4 min overview
All about bidding

Bidding on an eBay auction is a great way to get the item you want – at a bargain price.

It's quick and easy to bid on eBay. When you place a bid on an auction-style listing, enter the maximum amount you feel comfortable with and we'll place bids for you, up to that limit. We call this automatic bidding.

Automatic bidding

Find out how automatic bidding can increase your chances of winning an auction.

Retracting a bid

If you've made a mistake, you can retract your bid in some situations.

Tips for winning auctions

Discover tips to give you the best chance of winning.

Responding to Second Chance Offers

If you missed out in an auction, sometimes the seller will give you another chance to get the item.

How reserve prices work

Find out everything you need to know about bidding on items with reserve prices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find my bidding history?

To see your bid history, go to My eBay and select Bids/Offers - opens in new window or tab.

There you'll find any items you're currently bidding on, items you bid on but didn't win, and any Best Offers you've made.

If you want to delete your bid history, tick the box next to items you want to remove and select Delete.

What is private bidding?

Sellers sometimes create private listings that keep bidders and the buyer anonymous, particularly when selling highly priced items or pharmaceutical products. There will be a note on these listings stating that they're private, and that only the seller can see your username.

Why did the item I was bidding on disappear?

The seller may have had to end the listing early – although this is something we strongly discourage. Or, if the seller breached one of our policies, we may have had to cancel the listing.

Why am I getting a message to contact the seller when trying to place a bid?

Sellers sometimes set requirements for potential buyers, based on their payment or postage preferences. For example, if you don't have a PayPal account, or you live in an area that the seller doesn't post to, you may not be able to bid on their item.

If that happens, you'll see a message when trying to place a bid, asking you to contact the seller. Let them know you'd like to bid, and they may change their requirements to allow you to take part.

Why can't I bid in my friend's auction?

It's important to us that auctions are always fair and honest. Sometimes a member who knows the seller – perhaps a family member or friend – bids on an item to drive up the price. This is known as shill bidding and isn't allowed on eBay.


When bidding on an auction, enter the maximum bid you feel comfortable with and we'll place bids for you, up to that limit.

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