Every so often, people email us and say, "I missed bidding on X item because I was away from my computer" (or they forgot about the auction, or
they learned of it too late, or whatever), and they offer to pay more than what we auctioned it for (sometimes a lot more). And sometimes they contact
us in this way right after an auction closes, sometimes it is a few weeks later, and sometimes it is years later.
Years ago, we used to take the time to locate the original buyer, and send them an email offering them the higher amount for the item they had won.
But we found something very quickly, which was that the original buyer virtually never wanted to re-sell that item, and even the very few times they
did, it ended up a long drawn out process (getting the item back, the money back, and then switching the process) and one day I decided that we just
don't have the time for this, because it was taking a ton of time overall, and it yielded almost no sales (and of course we are far more busy than
ANY other auction house, with the 3,000 auctions we run every WEEK!).
So we stopped making offers years ago, and when people ask us to do this, we send them this:
"Please know that we can't convey offers to other bidders. Why? Doing so takes a large amount of time, and the original buyer
virtually never wants to re-sell the item you are asking about. For these reasons, we never convey offers. I hope you can be understanding of our position."
If the person then says, "OK, so you don't convey offers. Can't you just give my contact info to the buyer?", we tell them that we NEVER
give out customer information on either bidders or consignors, because no auction does so, for the simple reason that if they did, they would soon
have to close their doors, since the bidders and consignors could often then just make deals directly, cutting out the auction house!
some people have said to me "There are some other auction sites that DO convey offers to winning bidders and in fact they may tell me that they
used this service and were able to buy the item (and some auctions even list on their "results" that you can buy the item from the owner).
This brings up a very interesting point! How is it that when I would track a poster down, and I ask the former buyer to sell it, they virtually
never said yes (and I am talking about perhaps 100 items in all). Yet when other auction houses ask the the former buyer to sell, they very often are
willing to sell!
I see two very real possibilities here:
1) The auction house themselves may own a significant portion of the items they "auction", and many of the "sales" may be them "buying" from
themselves, so they are thrilled when someone wants to purchase from a "past buyer", because often that "past buyer" is the auction house, and the
"sale" may never have taken place!
2)The item may have been "bought in" by the consignor (some auction houses openly put in their terms of sale that the consignors can bid on their own
items) and the item may in fact still be owned by the original consignor, so of course they will be happy to sell what did not really sell at auction
(and the auction house stills get their cut from such sales, so of course they are in favor of it as well).
Now this is just pure conjecture, but how else can you reasonably explain how so much of what other auction houses "auction" successfully is still
offered after the "sales" when almost none of what we auction is for sale after the sale (and we NEVER include results on our website where the
consignor was not paid for that item at the price listed)? And how else can you reasonably explain how so many other auction houses keep "auctioning"
the exact same items over and over, often for successively lower prices?
So please don't bother to ask us to make offers on items we sold in the past, because they REALLY sold to real collectors, and they almost
always stay sold (except in the rare cases where the original buyer re-consigns items they bought, but that most often only happens years later)!