Tips for Sniping on eBay

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Many new eBay shoppers feel like they've been cheated when bids appear in the last seconds of an auction. Regular snipers suggest that anyone who doesn't snipe—an automated way to bid on eBay auctions—is not an experienced buyer. If you're going to do it, though, there are a few dos and don'ts to keep in mind.

What Is Sniping?

Auction sniping is a way to win auctions without having to be physically present at the computer to win. Snipers are third-party services that allow buyers to enter maximum bids on specific items so they can be placed automatically in the last seconds of the auctions — placing bids like this draw less attention to the item than bidding manually and far in advance of when auctions end.

Be Realistic

You may or may not win. Sniping doesn't guarantee a win; it just automates your bid. Don't try to win more than one of something by sniping on multiple auctions of the same thing. For example, if you are trying to win an unlocked iPhone, try to snipe one. If you lose, try again. You don't want to end up winning multiple auctions for the same item; you will be obligated to pay for all of them. 

Place Bids Early

Figure out your maximum bid and place it early. The beauty of snipers is that you can think ahead of time and have your bid set. No need to go back and check on your bid because it won't be placed until the last seconds of the auction. It is especially true if you are on a budget. Be patient and wait. Delayed gratification is the way to get items the cheapest!

Stay Under the Radar

When an item listing shows a counter with hundreds and hundreds of hits, or when there already are dozens and dozens of bids outstanding on an item, it generally means there are a lot of people watching and bidding on the listing. In this case, any price advantage from using a sniping service will evaporate, since the item likely will go for market value or maybe above market value. There will be plenty of auctions with few or no other bidders. Patience is the key to winning an auction at your price.

Integrate With Your eBay Account

Because of the way they work, sniping services need your eBay login information to place bids on your behalf. They work with a token, meaning they are a third-party service that accesses your eBay account with your permission.

It means you're counting on the sniping service to protect your personal information, and most of them are smaller companies with fewer resources. If you regularly use sniping services, be sure to use only established services and connect your eBay and PayPal accounts to bank accounts that you use only for eBay and PayPal activity.

Sniping Is the Same as Bidding

Be prepared to pay for anything you win when sniping. It is not like Best Offer on a fixed-price item which allows sellers to decline your offer. Sniping is the same as bidding on an item, so if you win and don't pay, sellers can file an unpaid Item case (UPI) against you. Too many unpaid item cases will cause eBay to shut down your account.

If You Lose, Keep Trying

You will lose most of what you try to snipe, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth doing. Many good deals can be had with patience and time. Most sniping services are free, so it isn't costing you anything to try to win the item. Sniping often gets you a discount of some kind that makes it worth the effort to continue to snipe in the future.