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Buying practices policy

Our buying practices policy lays out the behaviour we expect from all buyers to ensure sellers are treated respectfully and have confidence in eBay as a safe marketplace to do business.

We ask buyers to pay for their items on time and not abuse our feedback, returns, and buyer protection programs. Our full policy below outlines eBay's expectations for buyer behaviour.

Frequently Asked Questions


What should I do if I think a buyer is making an unreasonable demand?

If a buyer is making unreasonable demands, sellers should contact them directly and try to reach a resolution. Sometimes buyers aren't aware that their requests are unreasonable or are not covered by your business policies.

If you can't come to a mutually acceptable arrangement and the buyer is still insistent in their demands, you can report them to us and we'll look into it. Examples of a buyer being unreasonable include demanding a change to shipping, payment, or delivery times (outside of those offered in the listing), asking for additional items or services, or requesting to complete a purchase off eBay.

How do I protect myself against excessive or unreasonable returns?

We watch out for excessive returns, and we'll take action against a buyer if a pattern develops. We'll also help if you receive a returned item that is different or in a different condition from what you sent.

Read our full policy

Bidding policy overview

Rules for buyers - overview

We want all eBay members to be able to buy and sell on eBay with confidence. We want our sellers to bring great service and value to our marketplace, and we strive to protect sellers from unfair and unsafe buyer activity.

This policy outlines our expectations for buyer behaviour. When buyers don't meet these standards, we encourage sellers to report the concern.

Violations of this policy may result in a range of actions, including feedback removal, cancellation of return requests, limits on account privileges (such as use of the eBay Money Back Guarantee), limits on overall buying activity, and account suspension.

Buying behaviours we don't allow

Not paying for items

If you've placed a winning bid or clicked Buy it Now in a listing, you've committed to purchasing that item.

If you don't pay for an item, even if you've changed your mind, you're violating our policy, which may result in account restriction or suspension. Learn more about our unpaid item policy.


Making unreasonable demands

When you bid on or buy an item, you accept the seller's terms as set out in the listing, provided the listing complies with our listing policies. You're entitled to expect that the seller will do what they've said with regards to shipping, payments, and item returns. We know that exceptional circumstances can arise, and we allow you to make reasonable and limited requests. However, we don't require sellers to fulfill requests that are outside of their terms.

We don't allow unreasonable or excessive demands. We also consider using the threat of negative feedback, low detailed seller ratings, or opening eBay Money Back Guarantee requests as a way to make demands of the seller to be extortion and we don't allow it.

Allowed Allowed
  • Asking to use one of the alternative shipping options specified in the listing
  • Asking to use a more expensive shipping option to get the item more quickly, and offering to pay the extra shipping cost
  • Asking the seller if it's acceptable if your payment is briefly delayed due to exceptional circumstances
  • Asking to return an item according to the seller's return policy
  • Asking whether a seller will combine shipping for multiple purchases
Not allowed Not allowed
  • Demanding a change to the shipping method or delivery location, other than those specified in the listing
  • Demanding a change to the payment method or timing, other than those specified in the listing
  • Demanding a partial refund or discount not covered by the original listing or the eBay Money Back Guarantee under threat of negative feedback, low detailed seller ratings, or opening an eBay Money Back Guarantee request or PayPal Purchase Protection case.
  • Demanding additional items or services that are outside of what is contained in the listing
  • Asking the seller to complete the transaction off eBay

Leaving inappropriate feedback

Feedback is an essential tool for letting other members know about your experiences with a seller, and we encourage you to be honest. However, we don't allow misuse of feedback.

Allowed Allowed
  • Leaving negative or neutral feedback with an appropriate comment reflecting your experience
  • Leaving low detailed seller ratings if the seller's performance doesn't live up to your expectations
Not allowed Not allowed
  • Leaving inappropriate feedback comments, such as comments containing obscene language.
  • Leaving negative or neutral feedback or low detailed seller ratings because a seller didn't provide additional goods and services not mentioned in the original listing or the eBay Money Back Guarantee. We consider threatening to do this to be feedback extortion.
  • Consistently leaving low detailed seller ratings or negative feedback for sellers who sell the same or similar items as you. We consider this to be feedback manipulation.

Abusing the buyer protection programs

The eBay Money Back Guarantee covers all eligible purchases on If you have a problem with a purchase, you can let us know in My eBay.

We don't allow buyers to abuse the eBay Money Back Guarantee or PayPal Purchase Protection.

Allowed Allowed
  • Opening an eBay Money Back Guarantee refund request or opening a PayPal Purchase Protection case when you didn't receive the item and you haven't been able to resolve the issue with the seller
  • Opening an eBay Money Back Guarantee return request or PayPal Purchase Protection case after the item you received didn't match the description in the listing
Not allowed Not allowed
  • Claiming you haven't received an item before the estimated delivery date has passed
  • Claiming you haven't received an item when it has arrived
  • Claiming an item isn't as described in the listing when the item condition is consistent with the listing description
  • Opening an eBay Money Back Guarantee request or PayPal Purchase Protection case:
    • When you have already received a refund from the seller or reimbursement from your payment provider
    • When you haven't paid for an item.
    • As retaliation against a seller following a previous dispute
  • Threatening to open an eBay Money Back Guarantee request or PayPal Purchase Protection case against a seller in order to get a discount or additional goods and services, when the item arrived in the described condition
  • A pattern of excessively opening eBay Money Back Guarantee requests or PayPal Purchase Protection cases

Misusing returns

We encourage all sellers to specify a clear return policy in their listings. Always check the return policy specified in a listing before committing to pay for an item.

If you want to return an item, review the seller's return policy before initiating a return. Sellers may specify requirements for returns such as time limits, and who pays for return shipping.

Allowed Allowed
  • Returning a faulty item or an item that wasn't as described in the listing
  • Returning an item within the terms of the seller's return policy
Not allowed Not allowed
  • Returning a different item (for example, a used or older model of the same product or an empty box)
  • Not returning the item in the condition that it was sent to you (for example, returning a TV without the remote control)
  • Returning an item that has been damaged after being delivered
  • Claiming an item isn't as described in the listing in order to circumvent a seller's return policy
  • Not following the terms of the seller's return policy
  • A pattern of purchasing items and receiving excessive refunds

Learn more about our item condition return policy for returns.

Additional information

Acceptable buying practices include adherence to the following policies.

How sellers can report policy violations

To report a buyer who may be violating our policies:

  1. Review the relevant section of this policy (and its related policies) to make sure the buyer is really breaking the rules.
  2. Once confirmed, report the buyer.

When we review a report of a member violating our policies, we look at the circumstances, including the members' history. We make decisions based on the evidence in the individual situation, as well as by evaluating patterns of behaviour that create a negative value in the marketplace. If we aren't sure about something or can't prove it with certainty, we may not take any action. Also, because we respect our members' privacy, we can't discuss the results of any investigations.

Why does eBay have this policy?

We work hard to make shopping on eBay safe and fun. We hold sellers on eBay to high standards of customer service. Our selling practices policy sets out our expectations of sellers, and we hold sellers accountable to seller performance standards when buyers report a problem with a purchase. While most eBay buyers follow the rules, we also need to protect sellers from unsafe and unfair behaviour, and from buyers who try to take advantage of our protection systems.

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