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eBay Hacks by David A. Karp

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Make Changes to Running Auctions

Keep your auctions looking and performing their best with post-listing revisions.

We all misspell words from time to time, but where auction titles and descriptions are concerned, innocent typos can adversely affect sales. eBay allows you to modify your auctions once they’ve been started, but certain revisions may not be allowed, depending on when you submit them and whether the item has received any bids.

For example, eBay understandably doesn’t let you change the description once someone has bid on your auction,[12] but you can add to the description. Any supplemental text and photos are placed at the end of the description, accompanied by a date and timestamp, making it clear to your bidders exactly what you added and when. Additionally, since eBay doesn’t allow bidders to retract their bids within the last 12 hours of an auction (see [Hack #27]), further revisions normally available to sellers are prohibited during that time. Table 4-4 shows possible revisions to a running auction; a checkmark indicates when each revision is allowed.

Table 4-4. When aspects of an auction can be changed


Before 1st bid

After 1st bid

Last 12 Hours

Completed Items


(nonrefundable if removed)

(nonrefundable if removed)


vehicles with a reserve price only

only using second-chance offer

Calculated shipping

change in invoice only

Cancel bids




add to only

add to only, unless it has also received a bid


only by ending early

only by ending early

End listing


(nonrefundable if removed)

(nonrefundable if removed)


(nonrefundable if removed)

(nonrefundable if removed)

Gallery photo

Gift services

(nonrefundable if removed)

(nonrefundable if removed)


(nonrefundable if removed)

(nonrefundable if removed)

Item location

Listing format (auction vs. fixed-price)

auctions only, using Buy-It-Now

Payment details

add to only

change in invoice only

Payment instructions

change in invoice only

Pictures (if hosting on eBay)

add to description only

Pictures (if hosting yourself)

Private auction


Reserve price

vehicles only, can be removed or lowered once

vehicles only, use second-chance offer

Shipping details

add to shipping destinations only

change in invoice only

Starting price


Most revisions can be made by clicking the "Revise your item” link at the top of the auction page, or by going to Site Map Revise my item and entering the auction number. There are a few exceptions, such as “Fix my gallery image,” all of which appear in the “Manage My Items for Sale” section of the eBay site map.

If you find that a revision you need to make is prohibited by eBay policy, your final resort is to go to Site Map End My Listing, cancel all bids, end the auction early, and then relist the item. eBay will refund your listing fees (minus any listing upgrade fees) from the first auction if the relisted auction sells, so it should ultimately cost you nothing but time.

There are ways to sneak around eBay’s auction revision policies, of course, as long as you don’t do anything egregious like changing what the auction is for after the high bidder has bid.

  • If you host your own photos, you can change them at any time, even after the auction has ended. All you need to do is make sure you don’t change the photo filenames. See [Hack #59] for more information.

  • See [Hack #51] for ways to change your auction description when eBay won’t otherwise allow you to do so.

  • Your About Me page is separate from your auctions and can be modified at any time, regardless of the status of your auctions. This makes it ideal for your payment and shipping terms, contact information, and details about your business; see [Hack #48] for more information.

[12] Note that canceling bids, as described in [Hack #54], will not restore your ability to make changes to the auction description.

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