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Different ways of buying

Whether you enjoy the thrill of bidding or just want to find the right item, we offer several ways to shop.

Start by comparing the different ways of buying. Then, learn more about each buying format.

Buying comparison
Method Benefits and Considerations

Auction format

Bid against other buyers to get the best deal.  

At the end of the auction-style listing, the highest bidder wins the item and completes the purchase. 


  • Enjoy the interaction of bidding on items.

  • Find great deals.

  • Get eBay services and protection, including the ability to review seller feedback.



  • You must wait until the auction ends to buy.

  • You might be outbid.

Buy it Now

Buy the item immediately at a fixed price.

If a seller offers this option, you’ll see the Buy It Now icon next to the listing.


  • Buy the item immediately.

  • Make sure you get the item.

  • Get eBay services and protection, including the ability to review seller feedback.

  • Add your items to your shopping cart and combine purchases from the same seller or continue shopping and buy the items later.

 Watch this video for more information!


  • As always, know your prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

  • If you want the item, you have to act fast! Buy It Now items are available only for a limited time on auction-style listings.

Classified Ads

Classified Ads connect buyers and sellers, who then complete the sale outside of eBay.

If you are interested in a Classified Ad, contact the seller by email or phone.


  • Find items or services that don’t fit into standard categories.



  • Negotiations and sales are completed outside of eBay.

  • Not backed by eBay services and protection, including seller feedback and dispute resolution.

  • Offered only for selected items.

Auction format

In an auction-style listing, sellers put items up for sale to the highest bidder. This is the most common format on eBay.

  1. Search or browse to find an item you're interested in buying.

  2. Review the entire listing and decide if you want to place a bid. Some things to note are:

    • When it ends (always in Pacific Time)

    • How many bids have already been placed on the item

    • Amount of the current high bid

    • The description (and possibly picture) of the item

    • Payment methods and shipping costs

  3. Enter your bid with the highest amount you'd be willing to pay for the item. We will automatically raise your bid only as much as is needed for you to remain the high bidder (for more information, see automatic bidding). You can win an item for less than your maximum bid, but you can also be outbid if someone else enters a higher maximum bid.

Learn more about how bidding works.

Buy It Now 

Buy It Now is the simplest way to buy on eBay. It allows you to buy an item when you want it, at a known price.

  1. Look for items with a Buy It Now price. The Buy It Now icon appears next to items on category browse pages or in your search results. You can also add items to your shopping cart and buy items from the same seller together.

  2. If you're only looking for Buy It Now items, click the Buy It Now tab on search results or browse pages.

  3. Check the Buy It Now price of the item. For certain categories, Buy It Now price is all-inclusive price (Item price, shipping,  handling and other charges etc.) that you'll pay for the item. For others, apart from the Buy It Now price also check the shipping cost and other additional costs/charges that may be listed in the item description by the seller to know the total cost for the item.

  4. To purchase the item, click the Buy It Now button on the item page.

Buy It Now variations Description

Items that only have a Buy It Now price

You can use Buy It Now to purchase the item immediately.

Items that have a bid price and a Buy It Now price

You can choose to place a bid and compete in the auction or use Buy It Now to purchase the item immediately, before bidding starts.

Classified Ads

When you see a Classified Ad listing, it means that there's no bidding on that item, service, or property. To express your interest as a buyer, you can email the seller from the item page. You may also be able to call the seller if the phone number is available on the item page.

Note: Any sales related to Classified Ads are conducted outside of eBay. Buyer and seller feedback is not available for this type of transaction.

Classified Ads are available only for select types of items or services.

To find classified ads:

  1. Click the Categories tab at the top of most pages.

  2. In the “Everything else” category, select "Services and Real Estate"

  3. Look for items with the icon .

Points to remember

When you place a bid or click Buy It Now, you are agreeing to purchase an item at a given price.

  • Auction format: If you’re the highest bidder at the end of an auction-style listing, you win the item. As the winner, you’re obligated to buy the item for the winning bid price. All bids are active until the auction ends.

  • Buy It Now: If you click Buy It Now, you are agreeing to purchase the item at the Buy It Now price.

  • Price: Unless specified by the seller, the terms 'price' or 'list price' or 'listing price' or the like, referred to indicate the amount payable by buyer for the item/product listed shall be inclusive of the item price, shipping, taxes and other charges. The seller shall raise and provide invoice(s) to the buyer for the amount paid by him/her to the seller for the item.

In all types of listings, including Classified Ads, sellers must treat the buyer’s contact information in full compliance with eBay's Privacy Policy. This policy prohibits sharing the buyer's information with third parties as well as use of the buyer's information for any purpose other than communicating with the buyer about the item, unless expressly allowed to do so by the buyer.

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