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Reserve Prices and Starting Bids

(last updated on 5/31/2005)

When you post an auction listing, you can set a Starting Bid and/or a Reserve Price.

A Starting Bid is the least amount a bidder is allowed to bid in an auction. As the name implies, it is where bidding starts. No bidder can place a bid lower than the Starting Bid. If an auction has a Starting Bid and no Reserve Price, the high bidder on the item will win the item at auction close. Every auction has a Starting Bid, even if the Starting Bid is $.01.

A Reserve Price is the least amount you will sell the item for. The Reserve Price is kept secret from the bidders. A bidder can place a bid that is lower than the Reserve Price, but the item will not be sold unless bidding meets or exceeds the Reserve Price.

Reserve Price auctions are very unpopular with bidders. We receive daily complaints about them. We suggest that you set your Starting Bid to the least amount you will take for the item and let the bidding start. If you have priced your item fairly, you are likely to receive a higher price than your Starting Bid.

If you set a Reserve Price, we strongly suggest that you set a Starting Bid equal to at least 1/2 of the Reserve Price or you will very likely get complaints from bidders that you are wasting their time.