How To Haggle, Negotiate, and Make an Offer on eBay

Can You Haggle on eBay?

Let’s begin with a surprising fact. You can haggle on eBay. The best way to haggle is to offer a lower price through the Best Offer or Make Offer options. The second way is to reach out directly to the seller with an offer lower than their listing price.

How to Haggle on eBay

So how can you haggle on eBay? I’ll walk you through a recent example. A few weeks ago, I decided to purchase three vintage games for my son. The seller listed each item separately, so I started haggling by asking for a combined shipping price.

The seller listed shipping prices separately, but I wanted to know what it would cost if they were all shipped together. The price for each item individually was $9.00, but for all three, it would only cost me only $10.50.

eBay listings are a dime a dozen. A few auctions had lower prices, but this was the only seller listing all three things I wanted to buy. I couldn’t resist paying $10.50 instead of $27.00. Asking for combined shipping on eBay is one of the easiest ways to save money.

How to Negotiate Prices on eBay

Next, I started stalking auctions. Vintage items are hit or miss. If someone is looking for a specific game or toy, the seller might be in luck; if not, their items will most likely remain unsold.

I wanted the items, but I wasn’t dying to have them. My son is not old enough to play with some of them yet, so I didn’t feel a driving need to make a purchase right away. 

The auction continued for five days, and on the fourth day, I started haggling. You can negotiate on eBay, and I was determined to get a deal. I sent the seller a note asking if she would sell the items for less than their listed prices. At that point, the products had absolutely no bids on them. 

Before reaching out, I watched comparable auctions and decided on a price that seemed more reasonable to me. I asked the seller if she would be willing to knock a couple of dollars off each item’s price if I agreed to purchase all three.

I was willing to accept ‘no’ as an answer. If the seller said no, I would have moved on to other items and probably not thought twice about missing out on buying the things she listed for sale.

An hour or so later, I received a happy response from the seller confirming my requested prices. I saved 40% off each item and saved $20 in shipping fees by asking about combined shipping rates. I’ve had similar experiences haggling for other items on eBay.

Of course, this won’t work with popular items or items with many bidders, but I have successfully negotiated eBay prices in this case and many others. You have nothing to lose by haggling. If the seller doesn’t want to accept your offer, they can ignore your email or tell you, “no thanks.”

Ask eBay Sellers for a Lower Price

Can you ask eBay sellers to lower the price? Of course, you can. Some sellers want to sell their items at a particular price point, but many are willing to accept less than their listing price. You have a couple of options for asking for a lower price. You can ask for a lower price directly, ask for free shipping, or offer a reduced price if you purchase multiple items.

Most buyers won’t ask for a discount if the listing doesn’t include the Best Offer option, but that’s a mistake. If the option isn’t available, reach out directly to the seller and ask.

I’ve had excellent luck haggling on Buy-It-Now listings on eBay. I’ve also had success negotiating on auctions that start with extra high prices that don’t get any bids.

Negotiating prices on eBay isn’t difficult. Contacting the seller isn’t tricky. It takes seconds to ask for a bargain. Click the ask a question button and type your discount request.

How to Bargain on eBay

Bargaining on eBay is easy. Look for auctions that sellers continually re-list. The sellers often want to get rid of their stuff, but their auction prices are too high.

In these cases, I add the item to my watchlist and wait for the seller to re-list. As soon as the new listing pops up, I directly ask the seller for a lower price. Sellers are usually thrilled that I reached out to them. They want to sell their items and are happy to reduce the cost. I get a bargain, and the sellers make money off of their stuff.

If you ever plan to reach out to a seller directly, be respectful, and make sure that you offer a fair price for the item you desire. In my case, a few short emails helped me trim a few dollars off of my purchases and made the sellers quite happy.

How to Make an Offer on eBay

Some sellers encourage haggling and negotiating by providing a Make Offer button on their auctions. If you see this button, click it, enter an amount, and click the Review Offer button.

On the review page you’ll see details of your offer. Confirm your payment and shipping information. If you want to change your offer click the Change button. Otherwise click Send Offer and wait for the seller to accept or reject your price.

eBay used to discourage haggling, but the Make Offer option makes it a lot easier to negotiate prices.

I think the Make Offer button is great, but I’ll send a direct message if a button doesn’t appear on an item I want. A seller may list an item for only a few dollars more than I would be willing to pay. If the seller doesn’t re-list the items after the auction, they may pull them from eBay altogether. 

The seller may decide it’s better to donate the items or sell them at a yard sale or consignment shop. In this case, eBay loses out on the fees and the seller goes home empty handed.

eBays’s Make Offer option helps buyers and sellers negotiate fair prices, but if I don’t see a button I message the seller with a fair offer.

What is a Fair Offer on eBay?

As long as you make a respectful offer, I don’t see any harm in contacting a seller. Just make sure you don’t lowball the seller. There is a difference between making an offer on eBay and sending a cheap request.

Here’s an eBay make offer tip: If you want to buy something for less on eBay, make sure to make a fair offer. What is a fair offer? Most sellers suggest offering at least 80-85% of list price. In other words, don’t bid $10 on a $100 auction. Sellers will block you if you send an unreasonable request.

Pay Quickly

If a seller agrees to negotiate, pay immediately. Then send a thank you note.

12 thoughts on “How To Haggle, Negotiate, and Make an Offer on eBay”

  1. Is this a joke? DON’T ask for a lower price if there isn’t a Best Offer option. I am a seller and I block people who do this. The price I’m giving is already a fair price and asking for cheaper makes you look like a haggling fish wife and pisses me off. This is how I pay my bills and you are trying to take money away from me because you’re cheap? This is terrible advice. There IS harm in it, you are wasting my time and insulting me and you will get blocked. Stupid, stupid ‘article’.

    • Mmarple I totally understand where you are coming from. As I am me a seller (I AM NEW) going through it on Ebay right now. The time wasters, cheap cheeky people … I don’t know I could block people on Ebay but now will look in to it. And I decided to not to such reply messages too.

    • That sounds like a pretty cold way to run your business. If you don’t like an offer don’t accept it. A product is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. If no one buys it at your price, it’s overpriced and maybe you should accept a lower offer because that’s what it’s worth. The market decides what’s a “fair price”.

  2. I want to make an offer on a high value item. Seller is asking $1800.

    I’ve seen it for $1100-1600 elsewhere. Wondering if $1400 is too high to start.

    • @Terese, Offer an amount that seems reasonable. But if you really love it then offer more to ensure you get it. If the seller doesn’t like your offer they can try to negotiate with you.

  3. I found this article very helpful as I would like to make some offers on used books but there was no button to do that. Thanks for sharing how to go about it, much appreciated!


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