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For Seniors: How to Retract Your eBay Bid in an Emergency

As an eBay buyer, you may, under certain circumstances, retract your bid. Just note that each time you retract your bid from an auction, the retraction shows up above the Feedback comments. Sellers often check this area to determine a bidder’s reliability. (A history of bidding on items and then changing one’s mind is a danger signal for sellers.)

Here are the circumstances in which it’s okay to retract an eBay bid:

  • You accidentally typed the wrong bid amount: Say you typed $900 but you meant $9.00. Oops. When you retract a bid because of a bidding error, you wipe out any of your previous bids in the auction. In such a case, you can retract the bid, but you’d better rebid the proper amount (that original $9.00) immediately, or you may be in violation of eBay’s policies.

  • The seller has added information to the item description that changes the value of the item considerably: The bull that was let loose in the seller’s shop has changed the mint condition of the Ming vase you just bid on? No problem.

  • You can’t reach the seller through eBay’s e-mail or through the telephone number you got from eBay’s find members area. Has the seller gone AWOL and you have a question about an item you’ve bid on? eBay can help get you in touch:

    • Use eBay’s e-mail system by clicking the Ask a Question link in the Seller Info box on the auction page.

    • To get the seller’s telephone number, click the Advanced Search link (at the top-right corner of most eBay pages), and then click the Find a Member link (on the left side of the page). Input your transaction number and the seller’s user ID.

      After checking to make sure that you’ve begun a transaction with this person (in this case, you placed a bid), the good people at eBay will send the seller’s telephone number in an e-mail message to your registered e-mail address. Your phone number will also be e-mailed to the seller.

  • You placed more than one bid on the same auction, and one of those bids was during the auction’s last 12 hours. If you did so, you can retract the last bid within one hour of placing it. In this case, only that last bid is retracted; any other bid placed before the last 12 hours of the listing remains valid.

    If you have to retract your bid within the last 12 hours of the auction, you must send an e-mail to the seller asking him to cancel your bid. It is up to the seller whether to cancel your bid. A bid retraction isn’t a guarantee that you will get out of purchasing the item. Sometimes sellers simply don’t have the opportunity or time to cancel a bid. If that happens to you, you have to buy the item.

To retract your bid (or find more information), go to http://offer.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?RetractBidShow. You can also find your way to the Bid Retraction form by clicking the Buying Related links on your My eBay Buying page.

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After you make sure that your reason for wanting to retract is valid, fill in the item number, choose Your Explanation of the Retraction from the drop-down list, and click Retract Bid.

Be careful when you retract a bid. All bids on eBay are binding, but under what eBay calls exceptional circumstances, you may retract bids — but do so sparingly. eBay vigorously investigates members who abuse bid retractions. Too many bid retractions, and you may find yourself suspended.

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