How can I cancel a bid on eBay?

eBay website
Deal's off: cancel that bid for the inflatable eight-foot dinosaur

We’ve all been there. You’ve had a few too many sherries and you’ve bid on a monstrosity from eBay. A porcelain model of Hulk Hogan for £450, or some such. Surely you can cancel a bid on eBay, right? And what if you’re selling something and a bid has been submitted from someone you think is dodgy – can you cancel it?

How you do this is dependant on what side of the fence you are: bidder or seller. We’ll cover both below.

How can a bidder cancel a bid on eBay?

Whenever you place a bid, you’re agreeing to buy the item if you win the auction. However, in some situations you can retract your bid (“retract” being eBay’s term for cancelling it when you’re a buyer).

There are three circumstances under which you can retract your bid:

  1. The seller significantly changed the item’s description
  2. You accidentally bid the wrong amount. For example, you meant to bid £10, not £1000. If this happens, enter the price you intended to bid as soon as you’ve retracted the incorrect bid
  3. You can’t get hold of the seller. e.g. you sent the seller an email and it bounces, or you tried calling the seller and the phone number didn’t work

Bear in mind that you can’t always retract a bid once it’s made – if you’re not able to retract your bid, you can also try contacting the seller to see if they are willing ti do it for you (but they’re under no obligation to).

There are a couple of further things to be aware of:

  • If the product has 12 or more hours to go before bidding ends, all of your bids can be retracted
  • If there are less than 12 hour remaining , you can retract your most recent bid if it’s been less than an hour since you placed it

Okay, so that’s the T&C’s out of the way. How do you actually retract it? You can either:

  • Follow this link to select a bid to retract
  • At the top of the eBay website, click on Help & Contact and then type “Retracting a bid” into the search box. Click on the result with that name. Click on the blue button on that page labelled Retract a bid

How can a seller cancel a bid on eBay?

Now, this is where we can use the term “cancel”, as that is what eBay uses when it refers to the action of a seller.

Whilst eBay discourages the canceling of bids, unless absolutely necessary, it’s still possible if:

  1. A buyer requests you cancel their bid and you’re happy to do so
  2. You have to end the listing early because the item is no longer available
  3. You made a mistake in the item listing
  4. You’re concerned the bid is from a buyer who is suspect

To cancel a bid, you need to do the following:

  1. Go to Canceling bids placed on your listing
  2. Enter the item number, the username of the member whose bid you’re canceling, and the reason you’re canceling it
  3. Click on Submit

Alternatively, click here.

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About the author

David Artiss

Works for Automattic Inc., the company behind and Tumblr. Tech geek, international speaker and occasional PC Pro podcaster. Lover of Lego and video games.

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