10 min article

Abusive buyer policy

All eBay members should be able to buy and sell on eBay with confidence. We want our sellers to bring great service, value, and selection to our marketplace, and we strive to protect sellers from unfair and unsafe buyer activity.

Policy overview

This policy outlines our expectations for buyer behavior. When buyers don't meet these standards, we encourage sellers to report the concern.

Violations of this policy may result in a range of actions, including Feedback removal, cancellation of cases, limits on account privileges (such as use of the eBay Buyer Protection program), limits on overall buying activity, and account suspension.

Buying behaviors we don't allow

Not paying for items

If you've placed a winning bid or clicked the Commit to Buy button in a Buy it Now listing, you've committed to purchasing that item.

If you don't pay for it, even if you've changed your mind, you're violating the unpaid item policy, which may result in account restriction or suspension.


Making unreasonable demands

When you bid on or buy an item, you're accepting the seller's terms as set out in their listing, provided they comply with our listing policies. You're entitled to expect that the seller will do what they've said with regards to shipping, payments, and returns. We know there are sometimes exceptional circumstances, and we allow reasonable and limited requests. However, the seller is not obligated to fulfill requests outside of their terms.

Making unreasonable or excessive demands is not allowed. Using the threat of negative Feedback, low detailed seller ratings, or buyer protection cases to make such demands is considered extortion and is not allowed.


  • Asking to use one of the alternative shipping options specified in the listing
  • Asking to use a more expensive shipping option to get the item more quickly, and offering to pay the extra shipping cost
  • Asking the seller if it's acceptable if your payment is briefly delayed due to exceptional circumstances
  • Asking to return an item according to the seller's return policy
  • Asking whether a seller will combine shipping for multiple purchases

Not allowed

  • Demanding a change to the shipping method or delivery location, other than those specified in the listing
  • Demanding a change to the payment method or timing, other than those specified in the listing
  • Demanding a partial refund or discount under threat of negative Feedback, low detailed seller ratings, or filing a buyer protection case
  • Demanding additional items or services that are outside of what is contained in the listing
  • Requesting that the transaction be completed off eBay

Leaving inappropriate Feedback

Feedback is an essential tool for letting other members know about your experiences with a seller, and we encourage you to be honest.

We don't allow misuse of the Feedback system, including the following behaviors. Inappropriate Feedback comments, such as obscene language, will be removed. Also, buying just so you can leave poor Feedback for a seller is considered Feedback manipulation. Threatening to leave bad Feedback in an attempt to force a seller into providing extra goods or services is considered Feedback extortion. Excessive use of low detailed seller ratings and inconsistent Feedback and ratings can also be considered unfair.


  • Leaving negative or neutral Feedback with an appropriate comment reflecting your experience
  • Leaving low detailed seller ratings if the seller's performance doesn't live up to your expectations

Not allowed

  • Leaving inappropriate Feedback comments
  • Leaving negative or neutral Feedback and/or low detailed seller ratings because a seller did not provide additional goods and services that were not mentioned in the original listing
  • Consistently leaving low detailed seller ratings and/or negative Feedback for sellers who sell the same or similar items as you
  • Consistently leaving positive Feedback with all low detailed seller ratings
  • Consistently leaving negative Feedback and/or low detailed seller ratings which are inconsistent with your sellers' overall performance

Abusing the buyer protection programs

eBay Buyer Protection covers all eligible purchases on eBay.com. 

We don't allow buyers to abuse the eBay Buyer Protection processes. Opening a case when you've already received a refund, opening a case as retaliation against a seller, or making false claims is considered abuse of eBay Buyer Protection.


  • Opening an eBay Buyer Protection case after you didn't receive the item and you haven't been able to resolve the issue with the seller
  • Opening an eBay Buyer Protection case after the item you received didn't match the description in the listing

Not allowed

  • Claiming an item hasn't been received before the estimated delivery date has passed
  • Claiming an item hasn't been received when it has arrived
  • Claiming an item is significantly not as described when the item condition is consistent with the description in the listing
  • Opening a case when you have already received a refund from the seller or reimbursement from your payment provider
  • Opening a case against a seller to retaliate following previous disputes
  • Opening a case against a seller when you haven't paid for an item
  • Threatening to open a case against a seller in order to get a discount or additional goods and services, when the item arrived in the described condition
  • A pattern of excessively opening buyer protection cases

Misusing returns

We encourage all sellers to specify a clear return policy in their listings. You should always check the return policy specified in a listing before committing to pay for an item.

If you want to return an item, review the seller's return policy before initiating a return. Sellers may specify requirements for returns such as time limits, restocking fees, and who pays for return shipping.


  • Returning a faulty item or an item that was significantly not as described
  • Returning an item within the terms of the seller's return policy

Not allowed

  • Returning a different item (e.g. a used or older model of the same product or an empty box)
  • Not returning the item as it was sent to you (e.g. returning a TV without the remote control)
  • Returning an item that has been damaged after being delivered
  • Claiming an item is not as described in order to circumvent a seller's return policy
  • Not following the terms of the seller's return policy
  • A pattern of purchasing items and receiving excessive refunds

Additional information

Acceptable buying practices include adherence to the following separate policies.

  • Communications: Your communications with sellers —via email, My eBay Messages or Community discussion boards— should comply with our member-to-member contact policy
  • Customs declarations: Asking a seller to falsely declare an item as a gift on a customs form is considered to be encouraging illegal activity.
  • Bid retractions: We may take action against a buyer if we see a pattern of excessive or invalid bid retractions. You can only retract a bid under exceptional circumstances.
  • Unwelcome and malicious buying: Bidding on or buying items with no intention of completing the transaction, or circumventing sellers' requirements for buyers is considered unwelcome and malicious buying.
  • Fraudulent payments: You must pay for eBay items using one of our accepted payment methods. We encourage sellers to ensure payment has cleared before sending an item, and to report attempted fraud to us and to the police.
  • Contact information: All eBay members must keep their account details up to date. We will take action when we know a member has false or missing contact information, or can't be contacted because they have an invalid or dead email address.
  • Using multiple accounts: Registering new accounts or using other existing accounts to avoid buying restrictions or limits or other policy consequences is not allowed. See our Multiple accounts policy for more information.

How sellers can report a buyer

To report a buyer who may be violating our policies:

  1. Review the relevant section of this policy (and its related policies) to make sure the buyer is really breaking the rules.
  2. Once confirmed, you should report the buyer.

Note: We look at the circumstances, including the members' past history. We make decisions based on the evidence in the individual case, as well as by evaluating patterns of behavior that create a negative value in the marketplace. If we aren't sure about something or can't prove it with certainty, we may not take any action. Also, because we respect our members' privacy, we can't discuss the results of any investigations.


Why does eBay have this policy?

We work hard to make shopping on eBay safe and fun. We hold sellers on eBay to extremely high standards of customer service. Our selling practices policy sets out our expectations of sellers, and we hold sellers accountable to seller performance standards when buyers report a problem with a purchase. While most eBay buyers follow the rules, we also need to protect sellers from unsafe and unfair behavior, and from buyers who try to take advantage of our protection systems.

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