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, and so we generally don't allow bids to be retracted. Read our full Invalid bid retraction policy below for more details on when it is and isn't allowed to retract a bid.

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 or if you accidently bid the wrong amount. Retracting a bid for any other reason is considered an invalid bid retraction.

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. All bids are active until the auction ends. If you win a listing, you're obliged to complete the transaction. Except under special circumstances, bid retraction is not permitted. Furthermore, misuse of the bid retraction option to manipulate the bidding process is not permitted. This includes any manipulation of the bidding process to discover the maximum bid of the current high bidder or to uncover the reserve price.

Violations of this policy may result in a range of actions, including:

  • Listing cancellation
  • Limits on account privileges
  • Account suspension
  • Forfeit of eBay fees on cancelled listings
  • Loss of PowerSeller status


Some examples

Steve is bidding on a new car with a reserve price. He bids on the car but finds that his bid has not met the seller's reserve price. In order to uncover the reserve, he bids more than he is willing to pay to discover the reserve price and then retracts his bid.

Mary is bidding on a rare collectible. She bids on the item and with each bid discovers that someone with a higher proxy bid wins the item. Frustrated with bidding, she purposefully bids more than she would ever be willing to pay to uncover the winning buyer's proxy bid and then retracts her bid afterwards.

Sarah wants an MP3 player. She places bids on many identical MP3s and then retracts bids on all listings except the one she thinks she'll win as the final 12 hours approach.

Special circumstance where bid retraction that may be permissible:
Jack bids on a laptop but accidentally adds a zero to his bid amount.


Additional information

To report a trading offence:

  1. Contact us.
  2. Include the appropriate information, including any relevant emails. Only report a case once; multiple emails about the same case slow down an investigation.


  • eBay will consider the circumstances of an alleged offence and the user's trading record before taking action.
  • Disciplinary action may result in a formal warning, temporary suspension or indefinite suspension.
  • If a complaint can't be proven with certainty, we may take no action.
  • Due to privacy issues, it's not possible for eBay to discuss the results of an investigation.

Why does eBay have this policy?

Inappropriate or excessive bid retraction harms the marketplace. It is unfair to buyers who are placing legitimate bids and it can harm sellers by driving away legitimate bidders. Bid retraction undermines trust in the marketplace, since a bid is a binding contract between the seller and the buyer. Please bid responsibly.

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