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Selling using a reserve price

A reserve price is the lowest price at which you are willing to sell your item. If you don’t want to sell your item below a certain price, you can a set a reserve price. The amount of your reserve price is not disclosed to your bidders, but they will see that your auction-style listing has a reserve price and whether or not the reserve has been met. If a bidder does not meet that price, you're not obligated to sell your item.

Why have a reserve price? Many sellers have found that too high a starting price discourages interest in their item, while an attractively low starting price makes them vulnerable to selling at an unsatisfactorily low price. A reserve price helps with this.

Note: The reserve price option is only visible for online auction format; it is not visible for fixed price or classified ad listings.

All reserve price auctions are subject to a non-refundable reserve price auction fee.

You may lower your reserve price after you receive bids on the item.

Note: To keep eBay a safe place for buyers and sellers, eBay limits how bid history information is displayed. Regardless of the current high bid, when your reserve price is initially set at a certain level, User IDs will appear as anonymous names throughout the duration of the auction, even if you lower the price.

Example of a reserve price

Imagine a seller wants to sell an item for at least £100, but he is worried that a starting bid price of £100 will discourage potential bidders from bidding. If the seller uses a reserve price, he can list his item for sale on the 'Sell your item' form with a starting price of £0.99, £5, £10, or any amount below his required reserve amount. The seller can then enter a reserve amount of £100. By listing his item this way, bidding will start at the lower price, but the seller won’t be obliged to sell the item unless the bidding reaches at least £100—the reserve price.

The following illustrates a reserve price listing.

Although the item has received a bid (see arrow B ) the bid did not reach the seller’s reserve price (see arrow A) before the listing ended. Therefore the seller is not obliged to sell their item to the highest bidder.

Important: eBay will never reveal your reserve price to potential bidders. However, it's not unusual for sellers to receive inquiries from bidders about the seller’s reserve amount. This is allowed on eBay. Likewise, revealing your reserve to a bidder is allowed, but not required. If you don’t want to reveal your reserve price, you can politely let the bidder know that they will need to bid on the item to try to meet your reserve.

Creating a listing with a reserve price

When you list an item on the 'Sell your item' form, using the Online Auction format, you’ll see a box to enter your reserve price, as shown below:

Note: If you don’t want to use a reserve price, leave the field blank.

If you don’t see the reserve price option on the form, click the Show/Hide Options button at the top of the 'Sell your item' page.

In the window that appears, select Forms, tick the Reserve price box and click Save.

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