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Don’t Make These Rookie Mistakes When Bidding on Online Auction Items


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In our business we meet all types of people. Most of them are familiar with online auctions because of eBay. However, there are still many people who don’t know very much about the process.

This past weekend during preview day for the Antiques at the Village Auction we met quite a few people who weren’t aware that a business could liquidate items via an online auction. Most people who attend regular estate sales or liquidation sales are used to being able to purchase items outright.

If you’re new to bidding on items via an online auction, here are a few mistakes to avoid:

Not sticking to your maximum bid

Most online auction systems allow you to set a maximum bid amount so that you can enter an amount and let the system bid on your behalf up until that max bid. If, for example, you are away from the computer when the auction starts closing, you don’t have to worry about not being able to bid.

There are times, of course, when people get caught up emotionally in a bidding war. They really want an item and end up going over their initial maximum bid and paying way too much for the item. If you’re on a tight budget or you’re a reseller who needs to make a profit on an item, this is not a habit you want to start.

Not doing enough research on an item

Here at Cal Auctions we do our best to research the items that are going up for auction and include as much information in the descriptions as possible. As a bidder, it’s up to you to determine how much an item is worth to you or how much it costs in the regular marketplace.

There have been plenty of times where we’ve seen an item go for much more than it’s actually worth. This could be due to someone getting caught up in a bidding war and didn’t have the self-control to stop, or they simply didn’t know how much the item was worth. Why someone would pay $300 for something they could buy in the store for $100, we’re not exactly sure, but it does happen.

Not attending a preview/inspection

As stated earlier, we do our best to provide as much information as we can about an item(s) you’re bidding on, but it’s highly recommended that you attend a preview or inspection day to see the item(s) in person. You can test products such as electronics or lighting in order to see if they do indeed work.

If you’re unable to attend a preview, you’re always welcome to call or email us about a particular item to get more information about it.

As with anything in life, the more you do something, the easier it gets. It’s the same with bidding and buying stuff through online auctions.

Want more tips? Check out a preview post where we offer our top 10 tips for shopping online estate sales. Although the article is geared towards online estate sale auctions, many of the tips still apply to any type of online auction.