Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A (very) minor eBay triumph

Recently, I’ve been trying to buy a mortise gauge. I know there are lots of new ones around – quite nice in beechwood but I really wanted a mahogany or rosewood one so I looked through eBay. I found a rather nice Marples gauge and bid up to what I thought was reasonable. Eventually, it went for a higher price – no problem, just a normal bid.

While I was looking through the tools, I found a useful hand vice; just a cheap item, bid on it and was in the last few seconds by a mathematically precise higher bid. A sniper! I wasn't very pleased - ‘xxx gives you the power to effectively manage and win eBay auctions by placing bids for you during the last few seconds of an auction - a practice commonly known as "sniping."

You can check a sniper by looking at the listed bids and clicking on the winning bidder. If it’s a sniper you’ll see something like this:
The last bit (less than 1 hour) actually turns out to be in the last few seconds – you’ve been ‘sniped’!

If he/she has a history of sniping, you’ll see something like this:

All single (winning) bids in the last few seconds.

Because I lost the original mortise gauge, I had another look and found another one - rosewood - rather nice.

I bid for this, putting my maximum bid rather (stupidly?) high, thinking it probably wouldn’t go anywhere near that high.

In the meantime, another Marples gauge came up - mahogany, exactly the same as the one I had lost, so I decided ‘belt and braces’ I would bid for that as well – a much lower maximum because the rosewood one was a nicer piece.

Eventually, I won the mahogany Marples gauge at a very reasonable price. Then I was concerned that the Rabone model would be bid higher and I would end up paying my rather silly maximum for a gauge having just bought one. I waited and watched as bids came in, but nowhere near my maximum, then, a few seconds before the closure, another bid came in exactly £1 higher than my maximum.

I had been sniped and the sniper got a quite nice rosewood mortise gauge at a very high price. I didn’t know whether to say ‘Gotcha!’ or ‘Phew!’

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