It may seem like a lot of rules, but eBay's policies help make our website as safe, fair, and as enjoyable as possible. As a buyer, you'll need to review and understand eBay's policies, including the eBay User Agreement, before you bid on or buy an item.
These policies are intended to:
Follow local laws and regulations
Minimize risks to buyers and sellers
Make sure 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 sellers and taking advantage of our protection systems.
Rules about bidding and paying
√ You can't bid on items, or use eBay at all, if you have false contact information on your account.
Buyers and sellers need to be able to get in touch with each other, and we need to be able to get in touch with them.
√ You must pay for any item you buy.
Many of the items on eBay are sold in an auction-style format where you can make bids. Bidding is a lot of fun, but remember 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 have agreed to buy it has some negative consequences, which are 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.
Non-binding bids can only be made on certain items, like real estate and vehicles, but they still mean that you are seriously interested in buying the item. The bottom line is, don't place any bid unless you mean it.
√ You can't bid on your own item.
We call this shill bidding and it not only violates eBay policies, it's against the law in many places.
√ Be careful about bidding on several items if you only want one.
If you are the winning bidder of more than one listing, you're required to purchase all the items, even if they're the same or similar.
√ You can only retract a bid under very specific circumstances.
For example, if you meant to bid $10.00 but bid $100.00 instead, you can retract the bid. Even then, you're required to immediately bid the amount you intended. Never use bid retraction to manipulate the bidding process. It's unfair, and it has serious consequences.
√ Make sure 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. You should only bid on or buy an item if meet the seller's requirements. These are described in the item 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 artificially increase its price or desirability. This rule applies to family, friends, roommates, employees, and online connections.
Note: You have to actually want the item you're buying. 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 you found on eBay without using eBay.
Items bought outside of eBay aren't covered by our policies, and you aren't protected against fraud. Sellers have to follow the same rule, and 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 a seller to mark on the customs declaration that the item is a gift. That's not just against our policies, it's illegal.
√ When you bid on or buy a vehicle in eBay Motors, your contact information may be shared with sellers, and sellers may contact you about that vehicle or a similar one for sale. Learn more about the eBay Motors bidding policy.
Rules about Feedback
If you're having a problem with a seller
You must be honest and have good intentions when you participate in (or initiate) any resolution process.
Attempts to manipulate these processes are prohibited and can have serious consequences.
You can't interfere with another transaction.
In other words, you can't contact other potential buyers to "warn" them about a seller. If you are concerned about a seller's behavior, you can report it to us and we will investigate.
Rules about Want It Now
If you're also a seller
If you're also a seller, please be sure to also read our rules for sellers. Make sure your listings follow our guidelines. If they don't, they may be removed, and your buying and selling privileges could be restricted.
To learn more about eBay's policies, you can take a look at the Marketplace Policy Tutorial and other Trust and Safety tutorials.
Reporting other members
If you want to report that another eBay member may be violating policy:
First, read the policy page that deals with the violation (see our rules & policies) and make sure they are really breaking the rules.
If you still want to report that member, go to Customer Support and select the topic that best describes your issue. We'll show you how to send us a report or contact us.
Of course, reports of policy violations must be truthful and you must submit them with the intent of addressing a known or suspected violation of our policy.
Also, please only report a listing once. Multiple emails about the same listing will slow down our investigation because we have to look at each one.