How to Undo an eBay Bid


While participating in online auctions may be a form of entertainment, bids placed are binding. EBay guidelines permit bid retractions in limited circumstances. A retraction is bidder-initiated, and it is permissible in cases of typographical error, and as recourse when the seller significantly changes the terms and product listed in the auction or does not respond to contact for resolution. In the case of the former, a corrected bid must be entered. If a retraction is initiated within the last 12 hours of the auction, only the most recent bid is retracted. Prior bids stand.

  • Assess the circumstances to determine whether a retraction is permissible or appropriate. If a keying error was made and the decimal point appears in the unintended place, a retraction is allowable if the entered amount is greater than intended. Consider merely entering a second bid if the amount is lower than intended. Bid retractions motivated by a change of heart are not an permitted.

  • Write down the auction number. The auction or listing number can be found in one of two ways. Look for the item number listed in the "other info" sidebar within the listing. Also, find the number in the auction URL. From the Internet browser address bar, copy the 12 digit number within the URL.

  • Log into EBay. Find the Bid Retraction form. The shortest path is through the Help pages. Click on "Help" in the upper-right corner of any EBay page. A graphical "Browse Help" menu appears. Type "Retracting or canceling your bid" in the Help search box. A page outlining the process will appear. Click on the link "Bid Retraction Form" embedded within the text.

  • Enter the auction number on the Bid Retraction Form. Select the applicable reason for retraction from the drop-down menu. There are only three reasons for retraction: "Entered wrong amount," "Seller changed the description of the item" or "Cannot contact the seller."

  • Submit the form.

  • If the retraction is due to typographical error, resubmit bid in the correct amount. Bid correction is mandatory, except in the Real Estate and EBay Motors vehicles auction categories. Bids in these categories merely identify interested buyers and no contract between the seller and buyer is created.

Tips & Warnings

  • A bid retraction count appears on a user's feedback page. A high number of retracted bids may indicate illicit activity, such as shill bidding or bid shielding. Bid shielding occurs when a user places a high bid with an alternate user name to discourage additional bidders, then subsequently cancels it to ensure a win for their main bidding account.

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