Return policy ebay

Return policy ebay DEFAULT

How to return an item on eBay if it's defective or damaged, and meets the site's requirements

  • You can return an item on eBay if your purchase arrives defective, damaged, or does not match the online description. 
  • eBay's Money Back Guarantee ensures refunded items in most cases, although there are certain timelines and requirements that buyers and sellers must follow. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

So that vintage T-shirt you ordered off eBay wasn't in quite so "excellent" condition after all? Or maybe the record player you bought arrived with a broken turntable. 

Luckily, you should be able to return those items with no problem.   

eBay's Money Back Guarantee ensures you will be refunded if you return an item that didn't match its description, or arrived defective or damaged. You'll likely have to request a return within 30 days of receiving the item — or longer if the seller has an extended return window. 

If you simply regret a purchase, then it's up to the seller whether or not your return will be accepted. Sellers have three days to attempt to resolve an issue before eBay gets involved. 

Either way, here's how to return an item you bought on eBay.

How to return an item on eBay

1. Log into your eBay account and click on "My eBay" at the top right corner of the screen.

2. On the dropdown menu, click "Purchase History."

Screen_Shot_2019 11 05_at_1_44_11_PM
Steven John/Business Insider

3. Find the item you wish to return, then click "Return this item."

Screen_Shot_2019 11 05_at_1_44_43_PM
Steven John/Business Insider

4. On the next screen, type in a note about why you want to return it and select a reason from the dropdown menu.

5. Click "Request a return."

Now you have to wait until the seller decides whether or not to accept your return request. 

If they don't but you think you deserve a refund due to the condition of the item bought, you can contact eBay and request help with the return if it's within 30 days of your purchase.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

Steven John

Freelance Writer


How eBay Sellers Can Prevent Returns

Dealing with returns is part of doing business on eBay. Since a buyer can request a return for any reason, even the most meticulous merchants receive requests from time to time. While it's useful for sellers to know how to handle these situations, it's even more helpful to understand how to prevent returns from happening in the first place.

Triggers for Buyer Returns

One of the most common things that make buyers bristle is when they receive an item that doesn't match the photos or the description in the listing. Being sent broken items or products that are missing parts can likewise taint a transaction, and so can receiving shipments that are damaged or seem fake.

Generally, problems with one of these elements cause buyers to request a return. And these are valid reasons to request a return, according to eBay. Being mindful of these benchmarks when posting listings and packaging shipments can help sellers sidestep these situations.

This sort of guidance doesn't apply to all return requests, however. Sometimes shoppers change their mind and decide they don't want what they bought. Accepting a return, in that case, depends on the seller's stated return policy. If sellers offer returns within a certain time period, then it's reasonable for a buyer to make a request.

If a return is accepted, the seller has the option of giving a full or partial refund with the buyer sometimes being asked to pay a restocking fee (usually around 20%) and to cover the return shipping. Sending a replacement item or offering an exchange are also options.

If sellers have included disclaimers in their return policy stating that they do not accept returns, then it's up to their discretion how they handle the situation. In almost every instance, however, eBay recommends accommodating the buyer.

Dealing Directly With Buyers About Their Returns

Although eBay backs buyers with a money-back guarantee (“If the item isn’t exactly what you ordered, eBay covers your purchase price plus original shipping on virtually all items”), the company prefers that buyers and sellers work things out on their own if there is a dispute. This gives sellers a chance to settle matters before the issue gets escalated further and affects their selling ability.

Buyer Ratings and Feedback Scores

Keeping buyers happy is eBay's top priority, and they expect it to be the sellers' concern too. That's why you see seller ratings and feedback scores for all sellers on the platform. Up to 60 days after a transaction is completed, buyers can rate their experience. Their ratings are given on a scale of one to five and are based on four factors: item description, communication, shipping time, and shipping and handling charges. These ratings are averaged in with feedback from other buyers to determine the seller's rating and feedback score.

Despite the opportunity, not every buyer weighs in. So all feedback counts. Studies have shown that consumers are more likely to express dissatisfaction with the service they received than to offer kudos on a job well done. That's why it's essential to make sure every buyer is satisfied with their purchase. Seller ratings and feedback scores serve as a useful barometer for other buyers when making buying decisions.

Why Preventing Returns Is Important

Preventing returns is about more than protecting the seller rating and feedback score. Customer satisfaction is equally as vital to preserving a seller's performance status, which eBay keeps a close tab on. There are four seller levels, Top-Seller Plus, Top Seller, Above Standard, and Below Standard. Unresolved buyer returns can cause sellers to have their status lowered. When that happens, their ability to sell is limited and sometimes restricted.

For its part, eBay is less concerned with the ratings a seller receives and more concerned with the level of service they provide to buyers. If a buyer doesn't receive their order or it's not what they expected, eBay expects the seller to resolve the situation. If the situation doesn't get resolved in a timely manner, eBay may be called upon to intervene by either the buyer or the seller.

If it gets to that level and eBay is asked to mediate a dispute, things can quickly go south for the seller. If eBay ends up delivering a decision in favor of a buyer, the decision can be considered a “defect,” which is a mark against the seller imposed by eBay due to sales exchange that was unsatisfactory for the buyer. (A defect is also generated if PayPal intervenes and seller is at fault, or if a seller cancels a transaction due to an item being out of stock.)

Receiving a negative mark of that sort reflects poorly on the seller, and it can create something of a domino effect from there. Defects affect a seller's “Service Metrics,” which is basically an ongoing tally of their resolution rate with regard to "items not as described" or "items not received" cases. In turn, a seller's Service Metrics—which can be monitored in the Service Metrics Dashboard in the Seller's Hub—affect their overall seller performance standard, which can result in selling sanctions from eBay if too many defects are registered.

The Service Metrics are compiled on the 20th of each month. That's when eBay evaluates each seller. That evaluation is based on the number of return requests for “item not received” or “item not as described.” The review period varies depending on the volume of sales. For sellers with less than 400 listings in the previous three months, eBay will review a year's worth of transactions. For sellers who have listed more than 400 items in the past three months, eBay only goes back three months.

To maintain “Above Standard” status, the minimum level for an eBay seller, a seller must keep their defect rate at 2% or lower. For “Top-Rated” sellers, the standards are higher at 0.5%. If a seller's defect rate falls below this threshold or they receive too many defects in a designated period from different buyers (five for Above Standard level and four for Top Sellers), their overall seller status is subject to being lowered, resulting in partial or complete selling restrictions.

Getting defects removed is possible, but you have to file an appeal after communicating with the buyer, and it's easier—and, frankly, wiser—to find a resolution before it gets to that point.

Setting Up a Buyer-Friendly Return Policy

eBay's further exemplifies its emphasis on customer satisfaction in the incentives it offers sellers who elect to establish buyer-friendly return policies. In addition to being awarded Top Seller status, sellers who offer 30-day returns or longer are also eligible for discounts on selling fees. The idea is to bolster buyers' confidence beyond eBay's Money Back Guarantee. There are four different return options a seller can choose.

  • 30-day return with buyer paying for shipping
  • 30-day return with free shipping
  • 60-day return with buyer paying for shipping
  • 60-day return with free shipping

Inspecting Merchandise and Preparing to List

With some due diligence, sellers can take specific steps to help reduce the likelihood of a return request. If you're a seller, the first place to start is examining everything. If it's a new item, make sure all the packaging is intact. If you're selling used merchandise, pay even closer attention to make sure everything is in good shape. If you're selling a piece of electronics or something mechanical, plug it in or turn it on to make sure the item works.

Apply that same level scrutiny to everything you sell, whether it's garments, shoes, jewelry, watches, paintings, posters, or household goods. Inspect your items from top-to-bottom in a good light. Search every possible angle in good light for any discoloration, rips, tears, stains, holes, dents, chips, or any other wear and tear. Keep a list of anything you find and include them in the description and photos. An item may have flaws, but that doesn’t mean it won’t sell. You just have to make a disclosure.

If you're selling unfamiliar items, it's best to do some research to verify that all parts are included. Create a checklist for yourself to follow when you ship the item and to include for the buyer to confirm everything has been received. Common items with multiple parts include toys, small appliances, electronics, sporting goods, tools, and lawn, and garden equipment. Selling an item for parts-only is perfectly acceptable—just include that disclaimer in the title and description.

Writing Clear, Accurate, Vivid Titles and Descriptions

The first thing to do when you're preparing your listing is to make sure your title is accurate and complete. Sometimes, this is the only thing buyers pay attention to even if you have great photos and a thorough description. Make sure the brand name, the size, and the color are all accurate and included. Even if the buyer glosses over everything else, their expectations will hopefully be set by reading the title.

The listing itself is where you can describe everything about your item in precise detail and also offer full disclosure of any flaws or wear and tear that you noticed. The description should include information on the brand, the size, colors, shape, weight, texture, and any special features. If the item is new and you have a UPC, include it. Likewise, if you know who manufactured the item and when and where it was made, feel free to include that information as well.

Including measurements in your descriptions is also very important, especially if you're selling garments. When buying clothing on eBay, many buyers measure a similar item they already have that fits well and compare the measurements to the eBay listing. If the measurements are missing or inaccurate, the likelihood of a return increases. Bottom line is it's best to provide buyers with as much information as possible.

Taking Photos as If There Is No Description

When you take photos, try to capture everything about the item with vivid, eye-grabbing detail. eBay recommends using a tripod to take a dozen or so high-resolution images of the items on a spare backdrop to create a clear contrast. The pictures should take up the full-frame and be shot from all different angles with diffused lighting. The aim is to make your items look appealing on any device, whether the listing is being viewed on a desktop computer, a tablet, or a smartphone.

If there are any flaws, take close-ups so a buyer can see for themselves and be made aware, even if they don't read the description carefully. Photos are also an effective way to show the size of an item. You can take a picture of an everyday object like a coin next to the item to display the scale, or you can also take a picture of an extended tape measure to show the exact size.

The Importance of Packing and Shipping

Packing and shipping is a significant part of the process. It's just as important as writing the listing and taking photos. At least half of the reasons buyers request returns are related to shipping. So it's wise to address these concerns before they even become an issue for a buyer.

Before you start packing your item, double-check everything. Review the sales order to make sure the right item is being shipped. Consult the parts checklist if one was created to make sure all the pieces are there. It's also worth taking a second look at the condition of the item itself to ensure that it's the same shape as it was when it was first listed.

Packaging an item for shipping is the most pivotal part of the process. Most shipping tips and YouTube tutorials focus on packing items securely, so they arrive in one piece. While that's crucial, one thing that often gets overlooked is the packaging itself, which is a great way to help shape a buyer's perception of you.

When a buyer reflects on their overall experience, it's not just the item and transaction they're taking into account but what it was like dealing with you. If the package looks good when a buyer opens the item, hopefully, they remember that and know you took time and extra care.

One of the videos on eBay's YouTube channel stresses this point and offers tips on how to polish the presentation, including wrapping items in large tissue paper and then tying them with twine. The video also provides some solid tips for packing an object securely.

  • Ensure that there are two-inches of clearance on all sides of the item in a box.
  • Use bubble wrap to envelop and protect the item on all sides.
  • Give the box a good shake to ensure it's secure—if you hear movement or rattling, you need to additional packing materials.
  • Ship clothes with a reusable polyvinyl envelope that the buyer can use to send items back if they need to.

Another solid shipping tip includes using pool noodles (the foam cylinders kids play with when swimming) to help secure items. The noodles can be bent around hard edges and can also be cut into pieces to create a buffer within a box. Packing peanuts are also useful for this purpose.

Ultimately, the key with shipping breakables is to make sure the items don't move around during processing and delivery. When sending fragile items, double-boxing—which involves packing the item well in a box and then “floating” it in packing peanuts or other material inside a larger box—is also an excellent idea.

So is packing items in double-walled corrugated boxes, which are stronger and provide greater protection. You can order double-walled boxes from Uline, Bubblefast, or pick up at office supply stores or Home Depot in the moving boxes section.

For smaller items, many sellers use a USPS Flat Rate Bubble Mailer, which tends to be cost-effective. If you choose this option, just be sure not to cram too much into the envelopes, like a large pair of jeans or a coat. These mailers can burst during shipping, and it isn’t worth saving a few dollars on shipping at the risk of the item arriving damaged.

Finally, print out a copy of the sales order to include in the package, along with a checklist (if applicable). Once the package ships, provide the buyer with tracking info so they know when to expect delivery and can follow-up if the item isn't received.

Selling Frequently Returned Items

Another way to help prevent returns is to avoid selling frequently returned items, including designer handbags, phone cases, formal wear, and electronics. Designer handbags are frequently returned within 30-days because buyers use them for a few weeks and then return them. Formal wear is also returned often after events like homecoming, prom, weddings, or college formals. Electronics, especially mobile phones, get returned with parts missing. The gold inside an iPhone and other mobile phones can be sold for cash.

Authenticating Designer Items

If you choose to sell higher-end handbags, blue jeans, watches, or sunglasses, one way to prevent returns is to have them authenticated. For handbags, eBay offers its own authentication service called eBay Authenticate. You can send your bags to experts who can certify the authenticity and then ship the item to the buyer. Although there are plans for expansion, the service is currently only available for select brands and limited to handbags.

Another option is a company called Authenticate First, which is also staffed with experts who can determine if an item is authentic and provide a certificate of authenticity that can be included in the eBay listing. A seller can email photos of the item to the site and Authenticate First’s will determine if the item is real or fake.

  1. Stained glass sheets
  2. Patoka lake cabins for sale
  3. Messy haircut female

Returns are inevitable in e-commerce, and eBay is no different.

Buyers can request eBay returns for a variety of reasons, and even if you’re meticulous with your listings and careful when you package items, mistakes happen. Sometimes the wrong item gets shipped. Sometimes items become damaged in transit. Sometimes you may include the wrong description or product photo in a listing. In other words, if you’re an eBay seller, the odds are good that you’ll have to deal with returns at some point.

But while it’s important to understand how to deal with eBay return requests promptly and professionally, it’s even more useful to learn how you can help prevent returns from happening in the first place.

Read on for more information about eBay returns and how you can reduce the number you receive.

Why eBay Returns Can Negatively Impact Your Business

Even when you’re upfront about your return policy and even if you provide excellent customer service, a return can still have a negative impact on your business. Here’s why eBay returns can potentially be harmful:

  • You could lose a customer. A poor return policy, bad customer service, or any other negative interaction with you or your eBay store could result in a customer refusing to do business with you in the future.
  • You could receive negative feedback. The feedback you receive from eBay customers is important because it appears in your seller profile and tells potential buyers what it’s like to do business with you. If you have a positive rating, it helps you establish trust among buyers. However, a negative rating may discourage customers from buying from you.
  • It could affect your eBay seller level — and more. eBay has three seller levels: Top Rated, Above Standard, and Below Standard. If you have issues with unresolved eBay returns, your status may be lowered, which won’t only negatively affect your reputation, but could also limit your ability to sell. If a return dispute with a customer escalates and eBay has to intervene, it could also result in a defect, which will affect your Service Metrics.
  • It costs you time. Dealing with returns from an unsatisfied customer doesn’t only mean time lost communicating with the buyer and processing the return, but also time you’ll have to spend restocking, relisting, reselling and reshipping the item.
  • It costs you money. Even if your return policy places the burden of return shipping costs on the seller, eBay returns can cost you, and they can add up over time, which is why it’s important to take returns into account when determining the profitability of your eBay store.

Why Buyers Return Items

No two buyers are alike, but here are a few common reasons that eBay buyers return items.

  • Inaccurate item descriptions: This is a quick ticket to a return, as the buyer will be dissatisfied when a product fails to meet expectations. When writing descriptions, be clear and concise and include all relevant information, such as specs, sizes, brand names, colors, etc. If there’s any damage to the item, make note of this near the top of the listing so that it’s easy to see.
  • Buyers don’t read descriptions carefully: This can be closely related to the previous issue, especially if you’re using photos and listing information from the eBay catalog. This catalog allows you to enter a UPC, ISBN, part number or product name and will automatically generate product information for you. For example, by entering the ISBN for “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” eBay fills in many of the product details for you and even includes a product image.

However, catalog entries are intended to provide general information about an item — not the exact item you’re selling. While you always have to specify an item’s condition in a listing, buyers may simply skim a description and easily overlook important details.

  • Buyer’s remorse: This happens in retail all the time, and it happens on eBay, too. Sometimes people make a purchase they simply regret and want to return the item.
  • Scams. It’s an unfortunate truth of e-commerce: Sometimes buyers aren’t legitimate and are simply looking to scam sellers.

7 Tips to Reduce eBay Returns

While you can’t prevent eBay returns entirely, there are some best practices you can follow to reduce their likelihood.

1. Ensure Listings Are Accurate.

Few things sour a customer like getting an item that isn’t as described in the listing. In fact, 45% of e-commerce returns occur because the delivered item is different from its listing or because it was incorrect altogether.

Here are some tips to help make your eBay listings accurate, complete, and easy to digest:

  • Use bullets
  • List the most important information about an item first
  • Include details about the item, such as brand, size, color, etc.
  • Include identifying information such as UPCs or ISBNs
  • Note any damages to the item, such as rips, tears, or chipped paint

2. Use High-Quality Photos.

Including high-quality photos in your eBay listings won’t only inspire confidence in buyers because they’ll be able to clearly see what they’re purchasing, but it’ll also make your listing stand out.

You can include up to twelve photos of the item you’re selling, and eBay recommends using images that are 1600×1600 pixels. To avoid any confusion among potential buyers — and make your listing look legitimate — it’s best to take photos of the specific item you’re selling yourself instead of relying on stock photos or eBay catalog images. Here are a few things to keep in mind when taking product photos:

  • Photograph products in front of a white or neutral background in an area with good lighting.
  • Take pictures from various angles, so buyers can see every aspect of the product.
  • Photograph the product next to other items to provide buyers with a sense of scale.
  • Take close-ups of any flaws. If a product has chipped paint, a tear, or a crack, be upfront about this fact in both your photos and your item description.

You don’t have to use a fancy camera to take quality product photos — your smartphone camera is all you need. Learn more about taking high-quality mobile photos in this article from Curalate.

3. Package Items Carefully.

Twenty percent of e-commerce returns occur because an item arrives damaged or broken, and while you’re unable to prevent a package from being dropped or mishandled, you can take precautions when packaging and shipping items to help avoid damages.

The cost of boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and other packaging materials can add up, but you can package products in creative and cost-effective ways by using materials you already have at home — such as newspaper, egg cartons, or plastic bags — to securely wrap an item and keep it from moving around during shipping. You can also reuse packaging supplies from orders you receive.

And while USPS flat-rate envelopes are a popular shipping choice, be careful not to overstuff envelopes just to save a little cash. Envelopes can split and contents can be squished or damaged. Avoid using these for fragile items especially, and opt for a box instead.

Here are a few more tips for packing your items safely:

  • Select a box that’s slightly larger than the item, so you can cushion it packing material.
  • Seal your package on all sides with packaging tape. Don’t use gift wrap tape or masking tape, and don’t attempt to seal a package using only string or twine.
  • Reinforce seams, edges, and any other openings with packaging tape.
  • If you’re reusing a box, cover up or cross out any previous addresses or UPC codes.

Remember that how you package an item also reflects on your business, so choose materials carefully and pack items neatly and safely.

4. Ship items quickly.

With the popularity of Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping, online shoppers are accustomed to receiving orders promptly. While you don’t have to match Amazon’s shipping policy, getting sold items packaged and on the way to buyers quickly is a great way to not only keep your customers happy, but also to avoid returns. Customers may make a purchase for a time-sensitive event, and if they don’t receive the item on time, they may simply return it. So get your orders processed and shipped quickly and be sure to provide customers with tracking information as soon as possible.

5. Avoid Selling Knock-Off Products.

The Internet is full of scams and impostor products, and selling knock-off products on eBay will quickly lead to returns — and negative feedback from buyers. If you’re reselling products, make sure you’re using a trusted supplier who’s providing you with authentic items.

If you’re intentionally selling a knock-off item, be sure to note this in your product description. For example, in the eBay listing below, the seller makes it clear that the item is a Gucci knock-off purse.

6. Take Stock of Regularly Returned Items.

You may notice that certain items are returned more often than others. If this is the case, talk to customers and try to determine the reason for the return. The product may be of poor quality or you could’ve received a shipment of faulty goods from your supplier that you need to return yourself.

7. Offer a Confidence-Boosting Return Policy.

eBay gives sellers a discount on sales fees if they offer a return window of 30 days or more. Offering such a lengthy return window will inspire confidence in buyers and entice them to buy, and it’ll help you secure eBay’s coveted top-seller spot.

Read on to learn more about creating an eBay return policy that’s fair to both you and your customers.

eBay Return Policy Considerations

The steps outlined above can help you reduce the number of legitimate eBay returns you get. However, to even sell on eBay, you must indicate whether you accept returns or not.

Also, keep in mind that even if you opt not to accept returns, if a buyer submits a return request because an item is damaged, because it doesn’t match the listing description, or because they received the incorrect item, you’ll still have to accept their return request.

Here are a few other things to consider when establishing your eBay return policy:

Free Returns

Offering free returns doesn’t only make your listings more appealing to buyers, but eBay will also provide you with a 10% discount on sales fees if you have at least a 30-day return window.

As mentioned before, offering returns inspires confidence in potential buyers, increases the likelihood they’ll buy from you, and helps you reach top-seller status. And offering free returns makes your listing that much more enticing.

In the listing below, the seller has achieved a Top Rated Plus status and offers free returns, two indicators that this is a trusted seller.

eBay’s top-seller status doesn’t only help you appear to be a more trusted seller, but it also means that eBay will prioritize your listings and help them get noticed by potential customers.

Return costs and time periods

If you accept returns, you must also outline under which conditions you’ll accept returns, such as the time period that they will be accepted and whether the buyer or seller will cover return shipping charges.

Offering free returns will give buyers more confidence in your listing; however, it can also hurt your bottom line.


Some fraudulent buyers will purchase an item on eBay and later claim it was broken, swapping out your item with a broken one and mailing it back to you. Avoid falling prey to this by requiring that buyers purchase insurance on an item, especially if it’s a high-dollar one like a phone or laptop.

Automate the Returns Process With eBay Returns Rules

You can handle return requests and issue refunds to customers more efficiently by setting up rules to automatically accept returns or send refunds. This will save you time by streamlining the return/refund process, and it also enables you to provide excellent customer service.

And customer service is important — 80% of consumers say they prioritize the customer experience just as highly as the products they purchase, according to Salesforce. To learn more about providing top-notch service for your buyers, check out this article from Bread.

While you probably won’t want to automate every return or refund request, eBay returns rules allow you to identify the criteria that must be met in order for automated returns and refunds.

eBay Returns Rules Policies

When setting up your eBay returns rules, you can select one of the following return policies:

  • No returns
  • 30-day buyer-paid returns
  • 30-day free returns
  • 60-day buyer-paid returns
  • 60-day free returns

However, these policies can differ in some specific product categories. You can offer buyers only a 14-day return policy for products in these categories:

  • Collectibles & Art
  • Digital Cameras
  • Camera Drones
  • Camera Lenses
  • Medical & Mobility

How to Set Up Returns Rules

To begin setting up returns rules for your eBay store, click “My eBay” in the top right-hand corner of your eBay homepage, as illustrated below.

This will take you to your “My eBay: Summary” page where you’ll select “Account.”

On this next page, select “Site Preferences.”

Scroll down this page until you see Return preferences and click “Edit.”

First, you’ll be prompted to select the criteria required to automatically send a refund when a buyer requests one.

You can opt to let buyers keep the item and automatically refund them if the total refund amount is less than a specified amount. In the example below, the total refund amount is for only $5 or less.

You can also select the return reasons when this rule will apply. For example, above a refund of $5 or less will be automatically issued if the item arrived too late.

Next, you can repeat this process to specify under what circumstances you’ll automatically approve a return. Again, you can indicate the amount, as well as the reasons when the rule will apply.

In the example below, a buyer’s return request will be automatically approved if the total refund amount is $20 or less and the item either arrived too late or arrived damaged.

Keep in mind that when you set up returns rules, they’ll automatically apply to all future return/refund requests. However, these rules won’t apply to any returns or refunds that are already in progress.

Turning Your eBay Returns Around

Your eBay profile is your entire brand when you’re a seller, and it can truly make or break your eBay-selling success. So to protect your brand and your business — and provide buyers with top-notch service — take extra care with your listings, respond to customer messages promptly, and have an eBay return policy in place.

While these things take time, it’ll pay off in the long run, enabling your positive feedback to grow and resulting in more sales overall.



Beginning September 14th 2020, eBay will automate the returns and refunds processes for active managed payments sellers to align the seller experience across the eBay platform. Automation of returns and refunds saves sellers time, and enables them to process returns faster.

faster returns experience

This update also enables a streamlined returns experience for buyers by providing them immediate access to return labels (if available) and faster refunds. There are two changes to the current returns process for managed payments sellers:

  1. In most cases, we will automatically accept return requests and provide a return shipping label to a buyer wishing to return an item if an eBay label is available.
  2. Once received, sellers will have two business days to review the returned item and issue a refund, or ask eBay to intervene. If no action is taken, eBay will automatically issue the refund two business days after the tracking number shows a confirmed delivery status. At that time, we will close the return with no impact to seller performance.

This will shorten the processing time of the return, help sellers manage returns more efficiently, and reduce the likelihood of defects should the buyer ask eBay to step in to help with a case.

  • Remorse returns outside the seller’s specified return window
  • Return reasons: Arrived damaged or Missing parts or pieces. For these return reasons, sellers will have the opportunity to review and approve the return, enabling them to handle the issue directly with the buyer.

For all other return reasons, the new auto-accept & auto-refund process is as follows:

  • Buyer requests a return.
  • When an eBay label is available, eBay issues a return label to the buyer to ship the item back to the seller.
  • The seller has two days to inspect the returned item and issue a refund to the buyer.
  • eBay will track the delivery of the returned item. If tracking shows the returned item has been delivered to the seller, but the seller has not yet issued a refund to the buyer, eBay will automatically issue the refund to the buyer on the seller’s behalf after two business days.
  • eTRS sellers and sellers who offer free returns can now offer partial refunds, up to 50%, if the item is returned in a condition different than when you shipped it.
  • Sellers can continue to control the efficiency of the returns process by creating rules in Return Preferences to automatically approve returns or send immediate refunds without requiring the buyer to send the item back.

You can continue to control the efficiency of your returns process by creating rules in your Return Preferences to automatically approve returns or send immediate refunds without requiring the buyer to send the item back.


Policy ebay return

How to Refund a Buyer on eBay

If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Someone operating a business through eBay will need to be aware of the return policy as a dissatisfied customer happens to every seller at some point. This complete guide contains everything a business owner needs to know about the eBay return policy and how to issue a refund.

What is the eBay Refund Policy?

The eBay return policy is very straightforward and follows three simple steps as you can see below. The reasons for returning the item will determine the options of the seller, and these will be examined in detail further below. The eBay process to issue a refund works as follows:

  • Buyers open a return application via the website after changing their minds.
  • Enter reasons for returning the order.
  • Send the order back.
  • Receive a full refund, partial refund, or replacement item.

Sellers on an eBay shop have three days to respond to a return application once it has been registered. Once the return has been accepted, the customer either receives a return shipping slip or will be instructed to cover return shipping themselves, depending on why the buyer changed their mind about a purchase. There is an eBay money-back guarantee which covers most transactions, so buyers will get their money back if their order either didn’t arrive, arrived defective or damaged, or doesn’t match the listing.

Why the Buyer May Want to Return an Item

There are four reasons why an honest buyer changes their mind about a purchase:

  • Item doesn’t match the information in the listing description.
  • Delivery of the wrong item.
  • Damaged or defective item.
  • Item arrived too late / no longer needed.

How to Issue a Refund via eBay: 7 Simple Steps

The refund process from a seller’s point of view is obviously more complicated than it is for the buyer, so here we will run through the steps necessary to perform a refund through eBay.

1. Check your Returns Policy

A business owner should always check their returns policy before issuing a requested refund as there may be a ‘no returns’ rule for certain items. Check or edit your policy via the Sell option after clicking on the My eBay tool at the top of any eBay page.

2. Accept or Decline the Refund Request

There is a Returns dashboard on your seller’s homepage where you can accept or decline refund requests. You must respond within 3 business days to each request, though you have the right to dispute the refund claim if you believe it is unwarranted.

3. Select ‘Send Refund’ from the Drop Down Menu in the Seller Hub

To issue a full refund, select View Return Details on your dashboard and select Send Refund. You will need to add or edit some extra details before finalizing the refund.

4. Select a Reason for the Refund

You have the option to add reasons for the refund for future reference. These can simply be the reasons provided by the buyer or more detailed reasons with extra insight from the seller.

5. Select the Amount to Be Refunded

Full refunds will automatically prompt you to refund the total paid for the item by the buyer along with the shipping cost of the problem item, but you can edit the partial refund cost.

6. Decide How the Item will be Sent and Who Pays Shipping Costs

The shipping fees of the problem order will be covered by whichever party is responsible for the return. If the problem is the order articles arrived damaged or faulty, then it is the responsibility of the seller to cover the return shipping costs. If the seller is covering the shipping for their part, then they must choose the most suitable carrier for the article from the shipping options available.

7. Send the Refund and Confirm

Once the additional details have been edited or confirmed, click Continue and the next page will show you the money to be refunded. Finally select Refund the Buyer from the options.

What Happens Next?

Once the return is accepted and the refund process above is complete, eBay gives the buyer the date by which the articles need to be on their way via return. This is usually 15 days, though it is 35 days in some cases. If the seller is responsible for shipping the article, then they must provide a shipping label to the buyer. Remember the transactions with your customers become part of the eBay statistics, so make sure to do right by your customers as much as possible.

How to Give a Refund on eBay via Paypal

As eBay uses PayPal to process its payments, sellers have the option to issue refunds directly through the online payment method. It has the advantage of allowing the seller to get the transaction fee back via Paypal, minus a processing charge, while many customers like using their email address account for this payment method. The refund via PayPal process is as follows:

1.     Click the Activity link on your PayPal account page.

2.    Locate the transaction to be refunded.

3.    Click the Refund This Payment button.

4.    Enter the amount to be refunded and confirm.

What is a Partial Refund on eBay?

A partial refund is when the business owner refunds a portion of the full amount. A company may offer a partial refund more often for a problem with an item that isn’t quite worth returning it for. Circumstances to offer a partial refund include:

  • Minor blemishes.
  • Wrong color product.
  • Wrong logo words.
  • Inexpensive product.

How to Issue a Partial Refund on eBay

  1. Open your Returns dashboard to offer a partial refund.
  2. Select View Return Details beside the item.
  3. Click on Offer a Partial Refund and then Continue.
  4. Enter the amount of the partial refund.
  5. Add words such as comments or questions for the buyer regarding the partial refund.
  6. Select Send Offer to propose the partial refund to the buyer.

What are the Issues with Partial Refunds?

Partial refunds can cause issues if the buyer is not satisfied when the seller wants to offer a partial refund. The customer may challenge with answers insisting on a larger amount of the sale price for reasons such as:

  • Dissatisfaction with service.
  • Different case or holder than advertised (main item fine).
  • Poorer quality item than the customer understood it to be.

Things to Note About a Refunded Item

Whether full or partial refunds, there are some additional details regarding eBay refunds that sellers should keep in mind. These include:

  • Automatic Relisting – Returned items are automatically relisted so damaged or faulty items will need to be unlisted by the business owner.
  • Final Value Amount Crediting – eBay may credit the final value amount of the item once the return or the issue refund request has been fully resolved.

How do I refund a buyer on the eBay app?

Select ‘Start Refund’ from the dropdown menu in the Seller Hub, and then select a reason for the refund. Then enter a refund amount and select the ‘Send Refund’ button to complete the process.

How do I refund an eBay managed payment?

Managed payments are a good way to sell and get paid in the same place, with buyers able to use a wide variety of eBay-protected ways to pay including by credit card. To refund via managed payments, follow these steps:

  1. Select Send Refund from the dropdown menu in the My eBay Sold tab.
  2. Select a reason for the refund.
  3. Enter the refund amount at the item or order level.
  4. Confirm the refund amount and select Send Refund.

Does an eBay seller have to accept returns?

All eBay sellers must state their returns policy up front in their shop posts. Private sellers can include a no returns policy, although they are still subject to eBay’s Money Back Guarantee. Business sellers must accept returns by law and let customers know via their policy that they can request a return within 14 days.

Will I get my final value fee back from eBay after a return?

Sellers are not automatically given the money paid in transaction fees relating to the articles sold. If eligible, sellers can request their final value fee by opening a case in eBay’s Resolution Center.

Can I decline an eBay return request after 30 days?

Sellers can decline a return request if 30 days have passed because the money-back guarantee has expired. A buyer can still open a request to discuss the order details, but there is no longer an obligation on the seller to accept it for any reason.

Can I refuse to give a refund on eBay?

Technically, yes, you can refuse a request, but the buyer has ways to open an account case with eBay who will make the final decision. If they decide the request is reasonable, then they will process the request and transfer the money from the company’s funds to the buyer.

Image: Depositphotos

More in: Ecommerce
How Do eBay Returns Work? Who Pays Return Shipping?

How To Avoid eBay’s Automatic Returns Approvals Policy In 2021?

Recently, eBay started to automatically approve returns, which makes it extremely difficult for dropshippers to control. Because with eBay automatic returns, eBay supplies the buyer with a return label and charges the sellers for it, instead of allowing the sellers to provide their own return label from their suppliers as they have always been doing.

As eBay dropshippers, handling return cases correctly is a top priority as it affects your overall seller level. Sellers who do not handle their returns on time or the right way quickly find themselves in the “Below Average” seller level with lower visibility in their listings. Or even worse, account suspension. Therefore, it’s crucial to check your returns daily and take action where necessary.

That’s why in this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know about eBay automatic returns policy, how it works, the history around it, and the eBay automatic returns solution so that you can continue your dropshipping business without worrying about eBay automatically approving and charging you for your return labels.

The Difference Between Free and Paid Returns on eBay

The Difference Between Free and Paid Returns on eBay

When a buyer opens a return request, someone will need to pay for the return label. Configure your eBay Business Policiesto set your return policies according to your supplier’s return conditions. 

Seller Pays For Return Shipping (Free Returns)

If your eBay Return Policy states free returns, you will have to supply the buyer with a return label. Note that your listing will rank higher than those who don’t offer free returns. So always offer free returns where you can support it.

eBay free returns

Buyer Pays For Return Shipping

On the other hand, if you don’t offer free returns, then the buyer is responsible for shipping the package back to the return address that you supply him with. You’ll still need to accept the return if eBay didn’t automatically do so themselves.

ebay paid returns

However, if the buyer chooses that the reason for return is because the item arrived in damaged condition, or the item is not described in the listing, the seller will be responsible for purchasing the return label.

Therefore, make sure that your listing’s titles and descriptions don’t have any mistakes on them. If you find incorrect information, make the correct adjustments to avoid paying for return labels in the future.

The History of eBay Automatic Returns

The History of Automatic Returns on eBay

In the past, sellers were always given a chance to review the return case. Sellers would have a time window to supply return labels accordingly. They were overall more involved overall in the return process. Then, a few years ago, eBay made a small change which turned it to a challenging process, especially for dropshippers.

eBay Automatic Returns Problem

In 2017, eBay wanted to streamline buyers’ and sellers’ return process by automatically accepting return requests and supplying a return label with the seller’s address. Even worse, the seller needs to pay eBay for issuing the return label

eBay Automatic Returns

In 2018, eBay released eBay’s seller update, where they explained more about this feature, and that’s when we wrote an article about what to do with eBay’s automatic returns.

Simply put, dropshippers need to obtain a return label from the supplier with the correct return address. This way, you won’t have to deal with the returned products. As soon as the product returns to the supplier, the seller refunds the buyer while receiving a refund from their supplier.

That’s why eBay automatic returns are a bad solution for dropshippers. When this update came out, dropshippers started to panic because they didn’t want to pay eBay to issue a return label with their address. Buyers started sending their packages to the seller’s address, which only helps the sellers who have their own stock. 

Noticeably, eBay understands that this is not practical for every situation. Therefore, there are some exceptions, which can sometimes make it more confusing.

eBay Automatic Returns Solution

eBay automatic returns solution

Like how every problem arises through the years, dropshippers always find a solution to the road bumps. After all, many dropshippers make a living through this profession, therefore, and thankfully, there is a solution to every problem. 

The solution to avoid eBay automatic returns is to check the “RMA number” box in the Seller Return Preferences page.

Once activated, eBay will give you time to upload your own return label instead of issuing yourself with your return address and charging you for it. 

Navigate there manually by clicking on Account Settings → Site Preferences. Scroll down to Return Preferences and click the Edit link on the right.

eBay preferences returns settings

Scroll down to the RMA number checkbox, click it in and submit the changes. Yes, it’s that simple!

eBay RMA Number

After following these steps, eBay will stop automatically approving your buyer’s returns. You will have time to upload your supplier’s return label and handle the return case appropriately.

Keep in mind that until you supply a return label in the return case, the buyer will see your address as the return address. Therefore, you must supply a return label ASAP. 

You can also change your address’s name to avoid confusion and add something like: “Do NOT return to this address. The seller will provide a return label shortly.”

This way, the buyer won’t mistake your address for the return address while you are waiting for a return label from your supplier.

eBay’s New Automated Returns Policy 2020

eBay Automatic Returns in 2021

Recently, eBay sent a wave of emails explaining that they will automatically approve return requests and refunds for sellers in their managed payments system, starting September 14th, 2020. Once again, many dropshippers are confused and are trying to figure out what’s going on.

Furthermore, in the email, eBay updated with a new “How Returns Work” explanation page, showing an image explaining how the new returns system works. Unfortunately, the image is causing mostly confusion and uncertainty:

ebay automatic returns explanation

But don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you. Here are the main factors in eBay’s new automated return policy and how to work around it as a dropshipper.

The New eBay Returns Experience

The New eBay Returns Experience

In order to make returns and refunds faster and easier for buyers and sellers alike, eBay is implementing an automatic return approvals system upon buyer request. Along with automatic refunds once the packages return. It’s similar to the old system, with a few new twists.

The New Auto-Accept and Auto-Refund Process

The New Auto-Accept and Auto-Refund Process

Every time a buyer opens a return request, eBay will automatically approve it and provide the buyer with a return label on the seller’s expense, including the seller’s return address. The new addition is once the item returns, eBay will automatically send a refund to the buyer after two days if the seller didn’t initiate the refund. 

But don’t worry, this isn’t a big change compared to 3-5 days, and it won’t affect your seller performance either. Even so, the automated return on eBay’s behalf is still no good for the dropshipping business model since there are multiple warehouses to ship back to.

Exceptions For The Auto-Accept and Auto-Refund Feature

If one of the two following scenarios occur, eBay will not automatically approve the return. The seller will have the opportunity to review the case before approving the return:

1. Late Return Request 

The buyer opened a return request past the due return date according to the seller’s business policies. 

For example, your return policy allows 30-day returns, and the buyer opened a return request after 35 days. In this scenario, you will have the option to choose whether to approve the return request. You will need to upload a return label or simply not to approve the return, and the case will close.

2. Product Returned In Damaged Condition / Lost Pieces

If the buyer chooses that the reason for return is that the product is damaged or has missing pieces, the seller will have the chance to review the case before approving.

Sellers Can Now Offer Partial Refunds

An additional feature to the new automated returns system allows the sellers to offer a partial refund if the buyer didn’t return the product in the same condition. Only products with free returns are eligible for partial refunds. It is up to the seller to decide the partial refund amount. Keep in mind that if the buyer feels that the refund amount is unfair, they can elevate the case for eBay to decide. Therefore, don’t get too greedy with the partial refunds and keep a high communication level between you and your buyers.

What Type Of Return Label Does eBay Provide?

In cases where eBay provides a return label, eBay will purchase a USPS return label on your behalf with tracking information. This way, you’ll be able to track your return. If this is the case and the product arrived at your house, consider selling it locally to make up for the return shipping loss.

How to Avoid Automatic eBay Returns In 2020?

To avoid eBay’s automatic returns, the solution is the same way it was back in 2017. All you have to do is enable the RMA option on the bottom of your eBay Return Preferences. The only difference is now eBay recognizes it as an official solution to the problem (instead of keeping the option hidden in the background only for the wise to know about it). 

Here’s eBay’s official solution which is the same as dropshippers found a few years back:

Therefore you shouldn’t have to worry, as not much has changed. Besides some new features on how eBay handles the automated returns, you can forget about automated return approvals once you enable the RMA option.

In rare cases, if eBay still automatically approves the return and provides a return label, you can simply contact the buyer and let them know to use your return label instead. Since eBay will only charge you for their label if the buyer scanned and used it, you won’t have to worry if the buyer doesn’t use it. Reach out to them in the case and private messages, just in case.

In Conclusion

Changes are always happening in the dropshipping business. Some of them may seem scary at first. Remember that you are never alone in this ever-growing industry. For every new problem, there is a solution, and this is how it’s always been. 

eBay automatic returns policy will not affect how dropshippers handle their returns once the return preferences are set correctly. Remember to handle your returns and other customer inquiries in a timely and professional manner. At the end of the day, that’s what eBay is looking for, which will give you long term survivability. 


Similar news:

Sports and trading card sellers will soon be getting additional protection from eBay when it comes to returns.

eBay announced Monday that it will be changing its Money Back Guarantee policy to limit the time frame for buyers returning a card because it doesn’t match its original listing.

Effective July 29, buyers will have just three days after delivery to request a return if the seller doesn’t offer them.

Prior to the change, buyers could return items under eBay’s Money Back Guarantee policy within 30 days even if the seller doesn’t accept returns.

The return policy changes are just one of several updates eBay has made to compensate for the massive increase in sports and trading card sales over the last year.

eBay released a new image detection feature to help sellers easily list cards earlier this year. Sports cards aren’t currently supported with image detection, but will likely be added later this year.

eBay has also launched the eBay standard envelope, which allows sellers to ship raw cards worth less than $20 in a plain envelope for less than $1.

Currently the largest market for cards, eBay generated over $1 billion in sales in the first quarter of 2021 while the number of total buyers doubled during that same period.

Track your collection and maximize your profit with Market Movers, the hobby’s most powerful sports card pricing platform! Learn more here.


Ben BurrowsSours:

5375 5376 5377 5378 5379