4 min overview

Manage returns, missing items, and refunds for sellers

Here's everything you need to know if something goes wrong with an order, or a buyer changes their mind and doesn't want the item anymore.

If a customer has a problem with their order, or if they change their mind about a purchase, they'll get in touch with you and ask for help. Once the buyer tells you there's a problem, you've got 3 business days to resolve it.

If an item has gone missing and hasn't arrived, you'll either need to provide additional/more detailed tracking details, or offer a refund. If the buyer got their item but it's faulty, damaged, or doesn't match the listing description, you'll have to work with them to resolve their issue – you'll also have to cover the return postage costs. If they changed their mind, how you can respond, and who pays for return postage, will depend on your return policy.

  1. What to do if a buyer has an issue
  2. Unable to resolve the buyer’s issue? Ask eBay to step in
  3. Tips for avoiding issues with buyers

What to do if a buyer has an issue

Help a buyer with an item that hasn't arrived

If a buyer doesn't receive their item, they're entitled to a refund unless you can provide tracking information showing that it was delivered. When a buyer lets you know they've run into an issue, you should work with them to come to a solution that works for both of you.

Handle a cancellation request

If a buyer opens a cancellation request with you, you have 3 days to approve or decline it. If you approve it and the buyer has already paid for the item, you have 10 business days to issue a refund. If you don’t refund the buyer within 10 days, they can file a claim through the eBay Money Back Guarantee.

Handle a return request

If the buyer wants to return an item to you, your options for responding will depend on why they want to send it back. If the item is damaged, faulty, or doesn't match the listing description, they're covered by the eBay Money Back Guarantee, and you'll have to refund them or replace the item even if you don't offer returns. If they've changed their mind, your options will depend on your return policy.

Return postage

If you accept a return from the buyer, they'll need to send the item back to you before you issue a refund. If the buyer is sending an item back because it doesn't match the listing description or it arrived damaged or faulty, you're responsible for the cost of return postage, even if you don't offer returns. If they changed their mind or ordered the wrong item, who pays for return postage is determined by your return policy. By default, eBay labels will have a 2kg weight limit. If we have the weight of the item, eBay labels can go up to 20kg max. Otherwise, a default 2kg label will be supplied.

Offer a refund

Sellers can offer buyers full or partial refunds up to 90 days after the original transaction date. If there's an open cancellation request, return, eBay Money Back Guarantee claim, or an open dispute made outside of eBay against an order, then the Send refund option will not be available. 

Handling payment disputes

In some situations, a buyer may ask their financial institution to open a payment dispute if they believe there’s an issue with their order. Learn how to handle a payment dispute on an eBay transaction.


Unable to resolve the buyer's issue? Ask eBay to step in

Ask eBay to step in

If you and the buyer haven't been able to come to an agreement after 3 business days, you can ask us to step in and resolve the issue. We'll assess all the information and come to a decision. It's important to remember that if you ask us to step in and we close the case in the buyer's favour, you could receive a defect, which might affect your seller standards – so you should only ask us for help when you've exhausted all other options.

Appeal the outcome of a case

If you disagree with our decision after we've been asked to step in, you can ask us to take another look. In order to request an appeal, you'll have to provide additional details for us to take into consideration, such as photographs showing there's nothing wrong with the item. We'll review your new information, and get back to you with our final decision, usually within 48 hours.


Tips for avoiding issues with buyers

Set up your return policy

When you sell on eBay, you can save time managing your return requests by setting up rules that automatically accept returns, or issue immediate refunds. Automating your return process can not only save you time, but also help provide a great experience for your customers.

We recommend you send items as quickly as possible and upload the tracking to eBay, within your stated handling time. Buyers are more confident their orders will arrive when they receive regular shipping status updates, and are less likely to file "Item not received" claims. It also helps you get faster access to your payments. For items over £450, signature confirmation is also required.

Avoid disputes with buyers

To avoid problems in the future, our article has best practices for creating listings, and tips on how to pack and post items, as well as how you should communicate with buyers.

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