|Home > Help Topics >Bidding & buying >All about bidding >Bidding overview|
The information here is for our auction-style listings. Bidding for items in live auction event works a little differently, and requires registration for an event before you can bid. Learn more about participating in live auction events.
We suggest that you bid the maximum amount that you're willing to pay for an item, and let our system incrementally increase your bid for you, as necessary.
As the listing proceeds, we compare your bid to those of other bidders. When you're outbid, we automatically bid on your behalf up to your maximum bid. We increase your bid by increments only as much as necessary to maintain your position as highest bidder. Your maximum bid reflects the amount you're willing to pay for an item, but you could end up paying less.
Our max bidding (also called automatic bidding) system makes bidding convenient so you don't have to keep coming back to re-bid every time someone places another bid.
In live auction events, max bids are called absentee bids, and work a little bit differently than in other auction-style listings on eBay. Learn more about participating in live auction events.
How max bidding, or automatic bidding, works
Here's an example:
In reserve price auctions, if your maximum bid is at least the reserve price, we automatically increase your bid to meet the reserve, and bidding will continue from there.
How to bid
Here's how to bid on an item:
When the listing ends, you'll receive an email indicating whether you've won the item and an explanation of what to do next.
Bid history and bidder search
To keep certain info private, we limit how bid history information is displayed. When the highest bid, reserve price, or Buy It Now price reaches or exceeds a certain level, members can't view or search for member-specific information, such as usernames, on the Bid History page. Though the Bid History: Details page has information on bidders, each bidder is assigned an anonymous name (x***y, for example). Only the seller can see a bidder's username.
Note: eBay determines when usernames are no longer viewable based on the price or bid amount, and this varies by country.
Changing or retracting your bid
As a general rule, you can't retract or cancel a bid. Once you place a bid, you agree to pay for the item if you're the winning bidder. However, honest mistakes sometimes occur.
If you want to retract a bid:
If you won an item and you no longer want to buy it, you need to contact the seller.
A bid on eBay is considered a contract, and you're obligated to purchase the item. Read about changing your mind about an item.
Under what conditions can I retract a bid?
Whether you can retract a bid depends on the circumstances and timing of the bid. You can retract a bid for the following reasons:
How long do I have to retract a bid?
If you meet any of the conditions for retracting a bid, consult the table to determine if you meet the time restrictions.
The timing in live auction event works a little differently than that of other auction-style listings on eBay, and while you can change your absentee bid before the event starts, you can't retract a bid made during a live auction event. Learn more about participating in live auction events.
What if I can't retract a bid?
If you can't retract a bid, you can contact the seller to request that your bid be canceled. The decision to cancel a bid is up to the seller.
Remember that every bid is binding, unless the item is listed in a category covered by the non-binding bid policy or the sale is prohibited by law or by our User Agreement. Bidding on multiple identical items should be done only if you intend to buy all of the items.
Your bids affect how other users bid for an item and the item's final selling price. We carefully investigate all bid retractions to determine whether they are appropriate and conform to the rules for buyers. Abuse of bid retractions can result in the suspension of your account.
Bids retracted within the last 24 hours of an auction-style listing can be viewed as an example of shill bidding, which is a serious violation of eBay policy.
You cannot retract a purchase made through a Buy It Now listing. Once you confirm your purchase, you are obligated to pay the seller.
Listings with special bidding requirements
Bidding requirements vary depending on the type of listing.
Sellers can make their listings unavailable to certain bidders based on certain criteria, such as whether or not they have a PayPal account, their country of registration, or their buying history on eBay.
If you're blocked from a listing and want to discuss the situation with the seller, click the seller's username or the Ask a question link on the listing page. Learn about managing bidders and buyers from a seller's point of view.
Contact Customer Support
Have a question? We can help.
Ask eBay members
Get help from other eBay members. Visit the Answer Centre to post a question.