How to Make Changes to an eBay Listing or Cancel Bids

By Marsha Collier

Face the facts: Oftimes things don’t go as planned on eBay. You did your very best, and things didn’t work out. Before you kill an auction completely, if there are no bids, see whether you can improve it by improving your description or reducing your opening bid. You may also cancel a bid, which removes a bidder from your auction, but the auction continues running.

When you cancel a bid, you need to provide an explanation, which goes on record for all to see. You may have a million reasons for thinking your auction is a bust, but eBay says your explanation had better be good. Here are some eBay-approved reasons for canceling a bid (or even an entire auction):

  • A bidder informs you that he or she is retracting a bid, or asks you whether it’s okay to back out.
  • Despite your best efforts to determine who your high bidder is, you can’t find out — and you get no response to your messages or phone calls.
  • You decide, mid-auction, that you can’t sell your item because you’ve learned it was already sold in an outside venue — or the dog ate it. (You must cancel all bids and end the listing in this instance.)

This cannot be stressed enough: Explain why you’re canceling a bid, and your explanation had better be good. You can cancel any bid for any reason you want, but if you can’t give a good explanation of why you did it, you’ll be sorry. Citing past transaction problems with the current high bidder is okay, but canceling a bidder who lives in Japan because you don’t feel like shipping overseas — after you said you’d ship internationally — could give your feedback history the aroma of week-old sushi.

To cancel a bid placed on one of your auctions, do the following (you can also reach the Bidder Cancellation Form here and type in the item number):

  1. Go to the listing page.
  2. Click the Bid History link. You’re taken to the Bid History page.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the bidding history and click the Cancel Bids link. You’ll be brought to a page outlining eBay’s policies on bidding.
  4. Scroll down to the Canceling Bids area and click the Canceling Bids link. You arrive at the Canceling Bids page.
  5. Type the item number, the User ID for the bid you’re canceling, and the reason for canceling the bid.
  6. Click the Cancel Bid button. Be sure that you really want to cancel a bid before you click the Cancel Bid button. Canceled bids can never be reinstated.
cancel bid
Use this form to remove a bidder from one of your auctions.

Canceling bids means that you removed an individual bidder (or several bidders) from your auction, but the auction itself continues running. If you want to end the auction completely, read on.