Occasionally I do find items on EBay that I want to buy. I have found a cool tool that helps me with my EBay purchases and would be lost without. I use a sniping service for just about everything I buy on there for a couple of different reasons. Check out http://www.auctionstealer.ca (if in Canada) or http://www.auctionstealer.com if outside.
Auctionstealer is a free (premium services available) sniping services for online auctions. With the free account you can snipe up to 3 auctions a week with a 10 second buffer. There are also other restrictions on the free service but I have not found any problems with them. You can purchase a premium membership (per item, monthly or yearly) that allows you to have a shorter buffer. How does it work?
You sign up for your auction stealer account and you have to provide them with your EBay ID and Password. Once your account is set up, then you input the item number in the auctions section. It confirms that the item is valid and pulls the information. You place your maximum bid and the number of items you want to purchase and save the selection. What will happen is that with the free service, their system will log in to the item and place a bid on your behalf 10 seconds before the auction closes. You can change your bid at any time (I have done it as close as 4 minutes from auction close), or even cancel it. So far I have been very successful using the service (I got a Nintendo Wii and a Pocket PC this way). Purchase of Premium service per item (costs 2.00) can allow the system to place your bid up to 2 seconds before the auction close.
Why I use it.
There are several reasons why I use the sniping service. Firstly and to me the most important reason, is that it gives me an option to change my mind on an item. For example, let’s say I want to buy something and place a bid on EBay (my max bid). Then I decide I don’t actually want the item or I think my bid was too high. If the bid was placed on EBay, because you can’t withdraw your bid you have to hope that someone outbids you and if you bid too high that may not happen. Since Auctionstealer does not place the bid until 10 seconds before auction end, you can cancel the automated service if you change your mind, and since you have not bid there are no repercussions. Secondly, I find that it prevents bidding wars between myself and other buyers including some unscrupulous sellers that bid items up with a different ID. This way because I am not actively bidding I do not get carried away. If the price goes too high, I cancel my snipe. Thirdly it allows you to bid on auctions that close when you may not be at your computer system. The Auctionstealer system actually checks the item an hour or two prior to close to see if your bid is too low. If it is it sends out an email notification. This way you can check from any internet connected PC and adjust your bidding if you want or just plain cancel the item.
I am sure using this tool does upset some people, (I know I was upset once when I was sure I won something and then got sniped), but I have found that it has saved me a lot of money and removed the Doh factor (“Doh, I really shouldn’t of bid that much”) while I am buying on EBay.
If you are a serious EBayer, you may really want to look at using this tool.