Buyer FAQ's

How do I bid on an item I am interested in?

When you have located an item you are interested in, click on the item's title link to see its listing page.

On each item listing page there is a Bid button which you must click on to place your bid.

If you do not see a Bid button on the listing page, then the listing is not yet open for bidding. The "Time Left" field will say: Listing Not Yet Open. Please refer to the "Starting On" field to see when the listing will open to accept bids.

To place a bid, you must first enter your Login information, if you haven't done so already. An opening bid should be either your Smart Bid (the maximum amount you would be willing to pay for the item), or the "Highest Bid" amount plus the bid increment (the "Next Bid" amount) as shown on the item page. You will be notified immediately on screen following your bid, and by e-mail, if your maximum bid is not high enough.

Once you have the top bid, you will be notified by email if your maximum bid is surpassed by another bidder.

Remember, you must be registered before you can begin bidding on items. Don't worry! Registration is free and easy!

Is there a charge to place bids?

No. Browsing and Bidding for merchandise on Spec Auctions is free. As a buyer, you are not obligated to buy anything on Spec Auctions after you have registered. You are welcome to drop by any time and look around. If you see something you would like to bid on you can do so quickly as a registered member.

Do I need to use a credit card to bid?

Yes. To ensure fair bidding, a valid Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card will be required to bid on any item. Your credit card information is required only for the first time you place a bid on Spec Auctions. All additional bids will not require credit card verification.

Your credit card is required for personal identity validation only. All authorized, or pre-authorized, credit card payments for winning bids will be processed through our secure payment servers.

By providing your valid credit card information, you authorize Spec Auctions to verify that the credit card information you provide is valid. This credit verification will occur each time you provide a different credit card in the bidding process.

If you need to update your credit card information, you can do so anytime from your "My Account" section on Spec Auctions.

Can I ask Spec Auctions a question before I place a bid?

Yes. You may contact Spec Auctions before placing a bid from the listing page by clicking on the "Ask A Question" link if you require additional information about the item, or the payment terms.

What is an Open Auction?

In an Open Auction, buyers bid until the auction ends. The item is then sold to the highest bidder at the end of the auction period. The seller must sell the item to the highest bidder. Bidding can start as low as the Opening Value (minimum price or starting amount) of the auction.

Credit cards will be charged automatically.

What is a Dutch Auction?

A Dutch Auction occurs on Spec Auctions if there are multiple, identical items offered for sale that are not listed separately. The item appears as one listing but shows that there are multiple identical items within this one listing. Bidders can bid at or above the minimum price for the quantity of items they wish to purchase. At the close of the auction, all winning bidders purchase the items at the same price, which is the lowest successful bid. All Dutch Auction items are identified as such on the item listing page with a pop up explanation.

What is a Fixed Price Sale?

Fixed Price Sale, or buy now listings, have a fixed price and buyers simply choose to buy the item at that price. The available quantity will be updated on the listing page each time an additional item is sold. You may continue shopping during the buy now sale and add to your buy now cart; however, a successful purchase only occurs when you checkout and your credit card has been approved. Quantities on items available for sale are limited; therefore, if another purchaser buying the same item completes the checkout process prior to you completing the checkout process, you may lose the item based on quantities available.

Upon successful checkout completion you may go to your My Account and download your PDF redemption certificate.

What is Smart Bid?

Smart Bid is proxy bidding system on Spec Auctions. Each time you place a bid by entering your maximum bid amount (which is the most you're willing to pay for an item), you will be using our Smart Bid bidding system. Smart Bid will then bid automatically, on your behalf and at the lowest possible bid increments, until your maximum bid amount is reached.

The goal is to win an item at the lowest successful price. To do so, you must be the bidder who placed the highest maximum bid at auction close. You will be notified by e-mail if your maximum bid has been surpassed by another bidder. In case of a tie for high bidder, highest maximum smart bid will take precedence. The second tie-breaker is time of bid, where earlier bid will take precedence.

What is a "maximum bid" amount?

Your maximum bid amount is the highest price you are willing to pay for an item.

You should determine beforehand the most you are really willing to pay for an item and then enter a single bid at that amount in the Bid Amount field. An early bid supported by a high maximum bid amount can make you a winner!

Protected Maximum Bid Amounts

A current high bidder's maximum bid amount will remain "protected" (will not be viewable to other bidders in the Bid History) while all other next high bidders' current bid amounts will be viewable during the auction. Having the current high bidder's maximum bid amount protected during the auction encourages bidders to submit their maximum bid amounts according to their desire to purchase the item, and not bid only in accordance with the current "Next Bid" amount for a listing.

With Open Auctions, your protected maximum bid amount (if you are a current high bidder) will not be shown to other bidders.

Lowest Successful Price

The goal when using Smart Bid is to win an item at the lowest successful price. To do so, you must be the bidder who placed the highest maximum bid at auction close. The lowest successful price may not necessarily be the maximum bid amount you submitted to win the auction, unless there was a tie. Typically, the lowest successful price is the next highest bidder's maximum bid amount plus the stated bid increment.

Can I increase my maximum bid after I've placed a bid?

Yes. If your maximum bid amount has been outbid, you can place another maximum amount (Smart Bid). Note: you can only increase, not decrease, your maximum bid amount. Also, bidders are not allowed to reduce the quantity of items bid on without also changing their maximum bid.

I placed a bid. Why isn't it showing up?

There are 3 steps to placing a bid on an auction. You must complete all 3 steps in order for our system to record and display your bid in a listing's Bid History.

  1. Click on the Bid button on the listing page of the item you are viewing. You will be asked to Login, if you haven't done so already. Then, scroll to the bottom of the page where you can enter your Smart Bid (maximum bid amount per unit).
  2. Click on the button that says Submit Bid.
  3. A pop-up message will ask you one final time to confirm.

Once submitted, you will see review information about your bid indicating the bid amount placed, and if your bid is currently the winning bid.

When reviewing an item's Bid History after having placed a bid, you should reload, or refresh, your browser so that it displays the most current information.

I keep bidding on an item and then it says I have been outbid. Why?

When this happens, it means that an earlier bidder has placed a maximum bid amount, which is higher than the amount of your maximum bid.

When you placed your bid, the Smart Bid system immediately placed another bid on the earlier bidder's behalf, for an amount just high enough (i.e., plus the bid increment) to outbid your maximum bid amount, insuring his position as high bidder.

If the maximum bid that you place is high enough to outbid any other bidders, then Smart Bid will do the same for you and maintain your position as the current winning bidder.

I have confirmed my bid, but it tells me it is invalid. Why?

There are two reasons why a confirmed bid can be considered invalid:

  • You have entered an invalid value in the "Bid Amount" field. Make sure that your bid amount contains only numbers and decimal points, i.e., 45.00. Do not enter any dollar signs ($) or commas (,) into the bid amount field.
  • Your bid amount is less than the "Next Bid" value. Make sure that your bid is equal to or greater than the current "Next Bid" value shown on the listing page.

Can I retract a confirmed bid?

Yes - but your confirmed bid can only be retracted under special circumstances should you choose to submit a formal bid retraction request.

Once you have submitted your confirmed bid, it can only be retracted under the following circumstances:

  • You made a typographical error when placing a bid amount.
  • New item information was added that changed your understanding of the item for which your bid was placed.

You cannot retract a bid if:

  • You have placed bids on a similar item.
  • You have placed a bid on a Dutch Auction.
  • You have changed your mind.
  • You state that you cannot pay for the item.
  • You submit a bid retraction request less than 24 hours before auction close.

To retract a confirmed bid, you must contact Customer Service at with your request. Include the item listing number and the reason for the retraction. All bid retraction requests received by Spec Auctions less than 24 hours before auction close will not be processed regardless of the explanation. All bid retraction requests received by Spec Auctions without a valid explanation will not be processed. Bidders who retract their bids may not place new bids on that item.

Where can I monitor my bidding activity?

You can monitor all your bidding activity from within your ‘My Account’ area.

How do I find out if an auction has ended?

You can locate an auction you have bid on from within your ‘My Account’ area, or by entering the listing's listing number, if known, from the Search page.

What do I do if I win an auction?

If you are the winning bidder when an auction closes, Spec Auctions will send you an e-mail notification confirming payment and telling you that you have won the item.

A PDF certificate will then be available in your ‘My Account’ area with applicable pick-up and contact information.

If you do not receive notice and believe you are the successful bidder, you must verify the auction status from within your ‘My Account’ area.