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Explain purpose of auction reserve

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by moewadle, Aug 10, 2009.

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  1. moewadle

    moewadle Member

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    I have not yet figured out the reason for reserve on gun auctions. Maybe it should be obvious but not to me. The beginning or minimum bid on a gun today on Gunbroker was $200. So, I bid slightly over that amount and got a robo-message that my bid was high bid but did not meet the reserve. I bid $250 and got the same and when I got the same with a $275 bid I stopped as I did not want to pay more than that for the gun...at least not right now. So, the reserve has not been met and the bid is at $275. Why doesn't the seller simply move the minimum bid to what he/she wants minimum? So, will someone explain? Thank you.
     
  2. Six

    Six Member

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    To get people interested at a low starting bid, then they feel like it's "their" item and when someone else bids, they counter...

    If they'd started the auction at $275, you might not have bid at all.

    As it is, it seems it worked fairly well, for them.
     
  3. Impureclient

    Impureclient Member

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    It's a game. You start the bid low to entice and people keep on bidding up til they feel uncomfortable as you did. When you see others bidding then you "want" it more. It works on some....Apparently not on us.
     
  4. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    The seller does have the option of accepting your offer anyway.
     
  5. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    Are you......buying a gun ......on the internet?
     
  6. Impureclient

    Impureclient Member

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    mljdeckard is right....I think that's illegal
    Forget I said anything also , I don't want no part in illegal activities.
    Oh yeah that hasn't happened "yet." Well maybe if there's a second term.
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    :D
     
  7. AR-15Nutt

    AR-15Nutt Member

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    moewadle says, "Why doesn't the seller simply move the minimum bid to what he/she wants minimum?"

    i am with you all the way on that my friend, when i get one of those LIES in my bidding i just quit and consider the seller a disingenuous, two faced SOB.
     
  8. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    It's perfectly legal, check out auctionarms.com and gunbroker.com. I just think that they exist for the same reason as Ebay motors. If you have an item you can't sell through regular channels, (BECAUSE THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH IT) sell it on the internet.
     
  9. ThrottleJockey72

    ThrottleJockey72 member

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    just give me the "buy it now" price and I'll decide from there.
     
  10. jakemccoy

    jakemccoy Member

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    One time, I emailed the seller (Ebay item) and asked him for the reserve price so that I could go ahead and bid there. He gave it to me. The price was OK for me. So, I started there. I don't like playing grab ass with a stranger. If I'm in an auction, I usually know my maximum bid. So, I'll put that in there too and let the auction run its course. The max bid feature prevents me from making an emotional decision near the end of the auction. Ebay has had this highly useful feature on the auctions I've been in there. I don't know about Gunbroker.
     
  11. scottaschultz

    scottaschultz Member

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    While gunbroker can not stop you from putting a reserve on an item, they do advise against it since they get a lot of complaints.

    Scott
     
  12. DHJenkins

    DHJenkins Member

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    Auction reserves are nothing new. They happen at live auctions, silent auctions & on-line auctions.

    As someone stated, it is sort of a game. As silly as it sounds, a lot of people don't like to jump in with both feet on their first bid. I've seen it time and time again at live auctions. An item that eventually sold for $500 would have a hard time even getting a starting bid of $250, until the auctioneer lowered the starting price down to say, $50; then everyone starts bidding.

    The reserve serves as a safety net, though it's a little redundant to have a 'normal' starting price *and* a reserve.
     
  13. gbw

    gbw Member

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    I'm with the OP. Secret reserves are silly and I never bid on items that have them.

    I also don't bid unless I have the sellers' statement in writing that there is an inspection/return period. Often they won't say in the posting, so you must ask. It's better too if you explain clearly, exactly what is unsatisfactory to you and what is acceptable. For example I don't tolerate any form of rust damage. Be sure to do all of your communicating through the auction site, then there is a record of it.

    All of this still doesn't guarantee a prefect transaction, but it goes a long way toward one. Honest sellers don't mind, and they will describe items accurately and permit an inspection / return privledge. You'll probably have to pay shipping both ways if the item is unsatisfactory. This is unusual for honest sellers.

    If they say "as is, no inspection / return allowed" I presume the item is unsatisfactory one way or another and they know it - they can keep it.
     
  14. MisterMike

    MisterMike Member

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    My dad was an auctioneer for decades and it's interesting to see the psychology of bidders at work. Let's say the true value of an item was $50. My dad would typically throw out an opening bid at that number or above. Sometimes someone would bite, but most likely, he would drop it down to a bargain number. Hands shot up: $5 . . . $10 . . . $25 . . . .

    Once the bidders were hooked and had an emotional investment in the item being sold, the market value was quickly reached, and often exceeded. For some, it became a question of "Gosh, that's the prettiest vase I've ever seen. I love it. I won't ever let that other SOB (the other bidder) get it."

    It was a thing of beauty to watch. Over the years I got to see my dad and a lot of other great auctioneers at work. They're master salesmen . . . and showmen.

    Anyway, that's all the reserve function does--it allows a seller to generate interest in an item by starting the bidding low without the risk of losing his shirt. If you don't like it, the answer is easy--don't bid!
     
  15. ezypikns

    ezypikns Member

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    I've purchased a number of firearms on Gunbroker.

    I've been satisfied (or happy) with all of those purchases.

    But,

    I never bid in an auction. I strictly do the "Buy it Now" thing. Only very rarely do I find a good deal (and not nearly so often these days), but when I do, I'll pay just a bit more to get what I want without having to get in a bidding war.

    Most "Buy it Now" prices are insanely high, but sometimes the variation is not so much. That's when I'll jump.

    How many times have you seen a below average firearm go for a ridiculous bid because two or more idiots just have to beat the other guy?
     
  16. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    The reserve price is the hidden minimum price the selling party will accept. I also find reserves frustrating as you have no idea what the reserve price is unless you call the seller. (Some sellers will tell you what the reserve price is.) Sometimes they will list an item at an above market price just to see if there is any interest. The seller may in fact undervalue an item personally and discovers that an item will sell at their above market price. Just depends on the experience of the seller and how may bidders there may be. For me, if I bid a couple of times and get the "bid price is below the reserve price", I tend to loose interest unless the item is really special for some reason.
     
  17. Pyzon

    Pyzon Member

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    It seems to me that Gunbroker is getting to be a lot like eBay. With all the reserves and minimum bids and buy-it-now BS it's just a retail store instead of an auction. Have you noticed how few guns actually change hands with the ridiculous pricing structures ? You'll even see guns relisted for 10 times or more with the same stupid restrictions every time. Auction sites should charge a realistic listing fee that applies whether the item sells or not and some of these clowns might figure out that nobody is going to pay retail and then some. But, on the other hand, a lot of the listings are from gun stores that use the GB listings as free advertising of what they have on hand and disclose that the items may not be available for purchase if sold in the store before an acceptable bid is received.

    I find myself going to GB (and eBay) less all the time.
     
  18. kilo729

    kilo729 Member

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    I guess that's why a lot of gun shops put their weapons up on gunbroker. :rolleyes:
     
  19. snorky18

    snorky18 Member

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    I find reserve prices annoying, but I agree that by starting the auction at a low price with a reserve people get emotionally involved and bid well past the reserve price and value, just for the sake of winning.

    To keep myself from getting emotionally involved in such things, I generally decide before bidding what my max price is, put that in, let the computer bid for me, and don't bid again. After it's over check and see if I won or not.

    Otherwise if you end up getting your ego and emotions involved and you "have" to win, you end up paying $400 for a bone stock ruger 10/22. :eek:
     
  20. scottaschultz

    scottaschultz Member

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    The seller has no way of contacting the bidders. at least not initially. Only the bidders may contact the seller. Of course a seller can respond to the bidder at that point.

    I have sold several shotguns on Gunbroker. They were all listed for 14 days. Most sold during the first 2 weeks and the longest time it took to sell one was on the third renewal.

    Scott
     
  21. deadin

    deadin Member

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    MisterMike has posted a very good description of one of the reasons for reserves. Another has described that it is a test of the market. If I just start an auction at $500 and nobody bids, all I have learned is that the item probably isn’t worth $500 at this time. If I set a $500 reserve and a low starting price, many times the bidding will get to the level of what the market is currently. I then have the choice of selling, relisting at that level or just deciding it is worth more to me and keeping it. (The “safety net” option.)

    Reserves don’t bother me. I just bid what I’m willing to pay. If my bid doesn’t reach the reserve, so what? No angst, no second guessing, I just move on. The only reason I can see for wanting to “know” the reserve is if I would consider bidding more than my original bid and that would mean I didn’t bid what I was willing to pay in the first place. (and I would fall into the trap described by Mister Mike.)

    Concerning the high prices being seen on the net, I think a lot of it is sellers going out and searching like items and listing theirs at the top prices they find without paying any attention as to whether the item actually sold at those prices or were just the wishful thinking of the seller.
    I too would like to see the auctions put a fee of some sort on relistings. Something like free for the first one, then say a $1.00 for the third, $2.00 for the next, $3.00 next and so on. Maybe this would cull out some of the dross that is just taking up space. It would also generate more money and maybe allow for a reduction in the final value fees. (Just dreaming.;))
     
  22. MarineOne

    MarineOne Member

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    I don't understand the fear of buying firearms online.

    I bought my M1C from a seller on the website Guns America, gave him the info for my local FFL guy and had my wife pay for it while I was in Iraq.

    I have a nice Plainfield that was a police purchase when new. It was test fired and put into the police armory where it sat until they sold an entire lot to the firm that I made my purchase from. I am technically the second owner and it still has grease on the inner workings from when it was made.

    The stock is a little dry but some linseed oil did help, even though there is a small crack in the stock where the oiler resides when the sling is on it.

    Its way better than the POS carbines that were made by Universal, and if I want to put an Ultimak rail on it I'm not ruining a piece of WWII history.

    In a way, I got the best of both worlds.




    Kris
     
  23. jakemccoy

    jakemccoy Member

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    If testing the market becomes the common practice for reserves, then the bids will not be a good indication of the market value because serious bidders will not participate. At that point, using a reserve in order to "test the market" will not yield an accurate market value, and the auction will only waste the time of everybody, including seller and buyers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
  24. bnkrazy

    bnkrazy Member

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    With all these complaints about gun auction sites, you'd have thought the FTF Finder site I built would have had a bit more interest. *shrug* I just pulled the plug on it as after about 6 months there was still only about 30 users signed up, and only a handful of items ever posted.

    I never liked the reserve feature as a buyer, but I can see where it is beneficial to a seller occasionally. Overall though I think the feature is overused. I don't frequent auction sites often anyway.
     
  25. deadin

    deadin Member

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    Change that "serious" to "bottom feeders" or "bargain hunters".
    These are exactly the folks I don't want bidding on my auction in the first place, hence a "safety reserve".:p

    If someone is serious about buying a gun, they will place at least one bid amounting to what they figure the gun is worth to them. If the "bargain hunters" figure that a reserve means they're not likely to get a steal, fine, go elsewhere. If I just want to get rid of my gun, I'll just take it to the local gun store and take whatever they offer. Saves me a lot of time and effort.
     
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