Search the Help pages (Does not search for items or products) Search Help Pagestips
Enter your Help search terms here (Example:'contact seller')

Buying practices policy

Policy overview

We want all eBay members to be able to buy and sell on eBay with confidence. This policy outlines the things that we don't allow eBay buyers to do, and we encourage sellers to report inappropriate buying behaviour.

Although we won't always take action based on a single reported breach of this policy, we will take action if we see a pattern of these buying behaviours - including breaches of related policies.

Breaches of this policy may result in a range of actions, including Feedback removal, cancellation of return requests, limits on account privileges, limits on overall buying activity, and account suspension.

Buying behaviours we don't allow

If you've placed a winning bid or clicked Buy it now in a listing, you've committed to purchasing that item, and entered a binding contract.
If you don't pay for an item, even if you've changed your mind, you are breaching the unpaid item policy.
When you bid on or buy an item, you accept the seller's terms as set out in the listing. You're entitled to expect that the seller will do what they've said with regards to postage, payments and item returns.
Consumer buyers also have certain legal rights when purchasing items from business sellers - for example, the right to return a damaged or faulty item. This policy does not affect your exercise of these legal rights.
However, there are some things that you can't expect sellers to do. In particular, using the threat of negative Feedback or low detailed seller ratings to make such demands is considered Feedback extortion.


  • Asking to use one of the alternative postage options specified in the listing.

  • Asking to use a more expensive postage option to get the item more quickly, and offering to pay the extra postage cost.

  • Notifying the seller that your payment may be delayed briefly due to exceptional circumstances.

  • Asking to return an item according to the seller's returns policy.

  • Asking whether a seller will combine postage for multiple purchases.

Not allowed

  • Demanding a change to the postage 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.

  • Consistently purchasing items and receiving refunds outside of the seller's return policy.

  • Demanding a partial refund or discount not covered by the original listing or the eBay Money Back Guarantee under threat of negative Feedback, low detailed seller ratings or opening an eBay Money Back Guarantee request or PayPal Buyer Protection case.

  • Demanding additional items or services.

  • Asking the seller to complete the transaction off of eBay.

Feedback is an essential tool for letting other members know about your experiences with a seller, and we encourage you to be honest.
However, we don't allow the misuse of Feedback.


  • After attempting to resolve a problem, leaving negative Feedback with a politely worded comment.

  • Leaving low detailed seller ratings if the seller's performance doesn't live up to the expectations set out in their listing.


Not allowed

  • Leaving inappropriate Feedback comments, such as comments containing obscene language.

  • Leaving negative or neutral Feedback or low detailed seller ratings because a seller didn't provide additional goods and services not mentioned in the original listing or the eBay Money Back Guarantee. We consider this to be Feedback extortion.

  • Consistently leaving low detailed seller ratings or negative Feedback for sellers who sell items in the same or similar categories as you. We consider this to be Feedback manipulation.

  • Consistently leaving positive Feedback with low detailed seller ratings

eBay Money Back Guarantee applies to all eligible purchases on If you have a problem with a purchase, you can let us know in My eBay.
We don't allow buyers to abuse the eBay Money Back Guarantee programme.


  • Opening a request when you didn't receive the item and the seller hasn't responded to you.

  • Opening a request after the item you received didn't match the description in the listing.


Not allowed

  • Claiming you haven't received an item before the estimated delivery date has passed.

  • Claiming you haven't received an item when it has arrived.

  • Claiming an item isn't as described in the listing when the item description in the listing was accurate.

  • Opening an eBay Money Back Guarantee request or PayPal Buyer Protection case when you have already received a refund from the seller or reimbursement from your payment provider, when you haven't paid for an item or as retaliation against a seller following a previous dispute.

  • Threatening to open an eBay Money Back Guarantee request or PayPal Buyer Protection case against a seller in order to get a discount or additional goods and services, when the item arrived in the described condition.

  • Consistently opening requests which are inconsistent with your sellers' overall performance may be considered indicative of unfair behaviour.

We encourage all sellers to specify a clear returns policy in their listings. Business sellers on have legal obligations around accepting returns. Always check the returns policy specified in a listing before committing to pay for an item.
If you need to return an item, review the seller's returns policy and get in touch with them first. Sellers may specify requirements for returns such as time limits, and who pays for return postage. Learn more about our condition return policy.



  • Returning a faulty item or an item that wasn't as described in the listing.

  • Returning an item bought from a business seller that was damaged in the post

  • Returning an item bought from a business seller for any reason within the terms of the returns policy and/or the period allowed under the Distance Selling Regulations


Not allowed

  • Returning a different item (e.g. a used or older model of the same product).

  • Not returning the item at all (e.g. returning an empty box).

  • Returning an item that has not been handled with reasonable care.

  • Not following the other terms of the seller's returns policy, as long as the returns policy is compliant with Distance Selling Regulations.

  • Consistently purchasing items with the intention of receiving a full or partial refund from the seller.

Additional information

Although we have separate policies about each of the following behaviours, we'd like to make it clear that they are also considered unacceptable buying practices under this policy.

  • Communications: Your communications with sellers - via email, phone, 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: You can only retract a bid under exceptional circumstances. We may take action against a buyer if we see a pattern of excessive or invalid bid retractions.

  • Unwelcome and malicious buying: We consider bidding on or buying an item when you have no intention of completing the transaction, or circumventing a seller's buyer requirements for buyers to be unwelcome and malicious buying.

  • Fraudulent payments: You must pay for eBay items using one of our accepted payment methods. We encourage sellers to make sure that 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 take action when we know that a member has false or missing contact information, or if we can't contact a member because they have an invalid or dead email address.

How to report a policy breach

To report a buyer who may be breaching our policies:
  1. Review the relevant section of this policy (and its related policies) to make sure that the buyer is really breaking the rules.

  2. If you're sure they have breached an eBay policy, report the buyer.

Note: When we review a report of a member violating our policies, we look at all the circumstances, including the member's history. 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 won't discuss the results of an investigation.

Learn more about resolving selling problems.

Why does eBay have this policy?

We work hard to make shopping on eBay safe and fun. We hold sellers on eBay to high standards of customer service. Our selling practices policy sets out our expectations of sellers, and we hold sellers to account when buyers report a problem with a purchase.

It's only fair that we also protect sellers from unsafe and unfair behaviour, and from buyers who try to take advantage of our protection systems.

Contact us

Have a question? We can help.

 Contact us

Ask eBay members

Get help from other eBay members. Visit the Answer Centre to post a question.