eBay Best Offers

There are some items on eBay that allow you to submit "Best Offers" to their sellers.  If the seller is desperate enough to get rid of the item, they may agree to sell it to you at the price you offer to buy it at, even if it's less than the price they were initially asking for the item.  Whenever you submit an offer for an item to a seller, they have the choice to accept it, reject it, or make a counter-offer.  If a counter-offer is made, then it is up to you to accept or reject it. 

eBay Best Offer rules

There are three things to remember when it comes to making "Best Offers" for items on eBay: 

  1. "Best Offers" are only valid for 48 hours after you make them.  If the seller does not accept your offer -- or you do not accept a counter-offer that the seller makes -- within this time, your offer will automatically be rejected.  Your offer will also automatically be rejected if the item stops being listed on eBay (for example, because it was sold to someone else, or the owner decided not to sell it after all).

  2. For each item that allows you to submit "Best Offers", you can only submit a total of three offers.  This includes any previous offers that a seller rejected, as well as any offers that were met with counter-offers that you rejected.  It also includes any offers that expired because they exceeded the 48-hour time limit, or any offers that you retracted.

  3. A "Best Offer" is, like a bid in an auction, usually considered to be a binding contract on eBay.   This means that if a seller accepts your offer, or you accept a seller's counter-offer, you are much more obligated to follow through with purchasing and paying for the item than you would be if you bought the item at a fixed price. 

How to make a Best Offer on eBay

  1. Go to www.ebay.com in your web browser and log in (if you haven't already).

  2. Find an item that you want to buy, and that offers are being accepted for, and click on it to see its details.  (Note: if clicking on it just creates a new window or a pop-up window, you may need to click on that item again in the new window to see its details.)

    If you need help finding items that you can submit offers for, check out our eBay Search and eBay Advanced Search tutorials.

  3. Once you're on the item's details page, look over things like the description of the item, shipping rates, shipping times, types of payment accepted, and return policies.  You can also see the best offer that has been put forward so far for this item (if there is one).

    If everything looks good, click Make Offer.

  4. A window will pop up allowing you to make your offer.  Click in the box underneath "Your Offer" and type in the amount of money that you wish to pay for the item.  If you want, you can also click Add Message to Seller, and then click in the box that appears and type in a short message to the seller (perhaps outlining the reasons why you're making the offer).  When you're ready, click Review Offer.

  5. eBay will show you your offer, and any note that you want to pass along to the seller with it.  If there's something you want to change, click Edit Offer.  Otherwise, click Submit Offer.

There!  Your offer has been submitted, and now you just have to wait to see how the seller responds to it. Ready to start making some "best offers" on eBay, click here to visit eBay.com!

How to cancel a Best Offer on eBay

As we mentioned, Best Offers on eBay are considered to be legally binding, just as bids are.  Therefore, in order to cancel one, you must meet one or more of the same three criteria:

  1. You entered an obviously incorrect amount for your offer (as opposed to you just feeling like changing the amount for your offer).

  2. The item's description has changed significantly since you made your offer.

  3. You are unable to contact the seller in order to retract your offer.

How to retract a Best Offer on eBay

If you feel that you have a case for being able to retract a best offer, go to www.ebay.com and log in, and then go to this link to reach the Best Offer retraction form.

Find the item number for the item that you wish to retract an offer for (HINT: go to the item's details page, click the Description tab, and look in the top-right corner), then click in the box labelled "Item Number" and type that number in.  Then click Continue, and follow any additional instructions from there.

You can also try to contact the seller in order to cancel your offer (see our How to Cancel an eBay Order tutorial).  If they have not accepted your offer yet, they may just let it expire, and then you're off the hook.  However, if they have already accepted your offer, you will have a much harder time convincing them to let your commitment drop.

If all else fails, you can contact eBay's customer support team, and explain your problem to them.  (See our eBay Customer Service tutorial to learn how to do that.)  They may be able to help you help you get your offer cancelled in an emergency.


Well, those are the ins and outs of eBay Best Offers.


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