6 min article

How to handle a return request as a seller

Most transactions on eBay go smoothly, but if a buyer changes their mind about an item, or if their order arrives damaged or faulty, they may open a return request.

When you create a listing, you'll add a return policy and can choose whether or not to accept returns when a buyer changes their mind about a purchase. However, if an order arrives faulty or damaged, or if the buyer receives the wrong item, they're always entitled to return it to you.

When you receive a return request, we'll send a message to your registered email address – it'll also be available in your Messages - opens in new window or tab. To ensure the issue is resolved as quickly as possible, we ask that you respond within 8 calendar days.

Your options for responding to a return request

Your options for responding to a buyer's request depend on the reason they're returning the item, and the return policy you stated in your listing.

The buyer received the wrong item, or it arrived damaged or faulty

If a buyer receives an item that wasn't as described in the listing, or if it arrives damaged or faulty, they can return it to you even if your return policy states you don't accept returns.

Here are your response options:

Accept the return – The buyer will send the item back to you for a full refund, including the original postage cost. You'll also be responsible for covering return postage costs.

How to accept a return

Give a full refund – You'll issue a full refund to the buyer, including original postage costs, and they'll keep the item. This is a good option for low-value items.

How to issue a full refund

Offer a partial refund – You'll issue a partial refund to the buyer, and they'll keep the item. This can be useful when the buyer isn't completely satisfied with their purchase. For example, if an item arrived with a minor scratch – but the buyer is happy to keep it.

How to issue a partial refund

Send the buyer a message – If you have any questions regarding the buyers request, you can contact them directly. If you can't agree on a resolution to the issue after 8 calendar days, you can always ask us to step in and help.

How to send the buyer a message

 

 

You accept returns in your policy and the buyer changed their mind about a purchase

If you stated in your listing's return policy that you accept returns, your buyer can return the item to you, even if they've changed their mind.

Here are your response options:

Accept the return – The buyer will send the item back to you for a full refund – depending on your returns policy, this may or may not include the original postage cost. If you offered free delivery because you included the postage costs in the listing price, you'll need to refund the buyer the full amount they paid. You can't deduct the original postage costs from any refund amount.

If you stated in the listing that you'll cover return postage costs, choose how you'll arrange for the item to be returned.

Based on your returns policy, eBay may automatically accept the return and provide a return postage label to the buyer on your behalf.

In some situations, you can issue a partial refund where you receive the item back used or damaged. See Partial refund guidelines.

How to accept a return

Give a full refund – You'll issue a full refund to the buyer and they'll keep the item. Depending on your returns policy, this may or may not include the original postage. This is a good option for low-value items.

How to issue a full refund

Send the buyer a message – If you have any questions regarding the buyers request, you can contact them directly. If you can't agree on a resolution to the issue after 8 calendar days, you can always ask us to step in and help.

How to send the buyer a message

 

 

You don't accept returns in your policy and the buyer changed their mind about a purchase

If you stated in your listing that you don't accept returns when a buyer changes their mind, you're not obliged to accept their return request. However, if you do, you'll be providing a great customer experience and encouraging the buyer to purchase from you in the future.

Here are your response options:

Accept the return – The buyer will send the item back to you for a full refund – you can decide whether or not this includes the original postage cost. If you offered free delivery because you included the postage costs in the listing price, you'll need to refund the buyer the full amount they paid. You can't deduct the original postage costs from any refund amount.

In some situations, you can issue a partial refund where you receive the item back used or damaged. See Partial refund guidelines.

How to accept a return

Give a full refund – You'll issue a full refund to the buyer. This is a good option for low-value items.

How to issue a full refund

Offer a partial refund – You'll issue a partial refund to the buyer, and they'll keep the item. This can be useful when the buyer isn't completely satisfied with their purchase. For example, if an item arrived with a minor scratch – but the buyer is happy to keep it.

How to issue a partial refund

Decline the return – If you've stated in your listing that you don't accept returns, you can decline the return request.

How to decline a return

Send the buyer a message – If you have any questions regarding the buyers request, you can contact them directly. If you can't agree on a resolution to the issue after 8 calendar days, you can always ask us to step in and help.

How to send the buyer a message

 

Partial refund guidelines where the item is returned used or damaged

In most cases, you'll issue a full refund to the buyer, but in certain situations it may be appropriate to give a partial refund. Learn more about our seller protection policy - opens in new window or tab.

If you offered free returns in your listing, you'll have the option to issue a partial refund where the item is returned used or damaged.

Guidelines for issuing a partial refund:

Condition of return

Refund deduction guidance

Excellent condition:
  • Unused
  • Undamaged
  • Unaltered
  • All items included in the original package included
  • Original packaging (where applicable)
  • Must include provided certificates of authenticity, grading or appraisal
  • Factory seal must not be broken/opened (if applicable)
  • Original tags included & attached (where applicable)
  • Food and liquor items must not be opened
  • Vacuum seal intact (if applicable)

No deductions

Good condition:
  • Missing original packaging
  • Not sealed
  • Original tags unattached

5%–10% deduction

Fair condition:
  • Missing parts
  • Signs of wear or use
  • Item has been installed
  • Original tags missing

15%–30% deduction

Poor condition:
  • Signs of use
  • Missing essential parts
  • Item is damaged
  • Broken factory seal
  • Materially different than how it was shipped to the buyer
  • Item is defective, requires service or repair
  • Missing provided certificates of authenticity, grading or appraisal
  • Opened food and liquor items

35%–50% deduction

How to issue a partial refund after the item is returned.

Abuse of this feature

This feature is incentive for you to provide buyers with exceptional experiences, such as offering free returns. This program isn't intended to recoup market losses on items returned in the same condition or recoup return shipping and restocking fees. It is only intended to recoup losses when an item is returned in a different condition than the original item. Abuse of this feature could result in you losing access to it.

How to start resolving a return request

To get started resolving a return, choose the item above. You can also select Respond to request, or open up your Returns dashboard and select View return details from beside the case.

You'll be able to see the buyer's reason for requesting the return, the date you need to respond by, and any additional comments or photos provided by the buyer.

How to accept a return

To accept a return:

  1. Select Accept the return and then continue.
  2. If you're responsible for the postage, choose how you'll arrange for the item to be returned.
  3. If the buyer is responsible, choose your return address from the dropdown menu.
  4. Enter a Return Merchandise Authorization number, if you use them.
  5. Select Confirm.

The buyer has 14 business days to send the item back to you.

 

How to issue a full refund

To issue a full refund:

  1. Select Give a full refund and then Continue.
  2. On the next page you'll see the refund amount, simply select Refund the buyer.
 

How to offer a partial refund

To offer a partial refund:

  1. Select Offer a partial refund and then Continue.
  2. Enter the amount you wish to offer the buyer.
  3. You can choose to add a message to the buyer.
  4. Select Send offer.

You can only offer a partial refund once, and the buyer can choose to accept or reject your offer.

 

How to decline a return

You can only decline a return if the buyer is returning the item because they changed their mind, and your return policy stated you don't accept returns.

To decline a return:

  1. Select Decline the return and then Continue.
  2. You have the option of entering your reason for declining the request, but it will not be visible to the buyer.
  3. Select Decline return.

The return request will then be closed.

 

How to send the buyer a message

To send the buyer a message:

  1. Select Send the buyer a message and then Continue.
  2. On the next page, enter your message and select Send.
 

How to issue a partial refund when the item is returned in a different condition

To offer a partial refund:

  1. Go to your Returns dashboard - opens in new window or tab.
  2. Select View return details beside the item.
  3. Select Decided What to Refund.
  4. Select the percent you want to deduct from the refund amount.
  5. Add a message to the buyer explaining why the refund wasn’t full.
  6. Select Send offer.
 

Refunding the buyer

When you agree to refund the buyer, or once you receive the item back, you'll need to issue their refund within 2 business days. To do this, simply go to the case in your Returns dashboard - opens in new window or tab and choose Refund buyer. If you don't refund the buyer within 2 business days of receiving the item, and the buyer has uploaded return tracking, we'll automatically issue a refund to them on your behalf.

When you issue a refund to the buyer, they'll be refunded through their original payment method. It usually takes 3 to 5 business days for a PayPal refund to go through. If they paid with a credit card, it may take up to 30 days, depending on their card provider.

Tip
When you receive the item back, make sure to check it carefully before issuing a refund. If it isn't returned to you in the condition it should be, you can ask us to step in and help. Learn more about our Condition of returned items policy.

When you issue a refund to the buyer, your final value fee will show as a credit on your next invoice.

PayPal fees

When you issue a refund, your variable PayPal fee is refunded based on the total refund amount. Your fixed PayPal transaction fee isn't refunded. To learn more about variable and fixed transaction fees, read how to offer a full or partial refund through PayPal - opens in new window or tab, see the PayPal User Agreement - opens in new window or tab, or call PayPal directly with any questions.

Also, if you send a new item as part of a replacement or exchange to your buyer instead of issuing a refund, there is no change to your PayPal fees.

Getting help from eBay

We know that our sellers want to provide buyers with a great experience, but sometimes you're not able to reach an agreement, or you may disagree with their reason for returning the item. If you and the buyer haven't been able to resolve the issue within 8 calendar days, we're always ready to step in and help.

If the item arrives faulty or damaged, the buyer is entitled to return it – even if you said in your listing that you don't accept returns.

Was this article helpful for you?
Related help topics