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Using eBay returns
The Returns process can be used when:
The eBay returns process
eBay returns lets you give your buyers an efficient way to return an item for a refund.
If you specify in the Returns policy section of a listing that you accept returns, a buyer can start a return for that item for any reason, including changing their mind about a purchase. We'll guide both you and your buyer through the process, step by step.
*Working days are weekdays – Monday to Friday. Saturdays, Sundays, and bank holidays aren't working days.
In some situations, you will have the ability to issue a partial refund where you receive the item back used or damaged. See Partial refund guidelines.
Customising your returns preferences
When you offer a return policy on your items and want to provide your buyers with the best shopping experience possible, you may decide that you’d like eBay to help you in managing some or all aspects of your return requests. Return rules allow you to save time by automating some aspects of the returns process and expediting a refund to your buyer. You can choose which parts of the return approval process you want to automate – and which parts you prefer to do yourself – by setting up and customising your refund and return rules within your Returns preferences. For returns that you’ve automated, we provide the buyer with an eBay generated return postage label.
If you have multiple return addresses or want to create rules that apply to only some of your listings, you can set up Advanced return rules that apply to all listings, listings in a certain category, or to a listing group that you create. You can create up to 500 rules.
Please note, the ‘Approve a return’ rule will not be available for some return requests including:
In these cases, we ask you to step in and manually approve the return request.
Include a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number: If your business requires RMA numbers to issue returns, you can select this option in your Return preferences to include RMAs on your return label.
You can update your returns preferences any time:
1. Click My eBay at the top of most pages. You may need to sign in.
2. Click the Account tab, and then click the Site preferences link on the left.
3. In the Return preferences section, click the Show link, and then click the Edit link.
You can also update return preferences in Seller Hub > Overview > Shortcuts > Site preferences.
Return postage charges
eBay returns works out the returns postage charges and automatically applies the correct charges.
Things to note:
When you're responsible for return postage charges
When you're responsible for return postage charges, these charges will be included on your next monthly seller invoice as a fee. These fees may be charged to your automatic payment method on file.
If the buyer uses alternative postage arrangements, you'll need to reimburse the buyer for the agreed-upon postage costs outside of the returns process. You can send payment to the buyer through PayPal or another payment method.
If you only provide a partial payment for the refund of a returned item via PayPal and outside of the returns dashboard, the system will not recognise this as a full payment and will continue to ask you to refund the buyer.
When the buyer is responsible for return postage charges
When the buyer is responsible for return postage charges, we'll charge the buyer's PayPal account.
If you used printed postage labels from eBay or PayPal to send the item, we'll use this package weight to determine return postage charges for the buyer. In some instances, return postage charges may not be based on the actual weight of the package, but on an estimate.
Returns are posted using Collect+, Royal Mail or Parcelforce labels based on package weight.
Return postage charges are based on rates negotiated with Collect+, Royal Mail and Parcelforce. These charges may differ from actual rates to post an item, and are subject to change.
When using a return label provided by eBay, if an item is lost by the carrier, eBay returns allows us to reimburse the buyer and allow you to keep the item price.
Refund amounts are automatically adjusted for any postage charges, depending on the reason for return.
When the item isn't as described:
If a buyer returns an item because it's not as described in the listing, arrives damaged, or is missing parts, then your refund to the buyer is:
Total purchase price (including the cost of the item and any other charges paid by the buyer) + Original postage (if paid for by the buyer) = Total refund
In these situations, you're required to pay for the return postage charges. If the buyer used alternative postage arrangements, you're expected to refund the buyer for those agreed-upon charges through PayPal or another payment method.
All other returns:
If a buyer returns an item for any other reason, including when they change their mind about a purchase, your refund to the buyer equals:
Total purchase price (including the cost of the item and any other charges paid by the buyer) + Original postage, if the buyer paid original postage = Total refund
In these situations, you may specify in the Returns policy section of the listing that the buyer will pay for return postage charges. If you don’t specify this, you are responsible for return postage costs.
If a return is escalated to eBay
If you don't issue a refund through the return process within 6 working days of receiving the returned item, a buyer could open an eBay Money Back Guarantee case. The refund amount is:
Total purchase price (including the cost of the item and any other charges paid by the buyer) + Original postage (if paid for by the buyer) = Total refund
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 seller protection policy
If you offered free returns in your listing you will have the option to issue a partial refund where the item is returned used or damaged.
Sellers who don’t offer free returns but sell in select categories will also be able to issue a partial refund for returns where the item is returned used or damaged. Select categories, include Business & Industrial, Parts & Accessories, Collectibles & Art, Cameras & Photo, Medical, Mobility & Disability Equipment, Home Improvement, Furniture, Musical Instruments & Gear, and Yard, Garden & Outdoor.
Guidelines on issuing a partial refund:
Abuse of this feature
This feature is incentive for you to provide buyers with exceptional experiences, such as offering free returns. This feature isn’t intended to recoup market losses on items returned in the same condition or recoup return shipping costs. 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.
Alternative return postage arrangements
In some cases, buyers can start a return but won't print or use a return postage label:
Insurance isn't available for return packages, although we'll refund the buyer and allow you to keep the payment if an item goes missing using one of the carriers in the eBay returns process. If either you or your buyer prefers that an item be returned with insurance, the buyer should purchase return postage with insurance instead of using the label provided by eBay.
Occasionally, more than one package is needed to return an item. In these instances, buyers can use the label provided on one package, but are expected to make alternative postage arrangements for the remaining packages. Buyers can also arrange alternative postage for all of the packages that make up the return.
We can only issue a return label for items within the Collect+, Royal Mail or Parcelforce size and weight guidelines.
If the package is outside of these guidelines, the buyer will need to make alternative postage arrangements.
The buyer also has to make sure the item adheres to the carrier's dangerous goods policy, which is clearly displayed to them in the returns flow. If the item doesn't adhere to tehse policies, the buyer will need to make alternative arrangements directly with the seller. .
You and the buyer need to agree on alternative postage arrangements or, in the case of local collection, a way of getting the item back to you safely.
The item needs to be sent back from a buyer located in another countryWe may not be able to issue a return label for items which must be shipped back from another country. In this instance, we may allow you to upload a return shipping label if you have one, or you can handle this request directly with the buyer. The postage charges exceed the refund amountA return postage label isn't available if the expected postage charges exceed the expected refund. If you routinely handle this type of return request by allowing the buyer to keep the item, you can automate that process with refund rules in your Return preferences settings.Go to My eBay > Account > Site preferences and scroll down to Return preferences to set up refund rules.
When using alternative postage arrangements, we instruct buyers to include tracking. If the item is valued at or more than £750, delivery confirmation is also required. We give buyers a packing slip and ask them to enclose it with the returned item.
When using alternative postage arrangements, either you or the buyer pays for return postage charges as outlined above.
If you're responsible for return postage charges, we'll ask the buyer to contact you to agree on the service and cost before an item is dispatched. In these instances, you'll need to refund the buyer for the postage charges – or you can provide them with a pre-paid postage label.
Final value fees and PayPal fees
Final value fees
When a full refund is successfully deposited in the buyer’s account your eBay final value fees will show as a credit on your next seller invoice.
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, see the PayPal User Agreement.
Seller performance and Feedback
In general, if a buyer requests a return, your seller performance isn't affected. However, if either you or the buyer ask eBay to step in and help, and eBay Customer Service resolves the case in the favour of the buyer, your seller performance may be affected. Learn more about how cases can affect your seller performance.
Returns on eBay don't change existing rules about Feedback.
After we notify you that a buyer has started a return, you can refund the buyer in the return request. Keep in mind that buyers can as eBay to step in within 8 calendar days so contact your buyer quickly.
You can also set up your return preferences to not allow items below a certain value to be returned.
You can also set up seller automation rules in My eBay, to handle this type of situation automatically. Go to My eBay > Account > Site preferences and scroll down to Return preferences.
We discourage haggling or trying to dissuade buyers from returning an item. We recommend that you only contact buyers if you feel that you can resolve the problem in another way.
Examples of when you may not want an item returned to you:
If a buyer doesn't send an item back, and fails to provide evidence of having sent the item back, you don't need to issue a refund.
For each sale (or transaction), a buyer has one opportunity to return an item or items. For multi-quantity listings, a buyer has a single opportunity to return any of the multiple items purchased.
For example, a buyer selects a quantity of 5 when buying T-shirts. The buyer has one opportunity to return any quantity of the 5 T-shirts. If the buyer returns 2 of the 5 T-shirts, the remaining 3 shirts can't be returned later.
You can only refund up to the total amount paid by the buyer. If you want to add a courtesy credit or you need to reimburse the buyer for alternative postage arrangements, you'll need to make a separate payment outside of the eBay returns process.
There may be situations where you authorise a refund, but the refund failed, was cancelled, or didn't complete. If a buyer hasn't received their refund within the required time frame, they can open a case. We recommend that you confirm a refund has been completed successfully.
If a buyer posted a return and you think it may be lost in the post, wait for the buyer to open a case. We'll look into the matter at that time, and if the tracking data shows us that the item was sent using one of the eBay-provided labels and not delivered, we'll provide a refund to the buyer and allow you to keep the payment.
If you receive a returned item that's been damaged in the post you can ask eBay to step in and help.
For a different size or colour, for example – these aren't supported by the returns process. You'll need to arrange these transactions with your buyers outside of eBay returns.
Misuse of returns
Many problems are misunderstandings that can be worked out when buyers and sellers talk to each other – but occasionally, you may not be able to resolve an issue. If you feel a member is abusing the eBay returns process, we want to know about it.
If a buyer has done everything in their power to ensure an item is returned to you safely, we suggest you issue a refund to provide great customer service. A lenient return policy is strongly recommended, except in circumstances where the buyer is at fault:
If you suspect that a buyer is abusing returns for a specific transaction, contact them through Messages in My eBay or Seller Hub (to keep a record of the conversation) and try to resolve the issue. If you still suspect buyer abuse, you will have multiple options to report a problem with a buyer to us throughout the returns flow:
In instances like this, a buyer may escalate the issue to Customer Support, who will review and consider your communications with the buyer as well as the information you provide in the report. If photos would be helpful for documenting the condition of the item you sold and posted, you can upload as many as 10 (PNG, JPEG, BMP or GIF up to a maximum file size of 5MB). You can add photos until the return process is closed. Uploaded photos can be removed only by contacting Customer Service. We also look at a buyer's return history. If we determine a buyer has abused the returns process or eBay Money Back Guarantee, the buyer may be subject to a range of actions, including limits on buying and selling privileges and account suspension.
If you agree to accept returns and a buyer acts within all return time frames, but you fail to issue a refund within 6 working days of receiving the returned item, the buyer may file a case.
eBay Money Back Guarantee does not require a buyer returning an item using through eBay returns to wait for the seller to respond before we review the case. eBay Money Back Guarantee recognises that either you or the buyer will be responsible for return postage charges, as detailed in a listing's returns policy and/or as covered under the eBay Money Back Guarantee.
If we determine that a seller has abused returns or eBay Money Back Guarantee, the seller may be subject to a range of actions, including limits on buying and selling privileges, limits on the returns functionality the seller can use and account suspension.
Changes to this process
We may update eBay returns at any time by posting the amended terms on this site.
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