How to Cancel Bids on an eBay Auctioned Item

Everybody makes mistakes and errors, no human is perfect and this includes eBay buyers. There is a story back in year 2013 in Oregon USA, about a toddler who was playing around with her father’s mobile phone and accidentally bought a car on eBay.

The father had carelessly left his smartphone unlocked, when his daughter who was fond off using the eBay mobile app to look at pictures of cars, actually bought one a few clicks later. Luckily for the father, it was an old automobile which cost $225 dollars so he chose not to retract the bid, but keep the purchase.

cancel ebay bids

There are a lot of case studies that could make one mistakenly place bids on items he or she isn’t willing to buy.


Ebays Bidding Rules And Regulations

As a general practice, eBay does not encourage canceling bids. In fact, the verbiage from eBay about bidding states:

A non-binding bid is a bid that shows a buyer’s interest in purchasing an item, but it doesn’t create a formal contract between the buyer and the seller. All bids made in the Real Estate and eBay Motors vehicles categories are considered non-binding.

Bidding on an eBay item does not create a binding agreement, but frequent bidding then canceling a bid is not an accepted practice and too many retracted bids can result in eBay closing your accounteBay does not allow the following:

  • Bidding without the intent of completing the purchase
  • Retracting a bid on an item that doesn’t fall into a non-binding bid category
  • Backing out of the transaction due to buyer or seller remorse
  • Backing out of the transaction because buyers didn’t place a high enough bid and the seller didn’t add a reserve price
  • Stating in the listing that bidding could result in a binding obligation to complete the purchase

Avoid Shill Bidding

Just make sure you really want to purchase the item and make that commitment.

eBay also frowns on shill bidding, which is an arranged bid by a friend, relative, co-worker, or someone the seller has asked to bid on the item to artificially inflate the price. Shill bidding is a serious offense on eBay and repeat offenders will be suspended from the site.

Some Years ago, when eBay was primarily an auctions website, shill bidding was a common way to artificially raise the final selling price of auction items. Users often had multiple user IDs and would even be paid by the seller to input fake bids. This practice isn’t as widespread today, mostly because auctions aren’t as robust as they used to be and many auctions end without a single bid.


How to Cancel a Bid

eBay knows and understands that accidents happen and that occasionally a bid needs to be canceled. If you, your child, or your drunkened friend bids on an item by mistake, follow these steps to have the bid canceled.

  • Review the conditions and time restrictions for canceling a bid in an auction-style listing.
  • If you feel you have a valid reason for canceling a bid, fill out a Bid Retraction. On this form, you will need to enter the item number for the auction, and choose the reason for canceling your bid from a drop down menu. If you’re unable to use this approach, please contact the seller.
  • To cancel bids as a Seller, go to your listing page by clicking the “Bid History” link on the auction page and follow the links provided to facilitate the cancellation process.

More Bid Cancellation Scenarios


How to Cancel a Winning Auction Bid

If you bid by mistake and actually won the item, the steps are different. Contact your seller through the eBay messaging system and explain that you want to cancel the sale. While they will be disappointed, most sellers will honor the request and move on. Sellers only get a strike against them when they cancel sales because of damaged or missing inventory. eBay sellers cannot force buyers to pay, so if the seller makes any threatening or harassing statements, report them to eBay Customer Service.

How to Cancel a Winning Best Offer

Best Offer is another situation where buyers may change their minds. Granted, sellers are not happy to hear that buyers want to cancel a sale, for many, eBay is how they earn their living. But buyers have the right to cancel a sale. Again, contact the seller and ask to cancel the transaction. Neither trading partner will be able to leave the other feedback since the transaction isn’t completed and money isn’t exchanged.

In summary, no transaction is set in stone on eBay. Respect the platform and understand that bidding and offers are a commitment to buy. Sellers are people just like us who are reasonable people and will usually work with buyers in an accommodating manner, but you must avoid error bidding at all times.


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