Think carefully before you place a bid on eBay. While placing a bid takes mere seconds, canceling it is a considerably more arduous process. eBay only agrees to cancel bids under very specific circumstances. If you simply change your mind or suddenly find that you don't have the finances to pay for the auction item, you are essentially at the mercy of the seller to let you out of the bid.
A Bid is a Legal Contract
When you place a bid on eBay, it is more than just an indication that you are interested in the item of sale. A bid is considered a contract between you and the seller. Should someone outbid you, that potential buyer's contract supersedes yours, and you are no longer obligated to buy the item. There are very few reasons that eBay will facilitate a bid retraction while the auction is open. If you are the highest bidder at the time of the auction's close, you are required to submit payment unless the seller agrees to cancel the bid.
Permissible Reasons to Retract a Bid
In your haste to bid on an auction, it may happen that you type in the wrong bid amount. For instance, you may intend to bid $10.00 for an item but accidentally bid $100.00. When you experience an obvious typographical error, eBay will retract your bid. You may also petition to have your bid retracted if the seller changes the item's description significantly after you bid or you are unable to get in contact with her. In all other cases, you are required to negotiate a bid cancellation with the seller, who may or may not require you to submit payment and complete the transaction.
If you are submitting a bid retraction for because of typo, description change or impossible communication with the seller, complete a bid retraction form with eBay. When you are asking for the bid to be retracted due to a typo, you must reenter the correct bid amount immediately. That is, you must still enter a bid and cannot back out of the transaction entirely just because you entered the wrong amount. eBay instituted this measure to ensure that bidders who simply change their minds about the item for sale will not abuse the retraction process.
If the auction for which you want to retract a bid is ending within 12 hours, you must fill out a bid retraction for within one hour of placing the bid. eBay will only cancel your last bid. If the auction is ending in more than 12 hours, you can retract all bids on the item, except in the case where you are claiming a bidding typo. When the auction has ended, or you are retracting a bid for any other reason than those accepted by eBay, it is up to you to email the seller promptly and ask if they will allow you to back out of your bid.
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