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How to Block Bidders and Cancel eBay Auctions

If you're running an eBay auction, eBay's bidder-management tools let you block buyers and cancel auctions. Remember, you don't have to accept bids from just anyone. Part of running an eBay business is keeping an eye on your bidders. With bidder-management tools, you can save yourself a good deal of grief.

Canceling bids

You could have any number of reasons for wanting to cancel someone's bid. Perhaps an international bidder has bid on an auction in which you clearly state you don't ship overseas. Here are a few more legitimate reasons for canceling a bid:

  • The bidder contacts you to back out of the bid; choosing to be a nice guy, you let him or her out of the deal.

  • Your bidder has received several negative feedback notes and hasn't gone through with other transactions that he or she has won.

  • You're unable to verify the bidder's identity through e-mail or the phone.

  • You need to cancel the auction.

Canceling an auction is bad business. People rely on your auctions being up for the stated amount of time. They may be planning to bid at the last minute, or they may just want to watch the action for a while. You may lose potential buyers by ending your listing early. But if you have to . . .

For whatever reason you're canceling someone's bid, you should first e-mail that person and clearly explain why you're doing so. Your bid cancellation appears in the auction's bidding history and becomes part of the auction's official record. To protect your reputation, leave a concise, unemotional, one-line explanation on the cancellation form as to why you've cancelled the bid.

Ending your listing early

You may decide to end a listing early for any number of reasons. If anyone has bid on your auction before you end it, you'll be duty-bound to sell to the highest bidder. So before ending an auction early, it's polite to e-mail everyone in your bidder list, explaining why you're canceling bids and closing the auction. If an egregious error in the item's description is forcing you to take this action, let your bidders know whether you're planning to relist the item with the correct information.

Only after canceling all bids should you go ahead and close your auction. To end your listing, use the drop-down menu next to the item in your Selling area. Click the End Item link.

Following are some legitimate reasons for closing your auction:

  • You no longer want to sell the item: Your account may be subject to a "Non-Selling Seller" warning unless you have a really good reason.

  • An error occurred in the minimum bid or the reserve amount: Perhaps your wife said that she really loves that lamp and you'd better get some good money for it, but you started the auction at $1 with no reserve. (Oops.)

  • The listing has a major error in it: Maybe you misspelled a critical keyword in the title.

  • The item was somehow lost or broken: Your dog ate it? A meteorite fell on it?

Blocking individual buyers

If you don't want certain buyers bidding on your auctions, you can remove their capability to do so. Setting up a list of bidders that you don't want to do business with is legal on eBay. If someone you've blocked tries to bid on your auction, the bid won't go through. A message will be displayed notifying the person that he or she is not able to bid on the listing and to contact the seller for more information.

You can block as many as one thousand users from bidding on your auctions. However, you should use this option only when absolutely necessary.

Click the Add an eBay User to My Blocked Bidder/Buyer List link. On the resulting page, you can add the bidder's user ID to the Blocked list.

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