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

Woman Sitting in a Cafe Using a Laptop Computer
••• Alys Tomlinson/Getty Images

eBay is a great way to earn extra money from the comfort of home, on your own schedule, with all the flexibility of running your business the way you want to. Unfortunately, sometimes there are situations when a seller needs to cancel bids, cancel sales, or even block a buyer. eBay allows all of these actions but some can hurt your seller rating. Make sure you understand the process and consequences of canceling bids, canceling sales, and blocking buyers.

Canceling Auction Bids

There are a few reasons a seller might want to cancel a bid from a potential buyer:

While sellers cannot leave negative feedback for buyers, they can file unpaid item (UPI) cases that appear on the Buyer Requirements. If a buyer has too many UPIs, a seller may not want to sell to them for fear that they won't pay for the item. An unpaid item is a huge hassle for the seller because the case has to be filed, then four more days must pass before the case can be closed. Sellers can lose up to a week waiting for a UPI case to be resolved all while their item is essentially off the market. So if a seller sees that a buyer has a high number of UPIs, he may not want that buyer bidding on his items.

Other legitimate reasons to cancel a buyer's bid:

  • The bidder contacts you to back out of the auction.
  • You are unable to verify the 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 an eBay sale is actually an eBay no-no unless the buyer requests it. A buyer may change his mind and if that is the case, it is perfectly acceptable to cancel the sale. But, if the item is damaged or out of stock and the seller must cancel because he can't ship the item, the cancellation counts against the seller. Sellers should always 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 > 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 an eBay Buyer

Some sellers use the Block Buyer feature a little too liberally. Remember, a person out there wants to give you money for an item, so use discretion when blocking them. Sometimes buyers ask weird or unusual questions, but that really isn't a good reason to block them. Once blocked, the person can't buy anything from you ever, unless you remove the block.

Legitimate reasons for blocking a buyer include:

  • Previous bad experience with the buyer
  • Threatening or offensive messages from the buyer (report them to eBay)
  • Poor feedback score
  • History of non-payment

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 a buyer to your listing -- don't be too quick to turn a buyer away.