5 min article

Shill bidding policy

Shill bidding is when someone bids on an item to artificially increase its price, desirability, or search standing.

When someone bidding on an item knows the seller, they might have information about the seller's item that other shoppers aren't aware of. This could create an unfair advantage or cause another bidder to pay more than they should. We want to maintain a fair marketplace for all our users, and as such, shill bidding is prohibited on eBay. For more details on what constitutes shill bidding, please see our full policy guidelines below.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I use Buy It Now to buy items from people I know?

Yes, you can use Buy It Now to purchase an item from a seller you know.

Can my employees bid on my listings?

No, your employees can’t bid on your items, and you’re not allowed to bid on theirs. Sellers with employees should make sure their workers are also aware of this policy.

How do I report shill bidding?

If you think that another member is shill bidding, you don't need to report it to us. eBay has a number of systems in place to detect and monitor bidding patterns and practices. If we identify any malicious behavior, we'll take steps to prevent it.

Read our full policy

Policy overview

Shill bidding happens when anyone—including family, friends, roommates, employees, or online connections—bids on an item with the intent to artificially increase its price or desirability. In addition, members cannot bid on or buy items in order to artificially increase a seller's feedback or to improve the item's search standing.

Shill bidding is also illegal in many places and can carry severe penalties.

What are the guidelines?

Restricted Restricted

Buying an item from someone you know, as long as you don't intend to artificially increase its price or desirability or violate our feedback manipulation or search and browse manipulation policies.

Not allowed Not allowed
  • Bidding on your own items with another account

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.


Why does eBay have this policy?

Shill bidding is unfair to buyers and it's illegal in many places in the world. We have this policy to discourage shill bidding and to make it clear what can happen when people don't follow these guidelines.

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