Originally Posted by synergy
This is probably straight forward advice but I've found my best strategy on eBay is to to decide how much I'm willing to pay for something- bid that and then walk away. eBay will do it all for me and let me know the outcome.
This means I'm never in a bidding war with anyone and pay too much
I'm going a bit off-topic here, but I'll bring it back...
I agree that you should decide how much you are willing to spend, and then stick to that. However, I always wait until the last few seconds of an auction to bid.
If you bid early what happens is this: other people bid, and are told they were outbid. So they bid again and again until their bid finally tops yours. Or they give up if it's getting too high for them. But the result is that the price of the item gets driven up higher than it might be otherwise. Early bidding is great if you are the selller, but bad for a buyer.
If you wait until the final seconds, you don't show your cards. No one knows how much you have decided to spend. The price hasn't been prematurely driven up, and you can see if it's likely you can win, or if you're already priced out. Everyone is feeling pretty sure about how the auction will finish, then in the last few seconds, I swoop in with my bid and steal it away.
The only time I ever lost an auction is when I've accidentally clicked the wrong link, gone to some other page entirely, and missed bidding in time. And that's only happened once.
Now that I've given my secret away, I hope I don't come up against any of you in an ebay auction anytime soon!