Ebay concerns – 0 feedback counter-bidder

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    I’m debating how suspicious I should be about an auction on which I bid. It was a piece I’d been hoping to find for awhile and was excited to find one in good condition. It was listed for 7 days and a few days after it had been up it still had zero bidders on it, so I put in a bid of my own. Literally 2 hours later, another bidder outbid me and said person has no feedback at all.

    Realistically, it could just be coincidence. I _might_ just be being that paranoid.

    At the same time, I could bid more for the piece but I don’t particularly want to do so (my max was basically my max, with a little wiggle room) especially given this situation. It’s nagging my hindbrain and I was curious what other Ebay frequenters thought about the scenario.


    We all started with zero feedback. I expect it is just a new bidder, not a “shell bidder” to drive up the price.

    On the other hand, people new to ebay are notorious for placing a new bid every time they are outbid and up goes the cost of the item! My suggestion is to let the piece go unless it is one you really want, or put in a last minute snipe if you do bid again.


    I think that has happened to me before too and it’s hard to know if it could be someone driving up the bid or not. It could be that maybe a new bidder was watching the same item and once they saw a bid, thought that they should bid too if they wanted a chance at it. It is annoying though that a lot of auctions can sit for days and then as soon as one person is interested enough to bid on it, then suddenly other people come out of the woodwork to bid on it too. It might be worth watching to see if it gets any other bids and if not, maybe try to bid again at the end. A lot of new bidders don’t bid an item up much anyway so it could be possible to win it with one more small bid if no one else bids.

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    Ugh! Such a toss up! It could just be coincidence, but it would make me feel paranoid. Can you look back through some of the sellers other completed auctions (if they exist) and see if there are other 0 feedback bidders? If there aren’t any, it’s probably just coincidence, but if it’s a pattern, there’s your answer!

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    As etrucsan mentioned, if you really want to try and win, wait to snipe in the last few seconds, and if you can, bid $10 over the ‘0’ Bidder’s price to try and top it comfortably.

    My strategy is to also enter in the bid at the 20 second mark, then by counting down and waiting until 8 to 5 seconds is left on the clock before clicking the ‘confirm bid’ so no one else has a chance to counter/overbid me – that is unless a higher bid had already been placed before mine, in which case I’d loose it anyway.

    I’ve found a good clue is also looking at the bid increments to guess what the other’s top bid may be. For example, if the eBay increment bid for a item is .50 cents and the top bid shown is less than that over the previous bid, the top bid IS that bidder’s max bid and you have a good chance of topping it by sniping in the last seconds (unless another snipers happens to be waiting in the wings too and overbids your snipe).

    If it’s not a ‘private’ auction, you can also gather clues on your competion by looking through their previous bidding activity and when they bid/won past items and their timing and bid increment patterns – some bidder’s can be patterned.

    Well you now know some of my favorite tricks to pull, but since I mostly snipe in the last seconds, no one will be able to easily ‘pattern’ me. 🙂

    I also decide ahead of time how much I’m willing to spend on an item (total including the shipping costs), then if the item goes above what I’m willing to, or can pay, I let the item go. Another thing I’ve noticed, if this is a newbie, they more often than not use the eBay auto-increment or bid the next eBay ‘minimum’ to top an existing bid, and yes, a lot of times they keep bidding up an item due to inexperience in sniping.

    Good Luck! 🙂

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    I wouldn’t really worry about it because Ebay has its own fraud unit that investigates suspicious activities. It could legitimately be a new person that just joined Ebay and doesn’t yet have any purchases.

    Good advice to wait until the end of auction so as to not run the price up.


    I know that we all have to start somewhere (with ebay that means 0 feedback) and that I’m just being overly precautious (my mind tends to jump to the worst-case scenarios then work its way backwards to a more plausible reality) but this was the first time I’d had it happen to me. Which naturally made me even more skittish.

    I do appreciate all of the feedback though. It hadn’t even occurred to me to look at the seller’s past auctions to see if such a thing was a pattern. So that’s definitely something I’ll be doing.

    It was partly my fault, too, as I could have waited til the last day to put in a snipe bid rather than an ‘I’m interested’ opening bid. Alas, I’ll have to see how it goes. >_<

    Thanks guys!


    An “I’m interested” bid isn’t a bad idea, particularly if the auction has been going for a few days with no bids. I usually make the minimum opening bid just to see what happens. Later follow-up bids from you won’t raise your cost unless somebody else has bid in the meantime.


    To add one more thing to the discussion. Let’s say this is not a shell bidder. It’s a real one. Because this person has no feed back it’s possible they may end up being a flake in paying. The seller then has the option to go to the next highest bidder and see if they want the item, specifically at that bidders last highest bid. This has happened to me, but only once. If your max bid was as much as you were willing to pay you might want to save your money and wait for a better opportunity.

    On the other hand, if you are willing to pay just a bit more I would go with what the others say and wait til the last second and try a snipe bid. Just don’t spend more than you’re willing to spend. It’s annoying but not worth getting paranoid about. Also, good luck! 🙂

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