How to Know Exactly What You’re Bidding On In Online Auctions

Monday 16th May 2022 - Cara Bentham


How to Know Exactly What You’re Bidding On In Online Auctions

Check out our tips to help make sure you know exactly what you are bidding for online.

Whether buying brand new or used items, it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re getting when buying online. We’ve all had those experiences when an item arrives and it’s not quite what we were expecting. When buying used goods, such as those sold at auction, it’s even more important to have a clear idea of what you are buying so you don’t get disappointed by the quality. Here we provide some handy tips to help you know exactly what you’re bidding on in online auctions.


Check the images thoroughly

Auction listings typically have multiple photos. When looking at an item you might be interested in bidding on, be sure to thoroughly inspect all the available images. Often, items will be photographed from multiple angles so you can see every facet. Use the zoom function to get a closer inspection so you can be sure you are happy with the quality of the item before you bid. Auctioneers should be transparent about any damage to an item, which will be visible in the photos or explicitly stated in the description so be sure to carefully check all of this out.


Read the description

When bidding for items in an online auction, it is essential to read the description before bidding. Sometimes, objects in photos can be misleading compared to viewing an item in person. Perhaps you have bought an item online in the past which arrived much bigger, or smaller, than expected. The size or dimensions of an item may not always be clear from images alone. The description on the auction listing should give you all of this information and more. It will state the full details of the item and explain the quality and whether there is any damage.


Preview the item in person

If you live near enough to the auction house selling the item you are interested in, consider visiting in person to view it. This will give you the clearest idea of what is on offer. If you are considering this option, be sure to contact the auction house ahead of time in case you need to make an appointment. This is especially important if you are travelling some distance to ensure you avoid disappointment.


Contact the auctioneer

If you can’t find all the information you are looking for in the images and description, have further questions or want to clarify something, you can always contact the auction house for more information. There are many ways you can contact auctioneers to enquire about a lot. If the lot you are interested in is on our website, you can simply click the ‘Ask a Question’ button which is located at the bottom of each listing. Alternatively, you can contact auctioneers directly through their website, via email or telephone call.


Following these simple tips will help ensure you know exactly what you are bidding on when placing bids at auction online. This will help to avoid disappointment and ensure you are happy with the item when it’s in your hands, as well as knowing you paid the right price for a lot relative to its dimensions, specification and condition.