Midcourse Corrections: Fixing Current eBay Listings

Don't worry if you make a mistake filling out the Sell Your Item page but don't notice it until after the auction is up and running. Pencils have erasers, and eBay allows revisions. You can make changes at two stages of the game: before the first bid is placed and after the bidding war is underway.

The following sections explain what you can and can't correct — and when you have to accept the little imperfections of your item page.

Making changes before bidding begins

Here's what you can change about your auction before bids have been placed (and when there are more than 12 hours to go):

  • The title or description of your auction

  • The item category

  • The item's starting price

  • The item's Buy It Now price

  • The reserve price (you can add, change, or remove it)

  • The duration of your listing

  • The URL of the picture you're including with your auction

  • A private listing designation (you can add or remove it)

  • Accepted payment methods, Checkout information, item location, and shipping terms

When you revise a listing, eBay puts a little notation on your auction page. (Think of it as automatic common courtesy.)

To revise a fixed-price listing or any auction before bids have been received, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your My eBay page and find the item you want to revise. Click the Revise link from the drop-down menu on the right side of the item.

    If the item hasn't received any bids, a message appears on your screen to indicate that you may update the item.

  2. You arrive at the Revise Item page, which looks like the Sell an Item form.

  3. Make changes to the item information and then click the Save and Continue button at the bottom of the page when you're finished.

    A summary of your newly revised page appears on your screen.

  4. If you're happy with your revisions, click Save Changes.

    You're taken to your newly revised item page, where you see a disclaimer from eBay that says you've revised the listing before the first bid. If you instead want to make further revisions, click the Back button of your browser and redo the Edit Your Listing page.

Making changes after bidding begins

If your listing is up and running and already receiving bids, you can still make some slight modifications to it. Newly added information is clearly separated from the original text and pictures. In addition, eBay puts a time stamp on the additional info in case questions from early bidders crop up later.

After your item receives bids, eBay allows you to add to your item's description. If you feel that you were at a loss for words in writing your item's description, if you discover new information (that vase you thought was a reproduction is actually the real thing!), or if a lot of potential bidders are asking the same questions, go ahead and make all the additions you want.

But whatever you put there the first time around stays in the description as well.

Don't let an oversight grow into a failure to communicate — and don't ignore iffy communication until the auction is over. Correct any inaccuracies in your auction information now to avoid problems later.

Always check your messages to see whether bidders have questions about your item. If a bidder wants to know about flaws, be truthful and courteous when responding. As you get more familiar with eBay (and with writing descriptions), the number of buyer questions will decrease. If you enjoy good customer service in your day-to-day shopping, here's your chance to give some back.

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