Did you accidentally bid on an item in an online auction and want to retract it? Did your cat bid on your behalf walking across your desk? Whatever your reason, you have options.

Auctioneers hear many excuses when buyers want to retract their bid at an online auction. These can include:

  • The buyer didn’t realize the terms and conditions said “no shipping” and they live 500 miles away
  • The pick-up time conflicts with a funeral the buyer must attend
  • The buyer typed too many zeros, and $10.00 became $10,000

Regardless of the reason, if you find that you have made a bid in error in an online auction, call or email the auction company immediately. Do not wait until the auction is over. In some instances, a bid can be retracted, or alternative arrangements can be made.

Auction pick-up issues

Bidding on items and then failing to pick them up or pay for them creates havoc for an auction company and damages a seller. While it might not seem like a big deal, some auctions have strict deadlines for vacating a building after a business or estate is closed. This and other circumstances can cost sellers thousands of dollars.

If you cannot pick up an item at a designated time, communicate with the auction company to see if an alternate time is available. If you do not pick up your item, it could be considered abandoned. Ensure you read all auction terms and conditions carefully.

Your online reputation

Most platforms allow sellers, or those operating on a seller’s behalf, to submit feedback on non-performing bidders. Depending on the feedback, a buyer could be permanently banned from bidding online ever again. Therefore, it is important to be certain before you bid on an item, and that you communicate honestly with the seller.

Take your time

To avoid the need to retract bids, don’t rush through the online catalog, placing bids flippantly. Bidding online is fun, but it is not a game. Make sure you anticipate the win upon bidding. Be sure to understand the lot you are bidding on and the price you are paying before placing the bid. By registering to bid, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions. Failure to perform can be costly for a buyer.

If you have questions about an auction or an item selling at auction, perform your due diligence before bidding. Understand terms and conditions. Ask the seller questions. Make sure you are making a firm commitment because, in the end, you are.

The auction method of marketing is fast, fun, and transparent; but, auction bid retractions are fun for no one.

Jay Cash, BAS, CES, James R. Cash Auctions & Real Estate, contributed to this article.

To find an auction professional near you, visit auctioneers.org.