As we explained in our article on how eBay bidding works, bids on eBay are usually considered to be legally-binding agreements between you and the seller who is auctioning off an item. This means that, under normal circumstances, you are not allowed to cancel a bid that you place for an item. However, there are three special circumstances in which you can retract a bid for an item on eBay. They are:
You make an honest typographical mistake when entering your bid. For example, you accidentally type in $455 when you meant to type in $45.50. (NOTE: This does not cover you changing your mind after entering a bid because you think that you bid too high for the item.)
The seller significantly changes the details of the item up for auction. For example, the item may have fewer features, or may be in worse condition, than the seller thought when they first listed the item.
You have either of the above problems, and you cannot get in contact with the seller in any way. This includes through eBay's internal messaging system, via email, or by phone call.
There are two other rules concerning the timing of when you are allowed to withdraw your bid:
If the auction has over 12 hours remaining: you can retract a bid at any time, for any of the reasons listed above. In this case, eBay will erase all bids that you have placed for the item. If you still want to bid for the item (in case, for example, you entered a wrong bid amount), you will have to place a new bid.
If the auction ends in less than 12 hours: you can only retract a bid, for any of the reasons listed above, within one hour of placing it. In this case, eBay only erases your latest bid for the item. All other bids you have made for the item stay in place.
If you think that you have a valid reason for removing your bid for an item on eBay, and your removal meets either of the two timing criteria, there are three general steps that you should take.
If your reason for retracting a bid is that you typed in the wrong bid amount by mistake, the first thing you'll want to do is immediately place a new bid for the correct amount. (See our How to Bid on eBay tutorial if you need a refresher on how to bid in practice.)
If this wasn't your reason for wanting to retract a bid, you can skip this step.
If possible, you're going to want to get in touch with the person who is auctioning off the item. Based on your reason for wanting to cancel your bid, explain to them that you entered a wrong bid amount by mistake, or explain to them why the details that they have changed about the item that they're selling has caused you to want to retract your bid for it. They may be able to cancel your bid on their end if they feel that your reason is valid.
See our How to Cancel an eBay Order tutorial for instructions on how to contact a seller directly if you have a problem.
If you can't get in contact with the seller of an item in order to cancel your bid, or the seller refuses your request to withdraw your bid, you can go to this link to submit a bid retraction request. (Be sure that you're logged into eBay first, if you aren't already.) You will see a screen like this:
Once there, click in the box labelled "Item Number of Auction in Question" and type in the I.D. number of the item on eBay that you want to withdraw a bid for.
(HINT: If you don't already know this number, one way that you can find it is by going to the item's details page, clicking the Description tab, and looking in the top-right corner of that window.)
Next, click the drop-down menu under "Your Explanation of the Retraction" and choose one of the three reasons for why you want to withdraw your bid. Then click Retract Bid. eBay will look into the circumstances of your bid, and if they feel you have a valid case for wanting to retract your bid, they will delete it for you.
If your reason for wanting to retract your bid is not one of the three available, but you still feel that it is valid, you can also contact eBay's customer service department directly in order to cancel your bid. We'll go over how to do that in our eBay Customer Service article.
Anyway, that's an explanation of when and how you can delete a bid on eBay!
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