Yes and no. A seller can cancel an unended auction listing at any time for any reason, at will, so long as the seller is not ending the listing simply to sell to another eBay member outside of eBay. When a listing is canceled with no winning bidder, the seller has no responsibility to any of the bidder(s) in the auction and the listing is considered null and void (though the seller remains responsible for associated listing fees).
A seller can also cancel a specific bid at any time and for any reason before an auction listing ends if the seller doesn't want to do business with the bidder in question.
Circumstances are different, on the other hand, for listings that have already ended and for which a winning bidder or buyer therefore exists. In general, an auction listing is a binding contract. Once a bidder has won an auction, it is the seller's legal responsibility to accept payment in the amount of the winning bid (plus shipping and any other listed extras), and to subsequently deliver the item or service according to the description and terms given in the item listing.
Sellers are in violation of eBay rules and subject to suspension (and in some cases action by law enforcement) in cases in which:
- A seller refuses to accept payment for a won auction or listing at all
- A seller refunds payment for a won auction or listing and refuses to complete the transaction
- A seller accepts payment for a won auction or listing and subsequently fails to deliver the item or offer a refund
ExceptionsSeveral important exceptions to these rules exist.
- Since eBay real estate auctions (listings for land, investment property, or housing) are non-binding, a seller is not required to sell real estate to the highest bidder even when one exists.
- The same goes for vehicle sales on eBay Motors.
- Since no eBay member is required to complete a transaction with a member whose account is suspended, a seller need not complete a transaction if the buyer or winning bidder is suspended from eBay once the listing is complete but before shipment has occurred.
- Sellers are not required to sell to the high bidder on an auction listing if there was a reserve price associated with the listing and the reserve price was not met.