You’ve been outbid on eBay when another buyer has placed a higher maximum bid than yours, and you’re not the current high bidder.

Sometimes you’ll be outbid as soon as you enter your bid, even though the bid you entered was higher than the current bid shown on the item listing. When this happens, you’ll usually be notified immediately by eBay and given a chance to make another bid.

This happens because another buyer had a higher maximum bid than yours. Your bid prompted eBay’s automatic bidding system to raise the other buyer’s bid above yours. The other bidder may have placed their bid hours or days before.

Avoiding being outbid in the final minutes

Placing a high bid in the closing seconds of an auction-style listing is called “sniping” within the eBay community. Sniping is part of the eBay experience, and all bids placed before a listing ends are valid, even if they’re placed one second before the listing ends.

These tips can help you avoid being outbid:

Make sure that your maximum bid is the highest price that you’re willing to pay. eBay’s bidding system automatically increases your bid up to the maximum price you specify, so entering a higher maximum might help prevent you from being outbid in the closing seconds of a listing.
In the final 15 minutes of a listing, use 1-click bids to quickly increase your bid. When you click the 1-click bid button, eBay automatically raises your bid by one increment. To use 1-click bidding, you need to be signed in to eBay and have at least one bid on the item already.
In the final 15 minutes of a listing a “Refresh” link will appear on the item page. When seconds count, using this link will make it much faster for you to see the most important information at the top of the page: current bid price, bid history, time left, and high bidder.

Receiving email notifications

You can receive email notifications if you’re outbid on an eBay listing.

Outbid notice

When another buyer’s bid exceeds your maximum price, you’ll receive an email from eBay letting you know that you have been outbid. You can use the link in that email to return to the item page and increase your bid.

End of item notice

When a listing ends, eBay sends an automatic email to losing bidders, informing them that they didn’t win the item.

If you don’t want to receive these email notifications from eBay, you can change your communication preferences.

  1. Go to My eBay and click the Account tab.
  2. On the left side of the page, click the “Communication Preferences” link.
  3. Click the “Show” link next to Notification Delivery Format.
  4. Change your communication preferences.