How to Cancel an Order on eBay When You Haven't Paid Yet

By David Wayne

i Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

While eBay considers a bid to be a binding contractual agreement, you can cancel an order through the Resolution Center if the seller agrees. Contacting the seller as soon as possible is important because the seller may file an unpaid-item strike against you six days after the auction closes. Many sellers offer full refunds for eBay auctions and have no problem canceling your order before shipping the item because they save time and money by relisting it right away.

Step 1

Contact the seller within two days of the auction's closing. After this time, the seller can open an unpaid-item case to recover listing costs, and you have four days to pay for the item or receive an unpaid-item strike, which can lead to account limitations or suspension. From any eBay page, point the cursor to “My eBay” and choose “Purchase History.” Click the “More Actions” menu next to the order you want to cancel and choose “Contact Seller.” This link takes you to a page of frequently asked questions.

Step 2

Click “Payment and Checkout” to see a list of questions related to this topic. After choosing a topic and viewing the most common questions, eBay gives you the option to send the seller a message. Choose “No, I Want to Contact the Seller” and click “Continue.” Explain your reason for canceling the order in the Message Body field and click “Send.”

Step 3

Check the email inbox associated with your eBay account for a message from the seller or eBay. After receiving a message confirming your request to cancel the transaction, an open case appears in the Resolution Center. View the case by clicking “Resolution Center” at the bottom of any eBay page. Alternatively, click “Respond Now” in the email from eBay. The Resolution Center opens, and the Case Details page is displayed.

Step 4

Enter a reason for canceling the transaction in the Case Details form. This information is for the seller's and eBay's records and can be simple and brief. At this point, the seller has already agreed to cancel the transaction, and the Resolution Center case is a formality. After typing a reason, click “Submit Response.” The Resolution Center now requires action from the seller to close the case, which cancels the transaction.

Step 5

Follow the case details in the Resolution Center. When the seller closes the case, the Status column displays the message “Case is Closed.” Review the case details by clicking “Case Details” next to the closed case. This page contains all the communications between you and the seller and remains in the Resolution Center for 18 months from the time the case is opened.