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Using eBay returns (for sellers)


eBay returns gives you and your buyers a simple and efficient way to handle returns. Understand the requirements and follow the steps to ensure smooth and professional transactions with your buyers.

Returns can be used when:

  • An item is listed and sold on eBay.com.au. (You can be registered on any eBay site.)

  • You specified in the Return policy section of the listing that you accept returns for "remorse" or "change of mind" reasons, and the buyer starts a return within your specified return timeframe.

  • The item is significantly not as described in the listing, and the buyer hasn't opened an eBay Money Back Guarantee or PayPal Buyer Protection case.

  • The item is listed in a category covered by the eBay Money Back Guarantee.

Getting started

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.

  • In the quick listing tool, you'll see the default return policy: "Buyer has 7 days from receiving the item to return the item for money back; buyer pays return postage."

  • In the advanced listing tool, you have more options including your return window, whether you offer money back or replacements, who pays return postage, restocking fee and any other details of your policy.

  • Using business policies, you can create a variety of return policies and apply them to different types of items as you list.

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.

  • Return rules: Many sellers have a standard way of handling particular return situations – for example, always accepting returns and offering a refund on clothing items that don't fit.

    Return rules can automatically accept a return request in situations where the buyer pays for return postage (and you've specified this in your return policy). Set up a rule to apply to all returns based on the item's refund amount and/or return reasons you select.

    Example: Electronics, for return reason of "changed mind" and item value less than $40.

  • Refund rules: In some situations, it may not make sense to pay for return postage – for example, low-priced items or items that were broken in transit.

    Refund rules allow the buyer to keep the item and automatically refund the buyer based on price, return reason, item condition, category and/or custom list.

    Example: All items in collectables, for return reason of "arrived damaged".

  • Return addresses: For some sellers, it makes sense to have multiple return addresses – for example, defective high-value items (such as a camera) might need to be returned to a central workshop, whereas unwanted accessories should be returned to regional distribution centres.

    You can set your return preferences to customise the return address for different item categories or locations of items.

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.

  • Basic rules let you specify a maximum amount and select one or more return reasons. The rule will be applied to all your items.

    You could use these for situations where the return postage would be more than the original item's value, or for "remorse returns" where the buyer pays for return postage (if you've specified this in your return policy).

  • Advanced rules give you additional options and allow you to set up multiple return rules and apply them to different types of items.

    You can specify:

    • Whether to automatically approve the return or automatically send a refund

    • Item price range

    • Return/replacement/refund reasons

    • Category or item list

Note: "Approve a return" rules won't be available for some return requests, including:

  • When the buyer is responsible for the cost of return postage and the return request is received outside of your return policy.

  • When there is something wrong with the item and the return request is received outside of the eBay Money Back Guarantee policy.

  • When the buyer is located in a country outside the country specified in your primary return postage address or "Approve a return" rule.

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:
  1. Go to My eBay > Account > Site Preferences or Seller Hub > Shortcuts > Site preferences.

  2. In the Return preferences section, click Show, then click Edit.

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:

  • Doesn't fit

  • Changed mind

  • Found a better price

  • Just didn't like it

  • Ordered by mistake

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:

  • Doesn't work or defective

  • Doesn't match description or photos

  • Wrong item sent

  • Missing parts or accessories

  • Arrived damaged

  • Doesn't seem authentic

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 accept 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, the simplest option is to offer the buyer a pre-paid return postage label. The buyer can then print the label, drop off the parcel and mark the item as sent to add tracking details to the return request.

You'll see these options within the returns flow when accepting a return:

  • Offer the ParcelPoint service

    Select this option to authorise the buyer to print a return postage label and return the item with ParcelPoint. The postage cost will be added to your monthly eBay invoice when the label is scanned by store staff or the courier driver.

    Note: If the buyer lives in an area that isn't covered by ParcelPoint, or you have a return address that ParcelPoint can't deliver to (such as a P.O. Box), you'll see Offer the Australia Post service instead of ParcelPoint.

    Both the ParcelPoint and Australia Post services are fully tracked.

  • Upload your own label

    Select this option to upload a pre-paid postage label (PNG, JPEG, BMP, GIF or PDF) which the buyer can print and attach to the package. Enter the carrier information and tracking number where requested.

    Important: Ensure that the image you upload is clear and non-blurry so that any barcodes can be scanned.

  • Confirm you already sent a label

    Select this option to confirm you've sent the buyer a return postage label already.

    For some items, you may choose to include a return postage label when you send the item. (Some postal carriers offer an option where you can print postage labels, but only get charged if they are used.)

  • Confirm you will facilitate the return

    Select this option if you will:

    • Reimburse the buyer for the return postage costs through PayPal or another payment method agreed with the buyer.

      Tips:

      • We recommend using a tracked postage method and uploading the tracking information to the return request.

      • Make sure you upload an image that shows proof you reimbursed the buyer for return postage costs – an image of a receipt, or an email confirmation.

    • Work with the buyer to pick up the item, or have a courier pick it up

    • Allow the buyer to return the item to one of your stores (and you will clearly specify the closest store)

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.

Refunds

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:

  • Original postage, unless you specified otherwise in your return policy

  • Restocking fee, if you had specified one in your return policy (although you can waive this fee, if you like)

  • Return postage, if you specified in your return policy that the buyer pays for return postage

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
  • When a buyer starts a return, funds may be temporarily set aside in your PayPal account for that sale. Learn more about why PayPal payments might not yet be available.

  • After you've received a returned item, and you've made sure the item's condition is as expected, you need to issue the buyer a refund within six business days.

  • If you don't issue a refund within six business days of receiving a returned item, we may ask PayPal to reverse the buyer's payment for the refund amount. If you don't have sufficient funds in your PayPal account to cover the refund, we may give the buyer the refund and include the refund amount on your seller invoice as a fee, payable through your automatic payment method on file.

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.

PayPal fees

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

Seller performance

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.

Feedback score

Returns on eBay doesn't change existing rules about Feedback.

Resolving problems

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:
  • If an item has a low price or is damaged beyond repair, you may decide to just issue a refund.

  • If a problem is due to operating error and you feel you can adequately troubleshoot the issue and avoid a return.

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.

Protecting sellers

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:

  • The wrong item is returned.

  • You receive an empty box.

  • The item is reported as "not as described" to avoid postage charges and restocking fees.

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:

  • Within the inline help

  • During the return process and after a refund has been provided and a return is closed

  • In the Returns section of My eBay. Find the item and select Report a buyer from the Action drop-down menu.

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.

Protecting buyers

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.

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