How to Retract an eBay Bid - dummies

By Marsha Collier

Remember, many states consider your eBay bid a binding contract, just like any other contract. You can’t retract your bid unless one of these three outstandingly unusual circumstances applies:

  • If your bid is clearly a typographical error (you submitted a bid for $4,567 when you really meant $45.67), you may retract your bid. If this occurs, you should re-enter the correct bid amount immediately. You won’t get any sympathy if you try to retract an $18.25 bid by saying you meant to bid $15.25, so review your bid before you send it.

  • You have tried to contact the seller to answer questions on the item, and he or she doesn’t reply in a timely fashion.

  • If the seller substantially changes the description of an item after you place a bid (the description of the item changes from “can of tennis balls” to “a tennis ball,” for example), you may retract your bid.

If you simply must retract a bid, try to do so long before the auction ends — and have a good reason for your retraction. eBay users are understanding, up to a point. If you have a good explanation, you should come out of the situation all right. So admit that you’ve made a mistake.

If you’ve made an error, you must retract your bid prior to the last 12 hours of the auction. At this point, a retraction removes all bids you have placed in the auction. Mistakes or not, when you retract a bid that was placed within the last 12 hours of the listing, only the most recent bid you made is retracted — your bids placed prior to the last 12 hours are still active.

Here’s how to retract a bid while the auction’s still going on:

  1. Go to eBay’s Retract Bid page.

  2. Read the legalese and scroll down the page. Enter the item number of the auction you’re retracting your bid from. Then open the drop-down menu and select one of the three legitimate reasons for retracting your bid.

  3. Click the Retract Bid button.

    You receive a confirmation of your bid retraction via e-mail. Keep a copy of it until the auction is completed.

Try this link if you made a mistake when making a Best Offer.

The seller may send you a message to ask for a more lengthy explanation of your retraction, especially if the item was a hot seller that received a lot of bids. Keep your replies courteous.

After you retract one bid on an item, all your lower bids on that item are also retracted (unless the retraction is done within the last 12 hours), and your retraction goes into the bidding history — another good reason to have a really good reason for the retraction. The number of bids you’ve retracted also goes on your feedback-rating scorecard.