Online auctions conducted by highly experienced auctioneers are thriving around the world every day. We’ve answered some questions people ask before bidding in an auction. From previews to guarantees, shipping to bidding, you’re ready for the next step. 

Let’s look at questions you might have during an online auction. 

Can I buy it now? 

The vast majority of online auctions are concluded with competitive bidding after a timer or countdown clock has expired. There are some online auctions that do offer buy it now options but those are not as common in the larger online auction world.  

Why was I immediately out bid in an online auction? 

When bidding in an online auction, you have the ability to set max bids. By indicating how high you’re willing to go, you automatically outbid anyone who bids lower than your max. And vice versa, if someone else’s max bid is higher than your current bid, the online auction system will automatically accept the higher max bid. 

If I pay cash, will the auction company give me a discount? 

Most online auctions are settled with a credit card for smaller purchases or a check or wire transfer for larger transactions. A cash or check discount will often be listed in the terms. If there is no mention of a discount for cash or check you can always call the auction house.  

I didn’t bid on those online auction items. What do I do now? 

It’s easy to assume that there has to be a software issue if you won an item you don’t recall bidding on. Rather than make an assumption, it’s best to call the auction company and discuss your situation. The auctioneer will be able to look at, and in many cases share with you, the bidding history on the lot in question.  

Rest assured that auction companies are not randomly bidding on items on your behalf. In most cases, a bidder accidentally bid on a lot, or was bidding on a lot and thought it was another lot. When placing bids, double check your bids, and before logging out of the auction, double check the items you’ve bid on. It’s best to catch any mistakes before the auction ends.  

When does the online auction end? 

Each auction has an end date and time. Unlike an auction on eBay where all items close at one time, the majority of online auctions end with a soft close or dynamic ending. If someone places a bid in the last few minutes of an online auction, the end time for the specific lot is extended. The process continues until there are no more bids made within the last minutes or seconds. At that point, that specific lot closes. The overall auction continues until each lot has no advance. Oftentimes, online auction companies will stagger the end times on each of the auction’s items, so all lots do not close at the same time. 

Find an auctioneer in your area 

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