2 min overview

How buying works

Buying items on eBay is easy, whether by bidding on an auction-style listing or purchasing straight away with Buy It Now.

There's two types of listing on eBay. Buy It Now listings let you pay a fixed-price and buy the item immediately, while auctions let you bid on an item and try to win it for a lower price. Whether you've bought an item straight away or you're bidding on a listing, you can keep tracking of all your buying activity in your Purchase History - opens in new window or tab.

Whether you're new to eBay or an experienced eBay shopper, on this page you can find links to all of our most important buying articles. We've separated the articles out into sections below to make it easier to find what you need:

  1. How to buy
  2. After you've bought an item
  3. Other buying articles

How to buy

Buy It Now is the simplest and easiest way to purchase an item on eBay. You'll see the blue Buy It Now button on most listings, allowing you to pay for the item right away without bidding or waiting for the listing to end. This option is available whenever the seller has set a fixed-price for the item. When you select this button, you agree to pay the seller's asking price, and can go straight to the checkout page.

All about bidding

Auction-style listings give you the chance to bid on an item to try and grab yourself a bargain. Bidding on auctions can be a lot of fun, and features like automatic bidding can help make winning an auction even easier.

Buying as a guest

You can buy items on eBay if you're not signed into your account or even if you don't have an account at all. Once you've bought your item, we'll keep in touch by email and help you keep track of your order. The same protections and guarantees apply to guest orders, so you can always shop safely on eBay.

Buying vehicles, parts, and accessories

It's easy to look for vehicles, parts, and accessories on eBay Motors, where there's a huge selection to choose from. You can search by category, make, or model, and if you want you can decide to only search through local listings. Many vehicle listings on eBay Motors come with a vehicle history report, and we have a special eBay Motors protection program for Motors purchases.


After you've bought an item

Paying for items

Once you've bought your item, you'll need to pay the seller for it within 2 days. The sooner the seller receives your money though, the sooner they'll dispatch your item. There's a few different ways to pay for items on eBay, so you can find the one that works for you and the seller.

Cancel an order

If you've bought an item, either through Buy It Now or by winning an auction, and you've made a mistake, you can contact the seller and ask them to cancel your order. If they've already shipped your item, or if they don't accept your cancellation request, you can start a return once you receive the item.

Returns, missing items, and refunds for buyers

Most of the time, if something goes wrong with your order, like it doesn't get delivered, or arrives and it's damaged or doesn't match the listing description, you can get your money back or get a replacement. If nothing has gone wrong with your order, but you've changed your mind, you can ask the seller if they'll accept a return.

Contact the seller

There are different ways to contact a seller, depending on whether or not you've bought an item from them or not. If you've had an issue with an order, talking with the seller is usually a good way to resolve it.


Other buying articles

Your shopping cart

If you've found an item you want to buy, but want to keep shopping, you can add it to your cart and complete the purchase later. You can add any Buy It Now items to your cart, as well as auction-style listings with a fixed-price option.

Your purchase history

Your Purchase history helps you track and manage all the items you've bought on eBay. There, you can easily see what you've ordered, what you still need to pay for, and any orders you've canceled. From your Purchase history you can also find details on any of your orders, track their delivery, leave feedback, and get help if something goes wrong with your order.

Making an offer

On some listings, sellers will allow you to make them an offer for the item. Making an offer to a seller lets you try to negotiate a price – simply tell them how much you'd be willing to pay for the item, and they'll either accept your offer, reject it, or make you a counteroffer of their own.

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