Would you pay more than your winning ebay bid to secure an item ?

A discussion on another forum got me thinking.

I have had an experience where I offered the seller more than my actual winning bid to secure the sale. In what circumstances would you do this or would you ever ?

Keeping it quick this is what happened to me. I won a rare item, I had been looking for close to 18 months to find one. My winning bid was £2.10 due to the item being badly listed and not having a picture. Similar rare items are worth £70 -£150.
The seller contacted me and said he was refusing to sell at this price, I did some research and it turned out that on ebay you are not obliged to sell even if a reserve is met.

So I phoned the guy, he explained that he was new to ebay and I could tell from his voice that he was quite old. His antique store was a short drive away so I met with him and agreed a price of £40.

This price was well under my max ebay bid of £65 ish and still a great deal on the item. (it has since been valued at between £75 - £95).

The folks on the other fourm seem to think I was crazy and that they would “never pay more than their winning bid, even if I had a higher max bid.”

If its something I really really want, may never see again, have been searching for for a long time and the seller won’t sell it to me otherwise? Sure.

I don’t think it’s normal with auctions, even if eBay practice is different. Unless you disclose that there is a reserve price or some similar condition, then the seller is obliged to sell to the highest bidder.

However, in the OP’s circumstances, I’d be happy to cut an inexperienced seller a little slack, and pay a reasonable price for what I really did want and had found difficulty in finding.

Yeah, maybe if the seller was inexperienced or there were special circumstances. In any other case I’d cry foul and leave negative feedback. I can’t imagine a reputable eBay seller doing this though.

Well, in my opinion you did the right thing. It sounds like the seller screwed up in not setting a minimum bid, or a reserve price, or whatever, so you would have been within your rights to raise a stink and try to force him to sell for your bid, or get him kicked off e-Bay, yada, yada.

Instead, he made a reasonable amount of money, you paid more than you had agreed but still less than the item was worth and it has all worked out. If the seller makes a habit of this, that’d be a different matter, but everyone makes a mistake like that sometime. You have earned some good e-bay karma. Spend it in good health.

The true worth is what it means to you. If you wanted to pay that to secure it,you owe no explanations.

If it was my decision to pay the extra, yes. If it was one of those cases where the seller decides it would be good for me to pay extra, and demands it in the first round of communications, then no - out of principle I’d tell him to take a hike.

Assuming my lust for the item hadn’t overridden my principles, that is. It could happen.

BTW in practical terms, I think this is true, but when someone sells an item, he/she does enter into a contract with the buyer - so failing to supply it is breach of contract. Trouble is, legal action wouldn’t result in the item being forcibly taken from the seller and given to the buyer, even if it were successful, so yeah, in rounded-up terms, the contract between the seller and buyer on eBay means dick.

I might do it if the seller was being asked to take a price that was extremely low, I could still get a price that was pretty good, and the item was something I really wanted. So yes, it’s possible, but I’d look askance at the fellow asking me to do it.

I have nothing else to add except stop hanging out on ebay’s forums. They are full of crezzy people whose ideas about fair trade have been warped by their fanatic obsession with ebay’s endless, idiotic and buyer-centric rules.

One eBay transaction I paid a small amount and got a rare item that wasn’t what I bidded on and was worth a lot more. The seller had made a major mistake and confused me with another buyer.

The other buyer was so furious he cancelled the deal and returned the item that I had bidded on. I paid what the other buyer had for the second item–more than the first item, but less than its value. So I got both items.

I would if it was still a good deal and I didn’t feel like I was being taken advantage of by a shady seller.

Wow. That’s actually an ebay policy now, allowing the seller to refuse to honor winning bids? If that happened to me I think I would pretty much stop using ebay. If you’re concerned about getting a certain amount, use minimum starting bids and/or reserve auctions.

Would I pay more than my winning bid to secure an item? No, unless it was a super rare item that I was desperate to have at any price and couldn’t find anywhere else. Winning bid should be just that. Not selling items to the winning bidder unless they pay more money is shady as hell, IMO.
I can definitely understand cutting a newbie seller some slack though. Unless they just conned you into thinking they were new to ebay. Still, you paid less than the item was worth and are happy with it, so I wouldn’t worry further about it.

I think you did exactly the right thing Chew.

And Annie, unless it was only a couple of bucks, I think I would have returned the first item that was sent by mistake, back to the seller. I would have felt creepy about keeping it. Or maybe I’m not understanding the transaction.

Apparently, this seller doesn’t understand the concept of an auction. If someone else had desperately wanted the item and the two of you engaged in a bidding war and it went for twice what it was worth, do you think that the kindly old man would have let you have it for the market price?

Selling at auction is very much a gamble. You hope for a bidding war to get more, but you take a chance of not getting much for it. Ebay should have made him honor the winning bid. I think I might have ended up paying more since you really wanted it, but I would have hounded the guy for a while first…

I have to admit I can sometimes become senselessly stubborn over issues like this. If I think somebody is trying to take advantage of me, I’ll refuse to have anything to do with them as a matter of principle.

“I had this marked for only ten dollars? I meant to sell it for twenty dollars which is still a good price because it’s worth at least fifty.”
“You’re right. It is worth fifty and if you had marked it for forty dollars, I’d have been happy to pay it. But you marked it for ten and I’m not going to pay twenty. In fact, I won’t buy it for ten now either and here’s the other five things I was going to buy from you that you can put back on the shelf. Fuck you.”

That said, I won’t take advanatge of anyone either.

“There’s no sticker on this one. You must have gotten it out of our dollar bin.”
“No, actually I got it off the shelf next to the dollar bin. There’s no sticker on it but the other ones on that shelf are marked twenty dollars and that’s what I was expecting to pay for it.”

I would have to be very desperate to do what you did. My inclination would be to report the seller to eBay for failure to deliver, and leave negative feedback.

As noted above, it’s the nature of an auction. He wouldn’t have offered you a refund if you had bid more than the item was worth.

You are so obligated. It’s just that eBay won’t do much about it. If a buyer decides not to go through with a deal, not much happens either, the buyer gets a little ding. No biggie if he doesnt keep doing it.

But in your special case, I think you did right.

I’m curious. Did he set a reserve or did he not?

If he set a reserve and you didn’t meet it, you’re SOL.

If he did not set a reserve and you made a ridiculously low bid and he were an old man all confused about the mysterious processes of them thar intertubez, it is unlikely that a finder of fact would award you the item for the ridiculously low price. Even if that were likely, the cost would almost certainly outweigh the benefit.

You did the right thing, and also the best thing, in my opinion.

First of all, since it’s a rare item, unavailable elsewhere, then yes I’d pay more than the agreed price to get it.

However, in this case, the seller has broken the rules. He contracted to sell at a particular price, he is legally obligated to sell at that price.

If you paid by PayPal, you could enter a dispute, and you may be able to recover your money.

Annie-Xmas, if someone sends you the wrong item by mistake, it is not legally yours. You should return it to the seller, though he will have to pay the postage to do so. What you did was wrong.