about the "obo" being a mechanism to end the auction early with an offer north of the starting bid.

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    coinhackcoinhack Posts: 1,131 ✭✭✭✭

    Very interesting. I didn't even know this was a thing. Thanks to the OP and the replies.

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    jeffas1974jeffas1974 Posts: 315 ✭✭✭

    Yep, thanks guys. I'll fully admit to my lack of knowledge for many aspects of this hobby but the best way to learn is to ask and I appreciate anyone that takes the time to provide an answer.

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    jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,997 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jeffas1974 said:

    @jmlanzaf said:
    No. An auction with a best offer is designed to get bids on excess of the starting bid in order to end the auction early.

    Now, might a seller accept such an offer. Yes. But that is not how they are intended. That's why ebay lets you set a minimum acceptable offer higher than the starting bid.

    Personally, I will never accept an offer lower or even equal to the starting bid. If i start at $50 and you're willing to pay $50. Bid. If someone outbids you, THAT'S THE NATURE OF AUCTIONS. You want me to end it early, pay a premium.

    [These are the least understood things on ebay. ]

    Thanks @jmlanzaf. I usually participate in straight up auctions but have expanded my search to include ones with "obo" as well. The first couple that I came across ended up with no bids so on the one where I threw out a best offer lower than the starting bid my offer was accepted and so that's why it didn't even cross my mind until earlier today about the "obo" being a mechanism to end the auction early with an offer north of the starting bid.

    As I say, some sellers will do it. Again, speaking for myself, if the auction ends with no bids, the BIN price is 10% higher than the starting bid. Why? Because otherwise I'm encouraging people to not bid in the auction hoping to get it at a lower price later. Hard to get an auction going when everyone is trying to not bid.

    [P.S. when people complain there aren't any real auctions on ebay anymore, they should look at the bidder behavior not the sellers. ]

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    jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,997 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @seanq said:
    Fixed price listings with a OBO, I assume the seller will accept lower offers. For auctions with the OBO, I assume they are looking for higher bids than their opening number. The only time I will make an offer on an auction below the starting bid is on the last day when it looks like the item may not sell at all.

    Auctions with a OBO are a relatively new thing on eBay. There have always been buyers writing sellers and asking "will you close your auction early for $XX", this just formalizes the process and allows eBay to retain their cut of the action.

    Sean Reynolds

    Edited due to acronym troubles ;)

    There's really no way for it to "look like it won't sell" due to sniping and the like. I once had a 7 day auction with no bids for the first 6 days and 23 hours. It ended up with 42 bids, more than 30 of them in the last 10 minutes.

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    spyglassdesignspyglassdesign Posts: 1,514 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If you do your market research and make a reasonable offer close to what they might accept before it receives any bids, you might be able to work out a deal and avoid the auction altogether.

    I almost had a deal one time on such a listing, but before we could finalize it, someone bid. So I had to wait until the auction was over. I think I ended up walking away with it for less than I was offering anyways.

    Basically you have a chance to snipe it at a reasonable deal if both you and the seller are on the ball before a bid is placed.

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    MasonGMasonG Posts: 6,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf said:
    Hard to get an auction going when everyone is trying to not bid.

    Or, at least, trying to keep others from responding to their bid by sniping.

    @jmlanzaf said:
    [P.S. when people complain there aren't any real auctions on ebay anymore, they should look at the bidder behavior not the sellers. ]

    Yep.

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    bsshog40bsshog40 Posts: 3,778 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have never paid over a starting bid with an obo. I never lowball, just try to get an extra buck or two off. I have been declined a few times but have gotten at a slightly lower cost more than none.

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    JBKJBK Posts: 14,788 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Two observations:

    First, the "Make an offer" button seems to be a default that some sellers don't even know is there.

    Second, while it is implied that they expect a higher offer than opening bid, if the listing has been out there a while that might change things.

    Once on an auction listing that kept relisting automatically because it never got any bids, I offered opening bid and they jumped on it.

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    rkprkp Posts: 434 ✭✭✭

    the default option (for me at least) is that a listing automatically includes a OBO - I have to manually de-select that option.

    I've tried several times to make an offer that is below the starting bid price, and each time it gets immediately rejected, implying that it was auto rejected either by design of the feature on eBay or by a seller having a minimum that is above the opening bid price.

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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf.... I agree with this analysis.... While I do not do a lot of buying on ebay, I do look there from time to time... and that was my impression of the OBO. Cheers, RickO

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    Glen2022Glen2022 Posts: 844 ✭✭✭✭

    I look at the OBO/make offer listings and if interested in the item, will occasionally make an offer for less. Sometimes accepted, sometimes not. Generally, if there are no bids, you might be more likely to get an acceptance particularly if the item has been on the listing for her few days. sometimes, even if there is no OBO/make offer indication on the listing, I will contact the seller and make an offer somewhere less than what the listing price is.

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    ADGADG Posts: 423 ✭✭✭

    I have purchased many BIN / OBO items on Ebay with offers lower than the BIN price. Many times after adding the item to my watch list, I receive a reduced offer from the seller. Very common.

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    jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,997 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ADG said:
    I have purchased many BIN / OBO items on Ebay with offers lower than the BIN price. Many times after adding the item to my watch list, I receive a reduced offer from the seller. Very common.

    BIN OBO is very different than Auction OBO.

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