eBay Second Chance offer question

Last night I lost something on eBay in the final seconds. Within an hour I was contacted and offered the item instead, except it was at my highest price I bid. Last week I sold something, and the original buyer was kicked off of eBay a bit after I had sent him an invoice. So I gave a second chance offer to the next highest bidder. That also came out as the his highest bid.

Why does eBay do this? I really don’t understand why they would do it. Had the other bidder in both cases not come along then I would have paid only a buck, instead of seven, and the bidder for my stuff would have paid a lot less. So why not in both cases let the buyer take it at the highest before the other bidder since had they not come along that’s what I would have paid. This just makes it easy for someone’s friend come along and bid a ton of money just to see what the other person would pay and then try and sell it to them.

I did find the eBay page, but it only said how to do it, not the reasoning behind it.

Disclaimer: I would never presume to speak for eBay. It’s all too often I don’t understand what they’re doing.

However, I have always assumed that it’s because that is the price that person was demonstrably willing to pay. The second chance offers I’ve gotten have been on CDs, from big sellers, so I presume they were all extra copies. I know some of them were, because the sellers tacitly admitted it.

eBay recently came up with what I consider to be a variant on it. Sellers can list a BIN with a “your best offer” option. I’ve even (once) made a counter-offer on one of those (and was accepted, but I didn’t offer a huge amount less; the seller of course has the option to refuse, too).

That’s why I usually decline the second chance offers. If the winning bidder doesn’t follow through, why should I pay my maximum bid amount? I should only have to pay what it would have cost me if the winning bidder had never entered a bid.

Then why bother bidding at all? If someone underbids you but drives the high bid to the your maximum, do you think you should pay less? I have never understood this theory. Your still paying less that the ultimate high bid if the high bidder backs out.

Because in some cases, as in mine, no one bid on it, then at the last second someone bids up to my max. Ok fine I lost. Then a few minutes later I get an email saying they guy had backed out, pay your max. I’m not going for that since the guy knew he didn’t want it in the first place. Hell eBay even says don’t second chance right away to try and resolve why the person doens’t want it. Or in my other case the guy who won was kicked off eBay a bit after he won my auction. So I gave the second chance offer to the next guy, but it was for his max bid which he wouldn’t have made had the other guy not placed his. I only wanted to charge his lowest bid since that’s what it should have been.

I think that’s the point, what’s to keep people from having a friend run up their auction to the max, and then offering a second chance at a much higher price? This has happened to a couple of other people I know as well so it probably happens more then it should.

Sometimes checking the history of a seller can work in your favor:

I was looking for some DVDs of a long-gone TV show. I found a seller, but he only put up one set at a time, for exactly three days. Usually the bidding went up way beyond what I’d consider reasonable. So, I despaired of getting them.

But, I looked at his feedback history, and I noticed that there was a pattern: he had made second-chance offers to anyone who had bid more than $20 in one of his auctions. So, all I had to do was bid more than $20, wait to lose the auction, and take the reasonably-priced second chance offer. And it worked. ka-CHING!

Anyway, moral of the story is, second-chance worked for me, with a little prior research.

One thing to watch out for, assuming I understand this correctly, is that the seller may be using shill bidding (either through a fake 2nd account or a ‘retail friend’ where a mutual arrangement is made). The shill bids you up consistently until he has outbid you and then stops. The original seller now has a general idea of what your highest offer was and sells the item to you at that price, rather than the original bid that you would have gotten it for before the shill stepped in.

On this account, I think I would never buy a second chance item.

  1. When you are placing a bid, you are agreeing to pay the maximum bid you entered. Why should other people’s behavior change what the item is worth to you?

  2. If you still think it’s too high, you have the right to refuse the second-chance offer.

This I know, but the point is to get the best deal for me. When someone comes along and over bids me then within minutes they offer it to me because the other guy didn’t want it. So why did the guy bid on it with under a minute to go and then a minute later not want it? Sounds like something fishy up to me.

I did, but in my auction someone over bid the last guy and was then kicked off. I would have offered it to the original person at his highest which was lower then the second chance offer. He didn’t take it so I ended up selling it at a lower price so we both lost out.

I just think there needs to be ways to deal with those situations. So what happens if I bid on something, I’m the only one. Then someone comes along and out bids me, but then cancels his bid, should I then be forced to pay the higest price then as well? This is the same thing except I wasn’t given a second chance offer.