Learn to buy and sell antiques and collectibles

Ending eBay Auctions Early

eBay recently changed the rules regarding when sellers can end an auction early. Some sellers were ending auctions and canceling all bids minutes before they ended. This was upsetting bidders. Now sellers cannot end auctions in the last 12 hours without selling to the high bidder.

Before the change, a seller could end an auction and cancel all bids with one mouse click. Now a seller may still be able to end an auction in the last few minutes, but will have to cancel each bid separately, and cannot end an auction that had a winning bidder.

Some sellers took advantage of the old ending auction early policy. Rather than running a reserve price auction, sellers would just cancel an auction that was selling cheaply a few minutes before it ended.

Other sellers use a similar system to circumvent eBay final value fees. By canceling all bids and ending auctions early then selling the items to the bidders off eBay, unscrupulous sellers avoided ending fees.

I find it quite odd. I remember a man giving me a lecture on how to cheat eBay out of a dollar. (On a $20.00 item the final value or ending fee was approximately a dollar when this was written. In 2012, it's about $2.00.) The man was proud of his actions!

This is fee avoidance and will get you suspended from eBay if one person complains to eBay about your actions. In fact eBay now has warnings in their emails about off eBay transactions.

I do not recommend doing any type of activity that will harm your eBay standing. Whether your eBay sales are a hobby or a business, you need to run them with an eye on the long term activity.

Anyway, back to the topic. Here's the rules for ending your eBay auctions early.

Anytime during the auction up to the last twelve hours you may end an auction and cancel all bids for any of these reasons:

  1. The item is no longer available for sale.
  2. There was an error in the starting price or reserve amount.
  3. There was an error in the listing.
  4. The item was lost or broken.

In the last twelve hours before an auction ends, you can end an auction if:

  • For reserve auctions - there were no bidders who met your reserve. This applies even to canceled bids.
  • For auctions without reserve there were no bidders. This also applies to canceled bids.

What does this mean for eBay sellers?

This means a seller can cancel bids on an auction, in the last twelve hours, but cannot end the auction if their were bidders who would have won the item if their bids hadn't been canceled. With the majority of bidders bidding in the ending seconds of auction, a seller who cancels bids trying to protect an item, will not be able to cancel the bids in the last few seconds.

That sounds confusing so let me say it a different way. Now a seller who tries to protect an item by canceling bids and ending the listing early, will be able to cancel the bids, but not end the auction. This means snipe bidders will be able to bid in the last seconds and win the auction.

I think this is a good change. eBay says this was done because buyers were complaining about auctions being ended early. I think it is also about eBay fees, but I know how disappointing it is to watch an item for a week, just to have the seller end the auction.


PS If you came to this page looking for a link to end your auctions early here's the eBay page .

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