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How To Stop Ebay Online Auction if You Lost, Don't Have or Damaged The Item

Updated on December 6, 2011


I do a little bit of Ebaying and from time to time I run into a scenario that I have not encountered before. I listed two items for sale on two online auctions, but I no longer had the item to sell.

Normally this would not be a problem if I had caught it right away. The problem was both auctions had been running for days and both auctions had bids placed.

There was no way I could ship these items to the winning bidders once the auction ends. I could not fulfill my end of the obligation.

I envisioned angry customer emails. I could feel my very first Ebay negative feedback coming.

If you ever find yourself with this problem, there is a way to cut your losses and possibly avoid all of this.

Step 1

Go to MyEbay and open active listings.

Step 2

Find the item or items that have the problem of being lost, damaged, missing, etc. Go to the drop down arrow all the way to the right and click on it. Make sure you choose the drop down arrow that is on the same line as the item you want to end.

Step 3

Choose End Item

Step 4

You might be redirected to a screen that asks you to log in again. If you are, then log in a again.

If there are no bids on the item:

If there are no bids on the item, Ebay will simply ask you to select a radio button that best describes why you are ending the item, then you can click the button that ends your item. Your item will end. Finished.

If there ARE bids on the item AND there is more than 12 hours left on the auction

This is one of the problems I had. It was the easiest to solve.

After clicking "End Listing" you be directed to a "Cancel Bids and End Item Listing Early" screen. All you'll need to do is select the "Cancel Bids" button.

Ebay will ask you for a reason why you are ending the listing early, which you'll enter. Ebay will automatically cancel the online auction as well as all of the bids for you. Very easy. You don't have to contact the bidders and there's no blood on your hands

If there is less than 12 hours, it gets a little uglier for you but not impossible.... see next step.....

Step 5 .... Less than 12 hours to go

Damn! The clock is winding down and Ebay is forcing you to continue with the sale.

This also happened to me and is the WORST case scenario.

You attempted to end the listing but Ebay WON'T LET YOU CANCEL THE BIDS because there are bids with less than 12 hours remaining until your online auction closes.

The only option you have is to end the auction early and sell the item to the highest bidder. That is all you can do and it raises an interesting question....

How can you sell something you don't have ? Well, you can't, so this is the part that does require you to perform some good customer service damage control.

Proceed to step 6

Step 6

We'll since the only option Ebay will give you is to end the auction early and sell the item (you don't have) to the winning bidder, look to the Bottom of the "End my Listing Early" screen click the "Sell item" button.

Step 7 ..... Time to Genuflect a Bit

Your item will end. The status of the item will change to "Sold".

Now, right away, go ahead and email the buyer. 3 important suggestions when writing this email....Apologize, apologize, apologize. The customer was probably really anticipating your item and fighting off competitive bids in the process. Now, in their eyes, you've taken it away. Keep that in mind when you phrase your email. Be nice and apologetic.

Step 8 They Paid Anyway!!

Your customer might not get the email in time. This happened to me. After sending an email that would kiss their feet in a virtual kind of way, I suddenly received PayPal notification that I received payment for this item.

What should you do if this happens?  Follow my lead....I simply refunded all of the money and left another apologetic, I bow to your gods, email through their PayPal account.

In my case, I was also able to send them a less superior item for free. It showed I was serious and that I didn't intentionally end the sale because I wasn't happy with the bid (and, believe me, I would have been fine with the bid). You might not have the same luxury of doing this.

Whatever you do, use good sense and keep your hat in hand. Chances are you'll avoid the negative feedback.


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    • TurtleDog profile image

      TurtleDog 5 years ago

      Glad I could help Kenneth. Yeah, not being able to fullfill an online auction obligation does cause a lot of worry, fortunately ebay gives you a way out. Thanks for the comment!

    • profile image

      Kenneth Stock 5 years ago

      Thank you so much!!! I was freaking out cause I got a better deal on selling my item but couldn't figure out how to remove it! this helped a bunch!!!

    • TurtleDog profile image

      TurtleDog 6 years ago

      Thanks for the insight PDXbuys! Avoiding negative feedback on Ebay is really important and increasing repeat and new customers is so important for my Ebay sales. Thanks for stopping by

    • PDXBuys profile image

      PDXBuys 6 years ago from Oregon

      Good hub. Yes, I've run into this problem before. My general rule now is that I never list an item I do not have physically in front of me. That way I know exactly where it is! Second, I store the listed items all in one place, in a locked location if necessary, so nothing happens to my inventory.