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

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Living with the Internet: Online shopping

2.2.1 What happens if you are the winning bidder?

At the end of an auction, the eBay system puts seller and buyer in touch with one another via email, and between them they arrange details of payment and delivery. In the early days this was often tricky, involving waiting for the clearance of cheques etc., but for many auctions eBay now provides a payment system based on credit cards similar to the system used by conventional online retailing sites like Amazon, Tesco and Waitrose. eBay also now owns PayPal, an online payment system. After that, it's a matter of waiting for the goods to arrive, after which both buyer and seller are supposed to record their ratings of the other's performance– which then updates their respective eBay profiles. This means that the more people use eBay the more extensive (and, hopefully, revealing) their profiles become.

Pick an auction and observe it until it closes by logging on at intervals and noting what's happening. Examine the bid history to see what the bidding process is like. What happens to bidding towards the end of the auction?

You may wish to share your observations in the Comments section below.

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