I’m sure you’ve been in the situation before where you’ve wanted to purchase something on eBay, but there were multiple people selling the same thing. You probably placed a bid on one of the items in hopes that you’d win it, but you had to leave for work and wouldn’t know the results until you got home. The first thing you did when you got home was see if you won the auction…and you didn’t. Not only that but those similar auctions had also ended without you ever getting a chance to bid on them.

This is a pretty common problem, and eBay is taking it into their own hands to solve it. They have created a free Bid Assistant that anyone can use to do the bidding for them. It lets you "bid" on a group of items, and if you win one it won’t bid on the others. It will immediately bid on the item that ends the soonest in your group, and when one ends it will continue to bid on the others until you win or hit your maximum bid price.

To use it you’ll need to add all the items that you want to monitor to your Watch List. Then select the checkbox next to each one, and click the "Bid with Bid Assistant" button:

Bid Assistant

In this case I had two of the same computers being offered from the same person. It is common for eBay sellers to have multiple listings of the same items, and the Bid Assistant makes it easy to bid on each until you win one.

Now you can enter in the maximum price you want to pay for each individual item in the group, or you can set one price to be the global maximum bid:

Bid Assistant
Click to Enlarge

It’s nice that they let you choose a price for each individual item because often times you may not be bidding on the exact same thing. For example, you may want an iPod, and so you’ll setup bids on various models. Or maybe you’re buying a present for someone and are bidding on several different ideas that you came up with.

To use the Bid Assistant you must have at least 5 feedback, but most of you are probably eBay veterans that have dozens if not hundreds of positive feedback. Also, the Bid Assistant will not snipe your bids (place them at the last second). To do that you would need to use a software application such as the free JBidWatcher, which also incorporates most of the features from the Bid Assistant as well.

Hopefully these tools will help you get the things you want at a price you can afford!