I lost an auction... why?

Check the email that the RovatronTM bidding server sent you when the auction ended. It will tell you what happened at the end of the auction, and as far as possible, why. If you aren't sure how to interpret the email, see How to interpret eSnipe emails for assistance.

If you've set your account to eliminate the end-of-auction email, consider the possibilities listed here.

(Hint: Set your account to send that email so that you'll have it the next time you need it! Click the My Settings link found on many eSnipe pages, then click the "Email Information" tab)

Problems and solutions

I have changed my eBay user ID and/or password.

I used an unusually small buffer value.

eBay, the Internet, or eSnipe's ISP was handling unusually heavy traffic.

The seller closed the auction early.

Someone exercised the "Buy It Now" option.

eBay had an outage when eSnipe tried to submit your bid.

Someone outbid you.

Your bid was less than a prior high bid plus bid increment.

Your bid was less than the reserve price.

I have changed my eBay user ID and/or password.

If you've changed these settings on eBay but not on eSnipe, eSnipe will give eBay the old settings when it submits your bid, and eBay won't accept the bid.

Thus, when you change your user ID or password on eBay, you must change them on eSnipe at the same time. To change these settings, log in to eSnipe with your old user ID and password, then follow the My Settings link and click the "Auction Accounts" link to enter the new ones.

If you schedule a bid, then change your eSnipe user ID and password before the bid is submitted, eSnipe will submit the bid with the new settings (which is what you want it to do).

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I used an unusually small buffer value.

When you reduce the buffer value (the number of seconds before an auction's scheduled close when eSnipe submits your bid), you increase the risk that your if bid is delayed, eBay won't have time to process it before the auction closes.

Use a larger buffer value to reduce the risk of losing an auction this way, particularly at times when Internet traffic and eBay activity tend to be high (i.e., weekday evenings and Sundays).

When you join eSnipe your default buffer value is set to 7 seconds, a good all-around value. Experience has shown that a buffer value of 3 seconds or less creates a very high risk of missing an auction's close. eSnipe does not recommend using such small values.

You can change any auction's buffer value with BidWizard, either when you schedule the bid or when you later edit the bid.

You can change your account's default buffer value by clicking the My Settings link, found on many eSnipe pages, to display the My Settings page.

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eBay, the Internet, or eSnipe's ISP was handling unusually heavy traffic.

Your usual buffer value (the number of seconds before an auction's scheduled close when eSnipe submits your bid) may be inadequate if eBay or the Internet is very heavily loaded at the moment when eSnipe submits your bid. There are numerous reasons why this might happen, such as a hardware or software failure on eBay or in the Internet, or a "real world" event that causes a lot of people to get on the Internet at the same time. Unfortunately, most such events are impossible to predict.

The only way to reduce this type of risk is to increase your buffer value. Remember that you must balance the risk of getting your bid in to eBay too late against the risk of getting it in so early that your competition will have time to outbid you.

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The seller closed the auction early.

A seller may close an auction early for a variety of reasons. The item might be lost, broken, or not in the condition described. The seller might have received an attractive offer for a private sale outside the eBay community.

There's unfortunately nothing you can do to avoid this kind of disappointment, whether you're using eSnipe or not. Even if you place a bid, the seller can cancel your bid and close the auction if there is a legitimate reason to do so.

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Someone exercised the "Buy It Now" option.

If an auction is listed with the "Buy It Now" option, the auction will close as soon as a bidder bids the Buy It Now price.

To protect yourself against this risk you can exercise the Buy It Now option yourself, or you can pre-empt Buy It Now by entering a small "placeholder" bid. (If the auction has a reserve price, your bid must meet or exceed the reserve.)

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eBay had an outage when eSnipe tried to submit your bid.

If eBay was having an outage at the time when eSnipe had to submit your bid, eSnipe couldn't submit the bid. If the outage was short (currently, under two hours), eBay does not reschedule the close of the auction, and the highest bid accepted before the outage wins the auction.

There is no way to avoid this risk except to bid early (that is, to avoid sniping entirely). Fortunately eBay outages are rare.

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Someone outbid you.

That's the luck of the game! You'll have to bid higher next time—if you think the prize is worth it.

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Your bid was less than a prior high bid plus bid increment.

eBay accepts a bid only if it is higher than the previous high bid by an amount at least as large as the bid increment.

For example, for a high bid between $100 and $250, the bid increment is $2.50. If the current high bid is $127.50, the lowest bid that eBay will accept is $130.00.

If you're bidding just a little over the current high bid, be sure that your bid is at least equal to the "Minimum Bid" in eBay's bidding box (after the item description).

Hint: Many bidders bid a little over a round number, on the theory that it will help them outbid another bidder who bids a round number. For example, a bidder who thinks an item is worth $85.00 might bid $85.01. A bid of $86.01 will beat an earlier bid of $85.01 (with a bid increment of $1.00), but an even bid of $86.00 will not.

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Your bid was less than the reserve price.

If your maximum bid was less than the auction's reserve price, eBay wouldn't accept it. The auction description will tell you if there's a reserve price, and whether it has been met, but it won't tell you what the reserve is.

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