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Reserve price policy

Policy overview

Sellers who list an item with a reserve price need to follow our reserve price guidelines.

A reserve price is the lowest price at which you’re willing to sell your item. The amount of your reserve price isn’t shown to your bidders, but they will see that your listing has a reserve price that has not been met. If you don’t want to sell your item below a certain price, you could make that amount your starting or Buy It Now price. You can also set a reserve price. If a bidder doesn’t meet your reserve price, you aren’t obligated to sell your item. Once the reserve price has been met, the reserve price message is no longer displayed in the listing.

Make sure your listing follows these guidelines. If it doesn't, it may be removed, and you may be subject to a range of other actions, including restrictions of your buying and selling privileges and suspension of your account.

What are the guidelines?



  • Using a reserve price to set a price below which the seller is not willing to go.

  • Using a reserve price to make the item more attractive to buyers.

  • Not selling an item unless the reserve price has been met.

  • Sharing the reserve price with your bidders. Sellers don't have to tell buyers what the reserve price is, but they may want to in some cases.

  • Lowering or removing a reserve price after bids have been received on an item.

  • Setting the reserve price at any amount.

Not allowed

Not allowed

  • Stating a reserve price for an item when the reserve price feature wasn't used when listing the item.

  • Stating that the high bidder is required to buy the item even if the reserve price hasn't been met.

  • Trying to avoid reserve price fees by canceling bids and ending a listing early because the seller's price wasn't met.

Some examples

  1. A seller has a set of golf clubs for sale. She lists them with a title of "Excellent Mizuno golf clubs" and a subtitle of "Reserve is only $150," but she doesn't enter anything in the Reserve price field.

  2. The listing description states that the high bidder has to purchase the item even if the reserve price hasn’t been met. The reserve price is set at $100 and the bidding ends with a high bid of $90. The seller tries to require that the high bidder pay for the item.

  3. The seller sets a reserve price of $200, but with only a short time left in the auction, the high bid is only $120. The seller cancels the listing because he’s afraid he won’t get the money he wants and he wants to avoid paying the reserve fee.

How to report a violation

If you see a listing that has a description or title that doesn’t follow eBay policy, note the item number, and then report it.

If you encounter a listing that was ended early because the seller wanted to avoid paying reserve fees, note the item number, and then report it. (There are certain circumstances in which it’s OK for the seller to end the listing early.)

Why does eBay have this policy?

The reserve price feature helps to make an item more attractive to bidders and ensures that the seller gets the minimum amount they're willing to sell the item for. We want both buyers and sellers to have a positive, enjoyable, and consistent experience with the reserve price feature and that's why we have these policies in place.

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