Living with the Internet: Online shopping
Living with the Internet: Online shopping

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Living with the Internet: Online shopping

2.2 Making a bid on eBay

Anyone can browse any auction in eBay, just as you have been doing. In order to bid, however, you need to register with eBay. You can do this by clicking on the 'register' link at the top of the home page and completing the online form. When you submit the form eBay sends an email message to your designated email address. The registration process is completed after you respond to this message.

You should now register with eBay.

Once registered, you can bid in any auction on eBay. To do this, simply click on the 'Place a bid' button. This brings up the page below:

Placing a bid on eBay. Part of the page reads: Place a bid / Nikon F70 SLR Camera+2 AF Lenses+Kit bag / Current bid: £155.00 / Your maximum bid: [text entry field] (Enter £160.00 or more) / Continue [button] / eBay automatically bids on your behalf up to your maximum bid. / Learn about bidding.
eBay bid placing

You bid by indicating the maximum amount you are willing to pay for the item. eBay then bids incrementally on your behalf against other bidders – up to the maximum limit you have set, but it does not reveal your limit to anyone else. eBay calls this 'proxy bidding'. If bidding for the item goes above your limit, then you are outbid – and eBay will send you a message alerting you to the fact. You can then return to the auction and enter a new maximum bid if you wish.

One of the benefits of proxy bidding is that you don't have to sit around all day watching the progress of an auction. Even if you are not a bidder, you can put a particular auction on your 'watch list'. This enables you to keep track of auctions in your list by clicking on the 'My eBay' button on the home page of the site.

A part of the eBay home page showing the My eBay button highlighted in a panel which also includes buttons for Browse, Search, Sell and Community. Links are also provided to: home, pay, register, sign out, services, site map and help.
eBay interface
The Items I'm Watching display from eBay. A heading reads: Items I'm Watching (1 item; 30 items max). This is followed by a table with columns: Select (all), Item #, Current Price, # of Bids. There is one row: Nikon F70 SLR Camera+2 AF Lenses+Kit bag / Item #: 3810730408, Current price: £155.00, # of bids: 14.
eBay watching items

One point to remember is that a bid is effectively a contract. If you withdraw a bid, the withdrawal will be logged on your eBay profile. This doesn't necessarily mean that withdrawing a bid is a bad idea – after all, you may suddenly have reason to doubt the quality of the item or the integrity of the vendor. But anything that adversely affects your eBay 'reputation' needs to be carefully considered, and bids should not be frivolous. Remember that the trust system works both ways: it enables sellers to assess purchasers as well as vice versa! So, only bid if you intend to buy.


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