Is it a sin to use sniping software to bid on Ebay items?

I am a practicing catholic who struggles with scrupulosity. I have signed up on Goofbid, a free software that allows me to place automatic snipes on Ebay items. I have put a snipe on Goofbid for an electric bicycle on Ebay, and my bid will be automatically placed 5 seconds before the item ends. I’m starting to feel that maybe it is cheating to use automatic sniping software, and is not fair on the manual bidders, despite the fact that so many other people do it. What are your thoughts? Is it morally wrong from a Catholic perspective to use sniping software? Is it a sin? Thanks for your replies.

I employ the same tactic manually so I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. While using an automated tool might make it “less fun”, I can’t think of any moral reason to avoid it. As long as it is within eBay’s terms of use, you’re good. EBay’s automatic bidding system already works similarly (when you place your maximum bid, eBay sets your bid to the minimum amount to win and will increase it only if another bidder offers a little more than current). I have seen the bidder who placed the first bid win the auction because after all the bidding he still had the highest offer.

Not a sin. Don’t worry. Sniping is just another way of doing business on Ebay.

I suppose you are thinking that sniping will win the auction for a lower price than putting in a high maximum bid ahead of time. For this to work, two conditions must both exist: The current bidder has not entered a high maximum bid, and there are no other snipers working the same auction. If you try to limit your risk by sniping just a little above the current bid, you are more likely to get outbid by the current bidder’s maximum bid, or another sniper who is willing to bid closer to the true market value of the item.

Good luck, and have fun!

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