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Responding to a return request when the item doesn't match the listing description

Most sales go smoothly, but occasionally there may be a problem. We help buyers and sellers work together to resolve issues with transactions. In a situation where the item is covered by eBay Money Back Guarantee, we ask the buyer to return the item to you for a refund. Learn more about eBay Money Back Guarantee.

Important: If you sell on, or, return requests from these buyers may have different timelines. Learn more about responding to requests on international eBay websites.

Refund the buyer

If a buyer wants a refund for an item that didn't match the listing description:

  • We ask the buyer to send the item back to you – with tracking information – within five business days.

  • Your refund to the buyer is the total purchase price plus all postage costs paid by the buyer.

  • You can't charge a restocking fee.

Refund the buyer within six business days of receiving a returned item. If the buyer didn't pay with PayPal, refund the buyer using the same payment method used to buy the item. Refunding the buyer using the original payment method prevents a buyer from being able to get two refunds – for example, one from you and one from their credit card company.

Once the buyer receives the refund and the return request is complete, you'll receive a final value fee credit.

Partial refunds

Giving the buyer a partial refund allows the buyer to keep the item, and helps you avoid having to issue a full refund or send a new item.

For example, if a buyer bought a new camera, and it arrived with scratches, the buyer might be happy with the item but want to return it for a new one without scratches. You could offer a partial refund to the buyer to make up for the scratches.

You and the buyer can work together to agree on an acceptable amount for a partial refund. The buyer can accept your offer for a partial refund, request a different amount or suggest a different solution. You can initiate a refund to the buyer through My eBay or Seller Hub.

More about refunds

Once a buyer opens an eBay Money Back Guarantee request, funds related to the sale in your PayPal account may be put on hold. When you resolve the situation with the buyer, or we find in your favour, the funds are again available for you to use.

If you agreed to refund the buyer for an item, do so within six business days of receiving the returned item, or within three business days of promising the refund.

If the buyer doesn't receive the refund within six business days, the buyer can ask us to step in and help.

If a buyer asks us to step in and help with a return request, either because you didn't respond by the deadline or you and the buyer can't reach an agreement, we review the request and come to a decision. If we find in favour of the buyer, we refund the buyer directly and seek reimbursement for the amount of the refund from you. That amount includes the cost of the item plus postage costs paid by the buyer. We either ask PayPal to remove the refund amount from your PayPal account, or add a charge to your monthly selling invoice. Learn more about reimbursements.

You can appeal within 30 days from when we make a decision by providing new documentation. For example, you may be able to show that the buyer received a refund twice, through both PayPal and a credit card.

Provide documentation that the item was properly described

If you or the buyer has asked us to step in and help with a return request because the item wasn't as described in the listing, and you can show that you properly described the item, the return request can be closed.

Examples of situations when documentation can help:

  • The buyer stated that the item was used, not new, but the listing clearly described it as used.

  • You disclosed and correctly described a flaw in the item.

  • The listing properly described the item, but the buyer didn't want the item after receiving it.

  • The listing properly described the item, but the item didn't meet the buyer's expectations.

  • The item had minor scratches, but you listed it as used.

If photos of the item would be helpful for documenting the condition of the item you sold and sent, click Add Photos. Both eBay Customer Service and the buyer will be able to see them. You can upload as many as 10 photos (PNG, JPEG, BMP, or GIF; max size 5MB). You can add photos until the return process is closed. Uploaded photos can be removed only by contacting Customer Service.

Offer another solution

You can always offer another solution to the buyer. Try to come to an agreement so the buyer is happy with the outcome. Make sure you contact the buyer through My eBay or Seller Hub, so you have a record of communication and we know the status of the return request.

Contact Customer Service

If you're looking for more help or have a question to ask, please contact us.

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