SHOP / Online

Customer Service

Here you'll find answers to basic questions about the site. Click a question in the list below and you'll be taken to the answer.

If you need answers that you're not seeing here send us an email or leave us a voicemail at 646 - 714 - 2428, Monday - Friday from 8am - 4pm.

Happy Shopping!

How Does Bidding work?

  1. When you place a bid, you enter the maximum amount you're willing to pay for the item. Other bidders won't know your maximum bid amount.
  2. After receiving your maximum bid our system automatically places bids on your behalf starting with the next bid increment (10% of the opening bid). This feature ensures that you remain the high bidder and the system will continue to bid for you until bidding reaches your maximum amount. This means you don't have to keep coming back to rebid every time another bid is placed.
  3. If another bidder has placed the same bid before you or a higher maximum bid, we'll let you know that you've been outbid so that you can place another bid. However, if no other bidder has a higher maximum bid at the end of the auction, you win the item even if your bid doesn't go as high as your maximum bid. You could pay significantly less than your maximum price.

Here's an example:

There is this great Knoll Mid-Century couch which started its bidding at $50 and now the current bid for the couch is displayed as $100.00. iloveHW is the high bidder. (iloveHW has placed a maximum bid of $150.00 on this item, but his maximum bid is kept secret, shhh!)

BornToShop views this item and decides to place a maximum bid of $200.00. BornToShop becomes the high bidder because her bid is greater than iloveHW's bid.

A bid increment of $5.00 (10% of the starting ) is added to iloveHW’s maximum bid of $150.00. That means that BornToShop’s current bid is now $155.00. iloveHW is sent an email that he has been outbid.

What are the bidding increments?

The bidding increment is 10% of the item's opening bid. Please note that not all increments will be displayed in bid history. Bid history will skip display of some bids as a result of maximum bidding. Maximum bids of the same amount will not be recorded. Whoever placed the bid first will show in 'bid history'.


  1. You place a max bid of $65. on an item with an opening bid of $50. Bid history shows that you are currently the highest bidder at $50.
  2. Another bid comes in at $55.
  3. The system increases your bid to $60.
  4. A fourth bidder places a max bid of $70.
  5. Your $65 bid will not be displayed. The next bid displayed will be $70 even though that is not a 10% increment.

How do I retract my bid?

When you are the winning bidder, you are obligated to pay the high-bid price for the item. As a rule, retracting bids is not allowed on Shop Housing Works.

Should I use dollar signs and commas when placing a bid?

No. Bids with $ and , will be rejected. Use only decimal points.

How do I know if I've won the items I placed bids on?

Automatic notification emails are sent out to highest bidders. Reception of automatic emails is not guaranteed. All bidders are strongly urged to check the site after auction closing to find out if they were the highest bidder. It is the winner's responsibility to pay for and, where applicable, pick up items within 48 hours of auction closings regardless of email confirmation not being received. When time permits, courtesy calls are made to highest bidders. Courtesy calls are not guaranteed.

How do I pay for my items?

Auction items can be paid for in person at the location listed on the item page or online after the auction has closed. Items you've won will show up as 'awaiting payment' in your account. Follow the on-screen instructions to add the items to your shopping cart. Once you have all the items you want in your shopping cart, click on the Google Checkout logo. All online payments must be made through Google Checkout. No other channels of payment are available.

How do I get my items?

As you make your way through the payment process you will, depending on the size of the item, get the option of picking up the item in the store, or having it delivered to you. Smaller, non-breakable items can be shipped nationwide through FedEx while larger items are deliverable through a NYC-only moving company. It is the buyer's responsibility to hire movers for in-store pick-up. Housing Works does not provide delivery services.

Do you combine shipping costs for multiple orders placed on the same day?

Yes. On the business day following placement of your order all but one shipping charge will be refunded through Google Checkout.

How much does shipping cost?

Shipping for all non-book items starts at about $7.50. Before committing to purchase of your order you will be able to view the calculated cost of shipping on Google Checkout. All non-auction books ship for free in the USA.

Why am I getting an error message when I try to create an account?

If you have typed in an apostrophe anywhere on the create new account page delete it and try again. If you continue to receive an error message please contact customer service.

Where can i get help with Google Checkout?

Google has a help site devoted to Google Checkout. Always check there first for your Google Checkout related questions.

What is the return policy?

Everything on the site has been inspected for flaws and damage. There will be no unmentioned flaws. Common or minute signs of gentle use may not be included in the descriptions. Items are not officially appraised, certified or authenticated. Our 'vintage' and authenticity commentary is accurate to the best of our knowledge but we cannot guarantee that it is 100% factual. All measurements are approximate.

All auction sales are final unless an item has been grossly misrepresented. If you feel an item you have purchased or would like to purchase has been grossly misrepresented please contact us by email or call us at 646-714-2428.

Where does all this stuff come from?

Items on our website, just like the items in our stores, come from people just like you. We depend on your donations to keep us going. Learn more about donating to Housing Works Thrift Shops

How do gift cards work?

Gift cards are redeemable in all 12 Housing Works Thrift Shops, and the bookstore Cafe but are NOT redeemable for online purchases at Gift cards purchased online will be sent to the shipping address provided at check out.

Where does all the $$ go?

All of the proceeds from our online sales goes to help us provide housing, health care, and supportive services to homeless New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. Learn more about Housing Works on its website.

Terms and conditions

Unless otherwise stated, all items are used. We have tried to provide the maximum amount of information regarding physical condition to the best of our knowledge. Please take the time to carefully read the description before bidding. We do our best to proofread all posting prior to an auction opening but do make mistakes from time to time. We welcome you to contact us if you feel an item has a description mistake or if you purchased an item that you feel was not described properly on the site.

Items must be paid for within 48 hours of the end of auction. After 48 hours without payment the item may be offered to the next highest bidder. Bidders who repeatedly fail to pay for items won will be banned from the site. Items being picked up must be removed from the store within 48 hours of closing. Items that have been paid for but not picked up within 48 hours may be offered to the next bidder. No refunds will be offered for paid items that are not picked up.

We are happy to provide pick-up (but not payment) extensions on occasion. Please contact us by email or call us at 646-714-2428 to request an extension. You are also invited to call the stores directly and speak with a manager regarding pick-up extensions.


All items are located in the New York City area. We will ship any item that's shippable via FedEx ground service. Please allow 14 days for delivery.


Furniture and some larger items are NOT available for shipping, please check the item's page to insure the item you are interested in is shippable. If the item is posted as 'pick-up only' the buyer is responsible for having it removed from the store with 48 hours of the auction close. Housing Works does not provide local delivery or moving services. Items are available for pick-up at the store location that hosted the auctions. Items cannot be transferred for pick-up.

Still Have Questions?

Email our customer support

Or Leave us a voicemail at 646-714-2428

Monday - Friday 8am - 4pm