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Using eBay returns (for sellers)
Returns can be used when:
Returns, refunds and replacements
We require all sellers on eBay.com.au to specify a return policy, whether the policy is to accept returns for "change of mind" reasons or not. A generous return policy, such as offering a full refund for items returned within 30 days, can help you qualify for eBay Premium Service and attract more buyers.
When you do offer returns, we recommend you customise your return preferences and return policy to fit your business needs.
If you choose not to offer returns, bear in mind that eBay Money Back Guarantee still applies and your seller standard may be affected when the buyer requests a return because the item didn't match the listing description.
Note: If you sell on eBay as a business, you also have obligations under Australian Consumer Law.
Setting up your return policy
If you want your buyers to be able to return an item you're listing, specify in the listing that you accept returns.
Learn more about creating your return policy.
How the return process works
If a buyer starts a return, we'll guide both you and your buyer through the process.
*Business days are weekdays (Monday – Friday). Saturdays, Sundays and Australian public holidays aren't business days.
Customising your returns preferences
Refund and return rules can help save you time by automating some aspects of the returns process, while providing your buyers with the best experience possible by expediting the return or refund.
You can choose which parts of the return process you want to automate – and which parts you prefer to do yourself – by setting up and customising your Returns preferences in My eBay.
These automation rules are optional, so if you'd prefer to review all of your return requests manually, you don't need to set up any rules.
Basic vs. advanced rules
You choose how little or much automation you and your buyers need.
Note: "Approve a return" rules won't 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 Authorisation (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:
Return postage charges
If the buyer is returning the item for the following "remorse" or "change of mind" reasons, either you or the buyer is responsible for return postage charges, as specified in your return policy:
If the item is being returned for one of the following reasons (i.e., because it is significantly not as described in the listing), you are responsible for the return postage charges:
When the buyer is responsible for return postage charges
If the buyer is returning an item for one of the "remorse" or "change of mind reasons" above, and you've specified in your return policy that the buyer is responsible for return postage charges, you simply have to approve the return. The buyer should then send the item back.
When you're responsible for return postage charges
When you're responsible for return postage charges, contact the buyer to agree on the postage cost and method.
You'll see these options within the returns flow when accepting a return:
We recommend using a tracked postage method for returning items, and uploading the tracking information to eBay.
In particular, you and the buyer will need to agree on postage arrangements when:
If either you or your buyer prefers that an item be returned with insurance, you can agree on this before the buyer purchases return postage.
Bear in mind that under the eBay Money Back Guarantee policy, signature confirmation is required for returns of items with a total cost of $750 or more.
Occasionally, more than one package is needed to be returned. In these instances, you can agree on this with the buyer before they purchase return postage.
If the package is outside of the postal carrier's guidelines (due to its size, weight or a hazardous item), you and the buyer can agree on alternative arrangements.
You can agree postage arrangements with the buyer.
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.
You and the buyer need to agree on alternative arrangements or, in the case of local pickup, a way of getting the item back to you safely.
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 should be the total purchase price, including original postage (if paid for by the buyer).
In these situations, you're also required to pay for the return postage charges and you can't charge a restocking fee. If the buyer has arranged postage, 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 deciding not to purchase the item after all, the total refund amount will depend on what you specified in the Return policy section of the listing.
For this type of return, in most cases the refund amount won't include:
If a return is escalated
If you don't issue a refund through eBay returns within six business days of receiving the returned item – regardless of the reason for the return – a buyer can open an eBay Money Back Guarantee case. When applicable, the eBay Money Back Guarantee refund amount is the total purchase price, including original postage costs.
A refund amount could be higher through eBay Money Back Guarantee. We strongly encourage you to issue original refunds on time.
Learn more about the eBay Money Back Guarantee.Timeline for refunds
Replacements and exchanges
Replacements (one item is returned due to a problem, and replaced with the exact same item) and exchanges (one item is returned in exchange for a different item) are currently not handled through the eBay returns process.
If you'd would like to offer an a replacement or exchange instead of a return or replacement, use the "communicate with the buyer" feature, which allows the communication to be visible to eBay in case of a problem.
We recommend you allow the buyer to proceed with returning the item for a refund, and ask them to re-order the replacement or alternate item.
Final value fees and PayPal fees
Final value fees
Refunds: When a full refund is successfully deposited in the buyer's account, your eBay final value fees show as a credit on your next seller invoice.
Replacements: If a buyer requests a replacement but does not return the original item, the replacement is then handled like a standard purchase. The buyer is charged for the second item and a final value fee for the transaction appears 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.
If you send a replacement item to your buyer instead of issuing a refund, there is no change to your PayPal fees.
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 favour of the buyer, your seller performance may be affected. Learn more about how eBay Money Back Guarantee cases can affect your seller performance.
Returns on eBay doesn'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 the buyer can ask eBay to step in after three business days, so respond to your buyer quickly.
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:
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.
Occasionally, you and your buyer may decide that a return isn't necessary. If this happens, you can't close the return yourself.
If you and your buyer have communicated through Messages in My eBay, and you've determined that a return is no longer necessary, ask the buyer to close the return. The buyer can close the return if the returned item hasn't already been sent.
A lenient return policy can work in your favour. If the item still arrives within your return timeframe, we recommend you issue a refund. However, if the buyer doesn't post the item within five business days of initiating a return, you're not obliged to issue a refund.
Take into account a possible carrier delay – it's possible that the buyer posted the item at the end of the last business day, but the postal carrier didn't scan the package until the following morning.
If a buyer doesn't send back an item, you don't need to issue a refund (unless you're allowing the buyer to keep the item).
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 five when buying T-shirts. The buyer has one opportunity to return some or all of the T-shirts. If the buyer returns two of the five T-shirts, the remaining three 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 return postage, you need to make a separate payment outside of the eBay returns process.
There may be situations when you authorise a refund, but the refund failed, cancelled or did not 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 mail, wait for the buyer to open a case. We'll look into the matter at that time.
If you receive a returned item that's been damaged in the mail, you can ask eBay to step in and help.
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 eBay returns, we want to know about it.
If a buyer has tried 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, including:
If you suspect that a buyer is abusing returns for a specific transaction, contact the buyer through Messages in My eBay or Seller Hub in order to keep a record of the conversation, and try to resolve the issue. If you still suspect buyer abuse, you will have a couple of options to report a problem with the buyer to us through the returns flow:
In instances like this, a buyer may escalate the issue to Customer Service. Customer Service reviews and considers your communications with the buyer, as well as the information you provide, in the report.
If photos of the item would be helpful for documenting the condition of the item you sold and posted (or the condition of a returned item you received), 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 only be removed by contacting Customer Service.
If we determine that a buyer has abused returns or eBay Money Back Guarantee, you may be protected from any negative Feedback left by the buyer. The buyer may also 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 six business days of receiving the returned item, the buyer may ask us to step in and help.
eBay Money Back Guarantee does not require a buyer returning an item through eBay returns to wait for you to respond before we review the case. Either you or the buyer is responsible for return postage charges, as detailed in the listing's return policy and/or as covered under eBay Money Back Guarantee.
If we determine that you as a seller have abused returns or eBay Money Back Guarantee, you 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/or account suspension.
Changes to this process
We may update the returns process at any time by posting the amended terms on this site.
Contact Customer Service
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