How to Outbid at the Last Moment on eBay (7 Steps)

By Kate Lacey

Online auctions on eBay.
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Nothing can be more frustrating than getting excited about an item on eBay that you really want only to be outbid in the final minutes by another bidder. How did this happen? Simply put, another buyer placed a higher maximum bid than you and moved above you as the top bidder. In eBay language, this type of bidder who waits to bid until the final second of an auction is called a "sniper." Although it is frustrating, this is a valid way of winning auctions on eBay, but there are things you can do to try to defeat sniping, last-second bidders on eBay.

Step 1

Max Bid to win your auction.
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Log onto and enter your username and password.

Use the search box along the top of the eBay home page to find an item you'd like to win in an auction.

Step 2

Type in a "Max Bid." This is not necessarily your first bid amount. Instead, it should be the maximum amount you are willing to pay for the item. eBay's automated bidding system will continue to bid for you in the bid amount increment (set by the seller) until you have reached your Max Bid.

Remember, your competitors cannot see your Max Bid and do not know how high you are willing to go.

If you put in a Max Bid that is too low, someone with a higher Max Bid may outbid you immediately. This may true even though the Max Bid you entered was higher than the current bid shown on the item listing. When this happens, you'll usually be notified immediately and given a chance to make another bid.

Step 3

Increase your Max Bid amount to beat out other bidders.

Maximize your own use of the automated bidding system. Let eBay keep an eye on your items for you and continue to keep you competitive in the auction with its automated system.

Step 4

The key time to be active in an auction to be more successful is the final 15 minutes of the auction.

In the final 15 minutes, log back onto eBay and go to your My eBay page. Find the item in your "Items I Am Bidding On" link and go to your item's page.

On the item listing you will see a "1-Click Bids" button. This is a one-step way to quickly increase your bid by one bid increment with each click in the final minutes.

Step 5

In the last 5 minutes, increase your Max Bid to a price that is a much higher amount than the current high bid. Even if you are the highest bidder, you can increase your Max Bid.

One strategy is to put in a super-high Max Bid, so that a sniper won't be able to overbid in the final seconds. Keep in mind, however, this could mean you end up paying more than you planned for the item.

Step 6

Refresh, refresh, refresh!

In the final 15 minutes of a listing you will see a "Refresh" link appear on the page of the item that you want to win. By clicking on this button every second, you will be able to see at the top of the page the current bid price, bid history, time left and high bidder. This is as "realtime" as you can get in the bidding war in the final seconds.

Step 7

Use the eBay Communication Tools to see when you are outbid so you can re-bid and stay competitive. You can set up your notification settings in the Account Tab under Communication Preferences. This will allow eBay to send you an email if you're outbid on a listing. You will also receive an email when your Max Bid is beaten by another bidder. The emails will have a link that will allow you to return directly to your item page so you can increase your bid and/or your Max Bid.