Reserve auctions began on eBay in 1995. Although fewer and fewer sellers use a reserve price, it is still present in certain auctions. When eBay shoppers bid, a reserve price might be a bit confusing.

What Is a Reserve Price on an eBay Auction?

Consider the following scenario. Consider a seller who wishes to earn a minimum of $150 on a certain item. She may be concerned that such a high beginning price may dissuade bidders and result in no bids being put. She may begin the auction with a starting bid of $75 but maintain a reserve of $150. When a bidder places a bid on an item, he or she will receive an indication beneath the price that the reserve has not been fulfilled.

When the bidding reaches $150, the “reserve not reached” message will vanish. The item will be awarded to the highest bidder. If bids do not exceed $150 (the reserve price), the item will not sell, and the seller is not obligated to honor any bids below the reserve.

The disadvantage of a reserve price is that it is unknown to purchasers. They are unable to view the reserve price at any point during the auction. Some sellers will disclose the reserve price in the description area, while others will inform customers that they would release the reserve price upon request via the eBay messaging system. While sellers are not compelled to publish the reserve price, it may be beneficial to do so if you are serious about selling the item. ​

How to React to an Auction With Reserve Not Met

Simply wait if you have put your maximum bid. Even if the reserve is not met, the seller can make a Second Chance Offer to the highest bidder. You may be the top bidder, and the seller may opt to lower her asking price if she understands she will not receive the full amount.

Avoid bidding on another auction listing for the item if you haven’t won this one. Wait until the first auction has concluded and you have not been declared the winner. If you place a bid on another comparable item concurrently, you may be compelled to purchase two of them.

While it is within eBay’s guidelines for buyers to cancel sales, if you do it frequently, particularly on auctions, your account may be hacked. (eBay does not appreciate purchasers who frequently change their minds, and it is unjust to the vendor.) ​​

Additionally, sellers can and frequently do return to reserve auctions that are underperforming or not generating as many bids as desired in order to adjust or remove the reserve price. If this occurs, the identical bid that did not match the reserve price a minute earlier may become the winning bid, and once again, if you bid on another comparable item in the meantime and win it, you may find yourself liable for two of them.

Some purchasers may be tempted to retract their bids if they bid on a reserve price auction and discover that their offer fell short of the reserve, but doing so is a terrible decision for both of the reasons listed above. Additionally, there is another reason to refrain from withdrawing a bid if it falls short of the reserve price: doing so is against eBay regulations, and doing so repeatedly may result in your account being suspended. ​

If the Auction Has Ended With Reserve Not Met

If the auction has already ended and your offer fell short of the seller’s reserve price, there are still choices available to you. The first step is to contact the seller and inquire about their willingness to sell you the item at the maximum price you entered. While it is too late to remove or amend the reserve price in a completed listing, there is no penalty for relisting the item without one, and eBay provides facilities to assist sellers in doing so.

If the seller is prepared to do so, they can relist the item at that level with a “Buy It Now” price, notify you, and complete the transaction through eBay. Occasionally, a seller may make a listing just for you, such as “Mark Brown antique record player private listing,” to ensure that it does not appear in searches and is not snatched up by another bidder. Never advise or agree to complete the transaction outside of eBay. This is a violation of eBay policy, and your account may be terminated.

Of course, you may always return to eBay and look for similar things being offered without a reserve price. This is frequently the best choice if the item in issue is the type for which multiples are likely to be available on eBay, as it eliminates the complexity and added risk associated with reserve auctions.

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Meta Title: What Is A Reserve In An Auction?

Meta Description: Although reserve auctions on eBay are uncommon, if you are bidding on one, you should be aware of the following restrictions for both buyers and sellers.

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Kenneth Holmes
Kenneth Holmes
Linda’s right hand, Kenneth has been working with Linda for years, helping in planning, managing, and editing projects.


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