Ebay Question - does the seller ever see a bidders maximum bid?

Got very lucky for a change. I was the only bidder on an item and got it for 9.99. My max bid was $30. That’s about average for what I’ve seen it sell for.

Does the seller know that I was willing to pay $30? When does he find out? During bidding? Or after it ends? Never?

It’s rare to luck out and be the only bidder. Usually somebody comes along and pushes up the price.

Ebay displays max bids to sellers within their “My Ebay” screen so they can easily bid up their own auctions to the max that bidders are willing to pay. That’s why so many Ebay bidders don’t place a maximum “proxy bid” but rather nibble away on an auction in small increments.


I have heard of Socks acting on the sellers behalf. Pushing up the price. If caught the seller and sock can get banned.

That’s why I always wondered if a seller knows the bidders’ maximums during the auction or afterwards.

I hate being the first bidder on an item. It’s like you got a bulls eye on your back. Never knowing if someone will swoop in during the last minute of the auction and grab it. All you can do is set a reasonable max and hope it’s enough.

Since we’re talking Ebay.

Can Sellers see what bidders bought previously and the amounts they paid? For example, if you’re a serious ceramic animal collector. Can a seller check out what you’ve bought (from other sellers) and know your interests?

Then use a sniping service, and be that someone who swoops in during the last minute.

That’s just completely incorrect.

This practice is called ‘shill bidding’ and it used to be quite common - the seller would use a sock account to outbid the genuine bidder and would then retract the shill account’s max bid, forcing the genuine bidder to pay the max. Ebay is (as far as I understand it) quite good at detecting and punishing this behaviour nowadays.

Just adding my voice to the chorus of people who have actually sold stuff on eBay saying that this is totally false.

Are you saying then that the seller never learns what a bidders max bid was?

The only time it’s revealed is when it’s crucial to the last increment.

For example you and I are the top two bidders on an item; you bid $100, I bid $100.27. My bid trumps yours, and it’s probably obvious in that context that the extra $0.27 is because my max bid has been reached (if my max had been $150, my bid would rise to a point one whole increment more than yours).

I have been selling on Ebay for years, I have never seen the winning bidder’s maximum bid, just the winning bid.

Correct. (Barring situations where you can work it out, as Mangetout said, but that only becomes relevant when maximum bid was, in fact, the price it sold for.

In the example in the OP, the seller would have absolutely no way of knowing that your max bid was $30. He or she would only see your winning bid, which was $9.99.

But your example involves brainpower and figuring out the strategies and how it all works. The maximum bid is never actually revealed.

I think it *can *be revealed the same way whilst the auction is still in full swing, but only in the case where there are two bidders at the top with nearly the same max bid.

It doesn’t really matter in this case either anyway, as secrecy on your max bid is only worth a bean if the bidding is still well below it.

If you look at a buyer’s feedback history, you can see what they bought and what they paid for it, but only for the past couple of months.

Not explicitly, no - and by the time it is revealed in this roundabout way, you’re already at your max bid, so secrecy is moot.

Yes, you can do this. Search for the type of item you want to research, then on the left click the option to see Completed listings. This will show you all items which have been listed, although I’m not sure for what time period. If the final price is in red, that means the item did not sell and the price shown is the minimum specified by the seller. If the price is shown in green, that means the item sold and the price shown was the winning bid.

This information can be useful to sellers in many ways – seeing if items of this type sell at all and in what price range. It can also be useful to potential buyers, allowing them to get a general idea of how much they can expect to pay.

At least twice I’ve paid my maximum bid which was significantly higher than the next highest bid. I figure there must be a way

That’s not how eBay works. Proxy bidding increases your bid by increments up to your maximum. If you paid more than one increment above the next highest bid, it wasn’t because of eBay. You were ripped off by the seller.

I used to Ebay (buy) quite a bit over a year.

I stopped using the proxy bid because it ALWAYS (and I mean ALWAYS, not even one exception) won the item at my maximum possible bid.

When I stopped doing the proxy, I would win auctions at lower than my max bid.

So, I was convinced there was some way for the seller to figure it out. You may swear up and down they can’t, but I go by experience. However this was many years ago and so Ebay may have tightened it up. On the other hand do not underestimate human ingenuity at screwing you out of money.

This was similar to my arguing with my stock broker many years past where he insisted on stop sell orders (to trigger a sell if the stock declined to that amount) as a safety net. I had noticed that in my more thinly traded stocks that this sell order often seemed to be triggered only to have the stock come back up. It was like people KNEW that my order was there and could manipulate it over the course of a few minutes to pick it up.

My broker insisted it was impossible but I stopped doing the sell stop orders anyway. I then found out a couple years later that there WAS a way to see my order. :rolleyes:

Don’t give up information…someone will find a way to find it out and screw ya.