Solid info about ebay bidding & pricing from experienced ebay seller
I've been on ebay since 1999 and I know the reserve, pricing, buy it now, etc. system extremely well. What I say is 100% accurate.
A reserve price means no matter what the bid is, the seller is not obligated to complete the transaction unless the final bid is at least equal to the reserve.
Buy it now means just that--there's a button you click to Buy It Now, you pay whatever that price is, and it's just another Internet transaction.
There is NO RELATIONSHIP between Buy it now & reserve--each is a separate price determined by the seller. A winning bid can be LESS than the BUY IT NOW price but it can never be less than the reserve price--IF THERE IS A RESERVE, and that is really the problem this dealership has.
A seller does not have to have either a buy it now or a reserve price but they have the option to have either or both.
It is completely irrelevant how the listed, or final, price compares to invoice or anything else. The only thing that matters is whether or not there is a reserve. If the seller failed to put a reserve, that's his problem and the buyer absolutely cannot be penalized for it.
For example: I list my 2003 Accord for $5000. The minimum I would accept for this car is $10,000, the KBB value is $12,000. I put a $13,000 BUY IT NOW on this listing, and a $10,000 reserve.
Scenario 1: the highest bid is $9500. I am not obligated to sell the car at all. If I decide I am willing to sell it for $9500, I have to email the highest bidder and offer him the $9500 price (or other price of my choosing) and he has the right to refuse, even if I ultimately decide to offer it for $9000! If an auction ends with the highest bid less than the reserve price, it is null and void and neither the highest bidder nor the seller are obligated to do anything.
Scenario 2: Somebody buys it now for $13,000. The auction immediately ends and I have to sell him the car. My only way out would have been if I had closed the auction BEFORE he did the buy it now (but then he couldn't have done it!!). And, if someone contacted me 10 mins after the buy it now and offered me $14K, I am still obligated to sell it for $13K to the "buy it now" bidder--it's a done deal.
Scenario 3: Someone bids $10,001 for my car, and that ends up being the winning bid. I have to sell it for that, even though it is below the KBB value, because it is greater than my reserve. If I wasn't willing to sell it for that price, then I should have set the reserve higher--it's my own fault for setting it where I did.
The above info is 100% correct. The whole problem is that the dealership didn't put a reserve on the price. Period. No one knows what the reserve is so they could easily have set one for $70K, $80K or whatever they wanted to. Because they did not make a reserve, they are stuck.
If you had done BUY IT NOW for that price (I forget what it was) they would also have been obligated to sell--and you would have been obligated to buy.