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Mistakes to avoid when bidding and buying from online auctions.
2 mins

Mistakes to avoid when buying at auction


Online auctions are a popular way to buy a variety of items, with everything from retail returns to antiques on offer from the comfort of your own home. However, as with any type of online shopping, there are common mistakes that buyers can make.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common things to avoid when buying from online auctions and the solutions to help you avoid them.

Mistake 1: Failing to do your research

One of the biggest errors that buyers make when purchasing from an online auction is failing to research the lot they're interested in buying. This can lead to disappointment if the lot arrives and is not quite what they expected.

Solution: Before making a bid, do your homework and pay attention to everything in the listing. Read the item description carefully and look for any additional information provided by the seller. If you have any questions or feel like you need to see more photos, don't hesitate to ask for more details.

Mistake 2: Not setting a budget

Another pitfall that buyers can fall into is not setting a budget before placing bids. This can lead to overspending and getting carried away with yourself!

Solution: Determine the maximum amount you are willing to pay for the item before you start bidding. Stick to your budget and don't get caught up in bidding wars.

Mistake 3: Ignoring the shipping and handling costs

Buyers may overlook shipping and handling costs when placing bids, leading to unexpected expenses. These are clearly laid out on our website but we always advise to add up the total you will end up paying.

Solution: Read the item description carefully to determine the shipping and handling costs. Factor this into your budget when setting your maximum bid. If in doubt, reach out and find out what delivery will cost to where you are located.

Mistake 4: Not understanding the auction terms

Online auctions can have different terms and conditions than traditional auctions and buyers who are not familiar with the rules could get confused.

Solution: Read the auction terms and conditions carefully before placing a bid. Understand the bidding process, payment options, and return policies. If you read something you're unsure of, our team are always on hand on our live chat function to help you.

Mistake 5: Rushing to make a purchase

Impulse buying can lead to regretful purchases, especially when bidding can be fast-paced.

Solution: Take your time before placing a bid. Review the item description and set a budget before making a decision. If you're buying from William George, we only hold timed auctions and extend the end time if last minute bids come in, unlike some other online marketplaces, so you're less likely to buy on impulse.


Online auctions can be an exciting way to find unique items, but it's important to avoid common mistakes to ensure a positive experience. By doing your research, setting a budget, understanding the auction terms, and taking your time before making a purchase, you can avoid these and make a successful purchase that will leave you coming back to online auctions time after time for your next bargain.

Head over to our live auctions now and get bidding!