How to Cancel an eBay Order as a Seller

By Scott Voelker •  Updated: 08/02/23 •  8 min read

Canceling an order on eBay is often tricky. That’s because you don't want to upset your buyer. 

It can also involve losing your seller rating or paying extra fees. You also don't want to miss out on the opportunity to make money from your sale.

The average order value on eBay in 2020 was between $24 to $47

That means canceling an order could result in a significant loss of revenue for you.

Learn how to cancel an eBay order as a seller in different situations. 

We'll also tell you what happens when you cancel an order and how to avoid negative feedback and fees. Let's get started on how to handle order cancellations on eBay.

How to Cancel an eBay Order as a Seller Before Payment

Most sellers will cancel an item when the buyer hasn't paid for the item yet. This happens when the buyer changes their mind or makes a mistake. Other instances include when the buyer has some issues with their payment method.

In this case, canceling an order is easy. Here's what you need to do:

Communication is vital when it comes to order cancellations. Therefore, before you cancel an order, you need to contact the buyer first.

Explain to the buyer why you need to cancel the order and apologize for any inconvenience. This helps to avoid misunderstandings or conflicts with the buyer.

You may also ask the buyer to cancel the order themselves. It makes the whole process faster and easier for both parties.

Note that canceling an order before payment does not affect your seller's performance. Neither does it affect your feedback rating.

However, eBay monitors how often sellers cancel orders. The platform may lower your ranking. They could also limit your selling activity when you cancel more than 0.5% of your orders in 12 months. Therefore, you should avoid canceling orders as much as possible. Do it only when it's necessary.

How to Cancel an eBay Order as a Seller After Payment

Canceling an eBay order after payment is a more complicated and risky scenario. That's because the buyer has already paid for the item. 

As a result, they may be unhappy or angry with your decision.

An unhappy customer could result in negative feedback. 

You may also incur fees or face disputes. 

Therefore, you should only cancel an order after payment if you have a valid reason. Or better yet, when there's no other option.

Now here's how you cancel an order after payment:

  1. Contact the buyer in time and explain why you need to cancel the order.
  2. Ask for their consent and cooperation. For example, you can say something like: “I'm very sorry, but I have to cancel your order due to a problem with the item. I hope you understand and agree to the cancellation. Please let me know as soon as possible.”

If the buyer agrees;

Alternatives for Canceling an Order

Canceling an order after payment may result in negative feedback from the buyer. These can damage your reputation and sales. That's because customers have little trust in your services. 

Therefore, avoid canceling orders after payment as much as possible. Instead, consider the following alternatives:

Offer Partial Refunds

You can offer a partial refund or a discount coupon to compensate for delays or defects in the item.

For example, you can say something like:

“I apologize for the delay/defect in your order. I appreciate your patience/understanding. As a gesture of goodwill, I would like to offer you a partial refund of $X or a discount coupon of $Y for your next purchase. Please let me know if you accept this offer.”

Offer an Alternative Product

Find a similar or replacement item from another seller or source. You can then ship it to the buyer with their permission.

You could tell them something like:

“I'm sorry, but I don't have the item you ordered in stock anymore. However, I have found a similar or replacement item from another seller or source. It shares the same features/quality/price as the original item. 

Would you be interested in receiving this item instead? If so, please confirm, and I will ship it to you as soon as possible.”

Contact eBay Customer Service

Ask eBay customer service for help if you encounter any problems or disputes with the buyer. eBay can help create a win-win situation between you and the customer.

How to Prevent Order Cancellations on eBay as a Seller

Remember, we said cancellations could hurt your seller performance and ranking. Here are some tips to help you prevent order cancellations on eBay as a seller.

Keep Your Inventory Updated and Accurate

Check how many items you have in stock and update your listings accordingly. If you run out of an item, use the out-of-stock option. It will hide your listing until you have more items. This way, you won't sell more than you have.

Set Clear and Realistic Expectations for Your Buyers

Tell your buyers what your items look like. Show them photos and measurements of your items. Inform them of any flaws or defects. Using straightforward language ensures you don't mislead your buyers.

Offer Flexible and Fast Shipping Options

Give your buyers different choices for shipping. You can opt for standard, expedited, or international shipping. Pick reliable and reputable carriers. Once you have that in place, ship your items as soon as possible.

Give the buyers tracking information and delivery confirmation for their orders. Update them on the status of their shipments. This helps to ensure your buyers get their items on time.

Communicate With Your Buyers Throughout the Transaction

You need to answer your buyers' questions and concerns quickly and politely.

You can also:

This way, you will build trust and rapport with your buyers, encouraging them to buy from you again.

Encourage Your Buyers to Contact You Before Placing an Order

Some buyers may express doubt concerning an item. Some may have special requests about your item. These may include color, size, or customization options. 

Ask them to contact you before they buy it. 

Try to negotiate or accommodate their needs if possible. You could also explain why you can't fulfill their request. This way, you won't have buyers who regret buying or dislike your item.

What Happens After an Order Is Canceled?

After you cancel an order on eBay as a seller, Here's what you need to know:

The Refund Process

You need to issue a full or partial refund to the buyer. This should take place within ten days of canceling the order. eBay processes the refund through the same payment method the buyer used. The buyer may have to wait up to 30 days for the money to be returned to their account.

The Fee Credit Policy

You can request a final value fee credit from eBay when you cancel an order within 30 days of the sale. It’s often the percentage of the total amount of the sale that eBay charges you as a seller.

To request a fee credit, follow the steps below:

You will receive an email from eBay confirming your request.

The Relisting Option

You can relist your item for free if you cancel an order. Here's how:

You can edit your listing details before publishing it again.

The Feedback Removal Policy

Ask eBay to remove any negative or neutral feedback from the buyer upon canceling an order. Follow these steps:

You will receive an email from eBay informing you of their decision.


That's how you cancel an order on eBay as a seller. Go to your My eBay tab, navigate to the Sold section, and select Cancel order. Remember to select a reason for the cancellation, then confirm the cancellation.

Remember to communicate with the buyer when canceling the sale to avoid negative feedback. Also, find alternatives to canceling, as it can affect your ranking and performance.

Scott Voelker