Buyers on eBay can under special circumstances retract bids that they have placed on auction listings. When a bid retraction occurs, the proxy bidding process recalculates the current bid total to exclude the previously made bid and the buyer whose bid was retracted is no longer able to win the auction.
Bids can only be retracted under the following special circumstances, which must be reported to eBay as the bid is retracted:
- The bidder mistyped the intended bid amount and as a result overbid by order(s) of magnitude.
- The seller's description of the item changed significantly after the bid was placed.
- The seller fails to respond in a timely manner to attempted contact.
The timing of retractions is also important. In general, attempted bid retractions during the last 12 hours of a listing are subject to special restrictions detailed on eBay's bid retraction help page.
Bids on real estate auctions (land, housing, or investment property) are non-binding and can thus be retracted at will.
Any bid retraction can trigger an investigation by eBay or a complaint by the seller. In either case, if the bid retraction is determined to have been made without cause (i.e. it falls outside the guidelines listed above), a buyer may be cited for having made an invalid bid retraction. Repeated citations can lead to suspension from eBay.