Why you lost the bid: Ebay mobile not synced with real time

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Just to put it out there, because this had stumped me in the past and I suspect there may be others who have had this experience and could use the info-

I have had cases where I was bidding in the last minutes or seconds of the auction & my bid would not go through or was not recognized.

Now at first I chalked this up to a connection failure or glitch of some kind- that would be the logical first suspect, and yet I've already placed bids on this item with no problem, and I've got a great connection with full bars. I even switched cell phone providers and upgraded to a new, better device. So what is happening to my bids?

In a couple of cases I was actually certain that I had won the item, because my high snipe was far in excess of the last bid & I got no error message. I'll try to describe what this looks like, and I realize it may be difficult to visualize without seeing it first-hand. I have photo-documented this now, but even that is difficult to follow without being able to show it to you on video as I go through the steps, which I'm not sure how to film & don't have the equipment for. So far I have only been documenting it in stills via screenshot.
Here's what happens:

You put the bid in, and hit the "continue" button to place the bid, and the clock keeps counting down showing the previous bid and not yours. It's as if you didn't place the bid, so at first you wonder if you're just going crazy or mis-typed a bid that was too low, etc (although in theory it should give you an error message if that were the case). You're sitting there wondering, if you just bid double what the current price on the item was, why did the high bid on the listing not increase? But the clock is still counting down, so you try it again, and again, until the timer reaches zero and you loose the auction.

The auction ends with another winner at that much lower bid that would not increase, and you sit there wondering what happened to your bid & why you didn't get the item.

More recently in a couple of cases I got an error message saying the auction had already closed, even though there was time left and on the listing the clock was still counting down.

Now keep in mind that if you're sniping, you've got your eye on the red digits of ebay's clock and the bid amount. What you're not looking at is the actual time!

I finally noticed that the current time on the listing did not match real time shown by my service provider on the mobile device via satellite. For example, the listing would indidate an end time of 09:15 PDT, and the timer would have about 10 minutes left counting down, yet the current time was 09:18 PDT. The auction had ended 3+ minutes prior. But the clock had not yet reached zero.

I think this finally explains the origin of a couple of disputes I had with ebay sellers these last two years. So I think this is something at least worth mentioning for both buyers and sellers.

I often snipe stuff manually with my cell. It's easier and more convenient than using a sniper service, and it's usually reliable. I can do it on the go or while at work (for those of us who do not have desk jobs or may travel for work)
I like to use ebay's mobile website instead of the smartphone app, because the photos are more in focus for some reason. I have noticed with the app, the pics are grainy, and if you try to zoom in they get blurry sometimes. This happens less with the mobile version of the website on your phone's browser.

Now in theory, the mobile website should operate just like the desktop website, only smaller. But it seems for whatever reason, the mobile edition of the site does not keep real time.

In case you have never bid with a mobile device, just imagine the little red digits of the timer on the typical ebay auction counting down on your phone screen in a pop-up window. That's what it looks like. It gives the clear impression to the user that it's designed to operate in real time so that you are bidding just like you would from a desk top.

What they don't tell you is that sometimes there is a gap in time between the mobile bidding function and the real time bidding of the website. o-o
Kind of misleading IMO.... or at least disappointing.

Sometimes it's by mere seconds, and sometimes by as much as 15 minutes!!! lol

Very frustrating for bidders, and I'm sure I don't even have to mention the implications for sellers....
I actually thought at one point that maybe sellers were canceling my bids, but as far as I know that is not possible with so little time left on the auction. I actually went as far as to ask a couple of the sellers, and they said they had no idea that I had upped my bids toward the end.

So who is the rightful winner of that auction then? If ebay's website says there is 15 minutes left, and I put a bid in during those minutes that fairly exceeds the other bidder, yet according to the posted end time of the sale the auction has already concluded and another winner been declared.... You could see how this could be a problem I'm sure.

I've lost several bids to this so far attempting to snipe things or increase my final bid in the last moments. If anyone else out there may rely on mobile in this way, keep this mind going forward. It seems so silly, but it was months before I realized what was going on.
 
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I snipe with mobile (within 3sec) all of the time, never had a problem. I've even had the mobile running on the auction I want to snipe, while I sit at the laptop scanning other auctions, and the time is counting down the same on both devices...so I have no idea what you're experiencing, but it sure isn't affecting everyone. Hope you figure it out, It must be frustrating.
 
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I also have had no problems with using my phone for bidding, but if you are really after something, then just use a snipe site. I've been using this one for several years and it has been mostly solid, except for times when eBay makes a change on their back end, so it takes them a day or so to fix it. It's free though, so I can't complain. Then you just watch the timer go down and your bid automatically goes right in during the last 10 second.

https://snipestreet.com
 
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I recently bid on my phone with 3 seconds left and the bidding continued for 30 more seconds after I entered my bid. Crazy, but it did happen.
 
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I have received alerts from eBay on my phone that an item is ending in 15 minutes, only to find it has already ended when I open the app, but I have never had a problem putting in bids. I'd say at least 75% of my bids are made from my phone.

Occasionally a connection is slow and it ends before my last-second bid goes through, but that happens on my computer as well.
 
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I think this finally explains the origin of a couple of disputes I had with ebay sellers these last two years.
I agree that your information has - to what it seems - uncovered a big problem with the biddingsystem, but...you have had multiple disputes with sellers because you lost auctions (ignoring the fact for now that apperently it wasn't your fault looking at your new info)? Seriously?

-Alex
 
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I've had the happen on numerous occasions using my iPhone in the UK.

The easiest solution is to use a sniper, thats what I've done.
 
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I agree that your information has - to what it seems - uncovered a big problem with the biddingsystem, but...you have had multiple disputes with sellers because you lost auctions (ignoring the fact for now that apperently it wasn't your fault looking at your new info)? Seriously?

-Alex

I second this!
 
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I lost an auction last month where I bid well over the final bid amount but got a message that my session had expired or something silly.

Got the same message the other day - but there was plenty of time left as I wasn't sniping. I refreshed the page, entered my bid, and submitted it without any problems. That "session expired" or "session ended" message though killed me on the one item. It's something I'd been after for a long time. I kicked myself hard for not just submitting a bid earlier and not waiting until the end. Lesson learned.
 
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I have had the same auction running on my laptop and my phone as I watched them both. I have never really had an issue, but I have noticed that my Laptop is about 2 seconds SLOWER than my phone. I'm using an android. Galaxy S III
 
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I have had the same auction running on my laptop and my phone as I watched them both. I have never really had an issue, but I have noticed on a few occasions that my laptop is actually about 3-5 seconds behind my phone. I'm using an android. Galaxy S III

I agree, most times my phone seems more reliably than my computer... sucks either way. I'm still in shock that people actually pay a "sniping service"....
 
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I agree, most times my phone seems more reliably than my computer... sucks either way. I'm still in shock that people actually pay a "sniping service"....

Why? They are amazingly cheap and significantly make bidding and winning easier. It's more like a heat seeking sniping missile as it's fiire and forget! I think if you dont use them you're crazy. :)
 
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