1 min overview

Rules and policies for buyers

To help make buying on eBay a safe and enjoyable experience, we've put in place a number of policies and guidelines.

Many of these are based on local legal requirements, but others are based on our experience of what will help ensure a fair marketplace for everyone. So, before you bid or buy on eBay, read our policies for buyers listed below.

Frequently Asked Questions


What rules and requirements are there for eBay buyers?

When you bid on or buy an item, you're agreeing to the rules we've put in place for our community. You can find out more details on these rules in the articles below.

What kind of items are listed on eBay?

Almost anything you can think of. But there are certain categories of items that we restrict. Check out our list of prohibited and restricted items.

Abusive buyer policy

Learn about our expectations for buyer behavior on eBay.

Feedback policies

Learn about the guidelines and policies around Feedback to ensure it's used constructively and fairly.

Interfering with a transaction policy

Learn about the rules and guidelines we've established to prevent people from interfering with the completion of transactions.

Invalid bid retraction policy

Read our guidelines on retracting a bid, and why we have rules in place to prevent members gaining an unfair advantage when buying an item.

Non-binding bid policy

Learn about the guidelines for participating in auctions in the motors and real estate categories.

Offers to buy or sell outside of eBay

Learn why buyers and sellers aren't allowed to use information they've obtained on eBay to contact each other to buy or sell off eBay.

Shill bidding policy

Find out what shill bidding is, and why it isn't allowed on eBay.

Unpaid item policy

Learn about our rules around paying for items after a buyer has won an auction or agreed to make a purchase.

Unwelcome and malicious buying policy

Learn about the rules we have in place to prevent buyers from attempting to disrupt a listing.

Read our full policy

Rules for buyers - overview

We want to maintain a safe, fair, and enjoyable marketplace for both buyers and sellers. If you're a buyer, we ask that you review and understand our policies, including the eBay User Agreement before you bid on or buy an item. By placing a bid or buying an item, you are agreeing to all of our rules and policies, including the eBay User Agreement.

Our policies are intended to:

  • Follow local laws and regulations
  • Minimize risks to buyers and sellers
  • Make sure that no one has an unfair advantage
  • Create an enjoyable buying experience
  • Protect intellectual property rights

Guidelines for buyers

The abusive buyer policy outlines the type of behavior that we don't allow from buyers-such as making unreasonable demands of a seller, misusing returns, or misusing the eBay Money Back Guarantee program.

Rules about bidding and paying

  • You can't use eBay if your account contains false contact information. Buyers and sellers sometimes 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 auction-style 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 listing description before you bid. Many of the problems buyers and sellers encounter are the result of simple misunderstandings 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. Only bid on or buy an item if you can meet the 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 score 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, and our policy on offers to buy or sell outside of eBay
  • If you buy 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 and our privacy notice

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 against our policy.

    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 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.

Activity on eBay is required to follow this policy, the eBay User Agreement and all applicable laws, as well as respect the rights of third parties. If it doesn’t, eBay may take action consistent with applicable laws and the eBay User Agreement, and may even be legally required to do so. Such actions may include, as an example only: Removing the listing or other content, issuing a warning, restricting activity or account suspension.

Reporting policy violations

If you want to report a policy violation:

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

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 User Privacy Notice.

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