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Everyone wants to win, but only at the right price. Although we suggest that you bid the maximum amount that you’re willing to pay for an item, you could pay less. As the listing proceeds, we compare your bid to those of other bidders. When you’re outbid, we automatically bid on your behalf up to the maximum bid you have entered. Your bid is increased by increments only as much as necessary to maintain your high bid position.
Our max bidding (also called automatic bidding) system makes bidding convenient so you don't have to keep coming back to re-bid every time someone places another bid.
In live auction events, max bids are called absentee bids, and work a little bit differently than in other auction-style listings on eBay. Learn more about participating in live auction events.
How max bidding, or automatic bidding, works
Here's an example
1. The current bid for an item is £10.00. Tom is the high bidder, and has placed a maximum bid of £12.00 on the item. His maximum bid is kept confidential from other members.
2. Laura views the item and places a maximum bid of £15.00. Laura becomes the high bidder.
3. Tom's bid is raised to his maximum of £12.00. Laura's bid is now £12.50.
4. We then send Tom an email that he has been outbid. If he doesn't raise his maximum bid, Laura wins the item.
In reserve price auctions, if your maximum bid is at least the reserve price, we automatically increase your bid to meet the reserve, and bidding will continue from there.
How to bid
Changing or retracting your bid
As a general rule, you can't retract or cancel a bid. Once you place a bid, you agree to pay for the item if you're the winning bidder. However, honest mistakes sometimes occur.
If you want to retract a bid:
If you won an item and you no longer want to buy it, you need to contact the seller.
A bid on eBay is considered a contract, and you're obliged to purchase the item. Read about changing your mind about an item.
Under what conditions can I retract a bid?
Whether you can retract a bid depends on the circumstances and timing of the bid. You can retract a bid for the following reasons:
How long do I have to retract a bid?
If you meet any of the conditions for retracting a bid, consult the table to determine if you meet the time restrictions.
The timing in live auction event works a little differently than that of other auction-style listings on eBay, and while you can change your absentee bid before the event starts, you can't retract a bid made during a live auction event. Learn more about participating in live auction events.
Time restrictions for retracting a bid
What if I can't retract a bid?
If you can't retract a bid, you can contact the seller to request that your bid be cancelled. The decision to cancel a bid is up to the seller.
Remember that every bid is binding, unless the item is listed in a category covered by the non-binding bid policy or the sale is prohibited by law or by our User Agreement. Bidding on multiple identical items should be done only if you intend to buy all of the items.
Your bids affect how other users bid for an item and the item's final selling price. We carefully investigate all bid retractions to determine whether they are appropriate and conform to the rules for buyers. Abuse of bid retractions can result in the suspension of your account.
Bids retracted within the last 24 hours of an auction-style listing can be viewed as an example of shill bidding, which is a serious violation of eBay policy.
You cannot retract a purchase made through a Buy it now listing. Once you confirm your purchase, you're obliged to pay the seller.
Bidding on multi-quantity listings
Some sellers list a quantity of the same item at a fixed price. You can purchase one or more of the items immediately by clicking the Buy it now button.
Variations of an item in a single listing
In some categories, you’ll find items listed with variations that you can select, such as a T-shirt in various colours, sizes, and styles. Items listed with variations are always fixed price listings. Choose the variations you want before you click the Buy it now button.
Listings with special bidding requirements
This table describes listings types in which the seller is able to set bidding requirements:
Sellers can make their listings unavailable to certain bidders that they specify based on certain criteria, such as whether or not they have a PayPal account, their country of registration, or their buying history on eBay.
If you are blocked from a listing and want to discuss the situation with the seller, click the seller's user ID or the “Ask the seller a question” link on the listing page. Learn about the blocked bidder list or buyer requirements from a seller's point of view.
The fine print
Contact Customer Service
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