How eBay Sellers Can Cancel Bids, Cancel Sales, and Block Buyers

Sellers can choose not to sell, but it's not always a wise idea

Image shows a pair of hands typing on a laptop with a ebay page open, the user is hovering over the "retract bid" button. Text reads: "Legitimate reasons to cancel buyers' bids: A buyer has too many unpaid items on file. You want to end your listing early because your item is no longer available for sale. You are unable to verify a bidder's identity, after trying all reasonable means of contact. A bidder contacts you to back out of the auction"

Image by Theresa Chiechi © The Balance 2019

Sellers on eBay sometimes need to cancel bids, cancel sales, or even block buyers. eBay allows all of these actions, but they can hurt your seller rating. Make sure you understand the process and the consequences before taking action.

Canceling Auction Bids

Sellers might want to cancel bids from potential buyers for a few different reasons. While sellers cannot leave negative feedback for buyers, they can file unpaid item (UPI) cases that become part of buyers' records. If a buyer has too many UPIs, sellers may not want to sell to them for fear that they won't pay for the items.

Unpaid items are a huge hassle for sellers because cases have to be filed, then four more days must pass before they can be closed. A seller can lose up to a week waiting for a UPI case to be resolved, all while their item is off the market.

Other legitimate reasons to cancel buyers' bids:

  • A bidder contacts you to back out of the auction.
  • You are unable to verify a bidder's identity, after trying all reasonable means of contact. 
  • You want to end your listing early because your item is no longer available for sale. In this case, you must cancel all bids on your listing before ending it.

How to cancel a bid:

  • Go to the listing and click the number of bids (next to the price).
  • Go to the bottom of the bid history chart and choose the "cancel bids" icon.
  • You will be redirected to the bid cancellation form where you will enter the info about the auction and the bids you want to have canceled.

Canceling eBay Sales

Canceling a sale is an eBay no-no unless a buyer requests it. Buyers may change their minds, and if that is the case, it is perfectly acceptable to cancel a sale.

But if an item is damaged or out of stock and a seller must cancel because he can't ship the item, the cancellation counts against the seller. Sellers always should be informed of what actions cause "transaction defects" because defects can lead to selling limits, suspension, or permanent removal of an eBay account. 

To cancel an eBay sale:

  • Go to My eBay, then click on Sold and locate the item.
  • In the More Actions drop-down menu, select Cancel This Order.
  • Choose a reason for the cancellation and follow the on-screen instructions.

Blocking a Buyer

Be cautious about using the "block buyer" feature as a seller. Sometimes buyers ask weird or unusual questions, but that isn't a good reason to block them. Once blocked, people can't buy anything from you ever, unless you remove the block.

Legitimate reasons for blocking buyers include:

  • Previous bad experience with a buyer
  • Threatening or offensive messages from a buyer (report them to eBay)
  • Poor feedback score
  • History of nonpayment

To block another eBay member, navigate to the blocked bidder page and enter the user's information. 

Before blocking another buyer, canceling a bid, or canceling a sale, think through all of your options. Don't make a snap decision and do something rash that could cost you a sale now or in the future. Take some time and think about it. You have done all the work to get buyers to your listing, so don't be too quick to turn them away.