4 min article

Return postage for sellers

Who pays for return postage – you or the buyer – depends on the reason they're returning the item and your return policy.

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 simply changed their mind or ordered the wrong item, who pays for return postage is determined by your return policy. If you stated you offer free returns, you'll have to pay, otherwise you can ask the buyer to cover the cost.

Tip
We recommend using a tracked service for return postage. Tracking lets you know the item is on its way, and eBay can see the progress of the return in case we're asked to step in. When you use an eBay label, tracking is automatically included.

Return postage options

When you're responsible for return postage, you can choose from a number of options in the return request form. To get to the return request form go to your Returns dashboard - opens in new window or tab and select View return details. If you've accepted the buyer's return or offered to send them a replacement, you can choose one of the following options to let them post the item back to you.

Send an eBay postage label

You can purchase a return postage label through the return request and send it to your buyer. They can then print the label and use it to send the item back to you.

Here's how to send an eBay postage label from the View return details section:

  1. Select Send an eBay postage label.
  2. Confirm your return address on the label.

Return postage labels don't include insurance. If you want return delivery to be insured, see our section on alternative return postage options.

Return postage costs when you use an eBay label

When the buyer is returning the item to you, the cost of the label will be charged to your PayPal account once it's scanned by the carrier. We may ask you to accept a billing agreement to authorise payment for these kinds of charges.

If you used a printed postage label from eBay to send the item, we'll use the package's weight to determine return postage charges.

Returns are posted using Collect+, Royal Mail or Parcelforce labels based on package weight. Charges are based on rates negotiated with these carriers, and are typically less than what you would pay at the post office.

Service

Weight

Price (incl. VAT)

Royal Mail Tracked Returns 48

0-2kg

£3.11

2-5kg

£5.66

5-10kg

£7.58

10-20kg

£9.60

Parcelforce Worldwide Express 48 (Tracked)

2-5kg

£7.57

5-10kg

£7.98

10-20kg

£9.12

Parcelforce Default (Tracked)

Unknown

£7.57

Collect+ Tracked: Drop at shop- deliver to door (3-5 working days)

0-2kg

£4.60

2-5kg

£6.00

5-10kg

£8.00

Collect+ Tracked Default

Unknown

£5.96

Tip
In some instances, return postage charges may not be based on the actual weight of the package, but on an estimate.

Provide your own pre-paid label

If you'd rather the buyer use your preferred postal carrier for the return, or if an eBay label isn't available, you can provide your own return label.

When using your own carrier, make sure to upload the label and tracking details to the buyer's return request. For items worth more than £750, signature confirmation is required.

Here's how to send your own label from the View return details section:

  1. Select Upload a postage label and then the upload image icon. 
  2. Choose the label you want to send to your buyer.
  3. Select your carrier and enter the tracking number.

Postage labels for international returns

Language barriers may make it difficult to purchase an international return label. If you're unsure, you can try contacting the buyer to ask if they'll purchase an international label on your behalf.

If they agree, you'll need to send funds to cover the cost. Ensure the buyer uses a tracked service, and includes signature confirmation if the item's worth is £750 or more.

International returns and customs

If you're sending funds to cover the postage cost, the buyer will be required to fill out the customs forms.

To ensure there are no delays with your return, provide all the necessary customs information to the buyer. Double check that your information is correct, as falsifying a customs form is against the law and eBay policy.

Since you're the recipient of the parcel, you'll be responsible for paying any customs, brokerage, service charges or duty fees.

Ask the buyer to use a label you sent along with the item

If you included a return postage label with the item when you sent it to the buyer, you can let them know that they should use that to send it back to you.

Here’s how you can let the buyer know about the label from the View return details section:

  1. Select your carrier and enter the tracking number.
  2. Add a message to the buyer.
  3. Tick the box beside I provided a return label with the original item.

Offer to send the funds for the return postage cost

Use the carrier's postage calculator to find out how much return postage will cost. If you're unable to determine the cost, contact the buyer and ask them to provide a quote.

Ensure that the amount includes a tracked service, and signature confirmation if the item's worth is £750 or more.

Here's how to send funds to the buyer:

  1. Contact the buyer through Messages, and ask which PayPal account they'd like the funds sent to.
  2. Send the funds by logging into your PayPal account and selecting the “Send” feature.
  3. Ask the buyer to confirm that they have received the funds, and to upload tracking to the return request so you can see that the item is on its way.

Accommodate the return another way

If you'd prefer, you can provide the buyer with another method of returning the item. For instance, you can offer to pick up the item in person, or let them drop the item off at your closest store. If you want to provide an alternative method of returning the item, simply select Confirm you will facilitate the return from the View return details section.

Return an item with alternative postage arrangements

Sometimes returning an item may require additional, alternative postage arrangements, such as:

  • Posting a return with insurance: Insurance isn't available for returns that use eBay labels. If you or the buyer prefers that an item be returned with insurance, purchase your own return postage with insurance instead of using the return postage label provided
  • Returning multiple packages: For each return requested through My eBay, we generally provide one return postage label. If the buyer finds that they need multiple return postage labels to send multiple packages back to you, ask them to contact you to make alternative postage arrangements for the packages
  • Item is outside carrier's guidelines: An eBay return postage label is only available for items within the carrier's size and weight guidelines. If the package is outside of their guidelines, you need to make alternative postage arrangements
  • Item was originally delivered by freight or collected by the buyer: When you're responsible for return postage costs and you need to make alternative postage arrangements, speak to the buyer to agree on the service and cost before they send the item. Make sure that they include the packing slip and tracking information. For items valued at £750 or more, signature confirmation is required

When the buyer wants to return an item using alternative postage arrangements and you're responsible for the return postage charges, they'll need to work with you to agree on the postal service and cost before returning the item.

If the buyer uses alternative postage arrangements, return postage charges aren't included in any eBay Money Back Guarantee refunds, even if the you agreed to pay return postage charges.

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