OBO Meaning: What Does OBO Mean? Useful Text Conversations

Last Updated on October 6, 2023

What does OBO mean? If you’ve ever browsed through online marketplaces or attended a garage sale, you may have come across the term “obo” in product listings. In this lesson, you will learn the definition and how to use this text abbreviation with ESL infographic and useful conversation examples in English.

OBO Meaning

What Does OBO Stand For ?

“OBO” stands for “or best offer”.

It is an acronym that people have been using since long before cell phones and social media existed. It’s an original acronym that’s widely known, much like ASAP.  You typically see it when something is being sold. A person sets their target price, and then adds “obo” meaning they are up for negotiations on the final amount.

For example, say you’re browsing through Facebook Market and you spot a cute little patio set. You click on it, review the details, and then check the price. “$300 obo”. Well, $300 is a little more than you want to pay but it’s really cute. And they said “obo” so what the heck. You offer $220. Thirty minutes later, you get a response. Congrats. You are now the proud new owner of a patio set. Go collect your prize.

Origin And Context Of OBO

The origin of “OBO” can be traced back to printed classified ads around 1969. Since then, it has become an essential part of advertising in both print and digital spaces. The use of “OBO” has grown exponentially with the rise of online marketplaces, such as Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace, as it allows sellers to add some flexibility to their pricing while still stating a preferred price for the item.

Related Terms To OBO

When discussing OBO (or best offer), it’s important to understand some related terms that you might come across in the context of online buying and selling. Here are a few key terms that you should be familiar with:

Fixed Price: A fixed price listing means the seller has set a specific price for the item, and they are not open to negotiating on it. Unlike OBO, a fixed price provides a clear expectation of the cost for potential buyers.

Auction: An auction-style listing involves bidding by potential buyers, and the item is sold to the highest bidder at the end of the auction period. This format can be exciting for buyers, as they may be able to secure the item for a lower price than they would have expected. However, auctions can also be unpredictable and may result in an even higher sale price.

Reserve Price: In some auction listings, the seller may set a reserve price, which acts as a hidden minimum price for the item. If the auction bids do not reach the reserve price, the seller is not obligated to sell the item. This ensures that the seller can protect the value of their item while still allowing for the excitement of an auction format.

Buy It Now (BIN): This option can be included in both fixed price and auction-style listings, allowing buyers to bypass the negotiation or bidding process and purchase the item immediately at a predetermined price. This option can be attractive to buyers who want to secure the item without having to wait for an auction to end or negotiate an OBO.

Counteroffer: Sometimes, when a buyer submits an offer on an item listed as OBO, the seller may not accept the initial offer but provide a counteroffer instead. This counteroffer will be a new suggested price that is typically somewhere between the asking price and the buyer’s offer. The negotiation process may involve multiple counteroffers until both parties agree on a final price.

OBO Examples In Conversations, Texting, Social Posts

Example 1: Imagine you are browsing through an online marketplace and come across a post for a used bicycle. The seller has listed the price as “$200 OBO.” This indicates that the seller is asking for $200, but they are open to receiving offers lower than the asking price.

Example 2: In a conversation with your friend about an item they’re selling, your friend might say, “I listed my phone for $300 OBO, so if someone offers $250, I might consider it.” Here, your friend is expressing their flexibility in accepting a lower price.

When using OBO in texts or social media posts, it is common to see it in various forms of sentences. Some scenarios might include:

  • “Selling my guitar for $500 OBO! Let me know if you’re interested.”
  • “Hey, would you consider selling your camera for $400 instead of $500? Saw you listed it as ‘OBO.'”

You can also utilize OBO when negotiating the purchase of an item in a conversation, like so:

  • Seller: “I’m asking $1000 for my laptop.”
  • You: “I noticed you listed the price as OBO. Would you accept $850?”

More About OBO Terminology

OBO Synonyms

There are alternative ways to express OBO, although it’s the most common abbreviation used when referring to “or best offer.” Here are some synonyms you might find when scrolling through listings:

  • ONO (or near offer): This term implies that the seller is willing to accept offers close to the asking price but not as flexible as with OBO.
  • Negotiable: It means that the seller is open to negotiation and willing to consider reasonable offers for the item.
  • Accepting offers: This phrase indicates that the seller is open to receiving different offers and could choose the offer they find most suitable.

Remember, when you see listings with these terms, the intention is the same: the seller is open to considering different offers and may accept a price lower than the initial asking price. This allows both parties to negotiate a fair price for the item being sold.

Other Meanings of OBO

This internet slang word might also stand for:

  • On Behalf Of
  • Overseas Business Office
  • Official Blow-Off
  • Observation (UK)
  • One by One
  • Overseas Buildings Operations
  • Oil Bulk Ore
  • Order Book Official

OBO Meaning Infographic


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the significance of OBO when buying or selling items?

OBO, short for “or best offer,” is a term used by sellers, often on online platforms, to indicate they’re open to negotiating the price of an item. For buyers, this means you can make an offer lower than the listed price, potentially leading to a better deal. For sellers, using OBO can broaden the pool of interested buyers and increase the likelihood of making a sale.

How does OBO work on eBay and other online platforms?

On platforms like eBay, OBO is an option that sellers can include in their listings, allowing buyers to submit offers for consideration. When using this feature, the seller sets a minimum acceptable offer, and the platform will automatically reject any offers below that threshold. The seller then reviews the offers and can accept, counter, or decline them. Other platforms, like Craigslist, don’t have an OBO feature built-in, so sellers simply include “OBO” in the listing description to signal their openness to negotiation.

How do you determine a fair OBO amount?

To determine a fair OBO amount, both buyers and sellers should do research to understand the market value of the item. Look for similar items listed on the same platform or other websites to estimate the typical asking price. Buyers can then consider making an offer below that value, depending on factors like item condition and demand. Sellers should set their minimum acceptable offer based on their desired profit margin and willingness to negotiate.

Can OBO be used with non-monetary transactions?

Yes, OBO can be used with non-monetary transactions, such as bartering or trading items or services. In such cases, the “best offer” might not be a specific dollar amount, but rather the most appealing trade proposal. For instance, you might see a listing that says, “Trade my bike for smartphone OBO,” indicating the person is open to negotiated offers for trading their bike in exchange for a smartphone.

What is the connection between OBO and negotiation?

OBO is a term that inherently involves negotiation. When a seller uses OBO in their listing, they’re signaling that they’re open to receiving offers and discussing price. Buyers can use the opportunity to start a conversation and negotiate to reach a mutually agreeable price or trade. This process often involves back-and-forth communication until both parties come to an agreement.

Are there any etiquette guidelines for using OBO?

When engaging in OBO negotiations, it’s important to maintain a polite and respectful tone. For buyers, avoid making unreasonably low offers that could be seen as insulting or unserious. For sellers, be patient with potential buyers, as they may need time to consider their options or check prices for comparable items. Both parties should be clear in their communication, flexible in their expectations, and open to compromise.

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