High Bid is Market

Use eBay Motors’ auction format to advertise, and pollute your car’s value.

Many eBay vendors simply don’t expect to sell their wares on the auction site and rely on the popular forum to gain a cheap and arguably effective form of advertising. Whatever the rationale, bidding inevitably ensues, reserve is often not met, and the subject vehicle continues to be hawked on eBay again or via private marketing. Now we have a hunk of merchandise with an identified value based on high bid. And high bid is market, right?

Here’s an example: An Ohio dealer of muscle cars lists his 1966 Dodge Coronet 500 for auction with a Buy-It-Now price of $49K and a reserve presumably at or near Buy-It-Now. Bidding tops out at an anemic $11,600. Post auction, the vendor wants $45,000. Whose to say what the right number should be, but one thing is certain: Multiple bidders in a public forum voted with their pocketbooks, and this seller with a lofty notion of his car’s value now has a lot of explaining to do.

Sellers might claim that eBay is for low-ballers and are content to use the forum strictly for advertising. If so, surely a better method would be to list at fixed price, and solicit private offers without exposing value limitations resulting from a failed auction. Or simply stay out of eBay.

If I’ve learned anything about marketing cars over the past 25 years is that fresh stock sells. A vehicle whored in the marketplace can go from hot to radioactive in a New York Minute. Qualified buyers have moved on. Unless a newbie surfaces, sellers should expect to take a price haircut on what otherwise could have been a quick and efficient sale.

A successful dealer friend summed it up best: “If you list at auction, be prepared to let it go.”


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There Are 2 Responses So Far. »

  1. ebay is good exposure and many won’t know enough to compare auction tally to asking price.

  2. You may be right, but why take the risk and expose your merchandise unnecessarily?

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