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Rules for Buyers - Overview

eBay's policies are rules and guidelines that help to create a safe, fair and enjoyable trading environment for all eBay members. As a buyer, you are responsible for reviewing and understanding eBay’s policies, as well as all applicable laws and regulations as outlined in the User Agreement.

eBay’s policies are intended to:

  • Support government laws and regulations

  • Minimise risks to buyers and sellers

  • Provide equal opportunity to all buyers

  • Provide an enjoyable buying experience

  • Support the values of the eBay Community

Buyers cannot:

  • Commit to purchasing an item (either by winning the item or buying an item in a Buy It Now listing) without paying. To understand the penalties, please refer to the Unpaid Item Policy.

  • Bid with no serious intention of buying. Most of the items on eBay are auction-like listings and each bid is a binding contract. Certain eBay online auctions involve non-binding bids (for example, some real estate auctions). However, these non-binding bids represent a buyer’s serious expression of interest in buying the seller’s item, and insincere bidding is not permitted.

  • Misuse the bid retraction option to manipulate the bidding process.

  • Bid on or buy an item when they do not meet the seller’s terms as outlined in the item listing, or bid or buy with the intention of disrupting a listing. This is known as unwelcome and malicious buying.

  • Engage in shill bidding to artificially increase an item’s price or apparent desirability. Bidders on an item must be wholly independent from the seller of that item.

Both buyers and sellers cannot interfere with a transaction or offer to buy or sell listed items outside of the eBay site (see Rules for Everyone – Overview).

To know about eBay’s rules that apply to selling, see Rules for Sellers – Overview.

Violations of these policies may result in a range of actions, including:

  • Listing cancellation

  • Limits on account privileges

  • Account suspension

  • Forfeit of eBay fees on cancelled listings

  • Loss of PowerSeller status

To report a policy violation:
  1. Locate and review the policy page that deals with the violation (see Rules and Policies – Overview).

  2. Click the “Report” link or “Contact Us” link on the policy page.

  3. Enter the item number(s) of the listing(s) you wish to report.

  4. Click the Send button to send your message to eBay Customer Support.

You can also report a violation by clicking the “Contact Us” link on the left side of any Help page, and selecting the appropriate topics.

Note: Only report a case once. Multiple emails about the same case slow an investigation.

After your report is received:

  • eBay will consider the circumstances of an alleged offense and the member’s trading record before taking action.

  • If a complaint can't be proven with certainty, eBay may take no action.

  • Due to privacy issues, it is not possible for eBay to discuss the results of an investigation.

To learn more about eBay’s rules, you can take the Marketplace Policy Tutorial and other Trust and Safety tutorials.

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