Even before the pandemic, online auctions were a growing part of the overall auction industry. When you hear “online auctions” you might think eBay or Facebook. However, there are thousands of large, orderly online auctions run by highly experienced auctioneers around the world every day. And there are plenty of benefits to online auctions.

If you’re interested in online auctions, you probably also have a lot of questions. Here are some common questions and answers people ask before bidding in an online auction.

Can I preview an auction item?

Most likely, yes. This largely depends on the type of item you are interested in and the online auction platform. For online auctions, the preview could be limited to online only. If you don’t see a preview time, contact the auctioneer and ask for a preview. In most cases, they’ll get one scheduled for you. Note however, that the closer to the closing the date of the auction the less flexibility and availability there might be.

Are online auction items guaranteed?

Items at auction are typically sold as-is, where-is. As such, it is up to the buyer to inspect the item and take the item in the condition and location that it is sold. There may be exceptions to this on a case-by-case basis. Your best bet is to read the auction company’s terms and conditions or reach out to the company directly.

Can I find out how much shipping is before I bid on an online auction item?

Most auction companies do not provide shipping estimates, and some companies don’t ship at all. Be sure to check the terms and conditions for each auction. If the auctioneer does ship, reach out to them, they’ll be happy to provide you with dimensions and weight. In most cases, there may be a packing and handling fees—this amount often depends on the complexity of the packing and shipping.

How do I bid in an online auction?

Bidding in an online auction requires registration to obtain a bidder number. You should read an auction company’s privacy policy to understand what they do with your registration information. If you cannot find one, ask the company for one. Once registered, you can start bidding, but remember you will be held to any winning bid you make.

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