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FAQ for Astro-Auction

(Frequently Asked Questions)

Table of Contents

Who determines the minimum or starting bid?

The seller (the person who posted the item) decides what he or she wants the bidding to begin at. Usually this is (and should be) just below the lowest price acceptable for the item. If you bid, the system will ask you to bid the starting price PLUS the Bid Increment.  Sellers are encouraged to start items at a reasonable amount and not absurdly high. Buyers like the auction process because it allows bargain shopping. If an item is priced right, people recognize the bargain and bid on it.

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What is the Bid Increment?

The Bid Increment ($1 is the default increment) raises the bidding each time by that minimum amount (you can always bump it up even higher). The purpose of the bid increment is to keep someone from outbidding you by some silly amount like $.01. It protects you and assures the seller of getting a decent return if the item is hotly contested.

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What are Proxy Bids?

Proxy bidding allows the system to bid for you automatically. Think of Proxy bidding as someone who stays and watches the auction 24 hours a day while you're off doing more interesting stuff. You activate Proxy Bidding by entering the highest amount you are willing to pay for an item into the place bid box. The system will then bid for you, bidding only enough to make you the high bidder. If someone tops that bid, our system places another bid for you and so on up to the maximum amount you've specified. Under no circumstances will Proxy Bidding ever bid MORE than you said. But the system will send you e-mail about an outbid so you can enter a higher Proxy Bid amount if you'd like.

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I forgot my maximum amount bid.

If you are the current high bidder on an item, you can find out what your maximum bid amount is by placing a bid at the default amount. Your bid will be rejected, and the error message will tell you the amount of your maximum bid for the item.

If you are not the current high bidder, your last bid will be the amount of your maximum bid for the item.

You can also see your maiximum bid amount by clicking on the green text, "Place by proxy", on the bid history page. You must be logged in and the current high bidders to see this link.

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What is "sniping" and how do I protect myself from it?

"Sniping", waiting until the last seconds of an auction to place a bid, has become a popular auction strategy at eBay and other online auctions. Astro-Auction.com protects you from snipers by automatically extending the auction. No auction will close within less than 10 minutes since the last bid.

If you are outbid on any auction, you will receive an email notice within moments of the new bid. Even if the auction is scheduled to close in seconds, you will have several minutes to decide wheter to raise your bid.

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What does using this auction cost and how do I qualify?

This auction requires that all sellers and buyers be registered. This enables our software to keep track of items for sale and who bids on what. It protects both ourselves as the auction providers and you as buyer and/or seller. Registration is simple and painless. Merely click on [New Registration] here or near the top or bottom of any auction page.

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How do I bid?

Click on the name of items you'd like more information about. If you wish to place a bid, enter your bid in the box below the item, then just click on the place bid button nearby. We suggest that a good strategy for items you really want is to place the highest bid you are willing to pay. Otherwise, someone may beat you out. Should someone outbid you, the system sends you an e-mail notification with a link back here to the item. Click on the link right in your e-mail message and you will be returned to the directly to the item. You can then decide whether you want to raise your bid.

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What are Reserve Bids?

Sometimes (and our system supports this) a seller enters a Reserve Bid. For example, the item sells for $100 new. The seller decides to place a starting bid of $1 on the item but they want to get at least $80 for it. So a reserve bid of $80 is entered into the system. In such a case--even if you are the high bidder at, say, $60--you will not win the item unless you go over $80. We feel this is a poor auction strategy and wastes the time of buyers and sellers alike. We suggest this to sellers: enter the item at the least price you will accept, with no reserve.

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How do I Post an item for sale?

Posting your items for sale here at Astro-Auction easy. Simply register if you have not already (by clicking [New Registration] here or at the top or bottom of any auction page). Our system automatically mails your password usually within a few seconds (no need to disconnect while you wait). Once you have the password, you might want to copy it from your e-mail and go to [Change Registration] to replace our rather obtuse collection of letters and numbers with something you might more easily remember.

Again, we currently charge nothing to buy or sell items. In the future, we do reserve the right to add premium features that other auction sites have like bold listings, featured auctions, and the like. For those, we will charge a nominal rate.

Posting items for sale is accomplished by clicking on [Post New Item] here or at the top or bottom of any auction screen. Fill in the form with a short descriptive title (make it snazzy to get people's attention). Next, select the category the item should be in (if you don't see an appropriate category on the drop down list, please e-mail us Auction Administrator and ask for that category to be added. Be a little patient, please--we get LOTS of e-mail.

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How do I find out more about a posted item?

If you have any questions about an item, by all means contact the seller and ask him or her (not us!). Click on the Ask Seller A Question link found on the item page. You can ask about the condition of the item, payment and shipment terms, or anything else not already spelled out in the item's description.

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How do I answer a question about an item I posted?

Sellers will receive an email message with a link to a page that will accept your answer to any questions asked about your item. Alternatively, after using the auto-login feature, go top the page to display the item, then click on Ask Seller A Question. Be sure to select the question you are answering, then type your answer into the box and click on Rate User.

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How do I know I'm getting a good deal?

When buying something from someone--whether on the internet, in any kind of auction, or anywhere else--your best protection is to be an informed buyer. We do police this auction, but we can give no blanket guarantee. You might read our Terms and Conditions page for more info on this. However, we also go to great lengths here to make sure you have plenty of great stuff at bargain prices to bid on.

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How do I know the item is authentic?

Sellers on Astro-Auction must apply for and receive approval from Astro-Auction before being allowed to post items for auction. Sellers are investigated before being approved. Only reputable dealers and collectors are accepted.

All negative feedback on buyers and sellers is investigated. If the matter cannot be resolved, the buyer or seller may be removed from the list or blocked from placing new items for auction. Any item with questionable authenticity will be removed from auction until such authenticity can be reasonably proven.

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How do I know I won?

The system automatically sends the buyer (highest bidder) and seller of the item e-mail when the auction ends. The buyer and seller are then responsible for making their own arrangements to conclude the deal by payment and shipment. This auction merely offers a venue for buying and selling. We will not, nor cannot, be held responsible in any way for any lack of performance by any and all parties. We simply provide a place that allows people to buy and sell. HOWEVER, do let us know of any problems. We can and will banish anyone who abuses our auction.

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How does a Dutch Auction work?

Dutch auctions are used when the seller has many of the same item to sell and wants the bidders to be able to bid on one or multiple items. In the Dutch auction format, the bidders specify how many of the items they want to bid on as well as the amount they are willing to pay. When the auction ends, the bidders who bid the highest for the items will earn the right to purchase the items at the lowest successful bid made by one of the winning bidders.

For example: John has 25 unsigned lithos he wants to sell. The lithos are all brand new and of the same image. He sets the starting bid at $200 per litho. Sally wants to buy 10 of the lithos so she places a bid for 10 of them at $200 a piece. Mike is also interested in these lithos and places a bid for 15 of them at $200 a piece. Currently both Mike and Sally are bidding on separate items and a bid has been placed on all of the available lithos.

Now Vicky decides she wants 5 lithos. Since all of the lithos now have a bid placed on them, she must outbid the last bidder which was Mike in this case. She places a bid of $250 each for 5 lithos. Now Mike is the high bidder for only 10 of his original 15 he bid on. If the auction ends with no more bids placed, Sally would have a winning bid for 10 of the lithos, Mike would have a winning bid for 10 of the lithos, and Vicky would have a winning bid for the remaining 5 lithos. The selling price of all 25 lithos is determined by the lowest winning bid price. In this scenario, all 25 lithos would sell for $200 each.

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What is a Private Auction?

The seller of an item may choose to designate the auction as private. This protects the identity of bidders and the buyer. Only the seller will see the user name for the high bidder or buyer of the item. The bid history for the item does not display the bidders' username, but does show the bid amounts and notes.

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How do I leave feedback on a buyer or seller?

Feedback allows both buyers and sellers to rate each other as positive, neutral or negative after the close of an auction. They may also leave comments about each other. Buyers may wish to leave comments on the quality of merchandise, service or communication. Sellers may wish to leave comments on the effort level required to close the transaction with the buyer.

To leave feedback, go to "My Space" (you'll find the link in the action bar at the top of the page. Once you've logged in, you will see a page with three columns of options for users. In the third column, the last two options allow you to leave feedback on items you've either purchased or sold. Click on the appropriate link to get a list of items for which you have not yet left feedback. Click on the buyer/seller user name to leave feedback.

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What is a Saved Search?

Saved searches do two things. You can save searches that you run frequently and run them all at once. In addition, you'll automatically receive email notification of any new items that match your search.

First, you can save several searches from "My Space" and execute them all at once any time you visit Astro-Auction. The "Auction Saved Search Options" page first lists all of your current saved searches. Click on the Search Name to change the search, or click on "Add New Search". Below the list of Saved Auction Searches is a form you may use to add new searches or to edit an existing search. When you click on "Execute Saved Searches", all of your saved searches are executed and all matching items are displayed.

Second, saved searches are run each night around midnight (MST). The results are then filtered to display new auction items that have been listed in the last 36 hours. This list is then emailed directly to you so you can easily monitor new items that match your personal preferences.

For more information see How to Get the Most Out of Astro-Auction Saved Searches.

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Why don't I get auction email messages from Astro-Auction?

Astro-Auction sends email messages when you register, each time you place a bid, when your bid is no longer the high bid and when you win an auction. We also send email messages to the seller when an item is placed for auction, with each bid on the seller's item, and at the close of each auction.

With recent advances in "Spam Protection", we find it difficult to send mail to some accounts. At times in the past the problem has been the configuration of our mail server. We have fixed this problem with several ISP's including AOL.

Some spam protection software will not allow email messages from addresses not on your recipient list. Some ISP's, such as WebTV run the spam protection software on their servers. Other software packages run on your computer. In order to recieve email messages from Astro-Auction, you will need to add petebardo@astro-auction.com to your list of recipients. Please consult your software documentation for details on how to accomplish this.

If you still don't recieve your auction email messages, please send an email message to petebardo@astro-auction.com and explain your problem. We will be glad to answer any questions and do whatever it takes to get your messages to you.

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What does Bulk Relist do?

Bulk Relist allows a seller to relist several items at once rather than one at a time. The Bulk Relist page shows your auction items that did not sell and have not been manually relisted. Once an item is relisted with either "Bulk Relist" or "Relist Your Unsold Items", that item will no longer be available for relisting.

When you use Bulk Relist, relisted items will appear exactly as they did in the previous auction, except that bidding will start all over. As always, you will be able to edit the title, description, category, location, and country at any time before bidding begins. You will also be able to assign a consignee, or set the number of times to relist automatically. You will not be able to change any bidding amounts, the shipping information, type of payment required, or the condition of the item.

Bulk Relist can save a seller quite a bit of time when compared to individually relisting items. But there are trade-offs involved. If you need to adjust your prices on an item, you will want to relist that item individually. Neither method of relisting an item allows you to change the photo. If you wish to send a new image of the item, you will need to list it as a new item.

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How can I change the sort order of an item list?

Any page that lists items can be sorted using the links shown in blue at the head of each column. The main listing pages can be sorted by the item title, the number of bids, the current bid amount, or the amount of time remaining for the auction.

Clicking on the link at the top of a sorted column will reverse the order. For example, if you click on "Item", the list will be sorted by the title from A-Z. If you click on "Item" a second time, the list will be sorted by the title from Z-A.

You can choose to see only Instant Purchase, New, Hot, Ending or Dutch auctions by clicking on the icons or text that appears near the to of the page. If you have already chosen a category, the selection will show only the items within that category. If you wish to list all items within a category, click on one of the category links on the right side of the page.

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For any other questions you might have, please feel free to e-mail our auction administrator, Auction Administrator.

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