2 min article

Invalid bid retraction policy

If someone makes a bid on an auction-style listing, and then retracts that bid, they could gain an unfair advantage – maybe by discovering a reserve price, or where another bidder's maximum bid stands.

We want to ensure a fair marketplace for all our users, so we only allow bids to be retracted under certain circumstances. Read our full Invalid bid retraction policy below for more details.

Frequently Asked Questions


When can I retract a bid?

A bid is a binding contract that's active until an auction-style listing ends or you're outbid. You can only retract a bid if the seller significantly changed the description of the item, if you accidentally bid the wrong amount, or if you can't reach the seller. Retracting a bid for any other reason is considered an invalid bid retraction. If you're retracting a bid for a valid reason, you'll also need to make sure you do so within the bid retraction timeframe.

What should I do if I think someone's manipulating the bidding process?

If you think another member is violating our bid retraction guidelines, you should contact us to let us know.

Read our full policy

Invalid bid retraction policy overview

A bid is a binding contract that's active until an auction-style listing ends. Once you place a bid, you need to pay for the item if you're the winning bidder. You're not allowed to retract bids to manipulate the bidding process, like trying to find out the maximum bid of the current high bidder or to find out the reserve price.

Honest mistakes sometimes occur, so there are a few times when you're allowed to retract or cancel a bid if you meet the time restrictions. Review the guidelines below.

Make sure you follow these guidelines. If you don't, you may be subject to a range of actions, including limits of your buying and selling privileges and suspension of your account.

What are the guidelines?

Allowed Allowed

It's only OK to retract a bid if:

  • You accidentally enter the wrong amount, like entering £99.50 instead of £9.95. If you do, you need to enter the correct bid right away
  • The item description changed significantly after you placed your bid. For example, the seller updated information about the item's features or condition
  • You can't reach the seller. For example, you sent the seller an email and it comes back undeliverable, or you tried calling the seller and the phone number doesn't work
Not allowed Not allowed

Examples of when you can't retract a bid:

  • You changed your mind about buying the item
  • You wanted to find out the reserve price
  • You wanted to find out how high another buyer bid on an item
  • You only wanted one item but placed bids on multiple identical items. You should only bid on multiple items if you intend to buy all of them

Why does eBay have this policy?

A bid is a binding contract between a buyer and a seller. It's important to honour this contract. Your bid affects how other buyers bid for an item and the item's final price.

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