Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Mar 16 2017 11:51:52

What Is an Acceptable Best Offer?

By: Ina Steiner

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Online sellers often express frustration at low-ball offers that come in through Best Offer features. But equally as frustrating for buyers can be sellers who don't accept prices close to the selling price.

We recently noticed a poster who said they found an item on eBay priced at $165. Their offer of $150 was declined, as was their follow-up offer of $155. Finally they offered $160 on the $165 item, and it too was declined.

David had a similar experience last week on an item and was equally frustrated.

Why would sellers add Best Offer if they aren't willing to entertain reasonable offers? (eBay has an automated system for dealing with Best Offers - hopefully this isn't a sign of a glitch.)

How do you define "reasonable," and what's your Best Offer strategy as a seller?




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by: songe-d-automne This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 16 12:01:02 2017

Well, I had a tweed suicase I was asking $25 for, and someone...I remember her name was jeepgrrrl or some such thing...offered me $4.00 and wanted free shipping.

Now THAT was insulting. Now had she offered me $15, I may have entertained it. I am not unreasonable.

I would not offer "best offer" if I was unwilling to budge on my price. It's misleading. Makes someone think you might be willing to take less when you're really not. Just go with fixed if you're going to do that.

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by: SomeeBaySeller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 16 12:05:26 2017

Lets talk about the morons that offer you $100 for a $4000 item.. we could go both ways on this.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Mar 16 12:29:34 2017

If there's an item I want with Best Offer where I know what the original price is, so I know what the seller has marked it up, I offer anywhere from $2.50 to $10.00 less, depending on the rarity.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Mar 16 12:30:51 2017

I have made several Best Offers and have had them accepted by the seller as long as the offer amount does not exceed the cost of shipping.

I have also found that if you make the offer the day before or the same day the listing expires, you can make a slightly lower offer if the seller is truly looking to clear the inventory.

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by: papergoy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 16 12:39:32 2017

There's no stock answer for that.  How many items is a person buying (the more they buy, the greater the discount I'll give), how long have I had the item, what did I pay for it, what do I think it's worth, how much demand do I expect it will have- those all come into play.  Obviously something that has been sitting there for a few years will have a lower offer accepted than something I just listed.  But do recall that on my recent listings, I give free shipping so don't offer me less than the shipping cost- I won't accept that.

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by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 16 13:08:45 2017

I get so many offers on $30 to $50 items for $5 or $10.   Then you add the guys that do that and demand free shipping in the terms as well (which by the way is a violation).   Seriously I do not understand what some buyers are thinking.   It is almost as if, and I am sure you have heard this, they want the item and $10 bill too.   It's just non-sensical.   However, eBay has created is this type of monster.

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by: lessthanthreerecords This user has validated their user name.
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Thu Mar 16 13:18:46 2017

No offer is unreasonable, nor is it unreasonable to decline any offer.  As a buyer, if you don't want your offer declined, purchase the item at full price.  As a seller, if you don't want low-ball offers, don't allow offers.  Now, if people (buyers OR sellers) start to complain over offers that are made or offers that are declined, that's inappropriate.

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by: No Princess This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 16 14:36:24 2017

My listings all have Best Offers and Free Domestic Shipping as well.  If someone is buying multiple items and they live in Michigan (I am in Ohio), well, I am willing to deal away.  However, if a buyer lives in Alaska and makes an offer to purchase a delicate three pound item that is going to require careful packaging for $12.00 TOTAL, I will either counteroffer, noting that shipping is included, or decline, noting the same.  So YES, it is reasonable to decline some offers.
I am very flexible, but I am not going to give things away where I am in the negative.  
On the other hand, I have many great buyers who buy at the asking price and pay immediately!

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Thu Mar 16 15:06:22 2017

I wouldn't be surprised if a sizable portion of BestOffer listings are accidental.  It defaults to on and I've had the listing pages fight me trying to uncheck it.

That said, eBay's fees are so high and volume so low, there's no room to move.  All I can do is combine shipping and that's a non-starter for most of my market.  Off eBay, whether in person or through a Square invoice, is different.  I'll usually take single-digit percentages off...

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Thu Mar 16 15:38:22 2017

IMO, for some sellers Best Offer is and always has been a nightmare.  It's a way for ebay to make even more money at your expense, and they count on newbie sellers to not know how to price when using BO.

I do NOT and never have offered Best Offer in my listings and never will. Yet each week I receive several 'Best' Offers most of which are insultingly low ball despite the fact it's clearly stated that I don't accept offers.

Buyers who are too lazy to read are rapidly put on my Blocked Buyer List. Who  needs buyers who can only look at pictures? These buyers can and often cause BIG problems for sellers.

Further in the last month some of my listings were mysteriously converted to Best Offer without my knowledge. When I removed the B, the buyer who sent a ridiculous offer magically found the funds they said they didn't have and bought the item at the By It Now price.

I have an ethical problem with sellers who increase their BIN prices and then accept offers to fool buyers into thinking they're getting a "deal."

Best Offer is just another ebafia tool to increase their take at sellers' expense. If sellers would stop using it, we'd all make more money.

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by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 16 15:43:10 2017

i don't use best offer except in the very rare occasion....  but that does not stop people from either making lower offers or asking if i'd listen to one.  

basically any offer of less than 50% of my asking price is an insult.  now if they ask for 15% off and are willing to buy it from me direct, Bingo! we have a deal.

my basic answer for anyone that is not within my range is "i'm sorry my prices on ebay are not negotiable"  easily half the time they go and pay my asking price.

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by: 27tcle This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 16 16:05:33 2017

One thing that bugs me is that the markets like fixed numbers. The reality is: For the buyer it's worth what you're willing to spend, for the seller, it's worth what you are willing to part with it for. Bottom line, being able to take a bit less gives you better odds of a reasonable SALE instead of your items ending up as a wall decor.

In short, a reasonable offer is what it is. If you get more than you paid it is, by definition reasonable, but may not be the best possible offer. If someone low-balls to fish your bottom dollar, you can always counter with a few bucks less than the listing. Both can play the game. FWIW, if i didn't use best offer i'd have had nearly zero sales this month, and very few sales last month.

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This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Thu Mar 16 16:21:19 2017

I never use Best Offer. And when I see a seller use it, I interpret this as the fact they have had the item for a long time, and are ready to take less $$ to move it now.

This option seems like a reserve auction, which no one rarely if ever uses anymore. Best Offer includes the lowest price accepted for an item, so it really is a reserve, known to no one except the seller.

As a buyer, if someone is going to take offers, I would assume the lowest acceptable price would be at least 10% off the asking price.

It is annoying to go back and forth with offer/ counter offer messages for someone who wants to only lower the price of a $60 item by $2. Yes, this has happened to me before.

As already mentioned in this blog, there are those who still insist on making insulting lowball offers, whether or not the BO option is included. Very rarely does someone make a respectable discount request.

I specifically state in my item description that I do not accept offers, and the (carefully researched) price is firm. Those who still do so are usually placed on my block list.

Another problem here is that a buyer who knows a seller will bend a bit on price may bend even more when the item is received, and attempt a partial refund by stating that it was somehow not as described.

For my business, I keep it simple. Pay the price as listed, or move to another seller. Most always, my price is the least expensive when the total cost is factored, so it usually sells quickly.  

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by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 16 16:24:19 2017

I don't use BO. If you're willing or able to take less than your target price, the best way is to list at auction, with starting bid set where you won't lose money.

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by: barbc This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 16 17:24:57 2017

So in the example in the original posting, personally I think $150. is not a bad offer on a $165. item. But apparently buyer wanted closer to price. Then bidder offers just a little more, than a little more again, but not willing to spend another $5. just to get the item. I don't sell a lot on eBay anymore, but by the third bid, I would have been annoyed enough to just ignore it and think if they want it, they can just pay the $5. more.

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by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 16 17:37:47 2017

I don't do the OBO option, but I have received offers on my items. I always respond that I don't accept OBO's. Then I go through my listings and see that somehow some of my listings have Or Best Offer on them and I did not put that there.
There has to be a glitch.

I think $150 is a good offer on $165 item.

I have those who contact me if I would for 2/3 off the price and free shipping.
I would love to say, why don't I ship it to free and I will some money with it too. BUT my luck, ebay would enforce my comment. Always have to control myself from typing my thoughts. LOL

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by: thriftyattireandstuff This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 17 00:18:47 2017

My favorite best offer is 10$.. if the price is over 13$ I decline all 10 dollar offers because I find them lazy.

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by: The Not So New Guy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 17 00:27:35 2017

When I look at items if I'm not within 15-25% of the sellers asking price I move on. I feel there's little chance we'll make a deal, and don't want to waste my time or theirs.

By the same thought I feel if you're only going to take $5 off a $100 or $150 item you shouldn't waste time with BO.

When I post on CL and I post something at $2000 and people text $1000 cash, I just laugh.

By the same token if I see a post for $2000 and only think it's worth a $1000 I just move on.

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by: moonmyst This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 17 00:30:16 2017

As a buyer, I always figure in shipping before I make my best offer because I'm also a seller and understand what most things truly cost. What really irks me is sellers who feel compelled to offer a Best Offer option when they have no intention of negotiating. I can't tell you how many sellers I've contacted telling them to remove the option if they're not willing to move on the price. It's annoying as hell and a waste of time.

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This user has validated their user name. by: WOODJUNGLE! ON EBAY

Fri Mar 17 00:31:29 2017

When Ebay was actually doing well (it's been so long I hardly remember that) most of my offers were no lower than 75-80% of the BIN price.  If I countered back higher, most were accepted.  
That slowly degraded over the years as the listings glut arose.  Now, I get so many insulting offers its ridiculous.  Most offers are no more than 50% of the BIN price, and when I counter, close to half or less counter back.

Clearly, the type of offers will depend on the market and demand. But bad seller markets sure do illicit more insulting offers.

FYI, there is no exact answer but if your going to decline offers around or just above 90% of the BIN price, you may as well not have the make an offer option on there. That's just lame.

It's a sad place now, Ebay.

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