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eBay Glossary

Wondering what a particular eBay term or icon means? Find out here. For a definition of an abbreviation you've seen in an item listings or on a Community discussion board, see eBay Acronyms.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H-I, J-K, L-M, N-O, P-Q, R, S, T, U-Z


Ad Format
Now known as Classified Ads.

Administrative cancellation
The cancellation of a bid by eBay due to administrative circumstances, such as when a bidder becomes unregistered.

Announcement boards
Special pages where eBay posts current news and information. You'll find announcements about new features and promotions, policy changes, special event information, and notices about system issues. Go to the announcement board, or the general announcements or system status announcements board.

Answer Centre
Special pages where you can ask questions and get help about using eBay from other members of the eBay Community. Go to the Answer Centre.

Auction-style listing (online auction format)
The basic, most common way to sell an item on eBay. This format lets sellers list an item for sale, collect bids for a fixed length of time, and sell the item to the highest bidder. For more information, see our Shopping formats page.

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Best Offer
A listing feature that lets a buyer make an offer to a seller. Sellers can use the Best Offer feature in both auction-style and fixed price listings.

Best Match
The Best Match feature gives buyers another way to organise search results, helping them find items more quickly. Along with the listing keywords and other information, one of most important elements in this calculation is the historical buyer behaviour on the site for similar searches.

Bid cancellation
The cancellation of a bid by a seller during an auction-style listing. Once a bid is cancelled, it cannot be reinstated by the seller. However, the bidder may bid again. The seller can use the Block Bidders/Buyers feature to prevent a particular user from bidding again on a listing.

In general, sellers should not cancel bids in listings. However, they might experience a situation in which they decide it is necessary. For example, sellers might cancel bids if they are unable to verify the identity of the bidder, even after they try all reasonable means of contact. Make sure you're aware of other rules and restrictions surrounding the cancellation of bids.

Bid increment
The amount by which a bid must be raised in order for it to be accepted in an auction-style listing. The bid increment is automatically determined based on the current high bid. For example, if the current bid for an item is £5.00 and the bid increment is £0.50, the next bid must be at least £5.50.

Bid retraction
The cancellation of a bid by a buyer during an auction-style listing. In general, a buyer cannot retract a bid once it is placed during an auction-style listing, so please bid carefully. A retraction may be allowed under special circumstances. For example, if buyers accidentally enter the wrong bid amount (entering 99.50 rather than 9.95), they may retract it and enter the right bid amount as long as they do so immediately. Make sure you're aware of other rules and restrictions surrounding the retraction of bids. For more information, see Bid Retractions.

A member who bids on an item on eBay. Remember each bid placed enters a buyer into a binding contract. For more information, see Rules for Buyers

Block bidders/buyers
A list created by you of specific eBay members who are not allowed to bid on or buy items you list for sale. Users on the list will be blocked until you take them off the list. You may want to do this if you've had a negative experience with a buyer in the past. Go to your Blocked Bidder/Buyer List.

Member who buys an item from a seller on eBay. Remember each bid a buyer places enters them into a binding contract. For more information, see Rules for Buyers.

Buy It Now
A listing feature that lets a buyer purchase an item immediately for a price the seller has set. Items with this feature will display the icon and the Buy It Now price in their listings. Sellers can use the Buy It Now feature in auction-style and fixed price formats.

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Category listings
The set of categories by which items are organised on eBay, such as Antiques, Books, Computers, Sporting Goods, etc. Anyone can browse the categories and look at lists of items until they find something they're interested in (as opposed to doing a keyword search). Sellers can choose which category best fits an item to ensure maximum exposure for the listing. Browse eBay's category listings.


The second step a buyer or seller takes to resolve a transaction issue. When a buyer initially asks to return an item or reports they didn't receive the item, we call the transaction issue at that point a 'request'. If the buyer and seller can't resolve the problem, and the buyer or seller asks us to step in and help with the transaction, the request then becomes a 'case.'

Changed user ID icon
Indicates that the member has chosen a new user ID within the past 30 days. Changing user IDs is not recommended because a user ID plays an important role in a member's reputation. A member who has changed user IDs keeps the same Feedback Profile. Be sure to examine it as you would with any other trading partner. However, members change their user IDs for various reasons. For example, a seller might update it to reflect a new line of business.

Classified Ads
A type of listing a seller can use to list items, services, or properties for sale in order to generate multiple leads. Interested buyers fill out a contact form and their information is sent to the seller. For more information, see our Shopping Formats page.

Completed listings (search)
A search for items that have ended over the last 15 days. This can be useful to help sellers determine how to sell an item. For example, a seller can view completed listings to decide what starting price to use in an auction-style listing.

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Defect rate

The defect rate is the percentage of your transactions that have any of the following transaction-related defects:

Detailed seller ratings (DSRs)
Detailed seller ratings provide a more complete picture of the member's performance as a seller. When buyers leave an overall Feedback rating for a seller, they can also leave detailed seller ratings in four areas: accuracy of item description, communication, dispatch time, and postage and packaging charges. The rating system is based on a 1- to 5-star scale. 5 stars is the highest rating, and 1 star is the lowest rating. Detailed seller ratings do not count toward the overall Feedback score.

Discussion boards
Special pages where members can post messages to the eBay Community about various topics. Anyone can ask questions, learn valuable tips, share experiences, and connect with other eBay users. There's a discussion board for just about any eBay topic you can think of.

Dutch auction (Multiple item auction)
Known as a Multiple item auction.

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eBay Community
A group of buyers and sellers who are the members of the eBay community. Members can see announcements and calendar events, as well as use discussion boards, groups, and find quick help from other members. Go to the eBay Community.

eBay Groups
A group of buyers and sellers who share a common interest. You can create your own community or participate in discussions, newsletters, polls and calendars of an existing group. For more information on group guidelines, see eBay's Groups usage policy.

eBay Shops
Special pages on eBay featuring all the items offered by an individual Shop seller. Buyers can shop at eBay Shops to find unique items they can buy right away. Sellers can use eBay Shop to maximise their business through customised displays, categories and promotions. Go to eBay Shops.

eBay Time
The official time of day at eBay headquarters in San Jose, California in the United States. This location is in the Pacific Time zone. See the current eBay Time.

A procedure in which a third party holds a buyer's payment in trust until the buyer receives and approves the item from the seller. Escrow gives buyers and sellers extra peace of mind when they exchange payments and items. Escrow is recommended for purchases of £500 / EUR 500 or more.

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For each transaction, buyers and sellers can choose to rate each other by leaving Feedback. Feedback from buyers can consist of a positive, negative or neutral rating, and a short comment. Feedback from sellers can consist of a positive rating and a short comment. These ratings are used to determine Feedback scores. For more information, see What is Feedback.

Feedback Profile
A page showing all of a member's Feedback information, including ratings and comments from others who have bought or sold with that person before. To see a member's Feedback Profile, click the Feedback score in brackets next to their user ID.

Feedback score
A number used to measure a member's reputation on eBay. In most cases, members receive points for ratings as follows: +1 (positive), 0 (neutral), or -1 (negative). The Feedback score is the sum of all the ratings a member has received from unique users. Find out more about how we calculate Feedback scores. You'll find a member's score in brackets next to their user ID. A high Feedback score is usually a good sign, but buyers and sellers should also check the Feedback Profile to read comments from other members. For more information, see What is Feedback.

Feedback star
The colour of the star Indicates that an eBay member has achieved a certain Feedback score. For example, a yellow star means a member has achieved 10-49 Feedback points. In most cases, a high Feedback score is a good sign, but buyers and sellers should also check the Feedback Profile to read comments from other members. For more information, see Feedback scores and stars.

Final value fee
A fee eBay charges to a seller when a listing ends. This fee is based on the "final value" of the item, which is the closing bid or sale price. The final value fee is not charged if there are no bids on an item or the high bid did not meet the reserve price the seller set. See the Fees page to learn more about how the Final Value Fee is determined in different types of listings.

Fixed price
Also known as Buy it now, a selling format that lets sellers list an item for an unchanging, set price, with no auction-style bidding. This is a common alternative to using auction-style format, where people bid for an item. For more information, see our Shopping formats page. Please note that sellers must have a minimum Feedback score of 10 to use fixed price format.

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Get It Fast
The Get It Fast programme helps buyers find items that can be delivered quickly. More about Get It Fast

A group of eBay members who share common interests. As a group member, you can participate in discussions, newsletters, polls, calendars and photo albums. Also, you can create and grow your own community. Go to the Group Centre.

Guest buying

A guest buyer can purchase items without being required to register on eBay. For more information on guest buying, see Buying as a Guest.

eBay or eBay members write and share their expertise on a topic or category. Readers can research and learn about all kinds of information. Anyone can research or write a guide. For more information, see Reviews & Guides.

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H - I

Help boards
eBay members and staff moderators answer questions and solve problems together. Anyone can ask a question, add a topic for discussion, or browse for an answer. Go to the Community Discussion boards.

Insertion fee
The fee eBay charges to a seller for listing an item. The insertion fee varies by the type of listing and is non-refundable. Learn more about insertion fees

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J - K

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L - M

A buyer or seller who has created a profile with eBay. A member has a user ID and password for accessing features, such as My eBay. As a member, you can track items you are buying or selling, review or leave Feedback, or update and change your personal information and notifications.

Multiple item auction
A listing in which a seller offers multiple identical items for sale. Unlike a regular listing, Multiple item auctions can have many winners. Buyers can specify the number of items they're interested in and the price they're willing to pay. Winning bids are determined by their overall value (bid price times the number of items bid on). For more information, see buying multiple items in a listing.

My eBay
A central place on eBay where you can manage all of your activities including buying, selling, Feedback and general account preferences. To get to My eBay, sign in and click My eBay at the top of any eBay page. Go to My eBay to see your page.

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N - O

New listing icon
Indicates that the item has been listed within the last 24 hours. If you search or browse for the same kind of items repeatedly, this icon helps you spot items you may not have seen before.

New member/user icon
Indicates that the buyer or seller has been a registered member of eBay for 30 days or less. New members join the eBay Community every day. Knowing that a person has recently joined can be helpful in various situations. For example, when dealing with a buyer who's new to eBay, an experienced seller will know to be more patient as the new member learns how eBay works.


Online auction format (auction-style listing)
The basic, most common way to sell an item on eBay. This format lets sellers list an item for sale, collect bids for a fixed length of time, and sell the item to the highest bidder. For more information, see our Shopping formats page.

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P - Q

A secure payment gateway service for processing credit or debit card payments to an internet merchant account. To accept credit and debit card payments, internet merchant sellers need to sign up for a free Payflow account.

A fast, easy, secure payment method offered by most eBay sellers for purchasing items. When buyers use PayPal, payment is sent from their credit card or bank account without giving any account information directly to the seller. With PayPal, credit card or bank account information is kept private and safe. Sign up for PayPal


PayPal Buyer Protection
A buyer protection programme that offers full coverage for buyers who pay with PayPal on qualified listings. Items that qualify for PayPal Buyer Protection are identified on the listing page. For Buyers are covered for up to €1,000.00 at no additional cost.

Picture icon
Indicates that the listing has a picture of the item in its description. This icon appears in browse and search result lists.


Pre-approve bidders/buyers
Allows select sellers of high-profile listings to create a list of specific eBay members who are allowed to bid on or buy an item they are listing for sale. Each pre-approved list applies to only one item, so sellers can restrict bidding or buying on one listing without changing the other listings. Members not on the pre-approved list must email the seller for approval before they can bid on or buy an item.


Privacy Policy
eBay's policy on how we use and protect your personal information. For more information, see eBay Privacy Policy. To see a summary of this policy, go to our Privacy Central page.


Private auction listing
A listing in which the user IDs of bidders are not displayed to others. When a private auction listing ends, the seller and high bidder are notified through email. Sellers may want to use this option when they believe that potential bidders for an item may not want their user IDs disclosed to others.


Proxy bidding
The feature of an auction-style listing in which eBay automatically bids on the buyer's behalf, up to the maximum amount they set. Enter the maximum amount you're willing to spend on an item, and eBay will continue to bid incrementally for you until either you're the high bidder or your maximum is reached. This means you don't have to keep coming back to bid every time someone else places a bid. Learn more about automatic bidding

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Registered member/user
A person who has registered with eBay by providing basic contact information. This contact information is kept private on our secure servers. Once you register and choose a user ID and password, you can begin bidding on and buying items on eBay. Register now


Listing an item for sale again after it did not sell the first time. If a seller relists an item and it sells the second time, we automatically refund the relisting fee (some restrictions apply).


The first step a buyer takes to resolve a transaction issue. A buyer opens a request to return an item, or a request to report that an item wasn't received.


Reserve price
The lowest price at which a seller is willing to sell an item in an auction-style listing. When sellers list an item, they can set a secret reserve price. If the highest bid does not meet the reserve price, then they're under no obligation to sell the item to the bidder. This feature lets sellers set a low starting price to stimulate bidding among buyers, yet ensures that the item will not be sold below a price they're willing to settle for. eBay charges an additional fee for setting a reserve price, but it is fully refunded if an item sells. For more information, see the Fees page.


eBay members write and share their experience with products. Readers can research and learn about all kinds of information. Anyone can research or write a review. For more information, see Reviews & Guides.

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Second Chance Offer
A seller can make an offer to a non-winning bidder when either the winning bidder has failed to pay for an item or the seller has a duplicate of the item. A seller can create a Second Chance Offer immediately after a listing ends and up to 60 days after the end of the listing. We don't charge an insertion fee, but if the bidder accepts the offer, the regular final value fee is charged. If you're making a Second Chance Offer because you didn't receive payment from the winning bidder, first try to resolve the problem with the winning bidder. Learn more about what to do when a buyer doesn't pay.


Secure Server
A special server used for processing credit card and other sensitive information. This server uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption to keep your information private and safe.


Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
An industry-standard encryption protocol that is used to transmit users' personal or credit card information securely and privately over the internet. eBay uses this technology to keep your information safe. By convention, web pages that require an SSL connection start with https: instead of http:. When you see https: in the address box in your web browser, you know you're using an SSL connection.


Safety Centre
The central location on the eBay site for members to report problems as well as for members to learn how to stay safe on eBay and online. Go to the Safety Centre.


Sell Similar Item
A feature that lets sellers list new items based on the information they've previously entered for another item. When a seller chooses this option, eBay automatically transfers information from the old listing into the new one for easy editing. Sellers save time by not having to enter the same information again.


A member who sells an item on eBay. Remember eBay has rules to help ensure that transactions are safe and hassle-free for the seller and the buyer. For more information, see Rules for sellers.


Seller Standards Dashboard
The Seller standards dashboard is a tool that enables business sellers to monitor and maintain their detailed seller ratings for 30 days and 12 month periods.


Seller search
A search for a specific seller on eBay. Enter a seller's user ID, and you'll see all the items the seller is currently listing. Search for a seller


Seller's return policy
A feature in the Sell Your Item form that enables sellers to specify their product's return policy. This feature includes a set of pre-formatted policy from which the seller can choose. Once the seller chooses a return policy, it appears in a corresponding section of the listing page.


Selling Manager
An advanced eBay selling tool that lets sellers perform all of their listing and sales-related activities from one location in My eBay. With Selling Manager, sellers can perform a variety of selling activities, such as tracking listings and managing post-sales activities (feedback, email, payments, etc.). Learn more about Selling Manager


Selling Manager Pro
An eBay selling tool that has the features of Selling Manager, plus additional capabilities to track inventory, list items in bulk, send feedback and emails in bulk, and generate profit and loss reports. Learn more about Selling Manager Pro


Shill Bidding
The deliberate placing of bids to artificially raise the price of an item. This practice undermines trust in the eBay Community and is not permitted. To avoid the appearance of involvement in this activity, family members, friends, and individuals living together, working together, or sharing a computer should not bid on each other's items. For more information, read our Shill bidding policy.


Placing a bid in the closing minutes or seconds of an auction-style listing. Any bid, placed before the listing ends, is allowed on eBay. To protect yourself from being outbid at the last moment, enter the maximum amount you're willing to pay for an item up front, and eBay will bid automatically for you, making sure you're the high bidder until your maximum is reached. This system is sometimes called proxy bidding.


Starting price
The price at which a seller wants bidding for an item to begin in an auction-style listing. The starting price may not necessarily be the lowest price they're willing to sell their item for. Sellers can also set a secret reserve price that represents the true minimum. If the high bid does not meet the reserve price, then the seller is under no obligation to sell the item to the bidder. This feature enables sellers to set a lower starting price to stimulate bidding among buyers.


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Title search
A method of finding items on eBay by entering keywords that match the title of the items. You enter keywords that you think will appear in the title of the item you're looking for. The search function will return a list of items that match your keywords. Search by title

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U - Z


Unpaid item process
The dispute resolution process used by sellers when they have not been paid for their item. Sellers who are not satisfied with the resolution can receive a final value fee credit from eBay. Learn more about what to do when a buyer doesn't pay.


User Agreement
The terms under which eBay offers registered members access to eBay services. All registered members must agree to these terms before they can bid on or list items, or use any other eBay service. Read the eBay User Agreement.


User ID
The unique name you use to identify yourself on eBay. You choose a user ID when you register on eBay. As you buy and sell on eBay, your user ID may become an important part of your reputation on eBay. You'll want other members to associate your user ID with a reliable, positive buying or selling experience.

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