The following happened to me several times when bidding for something at eBay:

  1. I place my bid → I'm the highest bidder
  2. Alice places several small-step bids, but I'm still highest bidder (thanks to my maximum bid)
  3. Alice reaches my maximum → Alice is highest bidder
  4. Alice retracts her last bid → I'm highest bidder again (with my maximum bet)

Now I get a mail from eBay saying something like: "You are highest bidder again, because someone retracted his bid. Congratulations!"

Well, I got the item, yes, great. But … for my maximum bet!

To me this looks like Alice is a friend of the seller. She tests where my maximum lies and then retracts her last bid, so that I'm bidding exactly my maximum.

In the mail it says that I could see the reason for the retraction in the bidding list. But there it only says who (the username is disguised, however) retracted which bid at which time, without any reason.

Now I wonder: Can I do something about this? (except last second bidding resp. using a sniper)

eBay should know about this, right? Do they do anything against it?

  • But is it allowed to retract a bid in ebay? I thought this was strictly forbidden. Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 18:52
  • @JosephP.: Yes, the page I linked explained it; the URL changed, but it’s still available from the linked page: ebay.com/help/buying/bidding/retracting-bid?id=4013 -- there are some rules for when a bid can be retracted, and then there is this: "you can still contact the seller to see if they'll agree to cancel a bid for you" -- which the seller will of course happily do if the bidder is their friend (or their own 2nd account).
    – unor
    Commented Nov 26, 2020 at 2:14

3 Answers 3


You placed a bid on an item and it means you agree to buy that item by paying that amount, so just place a bid amount you are okay with and which won't make you go mad.

If some play such tricks to sell their items for higher value, just don't buy from them. It's the best way to stop such cheating.

Cheaters are everywhere, we can do nothing about them. Additionally report


Just bid your maximum within the last 12 hours period. None can retract a bid within that period, so you will be protected from that kind of cheating.

  • 2
    But for "If you place a bid during the last 12-hour period of the auction" it says: "you will be allowed to retract the bid for exceptional circumstances but only if you do so within one hour after placing the bid." And at the bottom: "If you are not allowed to retract your bid during the last 12-hour period of the auction, you may contact the seller to request that your bid be canceled. The seller will have the discretion whether to cancel your bid." -- And the seller will allow this, of course, as it’s (in the bad case) a friend or a sockpuppet account.
    – unor
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 15:15
  • 1
    Thank you for clarification! I'd suggest us to bid the last 2 minutes then (still not being a sniper). Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 10:50

Use a bid-sniper such as Gixen. It bids at the last second so no one will have a chance to do that to you. If you are bidding rationally - by which I mean deciding on your maximum price in advance and then only checking back after the auction ends - there is no fundamental downside to this.

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