A Guide to
Online Auctions

Online Auctions - A How-To Guide

1. Why buy through an online auction?

The popularity of online auctions is growing like never before. From large purchases to small, auctions are a fun and easy way to get great deals on all kinds of products.

2. What types of products are available at online auctions?

At an online auction, you can get top-shelf products at bargain basement prices. Things including:

3. How do online auctions operate?

In order to place bids on items, credible online auction websites will make you register. You will need to prove your identity including your real name and some form of ID. Many people set up a new email address to use with online auction registration.

The online auction is easy to follow. First, time limits are set for each lot. Then, the bidding starts. Within the allotted time, people can bid on an item. When the time is over, the highest bid wins. Then, the next item comes up for bid and the process repeats. Usually, the winner bidder and the online auction site will work out the payment and delivery details through email.

A lot of items will have a reserve price, which means the seller will only accept a certain amount or higher. If the winning bid is lower than the reserve price, the item goes unsold.

4. Types of Internet Auctions

There are two kinds of online auctions: auction house and person-to-person. Auction houses (like Auction & Sale) have the actual products on-hand. They organize shipping and take payments.

In person-to-person online auctions, each seller is responsible for shipping and payment.

5. What’s the difference between an online auction and traditional shopping?

The biggest difference is in returns. If you buy from a traditional store, there is usually a return policy where you can bring the item back for a refund or exchange within a specified time period. However, if you buy something through an online auction, it’s yours. Generally speaking, there are no returns in an online auction. Only in very rare circumstances could you return an item you bought at an online auction.

In place of returns we have something that auction sites call “rescission rights.” If there is any damage or the product doesn’t match the description, you can ask for a refund. Just like returns, there is a time limit. Once the time limit is up, you lose your rescission rights, and the item is yours as is.

6. Are there any additional fees?

There is a small fee that auction sites sometimes charge. It’s called a “buyer’s premium.” It’s calculated as a percentage of the winning bid, and needs to be paid by the winning bidder. This percentage depends on the auction site, so make sure you check before you start bidding. Remember, the higher the price, the higher the buyer’s premium, so keep this in mind when considering buying a high-priced item like a car through an online auction.

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