BidPoints: FAQ

 
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Do I have to pay no matter what, or only if I win the auction?
  2. What if I'm the highest bidder but the reserve isn't met?
  3. How can I buy BidPoints?
  4. How are auctions denominated in non-US currencies charged?
  5. Why are auctions denominated in non-US currencies so expensive?
  6. What if I bid using eSnipe, but actually win the auction bidding on it by hand. Do I still have to pay?
  7. eSnipe used to be free. Why can't it remain free?
  8. Why not pay for eSnipe with advertisements?
  9. Can I pay using check or money order?
  10. Why not just charge 1% of the bid price? Why this goofy point system?
  11. Why are Dutch auctions priced differently?
  12. Why not just charge per snipe? Say, $.10 for every snipe placed whether I win or lose?
  13. Well, then, how about that subscription idea, where you paid $49.95 a year or whatever for unlimited auctions?
  14. I win tens of thousands of dollars in auctions using eBay every month. Do you expect me to pay 1% of all that?
  15. Do BidPoints expire?
  16. Can I transfer BidPoints between my accounts?
  17. What if the transaction falls through? Do I still have to pay BidPoints?

Do I have to pay no matter what, or only if I win the auction?
eSnipe only charges if you win the auction. If you do not win, you are not charged BidPoints. eSnipe does not charge a monthly or annual fee, so you are only charged per winning bid. If you buy BidPoints in bulk beforehand, you can save money. Learn more about bulk purchasing options here.
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What if I'm the highest bidder but the reserve isn't met?
You don't get charged. eSnipe does not consider that a win; nor does eBay.
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How can I buy BidPoints?
You can buy BidPoints using PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and Diner's Club. To buy BidPoints, you must first become a registered member, then click Buy BidPoints on the menu. For a more detailed explanation on purchasing BidPoints, click here.
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How are auctions denominated in non-US currencies charged?
All wins in non-US currency cost a flat 100 BidPoints, no matter what the winning amount. This is the result of weighing the demand for non-US auctions against the significant support cost associated with them.
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Why are auctions denominated in non-US currencies so expensive?
They cost more for us to support. This may seem kind of high for low priced items, but it is a much better rate than the US currency auctions when you spend more on an item. We are investigating cost-cutting measures to bring the price down on some non-US auctions.
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What if I bid using eSnipe, but actually win the auction bidding on it by hand. Do I still have to pay?
Yes. The reason is not greed, it's technical. It is impossible for eSnipe to determine reliably which party was responsible for winning the bid--you or eSnipe. Equally important, you have contracted for us to provide a service and we have performed it successfully. Besides, we don't charge if you don't win!
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eSnipe used to be free. Why can't it remain free?
Over 50% bids are too low, so we don't charge. Yet placing losing bids costs us just as much as winning bids. eSnipe is very expensive to run and provides a valuable service. Our users have demonstrated that it's worth the small price eSnipe charges, because we're placing more bids than ever.
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Why not pay for eSnipe with advertisements?
The bottom has fallen out of the banner ad market. General-purpose ads are hard to sell at the moment, even for a site as popular as eSnipe. We are beginning a series of experiments that involve the direct sales of ads and the possible use of affiliate programs such as Amazon's. This could potentially pay eSnipe's way, but currently there is no evidence showing that's possible. Selling ads directly is a tremendous challenge in the current market. Should that approach bear fruit we would like nothing more than to drop the pay system and return to the halcyon days of free eSnipe, encumbered only by benign banner ads.
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Can I pay using check or money order?
No. eSnipe only accepts payments by credit card or through PayPal. back to top

Why not just charge 1% of the bid price? Why this goofy point system?
We considered several different payment methods and decided that BidPoints were the way to go.  Using BidPoints allows eSnipe to keep costs down by minimizing transaction fees for credit cards and electronic checks, to issue refunds quickly, and to offer promotions from time to time.

  • A subscription would be unfair to infrequent bidders. Any subscription fee worth charging--say, $30 or $40--would be unacceptable to the 60% of eSnipe bidders who spend under $25 at a time and don't bid too often.
  • The advertising market is notoriously poor and could not come even close to supporting eSnipe.
  • A pay-as-you-go scheme was the best compromise. Charging a small percentage doesn't penalize buyers of inexpensive goods. And people who buy a lot on eBay get bulk discounts--the more auctions you win, the further below 1% it costs you--plus no single fee is ever more than $10 or 1,000 BidPoints.

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Why are Dutch auctions priced differently?
The rules of Dutch auctions are actually the opposite of eBay's standard proxy bidding rules. It really doesn't make sense to use eSnipe for Dutch auctions, and they pose an additional support burden on eSnipe. We strongly suggest you place Dutch bids by hand.
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Why not just charge per snipe? Say, $.10 for every snipe placed whether I win or lose?
We have studied bid patterns carefully. Many, many bids are clearly placed by users who don't really expect to win. They just want to be there at the end of the auction in case no one else is. Charging for every snipe would force users to rethink their use of eSnipe and dramatically reduce the number of snipes placed. We don't wish to make the transition to a pay system any harder than it needs to be.
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Well, then, how about that subscription idea, where you paid $49.95 a year or whatever for unlimited auctions?
The main problem with a subscription approach is that it penalizes casual users. People who only buy a couple of inexpensive items a year would avoid eSnipe because it wouldn't be worth it for them to pay. Also, users tend to like a pay-as-you-go approach. The $5 minimum points purchase is the best compromise we could think of that allows eSnipe to stay in business. And users can always get a refund, less the service fee.

There is another benefit to the pay-as-you-go approach. Certain activities, such as a permanent bid history and placing multiple snipes for the same item, are currently disabled because they represent a measurable extra cost in maintaining eSnipe. These features could be reinstated once they started paying for themselves.
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I win tens of thousands of dollars in auctions using eBay every month. Do you expect me to pay 1% of all that?
Your costs will very likely dip far below 1%. First, remember that no single fee exceeds $10 or 1,000 BidPoints. So if you buy that $3700 collector doll, your fee would be only 1,000 BidPoints, not 3,700 ($10, not $37). And if your auction fees are high enough that you can buy BidPoints in bulk (5,000 or more) you get a substantial discount over and above the 1% figure. Finally--remember that eSnipe acts in much the same way a traditional auction agent would. Auction agents charge at least 3%-5% of the final fee. eSnipe's fee is less than 1/3 of that for a high roller like you, and a fraction of what it would be for wins over $1,000.
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Do BidPoints expire?
Not as long as you remain an active user. An active user is defined as anyone who has logged on to the eSnipe site within the last year. If a year passes and you do not log on, three attempts will be made to contact you over a period of a month. If at that time you cannot be reached, the BidPoints will expire.
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Can I transfer BidPoints between my accounts?
No. eSnipe will not transfer BidPoints between active eSnipe accounts.
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What if the transaction falls through? Do I still have to pay BidPoints?
We will reverse the BidPoint charges on any auction win, within 90 days of the end of the auction, if the transaction is not completed, for any reason. We require documentation indicating that the transaction was not completed. This can be in the form of feedback on the seller (no need to be antagonistic, only truthful) or email correspondence between yourself and the seller, eBay or PayPal discussing why the transaction would not take place and the agreement reached related to this. Please contact our customer support to request your charges reversed.
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