Sometimes, after you’ve listed an item on eBay, you may want to end your listing early. While this isn’t usually a good idea as it can lead to disappointed customers (and perhaps even penalties on your account), there are certain circumstances in which it has to be done. This lesson will explain when it’s okay to prematurely remove an item from eBay, what happens when you do it, and how the process actually works.
When can I end an eBay listing early, and what happens when I do?
There are two general reasons why you may be allowed to delete a listing on eBay before it expires:
- The item it advertises is broken, lost, or otherwise unfit/unavailable for sale.
- You made a mistake when creating the listing, such as entering an incorrect opening bid, sale price, or reserve price.
Generally, there are no restrictions on ending a “fixed price” listing early. However, there are restrictions on ending an “auction-style” listing early, depending on how much time is left in the listing and whether or not any bids have been placed for your item.
If your “auction-style” listing has 12 hours remaining or more:
- If there are no current bids for your item, you may delete the listing without restriction.
- If your item currently has one or more bids on it, you can end the auction early and sell your item to the current highest bidder.
- If your item currently has one or more bids on it, you can cancel all bids on your item at once and end the listing early. However, if this is not the first time that you have done so during the current calendar year, you will have to pay a fee equal to the final value fee that you would have incurred if the auction had ended naturally and you had sold your item to the current highest bidder. See our article on eBay seller fees for more information about final value fees.
If your auction-style listing has less than 12 hours remaining:
- If there are no bids currently on your item, and you haven’t manually blocked any bids for it, you can cancel the listing without restriction.
- If your item currently has one or more bids on it, you can delete the listing early and choose to sell your item to the current highest bidder.
- If there are no current bids for your item because you have manually blocked them all, you cannot end the auction early.
- If your item currently has one or more bids on it, but the highest bid isn’t enough to meet your reserve price (if you’ve set one), you cannot end your listing early.
Those are the rules for when you can or can’t delete a listing early, and the potential conditions on doing so. Now, we’ll explain with step-by-step instructions how the process actually works.
To remove a listed item from eBay:
- Navigate to www.ebay.com in your web browser and log into your account there.
- Move your mouse cursor over My eBay in the top-right corner of the home page. A drop-down menu will appear, from which you should select Selling.
- In the “Sell” menu on the left-hand side of your “Activity” page, click Active to see all items that you’re currently selling. Then, find the listing that you wish to cancel, click the check box beside it to select it, and then click End (or else click More Actions beside the item and then click End Item). Note that you may be asked to provide your account log-in credentials again; do so.
- If the item that you are trying to delete is an “auction-style” listing that already has bids placed on it, you must choose how you wish to handle the cancellation of your listing on the next page. Click Cancel Bids and End Listing Early if you wish to delete all bids on your item and remove it from eBay without selling it to anyone.Or, you can click Sell Item to High Bidder if you want to end the listing, but still get some money out of it by selling your item to the current highest bidder. Note that if your listing expires in less than 12 hours, only the latter option will be available.If you are trying to cancel a “fixed price” listing, or an “auction-style” listing that currently has no bids for it, then you will skip this step.
- On the next page, you must choose a reason for why you wish to delete your listing. This reason will appear on the “Removed Item” page if anyone tries to find your listing after you have cancelled it. Click the button beside the reason that best corresponds to why you want your item removed from eBay, and then click End My Listing.
Those are the basics of cancelling an eBay listing! Remember, though, only delete a listing when you really need to. Doing it too often will frustrate your customers, and may even prompt eBay to restrict your selling privileges. It may be a better idea to simply revise the listing, or add a note to it. We’ll talk about that in our next tutorial on how to manage your eBay listings.