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 option. 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. I sent the seller a note asking if she would be willing to 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 the prices I requested. 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.
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.
Contacting the seller isn’t tricky. It takes seconds to ask for a bargain. Click the ‘ask a question’ button and begin your request.
How to Bargain on eBay
Bargaining on eBay is easy. Look for auctions that sellers continually re-list. Many times the sellers 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 send a question directly to the seller asking 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 price. 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.
Making an Offer on eBay
eBay keeps this information under wraps. I’m not sure why eBay discourages haggling. Perhaps they don’t want sellers to get irritated by unwanted offers.
That makes sense, but at the same time a seller may list an item for only a few dollars more than you 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 it would have collected from a successful sale.
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.