The seller has put an unknown reserve bid on the vehicle and the way eBay works is that you put in your maximum amount you pay and with a reserve bid it does one of two things. If your maximum bid is higher than the reserve bid, eBay places your bid right at the reserve bid, turns off the reserve bid notification and then will increase your bid should someone else bid higher than the reserve bid up to your maximum bid. If your maximum bid is lower than the reserve bid, it will just increment the starting bid by a set amount of dollars but leave the reserve bid notification in place. If someone else bids higher than you but lower that the reserve, your bid will increase by the set amount until your maximum has been reached and you have been out bid. It is done this way so that if the reserve bid has not been met but there has been at least one bid, the seller can reserve the right to call the highest bidder and still sell it to them below the reserve bid.
So I entered my maximum bid and a second later found out that it had met the reserve bid but barely. My stomach sank. I was officially on the hook for the CR-V should no one top my bid and it was as advertised. I let that sink in for a bit but soon gathered my wits back up and got to thinking that since I had met the reserve by only a couple dollars, should someone place another bid in the minimum increment of $100, I would be outbid. I hated the thought of losing the bid just because I was short a few dollars. So despite my wife's persistence that I not pay anything more, I entered a maximum bid of $102 above the bid that I currently had placed and was top bidder. I figured that if a person entered a bid in the next increment of $100, I would still have a bid $2 higher. A more savvy person might enter a last minute bid of $101 thinking that I had another bid waiting for just $100. But then I realized that my math was wrong and that if someone else entered a bid for $100 over what the current bid was now, I would have to go $200 plus to top it. So I entered a third maximum bid of $205.73 should that happen. The last remaining minutes clicked by and nobody else bid on the item and so I ended up winning the auction with my initial bid after all. Oh crap. What have I done?
The auction ended on a Thursday afternoon and suddenly my already full weekend got a little more full with an 11-hour roundtrip drive to Chicago and back. However, when I called the seller to arrange details, he said he lived near the airport and could pick me up if I so desired. I checked the airline prices on Friday and ended up buying a one-way ticket to O'Hare on Saturday morning for just $70, less than I could possibly drive it and much, much faster. So I called him back to take him up on the offer, arranged for insurance and a cashiers check and was winging it through the sky less than a day later.
The guy picked me up and about an hour later after kicking the tires, starting it up without any undesired noises and driving it around, I was driving the CR-V back home. It hadn't had any floor mats in it and I assumed they hadn't been as immaculate as the rest of the interior and tossed and it didn't have a manual but both of those could be had cheaply. I did notice on the way home that the clock on the dash didn't work and the multi-disc CD player advertised was only a single disc but I don't think that would have stopped me had I looked at it in the traditional way. I replaced the clock with one from a wrecked CR-V at the local salvage yard for a song and we don't really listen to more than one CD at a time in a car and changing them once every hour when on a long distance drive isn't really that undesirable when you are bored anyway. So I just voiced my displeasure when I rated the transaction later on eBay so that other may know that it could happen to them and happily settled into life with a new-to-us vehicle.
The next day after I got home I left for a week on business but when I got back, I set to work selling my wife's old car via the local papers and the same day I placed the ad, it was gone. Overall it has been a pleasant experience and I would do it again should the opportunity arise in the future. My wife got her dream car down to the color and year, and has fallen in love with it. Although it is a SUV and against my convictions, she is the one who is driving it and it makes her happy. As the saying goes, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."