Not so. As an eBay buyer, you are also bound by strict rules that help to keep eBay a nice place to do business for all involved.
- Don't violate your contract. Remember, a contract is between two parties. In the same way that a seller is bound by the terms of an auction listing, such a listing is also a contract listing your responsibilities as a buyer to your sellers(s). Once you bid on a listing—not once you win it, but once you bid on it—it is your legal responsibility to ensure that you have funds available to pay for the item should you win it, that you are legally able to receive it, and that you will follow through if you do ultimately win the item by actually sending remittance in a reasonable time frame.
- Don't bid if you can't hold up your end of the bargain. This is closely related to the first general rule above, but a little more specific. Each auction listing spells out terms that the seller has established. These are the terms of a contract. It is against the rules to bid if you know from the beginning that you are unable to fulfill the contract. For example, if you live in the United States, it is against the rules for you to bid on an auction in which the seller says that they are willing to ship only within Germany. Similarly, if you do not have a credit card, it is against the rules for you to bid on an auction for which the seller only accepts credit cards as payment. It is up to you to read and understand the terms in the auction listing before you bid.
- Don't retract bids. eBay provides bid retraction functionality for a very limited set of purposes involving typographical errors and direct problems in being able to communicate with a seller. Retracting bids for any other reasons, no matter how valid you feel them to be, is a violation of your contract and can cause you to be suspended.
- Don't commit a crime of any kind. Once again, if it's illegal in society at large, it is also against the rules on eBay. Some frustrated buyers believe that it is totally fair for them to “put a seller out of business” by bidding on every one of their auctions with no intention of paying for any of them, effectively ending their ability to sell. Don't do this—not only does such behavior represent multiple contract violations (one for each bid), it also constitutes harassment and disorderly conduct, amongst other things, and may be referred to the police in addition to leading to suspension. As was the case for sellers, for buyers this rule also applies to things like making threats against or harassing those with whom you do business, publishing personal information or accusations about them online in any form or place, or re-selling information about them without their consent—no matter what the reason or motivation.
Use Your Common SenseIn reality, it's fairly easy to judge what might be against the rules at eBay simply by using your common sense. All of these are likely to be illegal and against eBay rules as well, for both buyers and sellers:
- Trying purposefully to inconvenience or harm someone in any way (including financially)
- Using “the system” in to gain a trading advantage that others don't have
- Trying to mislead or take advantage of your trading partner in any way
- Doing anything that is against the law outside of eBay
- Gaining at someone else's expense without their permission
- Harming or shortchanging eBay directly (for example, by referring traders to business outside of eBay, or by failing to pay your selling fees)