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Rules for buyers overview
In this article
In this article


We want to maintain a safe, fair, and enjoyable marketplace for both buyers and sellers. As a buyer, we ask that you review and understand our policies, including the eBay User Agreement, before you bid on or buy an item.

Our policies are intended to:

  • Follow local laws and regulations

  • Minimize risks to buyers and sellers

  • Make sure that no buyer has an unfair advantage

  • Create an enjoyable buying experience

Guidelines for buyers

The buying practices policy outlines unfair and unsafe behavior that we don't allow from buyers—such as making unreasonable demands of a seller or taking advantage of our protection programs.

Rules about bidding and paying

You can't use eBay if your account contains false contact information.
Buyers and sellers need to be able to get in touch with each other, and we need to be able to contact our members.
You must pay for any item you commit to buying.
Some eBay sellers use an auction-style format, allowing you to bid on an item. Bidding is fun, but keep in mind that each bid you make is a binding contract to buy the item if you win. The same is true for Buy It Now purchases. Not paying for an item after you agree to buy it has negative consequences, explained in our unpaid item policy.
You can only bid if you really intend to buy the item, even if you're making a non-binding bid.
You can only make non-binding bids on certain items, such as real estate and vehicles. This type of bid still means that you intend to buy the item. The bottom line is, don't place a bid unless you mean to buy the item.
You can't bid on your own item.
We call this shill bidding and it not only violates our policies, it's against the law in many places.
Be careful about bidding on several items if you only want one.
If you're the winning bidder of more than one listing, you need to purchase all the items you've won, even if they're the same or similar.
You can only retract a bid under specific circumstances.
For example, if you meant to bid $10.00 but accidentally bid $1,000.00, you can retract the bid. Even then, you need to bid the amount you originally intended immediately. Never use bid retraction to manipulate the bidding process. Bid manipulation is unfair, and it has serious consequences. Learn more about retracting or canceling your bid.
Make sure that you read the item description before you bid.
Many of the problems buyers and sellers encounter start with a simple misunderstanding about what is for sale and the terms of the sale. For example, some sellers only want to sell to bidders who live in a certain country, or who will pay using PayPal. Only bid on or buy an item if you can meet the seller's requirements described in the listing. If you bid on an item and you don't meet the seller's requirements, we consider that unwelcome and malicious buying.
If you know the seller, you can't bid on the item with the intent to increase its price or desirability artificially.
This rule applies to family, friends, roommates, employees, and online connections.
Buying items from someone just to increase their Feedback or improve their search standing is called shill bidding, and it's against our policies.
You can't offer to buy items outside of eBay.
Our policies don't cover items bought outside of our site. If you buy items outside of eBay, we don't protect you against fraud. Sellers must follow the same rule, so if a seller offers to sell you something outside of eBay, don't accept the offer. For more information, see our rules for everyone.
If you're buying an item from a seller in another country, you can't ask the seller to mark the item as a gift in the customs declaration.
This is illegal, and against our policies. Learn more about our rules against encouraging illegal activity.
When you bid on or buy a vehicle in eBay Motors, we may share your contact information with sellers.
Sellers may also contact you about that vehicle or a similar one for sale. Learn more about eBay Motors bidding.

Rules about Feedback

  • You can't abuse the Feedback system.

    This means you can't threaten to leave a seller negative Feedback if that seller won't do something that wasn't promised in the original listing. This is called Feedback extortion and is not allowed.

    Also, you can't leave Feedback if you're only doing it to help increase a seller's Feedback score. This is a type of Feedback manipulation and is also not allowed.

    Make sure that you understand and follow all of our Feedback policies.

If you're having a problem with a seller

If you're also a seller

If you're also a seller, please be sure to read our rules for sellers, and make sure that your listings follow our guidelines.

To learn more about our policies, see our Marketplace Policy Tutorial and other Trust and Safety tutorials.

Reporting other members

If you want to report a policy violation:
  1. First, read the policy page that deals with the violation (see our rules & policies) and make sure the other member is really breaking the rules.

  2. If you still want to report a member, go to Customer Support and select the topic that best describes the issue. We'll show you how to send us a report or contact us.

Reports of policy violations must be specific and you must submit them with the intent of addressing a known or suspected violation of our policy. False reporting of policy violations can have serious consequences.

Report a listing only once. Multiple emails about the same listing slow down our investigation.

When we receive your report, we look at all the circumstances, including the member's history, before we decide whether to take action. If we aren't sure about something or can't prove it with certainty, we may not take any action. In addition, we won't discuss the results of an investigation. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.

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