Any trader can create an offer with another trader, there are a few ways to do this. You can start from scratch on the "My Offers" page by using the "Create" link there, or you can use links in a User page header, from a mini-matches page, or from your "My Matches" page. It all ends up in the same place, the offer creation page, but some of these fill in some information for you (like who and what's in the offer) to make things easier for you.
While creating and offer, you can use the "Pick Listings" buttons to add or remove items from the offer, or if the items are not listed, you can just fill them in by hand in the free-form boxes. You also get to set when the offer expires, who sends when, shipping, and whether you want to pre-accept the offer. You can control what these default to on your "Settings" page.
Once you create an offer, it gets put in your "OutBox" (a folder link on the "My Offers" sub-menu). It also gets put in the other trader's "InBox", and they will generally get an email about it (though, Offer Email Notification can be disabled on the "My Account" page). A new offer also have an expiration date on it, if it does not get a response before the expiration, it expires and the offer is moved to the "History" folder, linked on your "My Offers" sub-menu.
Hopefully, the other trade will respond as that's the polite thing to do. We encourage everyone to respond to offers promptly so we're not waiting for each other's responses (even if it's just to quickly decline it). A response to an offer consists of either an acceptance (where the other trader agrees to the contents of the offer and a pending trade is created), a decline (in which the offer is refused and is simply moved to the History folder), or a counter-offer (in which the other trader can change the terms of the offer and send it back to the other trader). With any response, you can add a message to the offer if you like, if you want to say something to the other trader.
Counter-offers are the most interesting case. You can go back and forth as often as you need to, each trader making counter-offers, each counter-offer making adjustments to the contents of an offer. Adjustments include what is being traded, who sends first, and what sort of shipping is used. Plus, you can exchange messages this way. If it goes on long enough, you might have to extend the expiration date for the offer. Hopefully, this back and forth negotiation will eventually lead to both sides agreeing to the offer.Here's a breakdown of individual functions:
- InBox - This page shows you a list of Offers that are awaiting your response (decline, accept, counter-offer). Click the "View" link next to the offer to see all of its details and to respond to it.
- OutBox - This page shows you a list of Offers that are awaiting the other user to respond. You can view and respond to the offer as well.
- Create - This page allows you to Create an Offer from scratch. First you enter who you want to make the offer to, then fill in what you want to trade and other aspects.
- History - This page allows you to browse offers that have been agreed upon (a trade pending created), expired, or declined. You can view these offers and if the offer was not agreed upon, you can revive it by making a counter-offer.
- Settings - This page allows you to set defaults for the various settings you make when you create a new offer.
- Awaiting Response - Offer is not yet accepted by either party, but is awaiting one or the other's response(decline, accept, counter-offer).
- Partial Acceptance - One user has accepted the offer, the other has not.
- Agreed Upon - Both sides have accepted the offer and a trade has been pended.
- Declined - The offer has been declined by one of the traders.
- Expired - The offer did not reach agreement before it's expiration.
- Make a Counter-Offer - This allows you to edit the Offer and make any changes according to how you want the deal to go.
- Accept This Offer - This is how you indicate that you want to go ahead with the offer. You can also add a message to the offer as you do this.
- Decline This Offer - This is how you indicate that you do not like the offer and do not wish to make a counter-offer. You can also add a message to the offer as you do this.
Items that are part of an active offer (an active is any offer which is not expired, agreed upon, or declined) cannot be editing or deleted from your "My Items" page. This is done to ensure that the description and condition of the items are not changed in the middle of negotiations.
You can control whether the Offer System emails you about Offers on your "My Account" page. See "Offer Notification:" under Email Alerts.
There are convenient links to the Offers system from User page headers and from the My Matches page ("Offer" link).