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eBay: Make Offer etiquette/strategy

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View Poll Results: When presented with an overpriced Buy It Now item with the Make Offer option, I...
submit what you feel is a reasonable offer by itself (even if it's half the asking price or less).
54.84%
submit what you feel is a reasonable offer with rationale of why it's reasonable.
22.58%
walk away, it's not worth dealing with crazy people who don't really want to sell their junk.
16.13%
submit a real super low ball offer just to screw with them.
6.45%
Voters: 31. You may not vote on this poll

eBay: Make Offer etiquette/strategy

Old 05-01-13, 05:26 PM
  #1  
himespau 
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eBay: Make Offer etiquette/strategy

How do you treat eBay Buy It Now ads for something you'd like that's wildly overpriced (like 2-fold or more) but has a "Make Offer" option?

I usually just submit what I feel is a fair market price (or maybe a tad under). Usually this is just declined without comment, and that's that. Once not too long ago, I got a really nasty message in response about how my offer wasn't in the realm of reality and how I was trying to cheat the person (what the???). Apparently, after 3+ months listing that bike, they finally got someone to give them an offer they took in the last week or so (nice brand name frame, but really bad touch and wrong touch up job and not absolute top end frame for top end frame money).

As a result, the last time I submitted an offer, I sent a message along with the offer saying I wasn't trying to low ball the person, but the fact of the matter was, the last time they'd listed the bike, they had done so with a $400 opening bid and a $600 buy it now (currently listed at $600 BIN or best offer), so I was going to try $350, which seemed reasonable if no one was willing to bid $400. Person never responded and my offer expired after the two days.

So now I see another overpriced frame that I'd like if the price was reasonable. Listed at $600 or best offer, but in the last 3-4 months similar frames have always sold for $2-300 at best with one very unique exception (older, more ornate, near mint) that went for $425. The last two sold actually went for ~$150, but they weren't quite as nice. This one has been listed for at least a month. If I submit a best offer, do I include a message with that justification, do I just submit the offer alone, or do I walk away and stop tilting at windmills because people with deluded expectations are never going to learn?

Last edited by himespau; 05-01-13 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 05-01-13, 05:54 PM
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Offer any amount you choose.

They either accept or decline.

Anything else is irrelevant.
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Old 05-01-13, 06:22 PM
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Yes, but do you try to convince them your offer is a reasonable offer so they actually think about it, or do you figure they won't care and just throw a number at them? Trying to figure out how others think and what might be most likely to be successful at a time when folks like BBC are putting out ads (that don't sell) convincing people what they have is worth a lot more than it actually is.
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Old 05-01-13, 06:25 PM
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It never hurts to low ball....well maybe it does because I'll place you on my 'blocked' lost. Seriously, if I have a frame listed for $800 don't offer me $400 regardless of my $800 being over priced or not. I will not even consider it...

I set my auctions to automatically accept bids....I usually set the threshold about 10% lower than my asking price. I have a frame up now for $800 and have had offers of $450 and $600...
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Old 05-01-13, 06:40 PM
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+1 to iab's comment above.

Explanations for an offer level make sense in person (face to face, we give accounts of ourselves and our reasons for acting).

Money talks on ebay.

There is a wide range in what folks are willing to accept - some obviously don't actually want to entertain offers, but inexplicably leave the option open, whereas others will accept significantly less than the BIN. I've never had success trying to reason with anyone over why my offer price is reasonable, but I have got nice stuff from seemingly knowledgeable sellers for 30-40% less than listed BIN. Just make an offer and be done with it.

Last edited by mikemowbz; 05-01-13 at 06:55 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-01-13, 06:53 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Offer any amount you choose.

They either accept or decline.

Anything else is irrelevant.
Precisely.

To be blunt, most eBay sellers that have way-overpriced listings are a-holes. There, I said it! The emporer has no clothes. A certain Portlander comes to mind, but I digress....

Make any offer you want. if the seller insults you in return, report him to eBay. I recently bought a group of C&V items for less than half of the BIN price, based on my offer. The BIN was about $1500. You never know what the seller will acccept. Don't go out of your way to be deferential to butt-heads!
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Old 05-01-13, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
It never hurts to low ball....well maybe it does because I'll place you on my 'blocked' lost. Seriously, if I have a frame listed for $800 don't offer me $400 regardless of my $800 being over priced or not. I will not even consider it...

I set my auctions to automatically accept bids....I usually set the threshold about 10% lower than my asking price. I have a frame up now for $800 and have had offers of $450 and $600...
The sale price will always be the amount someone will spend. Unless ebay is your livelihood, there is no reason to wring your hands.
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Old 05-01-13, 07:46 PM
  #8  
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Make a legitimate offer. If it is only 50% of asking price, so be it. But do not try to justify your low ball offer, and realize a low ball will sometimes result in you being blocked.

Similar to Jim, I will just block silly low buyers.

Want a great deal? No problem, just get out there and hustle after one. You will find one, eventually. Convenience has its price.

I figure trying to convince a deluded seller (OR BUYER for that matter) is a waste of time.

In person, I will explain my offer, and also say something like: "It may well be worth more to someone else, but its only worth $xxx to me for these reasons (I keep it brief, don't give them a laundry list of nitpicks)." 75% of the time, they accept my offer, 25% they don't. Either way, I am OK with the outcome. I had one where the seller was asking $100, and I offered $30. Of course, he turned it down. Ten minutes later, I got a call, "come get it." Bike was a mess, and really was only worth $30.

This is one reason dealing in person is so much easier.

Last edited by wrk101; 05-01-13 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 05-01-13, 08:13 PM
  #9  
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I like the option of an offer with rationale.

Doesn't have to be a long drown out love letter, just copy and paste a few comps that have sold. You have to assume some of the way out prices are because the seller does not know the market, and if the seller does know and doesn't care, then he doesn't really want to sell that bad which is his choice.

That certain Portlander manages to sell some product so someone out there wants his stuff bad enough. The Letour GT300 derailleur I watched for months sold and sold at the "non-sale" price to boot. What the hell do I know??
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Old 05-01-13, 08:19 PM
  #10  
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Offer what your research has shown to be a fair price. If the seller blocks you, so what. Do you really want to do business with someone who gets all huffy over a fair offer made in good faith?
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Old 05-01-13, 08:29 PM
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In this case, I just submitted an offer, no explanation. Half his asking seemed toward the upper end of market value, so that's what I offered. Not looking for a screaming deal or even a bargain, just something at a reasonable price (which I determine as what similar items are going for). I just hope he's not like the last person I dealt with and will actually decline the offer if he doesn't like it. The last person, just didn't do anything and the offer expired after 2 days. Not a big deal, but that meant the cash I'd set aside for a new frame was tied up for those two days because I didn't want to buy another frame only to have him accept my offer after 47 hours. Once again, like Bill said, another way in which talking to people is nice.
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Old 05-02-13, 04:28 AM
  #12  
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I try to submit a reasonable offer that is in keeping with my understanding of the bike's value, coupled with what I intend to do with the bike (keep or sell).

I would not waste one moment of my time, or the seller's, trying to convince him, or her, that they are wrong about how much they want for their bicycle.

As for people who "low ball" or try to convince me that I am wrong - blocked on Ebay. They are just wasting their time, and mine, and mine is pretty darn important to me.
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Old 05-02-13, 05:08 AM
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I've written a few notes where I try to explain why I think my offer is reasonable. I do it in a very friendly manner... No one has gotten irate and it did work once.

On the other side, I've had high BIN now prices (10% - 20% over what I thought reasonable) assuming the person would offer less. I didn't really think it would scare folks off.

i listed one bike at a price that was overly optimistic once, but that's what it was worth to me. Some people did get annoyed, but such is life.
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Old 05-02-13, 05:25 AM
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We all have the right to ask whatever we want and offer whatever we want, rational or not, that's what makes this wacky world so fun!

If the listing makes the seller seem reasonable, I'll send a message with my offer. If the listing is filled with "RARE!" or "Try to find another!" or maybe even... "SUPER Rare!" then I assume the seller is an idiot and I'll do what feels right in the moment... Sometimes it's less than fair, sometimes more than fair, sometimes it's a dollar or two on a multi-hundred dollar item.
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Old 05-02-13, 07:59 AM
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I've submitted a few offers, but never included any sort of explanation. The only one that worked was for a rear der. Seller had it priced ~$40 with $9 shipping. I offered $30 SHIPPED, in the notes. Seller accepted offer, then tried to bill me $39. I sent a note to the seller and they removed the shipping charge. But otherwise, I would agree that trying to reason with some sellers will probably get a nastygram in return.
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Old 05-02-13, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Pars View Post
I've submitted a few offers, but never included any sort of explanation. The only one that worked was for a rear der. Seller had it priced ~$40 with $9 shipping. I offered $30 SHIPPED, in the notes. Seller accepted offer, then tried to bill me $39. I sent a note to the seller and they removed the shipping charge. But otherwise, I would agree that trying to reason with some sellers will probably get a nastygram in return.
Best to wait for the item to be relished once or twice. It takes a long while for some to comprehend that what they have is not worth what they think.

Conversely, I was watching a bike that has been relished 4 times now. Sold once and returned even. I figure the reason it was returned was for the lack of disclosure of two things, a broken off braze on and rivnuts for bottle bosses, the bottle bosses would only be known in advance by one who is very familiar with the brand and year. The other problem was covered in tape, at a later insertion revealed then an earlier image returned concealing that "situation".

It is a wild world out there.
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Old 05-02-13, 09:48 AM
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I put a low-ish offer on a frame a couple of months back and it got rejected. Now the seller's BIN has dropped to almost what my offer was and I've thought about making another offer but, for some reason, don't have quite the desire for it that I once did now that the seller is realizing that market value was closer to my projection than theirs. It's almost like I now feel like my old projection was too high. Actually, it probably was because I was blinded by the brand name and did some more research and found out all models were not the same. So maybe the seller even more overvalued it than I'd originally thought. It is funny watching some sellers realize things and drop their prices and others not.
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Old 05-02-13, 10:09 AM
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Depends how much I want the item- if it's my "grail" bike, then maybe I'll put in a bid that slightly greater than reasonable. If it's meh, then I'll wait until somebody else with some sense offers up the item.
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Old 05-02-13, 10:35 AM
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I just toss an offer in and if they don't like then so be it. I get my fair share of offers on things I list up and I normally don't even use the Best Offer option. What's the worse that can happen...they say no? Or what's the lucky chance they just accept it and you get a killer deal? You never know until you try?
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Old 05-02-13, 12:41 PM
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I'm always intrigued by discussions like this. People use terms like "fair", "value", "reasonable" etc. To me, that's politicising (sp?) a capitalist, free market exchange - and it's not relevant. Sellers and buyers alike in any exchange have the right to value the exchange completely differently. Sellers typically value their items more than potential buyers do, but regardless of how people arrive at their sense of value, each person is free to arrive at whatever value, however arrived at, differently. I sell a lot of stuff on ebay. Sometimes I think "if I can get XX for this, I'll sell it. Else I won't" The free market tells me if a buyer values my item similarly. When I'm on the buy side of an ebay listing, I try to be disciplined and say to myself . . ."if I can buy this for $XX, then I'll spend my money." Sometimes I sell my item. Sometimes I don't. Similarly, sometimes I can buy things, sometimes I can't.

Bottom line, IMO, offer whatever number you value the item at. Don't worry about "fair, reasonable", or any other judgemental term. If you and the seller/buyer agree, you'll exchange money. Else . . . you won't.
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Old 05-02-13, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by thunderworks View Post
I'm always intrigued by discussions like this. People use terms like "fair", "value", "reasonable" etc. To me, that's politicising (sp?) a capitalist, free market exchange - and it's not relevant. Sellers and buyers alike in any exchange have the right to value the exchange completely differently. Sellers typically value their items more than potential buyers do, but regardless of how people arrive at their sense of value, each person is free to arrive at whatever value, however arrived at, differently. I sell a lot of stuff on ebay. Sometimes I think "if I can get XX for this, I'll sell it. Else I won't" The free market tells me if a buyer values my item similarly. When I'm on the buy side of an ebay listing, I try to be disciplined and say to myself . . ."if I can buy this for $XX, then I'll spend my money." Sometimes I sell my item. Sometimes I don't. Similarly, sometimes I can buy things, sometimes I can't.

Bottom line, IMO, offer whatever number you value the item at. Don't worry about "fair, reasonable", or any other judgemental term. If you and the seller/buyer agree, you'll exchange money. Else . . . you won't.
Precisely....

Bottom line is that the seller's walkaway price has to be below the potential buyer's walkaway price. If that happens, then the trick (still) is agreeing on the actual price, but it at least has a chance of happening.
Offer anything that you want. Like I said earlier, I recently bought a pile of stuff that had a BIN of about $1500, and I paid less than half of that, using the 'make an offer' feature of his listing. I've now gone on to buy several more items from that seller, at prices I was perfectly happy to pay.

Last edited by 753proguy; 05-02-13 at 01:11 PM. Reason: added 'items' after 'several more...'
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Old 05-02-13, 01:30 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by thunderworks View Post
I'm always intrigued by discussions like this. People use terms like "fair", "value", "reasonable" etc. To me, that's politicising (sp?) .
OK, I should change my verbage from fair, to what an item is worth to you. Some items aren't worth that much to me. I won't purposely low ball someone (even if they feel like it), I just offer them what it is worth to me. If it is worth more to them, or more to another buyer, so be it. And many times the "worth" to me, assumes I will be able to clean it up and resell it, hopefully (but definitely not always), at a higher price.

I too bristle a little bit when some jerk potential buyer tells me matter of factly that my bike is only "worth" X (about half of what I am asking). While it might only be worth X to them, it might be worth 2X to me, and 3X to another person. And of course their valuation is not based on any data, just the desire to get a really nice bike, at a really low price.

I also don't care for the entitlement mentality (I am a broke college student, so you should sell me the bike for x). One time I had some student's mother call me, saying her daughter could only afford X. I told her I understood, but the bike was worth more to me, so no thanks. (At the time, I thought to myself, good luck finding a nice bike for less, as it was already at a low price for the area, and it was an XS size). Sure enough, her daughter calls the next day, comes over and buys the bike at my price.

Sellers have the right to ask any price they want, and buyers have the right to offer any price. Completing a deal comes when the value to the buyer is enough to meet what the seller wants to get for their item.

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Old 05-02-13, 01:57 PM
  #23  
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But several of you say you'll block someone who you feel lowballs you. What if, to them, it's a perfectly valid offer? Like my case. I see something I like, it's only being sold by one person right now. So I look at what comparable items have gone for in the last 6 months or year. If it's half what they're asking, I'll probably offer what others have gone for. Is that a lowball offer? If you really think your thing is worth what you're asking, you might think so. If I really needed it and yours is the only one around, supply and demand says, I'll pay what you want. But if it's a luxury item I don't need and I don't mind waiting to see if another comes along at what has been the normal going rate for the last year, I'll see if you'll take what I consider market value, and, if not, move on. The trick is having the patience to wait out the market when supply is uneven, I guess.
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Old 05-02-13, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
But several of you say you'll block someone who you feel lowballs you. What if, to them, it's a perfectly valid offer? Like my case. I see something I like, it's only being sold by one person right now. So I look at what comparable items have gone for in the last 6 months or year. If it's half what they're asking, I'll probably offer what others have gone for.
If its a valid offer they don't get blocked!! A good seller should the know the market and have items priced accordingly. Almost all of my Buy Now are at the top end of their price range, I did my research, my parts are quality and they're clean. A buyer would have no legitimate reason to low ball any of my items. Make a fair offer is all I ask.
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Old 05-02-13, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
If its a valid offer they don't get blocked!! A good seller should the know the market and have items priced accordingly. Almost all of my Buy Now are at the top end of their price range, I did my research, my parts are quality and they're clean. A buyer would have no legitimate reason to low ball any of my items. Make a fair offer is all I ask.
But that's you. I think you would research the value of the item you wanted to sell, and price it accordingly. Like a good seller should. Who wanted to get a reasonable price for actually selling his item. And the buyer would know that if they also did their homework.

The OP's problem was with a seller that is either greedy and hoping for a desperate buyer, or didn't do enough market research to determine the actual value of the item he had to offer. So his only choice is to accept what appears to be a low-ball offer, or not sell the item.
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