Retract Your Bid Without Retracting Your Bid

Back out of an auction before it’s too late.

There are many reasons you might want to back out of an auction after bidding. Obviously, if you make a mistake and bid the wrong amount or bid on the wrong auction, you’ll want to retract that bid before the auction ends and you’re obligated to pay.

But there are other reasonable circumstances under which you may change your mind about an auction. Sellers can make changes [Hack #65] to the description or photos, even after the item has received bids, and such changes may affect your desire for an item or your ability to pay for it. Or, if you lose your job and find your daughter needs braces, your desperate need for that 50-inch plasma TV may become slightly less desperate.

eBay takes bidding very seriously, to the point of imposing restrictions as to when and under what circumstances you can retract a bid. This is understandable, considering the scams a small minority of eBay users have propagated; look up “buying offenses” in eBay’s Help for an exhaustive list (and lots of ideas, too).

By the Book

The easiest way to retract a bid is to use the “Retract my bid” form. Simply enter the auction number, choose one of the prewritten excuses from the list, and click Retract Bid. (It doesn’t really matter which reason you choose; the end result will be the same.) All your bids on the auction will be canceled, and the auction’s current price will be adjusted accordingly.


Not surprisingly, you ...

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