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How to Deal with Weird Auction Requests from eBay Buyers

Published at Jan 17, 2017.

It’s an awesome feeling when bidders dogpile your auction. It’s not so awesome when your eBay buyer wants to withdraw their bid or makes some weird request that could throw off the whole process. Here’s how to handle some of the most befuddling eBay auction requests:

Last updated 4/3/2018.

eBay Buyer Wants to Withdraw Bid

Frustrated Seller

If an eBay buyer wants to cancel the winning bid on your auction, it’s best to do as they ask by following these instructions. You may not be required to cancel a bid in all cases, but by refusing to cancel, you make yourself vulnerable to refund requests, eBay chargebacks, and negative feedback. You’ll save yourself a lot of pain by agreeing.

To avoid dealing with this annoying buyer in the future, you can block them.

eBay Buyer Wants to End Auction Early

How to Respond When an eBay Buyer Wants to End Auction Early: NO

If an eBay buyer wants a Buy It Now price on a running auction, be very careful about saying yes. There’s a good chance they’re using one of our recommended eBay business models—retail arbitrage—in a sneaky way. They want to lock down your item for half of what it’s worth before bidders drive it up to a fair price.

It could also be a seller with a competing listing hoping to shut you down so they can get more bids. Or they could just be a traditional con artist, getting you invested in the deal by offering a high price, only so they can trick you into giving it to them for free later.

This is only worth considering if you’ve failed to attract attention to your auction and this is your second or third time listing the item. But even then, you’re probably better off learning some eBay SEO to attract more bidders instead.

In the vast majority of cases, you should simply thank the buyer for their interest and politely ask them to place a bid.

eBay Buyer Wants to Know Reserve Price

Concerned Businessman on the Phone

How you answer an eBay buyer who wants to know the reserve price on your auction is entirely up to you. According to eBay policy, you’re allowed to tell the buyer. But is it beneficial?

Personally, I agree with the answer genuineseller had posted on eBay Guides, back when those were a thing. It’s better to ask the buyer to bid what they think the item is worth and invite them to ask any questions they might have about it. Otherwise, you’re quite likely to have someone bid your exact reserve price at the last minute, leaving you with minimal profit.

If you’re inclined to share reserve prices, you’re better off just listing your auctions with starting bids instead. It’s best to only use reserve prices when the mystery can contribute to the excitement of bidding.

The Questions Never End!

If you feel like you spend more time answering questions than selling, connect eBay to a helpdesk. Canned responses and business rules let you answer common messages in seconds—or even automatically!

For how to handle more weird questions from eBay buyers, see “eBay Buyer Wants Me to What? (Shipping Edition)” and “(Payment Edition).”

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