What Does Time Left on eBay Mean?

By Carol Finch

EBay counts down in real time toward the end of auctions.
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If you want to bid on an item on eBay, it's important to check the time left so you can place the bid before it closes: EBay listings last anywhere from 1 to 30 days, depending on the type of auction. Although you could bid early if you really want an item, sometimes it's better to wait until the listing is about to end to pick it up at a bargain price.

The Time Left Countdown

When you search for items on eBay or view an individual listing, you can use timers to see how long the auction has left to run. Both search results and individual listings show the number of hours and minutes left, with a day and end time. In the last 24 hours of a listing, the timer inside listings runs down in real time, showing the hours, minutes and seconds left, and in the last hour, both timers turn red. When the timer reaches zero, the listing ends and you can no longer bid on it.

The Impact of Time Left on Bidding

Bidding on popular items often starts early, but some buyers prefer to wait until close to the end to bid. For example, if you search for an item, you can sort the results by Time: Ending Soonest and look for listings with no bids or low highest bids. If you're lucky, a cheeky bid during the last couple of minutes might bag you a bargain.

You can also add listings that aren't ending for awhile to your Watch List so you can track them from your account or from alerts, if you enable them. If you aren't able to bid at the last minute or are worried you'll lose out to another bidder, set up an automatic maximum bid to allow eBay to bid for you.