There are a few cases, however, in which eBay transactions may be considered null and void even after a winner/buyer has been identified and the listing ended.
- When a reserve price has not been met. If the item was listed as an auction with a reserve price and this price was not met, neither party is under any obligation to complete the transaction—the buyer is under no obligation to pay for the item and the seller is under no obligation to sell it even if the buyer pays. That’s not to say that buyer and seller are forbidden from completing the transaction at the final price—only that the eBay component is null and void.
- When the item in question is a real estate item. Real estate auctions on eBay are non-binding for legal reasons to which eBay themselves are subject, so any real estate auction is merely a tool for the linking of buyers to sellers and the negotiation of a price. It is up to the parties in question to actually close the deal, should they wish to do so.
- When either the buyer or the seller is suspended . If either the buyer or the seller in the transaction is suspended between the time that the listing closes and the completion of the transaction, the other party is relieved of the obligation to transact with them.
- When the listing in question violates eBay rules. If a buyer learns only after bidding that the auction listing in question is in violation of eBay rules—selling prohibited items, for example—then the buyer is relieved of the obligation to transact with the seller.
- When the terms of the transaction change substantially after bidding. If either the description of the item in the auction or the terms demanded by the seller change substantially after the bid was placed, the buyer is relieved of the obligation to transact with the seller.
- When the buyer is unable to comply with auction terms. If the winner or buyer of an auction is unable to meet the listed terms of the auction—with regard to payment terms or shipping destinations, for example—the seller is relieved of the obligation to accept payment from and deliver an item to the buyer.
- When the parties mutually agree to nullify the contract. If the buyer and seller mutually agree not to complete a transaction, both parties are relieved of the obligation to complete it and the contract between buyer and seller is considered to be null and void.
Of course, the sticky issue with most of these cases is that the seller has already paid listing fees to place the item for sale on eBay in the first place. Under certain circumstances it may be possible for sellers to recover some or all of these fees through the use of the non-paying bidder tools on eBay’s website. Because in some cases the use of the non-paying bidder process causes eBay to record a violation on the part of the buyer, however, it is important for sellers using this unpaid item process form to select only the reason that applies in the case in question. If the reason for wanting to recover listing fees is not shown in the form, then the seller is not allowed to automatically recover fees for the listing in question, even if the contract between buyer and seller has been made null and void—and attempting to do so may be a punishable violation on the part of the seller. In such cases, the seller’s only option is to contact eBay directly, routing an inquiry through the selling and fees section of the form that requests a refund of listing fees on the grounds that the transaction was never completed.