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We want online auction bidders to have the best experience. In this guide, you'll learn about common online auction mistakes and how to avoid them.
4 Mins

Mistakes Made by Online Bidders

Lewis Findley
Lewis Findley

Avoid These Online Auction Mistakes

Before you register for an online auction, it's imperative that you take a look at these common online auction mistakes and how to avoid them.

This will enable you to have a positive auction experience.

We want all online bidders to have the best experience possible so, in this guide, you'll learn about the mistakes you need to avoid.

The end goal is to ensure that when you next connect to an online auction, you'll bid with confidence.  

Let's move into number 1.

1) Not Researching a Lot

Common online mistakes - not doing research

Before you make a bid in an online auction, it’s important that you do some research to gain an understanding of how much the lot is worth.

Once you have a figure, it can be formulated into a bidding strategy. This should outline how much you're willing to pay for the lot.

It's important not to start with you maximum bid. Evaluate how the auction progresses and bid accordingly. 

2) Your Bid is Final 

Common online mistakes - your bid is final

Once you make an online bid for a lot, it’s considered genuine.

There have been times where online bidders have learnt this the hard way. In 2018, an online bidder placed a bid on a historic carousel which resulted in a £245,000 bill.

The online bidder insisted the bid was placed in error. However, the auction house considered the bid to be genuine.

It's important that you understand that you are legally obliged to pay the amount you bid. Why? Inside the terms and conditions of the auction, it will state the legal obligation to fulfil any amount due.

However, a bid can be removed if circumstances such as fraud can be proven.

3) Not Reading the Terms and Conditions

Common online mistakes - not reading the T&Cs

Listed on each auction catalogue are the terms and conditions which detail all the contractual obligations of all parties involved. That is the auction house, vendor and the bidder. 

You agree to these terms whenever you place a bid which makes it important to understand what you’re agreeing to.

It's worth noting that online auctions can also contain important information which details the terms for that particular auction. An example could be where the lots are located.

4) Joining a Bidding War

Common online mistakes - bidding wars

Tensions can run high in an auction. You probably go through every emotion in the dying moments! 

One thing these feelings can inspire are bidding wars. However, they can come at a great cost!

Bidding wars can become a consequence of irrational behaviour. It's where bidders get 'caught in the moment' and place bids they may not have under different circumstances.

This can invite a lot of problems for the bidder, so it’s recommended to be extremely cautious of the bids that you place.

5) Underestimating Auction Fees

Common online mistakes - Underestimating auction fees

You'll be surprised how many bidders get hammered by premiums.

Online auctions, similar to traditional auctions, have fees such as 'buyer's premiums' and VAT which affects the final price. It’s essential that you understand how this will affect your bid.

If you bid without taking into consideration any premiums or VAT, you will be in for a surprise when you get your final price.

If you're unsure what the premiums are, contact the auction house or look for the 'Important Information'.

6) Raising Concerns

Common online mistakes - raising concerns

If there's a discrepancy between the product image and description, it’s advised that you ask questions.

It's essential that you bid with confidence and if there are any doubts, they need to be calmed.

You can do this in various ways e.g.

  • Contacting the auction house.
  • Additional research.
  • Making use of features like 'Ask a Question'. 

It's important that you have the information you need to make a bid because once it's made, it's final. 

7) Going Beyond Your Maximum

Common online mistakes - going above maximum

Items which are highly desired by bidders can encourage irrational behaviour, if the item becomes contested.

It’s in these circumstances where bidders exceed their maximum.

In these situations, you're still obliged to pay if you win the lot. 

It's vital that you bid with a clear intention and not one which you will regret afterwards.

8) Not Asking Questions

do your homework (10)

It's been mentioned before, but it's worth mentioning again.

If a lot has caught your attention but doesn't contain all the information you're looking for then contact the auction house.

They will be able to pass your question to the vendor and get you the information you need.

There are times, online bidders have opted not to ask vital questions which proved to be a missed opportunity. It could be something small like which year a watch was made or something bigger such as shipping costs.

In our auctions, you'll find a 'Ask a Question' feature on each lot and this will enable you to send an enquiry to us.

Final Words

Online auctions can be a thrilling experience and we hope you get the best experience possible.

This guide highlights the small mistakes made by bidders which encourage them to not return.

However, if you avoid those mistakes, you can find that one thing you never expected and feel like a champion.

Don't take our word for it. Check out our live auctions and Bid, Win and Love today!