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eBay Return Policy: A Closer Look

What's good for some merchants is not always good for others.

Recent changes to eBay return policy requirements rocked some sellers, who worried the updates would encourage more returns.

eBay insists the changes were necessary to make shoppers feel confident when buying on the site, and to encourage more sales. It began rolling out the changes—including longer return windows and tougher rules for Top-rated Sellers—in May.

By now, merchants have had time to digest the eBay return policy updates and make any adjustments. Considering the initial uproar over eBay return policy changes, we wondered if people did, in fact, update their return policies, and what the impact has been. Here, we take a closer look.

What changed with eBay’s return policy?

The first change eBay made to its return policy this year was retiring the three- and seven-day return windows in May. Now, merchants who accept returns must choose between 14-, 30- or 60-day return policies. They also have to offer either money back, or a choice of money back or exchange, since eBay ended the merchandise credit and exchanges options on May 2.

“Providing buyers with a consistent, convenient way to initiate returns helps build their confidence in eBay”

eBay then introduced its new returns center, which is meant to streamline the returns process and prevent a lot of back and forth between buyers and sellers.

Top-rated Sellers who opted in to the returns center gained access to it in September. Though it’s currently available only to these sellers, eBay reports the return center will eventually be “the long-term solution for all transactions on eBay.”

Using the eBay return center, buyers can initiate returns right from their My eBay Summary pages. They can say why they’re returning a product and print return-shipping labels and packing slips. eBay will notify sellers when returns are on their way.

“Providing buyers with a consistent, convenient way to initiate returns helps build their confidence in eBay—it will also help reduce the number of eBay Buyer Protection cases that are opened,” eBay states in its FAQs about the center.

Finally, the marketplace reminded Top-rated Sellers that, in order to continue earning the 20-percent discount they’d previously received on final value fees, they must now offer a 14-day-or-longer eBay return policy with the money back option. Only those sellers who comply with this new requirement will have the Top Rated Plus emblem displayed on their listings. In November, the existing Top-rated Seller badge will be retired.

Sellers push back

The changes to return policies are controversial, to say the least. Clothing and jewelry sellers worry longer return windows may encourage people to use products and return them.

“I sell costume jewelry… and I already have people ‘renting’ my stuff,” one seller told us when changes were first announced. Another worried the changes might encourage more returns, in general, and that products would likely not be returned well packed.

“eBay just isn’t what it used to be. It’s getting harder to make a decent return on investment these days”

“With the few items I have accepted back, the items are never packed the same way I packed them,” that seller reported. “The stuff is literally thrown in a box. Where is all the bubble wrap I used? Buyers don’t think, or care, that how can I resell this item when you have removed things or the item comes back damaged?”

Have sellers changed their return policies?

To find out how people are taking the changes to eBay return policy requirements now, we posted a simple question on The Online Seller’s Facebook page: Have you changed your return policies because of eBay policy changes?

Ana Paula Pereira replies she has, and that, with the changes she’s made, buyers are now returning items she can’t resell. “I am losing money,” she writes.

eBay Return Policy: The Online Seller Facebook Poll

“Same here,” adds Leslie Urbine, who sells lingerie. She says 90 percent of her items should not be returned but, since she started accepting returns in July, buyers are returning products. “I have definitely lost money,” she adds, noting that she feels she was forced to accept returns in order to maintain her good standing and visibility on eBay.

Pete Staniforth put it simply: “eBay just isn’t what it used to be. It’s getting harder to make a decent return [on investment] these days,” after factoring in the seller fees.

We also polled our fans on Facebook to see if they had changed their policies and, if so, how that affected their sales. Forty percent said they had changed their policies, and that it had not affected their sales, at all.

Another 40 percent said they had changed their policies, and that it had affected their sales in a bad way. Twenty percent said they had not changed their policies, and that it had not affected their sales.

Is it working?

It’s hard to say whether the new eBay return policy has been a boon for the marketplace. eBay is continually making changes aimed at improving the shopping experience, and making the marketplace more accessible—and appealing—to mobile users. Just this month, the company introduced a more contemporary site design, and it has a Pinterest-style curation feature up its sleeve that it hopes will get buyers to spend more time on the site.

eBay’s financial results don’t tell us much, yet. Marketplace revenue has continued to grow steadily—around 10 percent to 15 percent, quarterly—and so have gross merchandise volume and active registered accounts.

Will the new eBay return policy finally bring buyers rushing to eBay? Maybe we’ll know more after the coming holiday season.

Returns are not for everyone

What can we conclude from all of this? Simply that returns are not for everyone, and the changes are affecting some, but not all, sellers. Some merchants have adjusted their return policies in hopes of getting the Top-rated Seller discount. Others believe it’s too much hassle, and are sticking with return policies that have worked for them, come what may.
“I think it provides a level of comfort to know that you aren’t going to be stuck with something that doesn’t fit well”

If you’re wondering how you should act, think it through carefully. We know that losing out on a fee discount is a bummer, but your business may be better off in the long run when you take into account your cost of returns, including restocking, repacking and the possibility of not being able to resell items.

With that said, accepting returns and conforming to eBay return policy requirements can and does work well for some. Merchants who accept returns don’t necessarily see a big jump in returns. In fact, some report they get a boost in sales as a result—and they may end up getting that much-wanted discount and that shiny new emblem, which could help to attract more buyers.

For Mandy and Kris Moody, the owners of Italian Suit Warehouse, taking returns has worked well. They “absolutely accept returns” on everything, for any reason, they tell us. The couple has sold close to 40,000 designer items on eBay in the 11 years they’ve been selling on the venue.

“I think, especially with suits and sport jackets, it provides a level of comfort to know that you aren’t going to be stuck with something that doesn’t fit well. I’m sure this does put sellers of these types of goods who do not allow returns at a disadvantage,” Kris adds.

Have you made changes to your eBay return policy because of the new requirements? How has it affected your sales? Tell us in the comments below.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • Sharon

    I have changed my return policy to NOT accept ANY returns. I sell cosmetics and cannot re-sell any item returned as I have no way of knowing if the product has been altered, etc. Re-selling a returned product would be too much liability. I have definitely seen a drop in my e-bay sales, not just from the no-return policy but because of all the other e-bay changes favoring buyers. I have been selling on e-bay for many years and am seriously considering discontinuing e-bay sales as I no longer am able to make a profit.

    • I agree with you. It is getting very hard to make a profit. Where would you sell instead? Are there any good sites to go e.g.Auctiva, ebid etc?

      • disqus_Hj3NYmfRTl

        Till we do not make any changes take any step to make those changes then how come things will improve today we need to support many other sites which are seller friendly invite people to join these and we need payment gateway which do not interfere between buyer and seller as PayPal without giving any chance to seller only listens to buyers side of the storys all fraud so which are these companies please research and encourage who can start believe me things will be slow but once sellers like them all will leave eBay it is difficult but impossible

  • Jack

    As sellers, we need to have the option of giving the full range of feed–just like buyers have–for all buyers. I have a ‘just return it and get your refund’ policy but this has not stopped a recent buyer from insisting he keep one half of the gold chain and pendant and get a 50% discount. It took two hours on the telephone with eBay here and abroad for me to finally get the case settled. This is ridiculous and we need to be able to post such on the feedback site.

  • Nostalgiabooks

    I changed my “returns policy” from accepting returns to not accepting any returns and stating that boldly in my listings. And it has worked out just fine. I caution bidders to know what they are bidding on (old books, magazines, etc) and it is their responsibility to be aware of the content and the grading is given as “no grade guaranteed” and state that the picture is of the actual object and it is up to them to make their own decision as to the condition of the item based on the photo. So far it has worked fine. Prior to doing this I has over a dozen “returns” in 3 months from people who claimed condition was not up to their standards but would settle for a partial refund of $XX. The scammers are out there. Now, absolutely no problems. Yes, positive feedback only for buyers sucks. And more needs to be done about non-paying bidders of which I’ve been experiencing an upswing lately. Is eBay bidding now a recreational sport? Sales remain as strong as ever though with fewer bidders but still realizing prices I expect. Half are auction style half are buy-it-now with a best offer provision which makes it a reverse auctiion at a much lower insertion fee/longer time period. Richard Pryor/NostalgiaBooks

  • Kota

    We have sold over 11,000 used and new golf items through Ebay over the last 12 years with slim margins to remain competitive. I now have a NO RETURNS policy for 99% of our sales through Ebay since many items actually lose value in a matter of weeks due to rapid shifts in market value of some stock, especially when frequent new product releases drive down market prices for superseded items.
    Ebay persists in retaining the listing fees charged when a transaction is cancelled and/or goods returned. They therefore “double dip” on listing charges for items that are returned then re-listed.
    The same “double dipping” applies to final value fees charged on items where the listed price includes “Free Shipping” – the shipping is not “free” to the seller but Ebay will still charge the final value fee on that component of selling price. No wonder they ant to move to encourage “Free Shipping” by sellers.
    Ebay seems not to care about the significant time and dollar cost associated with meeting their policy requirements and yet when I last looked, Ebay was not accepting any of my business costs or risk . Buyers continue to escape negative feedback while Ebay/PayPal default position is to support buyers and shift all compliance requirements to sellers. My own website is an increasingly more cost effective as a sales channel.

  • KitchenGlass

    I changed my return policy to keep my Top Rated status. I don’t think I have seen any change because of it. However, I do have a problem with ebay app for mobile phones. People are buying items without reading the full description of the item and my policies. I really do not like this about the app. My Aucitva template doesn’t even show up on there with my specifics about shipping, returns, etc.

  • Mannys bar

    as a seller on ebay i dont think it matters what we want to state as a return policy, buyers can state item not as described for longer than 14 days, and will alway win a case against a seller. i have had damaged goods returned that where perfect when sent out, sent in proof but still lost. the buyer got a refund i put the returned item in the bin….ebay should care more about the sellers as we are there customers.but they have grown to big to care anymore, and can afford to lose a few good sellers……

    • Susan

      You’re absolutely right ~ eBay nowadays will ALWAYS rule in the buyer’s favor. I have not seen one single exception!

      In one of the more blatant cases of Buyer’s Remorse, I had a buyer who tried to file an “Item Not Received” claim TWO days after she paid for a quilt. I received a warning email from eBay, and she was informed she’d have to wait a few more days to file such a complaint. The day the quilt was delivered, she filed an “Item not as Described” complaint, which she admitted wasn’t true in an email to me. (She said she just didn’t want it, and yes, she did it though eBay Messages.) She later claimed the quilt was defective. Guess what ~ eBay placed a hold on my PayPal account the minute she filed the claim, and ultimately ruled in the buyer’s favor. Shock! It never mattered that it unquestioningly was a case of buyer’s remorse from Day One, which according to eBay policy is NOT grounds for a return. It didn’t matter. eBay ordered me to accept the return, gave me a “strike,” and then gave this buyer three WEEKS to return the quilt! (Not 10 days as stated in their policy ~ They said she simply had to print the return shipping label in 10 days.) Of course, the hold on my account remained the entire time.

      I will NEVER sign up for automated returns. If you want to return an item that isn’t defective, you’re going to have to work for it! I will accept returns only for defective items, but if I receive the item and it’s NOT defective, I will withhold a 15-percent restocking fee from the refund. (Supposedly, you can do that as long as you state it in your return policy.) If they file a complaint, I’ll give in because I have to.

      Nothing has worked to discourage returns as much as the threat to legally, and per eBay policy, withhold that 15%.

      The vast majority of my returns have come from buyers who simply did not read the description, and eBay expects me to take a loss because the buyers were too dumb or too lazy to look past the one gallery photo. And that simply isn’t right.

      I’ve already opened my own website in an effort to move away from eBay, and I’m hoping I can manage to get enough traffic to say good-bye forever to the venue I once loved.

      • Eric

        I have seen more returns and non-payments in the last 6 weeks than i have in the last two years that i have sold on ebay. Someone sent me an email asking to return an item because they placed there bid on there phone and was not able to see the pics. It was not what they wanted. WOW…If you can not see it, And do not know what it is do not bid.. Once my current listings end. I am done with ebay. From $10,000.00 a month in sales to less than $200.00 I my self have opened my own online store. With the marketing that I am doing. It will just take time before, It its a profitable site.

  • declan sumerill

    ebay has finally reached the point where even they can finally see that no more pain and humiliation can be pushed onto sellers. I sell on ebay when I have to, but I passionately loathe this company at the same time. Merry Christmas ebay … may the fleas of a thousand camels come nest in your armpits.

  • HateEbayChanges

    I have sold on ebay for about 5-6 years now and have never had any issue with returns …. until this month. I have not accepted the new simplified returns program however I have never had SO MANY people wanting to return things as I have had this month. In my experience, buyers are becoming return happy and think that just anyone and every one will refund their money — REGARDLESS of what my policy states.

    I did change my policy to “either refund or exchange” but my clause is that we only refund for defective items, otherwise we will be happy to exchange unworn items. Since we sell lingerie, we cannot accept a return if it has been worn or tried on.

    Just this week, I have had four buyers abuse ebays Returns. One buyer flat out abused “Buyer Protection” and opened a dispute stating that she received a “different model”, yet in an email, she wrote that the item did not fit. (I reported the buyer.) The other three buyers changed their story from “the item did not fit” to …. “well, it’s defective”. This was AFTER I told them that our policy does not cover “Buyer’s Remorse”. To me, these claims are ridiculous ~ especially since we clearly state sizes and measurements in our listings.

    Since ebay started making all these changes, my sales have not been as strong as what they were two years ago. Yet, out of over 15,000+ transactions, I have only two negative feedback comments.

    I am so tired of ebay and I SO cannot wait to find ANOTHER WAY to successfully sell online … I know it’s possible … just haven’t quite figured out which direction to go in yet.

  • sickenedseller

    ebay can go……………… know what! I am not a charity.

  • Jo

    I have found the new return policy to work for me–I sell pre-owned clothing, and some new with tags–It eliminates the need for buyers to write and complain about any issues they find–I dont have to beg forgivness and they can simply return the item with very little hassles or communitcation–eBay seller HAVE to accept returns in the end anyhow–All a buyer needs to do is open a case–They can state just about ANY reason and win the case–So, I find myself better off just accepting the return without any squabbling and writing off any loss in my taxes at the end of the year. I write a pleasant note for each return and thanking them for a no hassle return and that I hope they found the process simple and the transaction ended up being a 5 star experience–If not, I tell them, I will continue to work with them until it is. People watch their expenses closely these days and if they get an item that is not up to their expectations or does not fit, they want their money back! I am careful to list measurements and issues but sometimes an item just does not work for a buyer. My returns have seemed to remain consistant to previous years but the stress level is lower now.—Jo

  • Luke

    I tried the new return policy on used golf clubs and got 7 returns in the last month. I didn’t have 7 returns all year up to this point. It makes it too easy for someone to try something out and they repackage it and ship it back. Its a bad idea. Although, even after reading the article above, it appears ebay acknowledges this problem and still want to push forward with it to help the ” grow steadily—around 10 percent to 15 percent, quarterly…”

    My profits are already streamlined and ever return for me is a loss of profit because of the cost of shipping on golf clubs. Ebay needs more complex algorithms to take such things into consideration. They want to try and fit everyone into the same bucket but they can’t.

  • Disgusted

    I no longer sell on Ebay. The final straw was a woman who bought a box lot of high end Crystal, listed several pieces for sale on Ebay, when it didn’t sell for what she wanted, demanded her money back and filed for a refund. I won, but as others have said, Ebay is not as it use to be. Enough is enough. I have been a seller going on 13 years. I don’t need the hassle.

  • Louis

    Hello to all,
    Ebay used to be a fun & profitable place to sell antiques & collectibles. Simply put it’s just not fun anymore…..
    Ebay was a place I could sell MY items, kinda like my own little shop on the internet. These past few years have seen ebay’s new rules make me feel more like I work for ebay at minimum wage with no benefits!
    For years I offered a 3-day return policy, with the thinking that was enough time for a buyer to check the item out and to decide if it was as described or not. I had just 2-3 returns in the past 12 years(about 2500 items). I feel a person DOES NOT need 2 weeks to 2 months to decide the item is not right. I was a top rated seller, power seller, and got a discount of my sellers fee’s every month. Now I don’t care to sell much on ebay anymore and hope to find a viable online alternative. I will list a few things now & then in the hopes ebay will regain it’s commitment to the SELLERS who helped build them from the ground up.
    In the meantime I have started doing a few antique shows & opened a small booth in a local antique mall. So far so good, and it is nice to get back the actual interaction with buyers at a show!
    Thanks for the article Olga………………… Regards, Louis

  • Mary

    Ebay is geared for buyers..not sellers.

    • disqus_Hj3NYmfRTl

      eBay is teaching buyers and encouraging them to steal and commit frauds legally too

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if one of the biggest ripoff companies on Wall Street treated their
    customers (the sellers) with the same respect they demand that they treat their customers (the buyers) Small wonder that people are looking elsewhere to do their shopping.

  • CLD

    The returns hub was the final death blow to eBay. As a Costume Jewelry “renter” I mean seller. I would not touch that returns hub with a ten foot pole. I am currently selling off all of my inventory and moving it to other seller friendly sites. My guess is when the spring announcement are sent out this will be a mandatory thing. Currently I deal with hoards of scammers and renters. This returns hub would be nothing but what I said the final death blow. I am making my exit before the next round of seller handcuffs, I mean announcement are handed down in the spring.

    • no one is forcing you to sell on eBay, and seriously with your attitude toward buyers, I doubt you will find happiness selling anywhere else either

      • CLD

        I could careless if you like me tell the truth or not. I call it like I see it. I sell on several other sites and have not been scammed or had one single fraudulent return with two to three times as many sales (well over 5,000). So I think that says it ALL. On eBay it is a daily event anymore. I never said I was forced to sell on scambay but I did say I will NOT be forced into the returns hub. That is why I am moving my inventory to sites that are still considered a venue, NOT a businesses partner (that I never asked for).

        • Jimbo

          This Dorkapsis Psilocybin character just doesn’t get it. Is he or she a shill for ebay? Check the other ridiculous comment further down the page in this forum (also with many “dislikes”)………………

      • Susan

        Watch it, Dorapsis ~ You have no idea what CLD has gone through to build her/his business, or the challenges they have faced.

        * * * When EVERY single poster here, including CLD, started selling on eBay, they absolutely loved their buyers and would have moved heaven and earth to make them happy ~ Even if it meant taking a small loss. Even today, the majority of buyers are good, honest people with hassle-free transactions. And we appreciate those buyers more than words can say.

        HOWEVER ~ Recently, too many unethical and immoral “buyers” have been attracted to eBay like flies to honey because of the ease with which they can scam sellers out of their goods and money. The word is out ~ eBay not only will let you take advantage of the sellers, eBay will support you in your immoral endeavors!

        It didn’t use to be this way ~ Under Meg Whitman, it felt like eBay and its sellers were partners. And it was that partnership that turned eBay into a multi-billion dollar corporation, and the No. 1 internet marketplace in the world. But after she left, eBay started changing things for the sake of change, which hurt its standing in the marketplace. When Amazon passed eBay as the top internet marketplace, eBay decided it needed to make even more changes, copying off Amazon instead of taking advantage of its own uniqueness. Try finding a 19th c coffee mill on Amazon! Try finding a hand-made pillow with antique lace on Amazon! Try finding a collectible or a hand-made ANYTHING on Amazon!

        During better times, eBay never forced sellers to accept returns, and if a buyer tried to rip off a seller, the seller could leave the buyer a neutral or negative feedback as a warning to other sellers. Now we have no choice. If accepting returns HELPS a seller’s business, you can be sure the seller will offer them! But in some cases, returns just aren’t feasible.

        As small business owners, we should be in charge of how and when we accept returns. If, as eBay says, offering a liberal return policy encourages sales, shouldn’t we have the right to manage that policy ourselves? If we lose sales, then so be it. It’s OUR loss!

        The fact is, not every business fits into the same mold. Selling jewelry is VASTLY different than selling pet supplies, which is VASTLY different than selling i-Pads! Each of these businesses must be managed in a different way; each operates best under a totally different set of rules. I’m sick and tired of those who think ALL businesses run best under one generic set of principles!

        You, Dorapsis, have no right to pass judgement because you have absolutely no idea of the level of frustration behind the comments. No one here is complaining about honest buyers! We’re complaining about being over-run by thieves! I have no doubt CLD will find great happiness when they’re allowed to run their business as they see fit. Right now, eBay is preventing sellers from succeeding by tying their hand with an extraordinary bunch of rules that simply don’t apply. And we pay eBay wayyyyyyy too much money for that!

    • disqus_Hj3NYmfRTl

      Excellent move I have done the same it’s eight months since I have been selling eBay initially when I did not purchase the store I sold quite a good amount and I did not get any return but the moment I purchased the store from eBay all my listing which would be found at the start went to the last and would not see so I lost money and when I did sold almost in every 5 items I owuld get return and dispute and eBay refund my money without my getting the item back. Today I lost more money due to eBay’s fraudulant return policy and cheater buyers who want everything for free. In fact all the disput have put me both eBay as well as their partner in crime PayPal Disgusting the way they are looting sellers leagally too and no one to stop them it is only sellers who can stop them

  • Pattazy

    It is true that our returns went up and that has affected our sales adversely. I recently opted out of the program and went back to my old way of taking care of my buyers to see if it makes a difference in our sales. It is very disheartening to have a good week of sales and then see things being returned for frivolous or no reason and poorly packaged, at that. I will give it some time to see…I admit that it is so much easier to have ebay manage returns, but I feel that the loss of that control has cost us. I truly feel that the managed returns process would work better with the buyers being; instructed to have a decent reason for returning, and to return the item in the same way that it was received by them, with proper care in packaging. Thank you for trying to help us Sellers….I do appreciate it.

  • Elise

    Ebay has really become buyer friendly, so much we can’t even leave poor feedback for non-paying buyers or demanding buyers, one buyer wanted to keep the item she bought and demanded her money back (with shipping) and threatened to leave negative feedback as well if I didn’t comply with her demands. I just wanted her to return the item if she wanted a refund. Ebay’s advice when I called customer service was to keep talking to her. WTF? They make money off of every sale so of course they don’t care…

  • Joe

    This is America! I think the mood is ripe for a new company to emerge that caters to Sellers once again and sends ebay to the Low DSR bin of history. If I had ebay stock, I would be worried that any day a Zuckerberg type will come along and make a nice home for all the disgruntled ebay Sellers (aka renters) that can’t wait to make a profit again. Anybody remember MySpace? Went from $580 Million to just $35 Million in only 8 years according to internet sources.

  • I am primarily a jewelry retailer, and I have always accepted returns for ANY reason, and a few months back switched from a week to 30 days for the return. I am also a top-rated seller, and I haven’t noticed any increase in returns, but I have noticed an increase in customer appreciation for my easy-going policy, and I think it has increased my sales slightly but a bit too soon to say for sure. I think that sellers who don’t accept returns or make a return problematic for the buyer are shooting themselves in the foot, and are hurting the perception of the market as friendly to buyers. I also think that restocking fees are highway robbery, and they should be banned!

    • Jimbo

      Restocking fees are not “Highway Robbery”….. If you ship an item (not a small piece of jewelry that costs $2 or less to mail), and the buyer returns it, who pays for the shipping?? YOU DO!!!!
      Example: You buy an item for $100, and the shipping is $25. You send $125 via PayPal. I pay $25 to ship it. You then decide you do not want the item, or didn’t read the details properly (which happens an AWFUL LOT). The merchandise is returned, and I refund your $125. Now, who paid for the shipping to the buyer??
      These fees are absolutely neccessary. Since ebay that put this buyer-geared returns policy in place, us sellers must do something to discourage rampant returns, which are becoming an epidemic. If we pay for shipping on every return, what little profit we make on ebay (after they and Paypal take their chunk) is gone.
      This is a BUSINESS, not a HOBBY. And if you don’t make money, you are out of business……….

  • eBay has completely ignored my comments regarding the fact that some items are not returnable due to copyright laws. The majority of the items I sell fall into this category. Brick and mortar needlework stores to do not accept returns on needlework design patterns, and neither should I have to, just because I sell them in my eBay shop.

  • Jimbo

    I will NEVER opt into the “ebay Returns Center”!! They say it will streamline returns, but it will also increase the number of return scammers who will claim they had a box of rocks shipped to them instead of the item listed and photographed.

    Ebay claims that this will never happen, and they will not honor these returns, but the money goes directly into the buyers PayPal account upon receipt by the seller.

    Without inspection of whether the item arrived back damaged, broken, or even the scam buyer sending back an empty box (or a box with anything but the original item), the buyer gets an automatic, sight unseen refund.

    I do realize there is a very small percentage of dishonest buyers out there, but this opens the door for more possibilities of this activity (which is THEFT, plain and simple).

    If one takes something from a brick-and-mortar business, walks out the door with it, and is caught, what happens?? Likely the police are called, and the thief is arrested, and charged with petty theft, grand theft, and / or shoplifting .

    The problem here is ebay is not policing this, and these people know they can get away with these criminal acts. And sellers pay the price, with lost income, and black marks on their record. AND ebay DOESN’T EVEN CARE.

    Why? Because they make money when sellers fail, and lose money when they succeed!!!!!

  • Max Gottfried

    Returns? Are you kidding?! I sell one of a kind collectibles and to allow finicky buyers to change their mind after damaging an item is commercial/financial suicide. I’m not talking about a mass produced popular electronic item or holiday fad toy, but a vintage piece of paper ephemera. You’ve read the comments all too often as buyers who do return an item take no care in returning it. Making it worthless and unable for resale. I love ebay’s notification of a buyer’s “order” was won or shipped. “Order”? Wasn’t that an auction I just held? The buyer did not place an order, they won an auction!

  • RS4Me

    My product mix includes items that sell for $25 and up shipping in a box AND items that sell for $3.49 and ship in an envelope for $.45. The boxed items could work with the return policy changes, but the smaller items won’t. If the Return Center prints a label and I assume charges the customer the postage, the minimum will be $1.64 for a $3.49 item??? How does this help anyone? My small package/envelope sales outnumber my box sales by 10 to 1. If you are correct and we will eventually be forced into using the Return Center, I’d have to double my prices on small items to make it work. How is that good for anyone??

  • Susan Majzik

    I changed my return time to 14 days so I could keep my top rated seller status. I am NOT opting into the “Returns Center”. I prefer to correspond with my buyers directly. Sometimes I can offer them a partial refund and allow them to keep the item if they like and this seems to work the best for me. A recent example was an antique porcelain shower head that arrived to the buyer damaged by the Post Office. To have him return the shower head to me AND refund all his money, including return postage, it would have cost me $113.00. He sent me a picture of the damaged shower head. He found someone who could repair it and was happy with a $20 refund. Saved me money – I really did not lose anything on that sale since I had only paid $30 for the shower head to begin with, and he was very satisfied with the transaction and gave me glowing feedback on eBay!

  • Ben

    Fortunately I sell in an area that just does not have returns. I have offered a 14 day return policy, for any reason, for years. Never had a return. I also have opened a brick and mortar and additional online channels so fleabay is no more than 25-30% of my gross sales. I am happy and urge you all to look carefully at your business model. What can you change to increase your own control. Don’t let ebay run your business. I have reinvinted my business several times. One of my goals was always to get my ebay side down to items that can be shipped in a 6X10″ padded envelope with at least a $10 profit (PROFIT, not price) per shipment. It took years to work that out. It might not be doable for everyone, but it’s your business, not theirs, what can you do to make it better!

  • sctishldy

    Well said Susan!!!!!!.

    I sometimes wonder who actually owns the item I
    sell, I feel more & more it is not me. eBay has control from start to
    finish. I get to do the dirty work. Returns does not matter as another pointed
    out…file a case..chances are 99.9% the complaint will go in the buyers favor
    & after Paypal whipping the money out of sellers account first! Return done
    auto like this I do not feel needed it is just another control of ebay, ebay
    that use to say we are only a venue!

    There cannot be general rules for
    all items, lingerie, earrings, clothing, etc, a health hazard, getting
    electronic’s back used or worse… broken. Need I go on.

    Like others I
    used to love doing eBay now I hate them! and I do not use the word hate

    It is criminal what they do, charging fees on shipping?..they
    allow Chinese sellers who have saturated ebay with duplicates in many names,
    allow them to put contact info on auction pages. I sat and reported 17 sellers
    with 10 duplicates of the one item…I reported more than once & checked 6
    months later the sellers are still doing the same thing! ….the rules supposed
    to be for all…they are NOT! The wrost I saw was an electronic Chinese seller
    had 357 duplicates of an LCD screen one coming off every 15mins over 2 just
    days!…and still doing it. His 37k items break down to abpout 900 items. Every
    general item on eBay is not duplicated or triplicated by Chinese merchants
    between 5-10 of the same item…thats thopusands of pages of search when I look
    for something have to go to the end to find a USA seller…so much for our own.
    I guess eBay is picking up lots of fees from them so…they get away with it. I
    recall getting a warning when I had a accidental duplicate out of 17 items
    running & within 24 hours of it being listed with Inkfrog.

    Getting back to returns just another buyer abusing loophole amongst the
    others ..I recall years ago, hardly a problem with any buyer & there were no
    rules as they have today! I recall eBay saying they would protect sellers
    against unfair feedback when they dropped it from sellers…they didn’t.

    I got my account top rated in 3 months (hard to do) and 9 months later in
    just one month, had 3 buyers that I could never please no matter what…leave 3
    low scores in one buyer did not even get her item, another said in
    feedback item was not such & such, no it wasn’t as that is not what she
    bought?….the other a nice buyer who wanted 3 times the amount to ship shoes
    back that was 1/2 size wrong in description, still left the lowest score even
    though it was taken care of without problems…..account went from top rated to
    below standard…ebay would not listen …the buyer has an opinion they
    say…Well so do I…but mines does not count!..I have too many issue’s with
    ebay..I could write for hours. At least it pleases me to see I am not alone!

  • JFW

    Hear, hear, Susan! Awesome post and you said it all beautifully! I am receiving lots of returns that I cannot in good conscience resell. If I had the time to edit all my listings, I think I would set up some kind of restocking fee. It must be awful for people who sell clothing/beauty/health, dealing with all the used and opened stuff. I am deeply suspicious of the “eBay Returns Center” and I am small enough that I really don’t feel the need to relinquish control. I sincerely hope it does not become mandatory. I am also very tired of “taking it in the chops” from unfair buyers, who don’t even TRY to resolve an issue with you, but rather slam you with negative or neutral. They do it because it makes them feel powerful (they ARE) and also, because they CAN! It is extremely unfair and makes the marketplace very lop-sided, which sellers, including me, feeling more and more victimized every day. Selling on eBay has become extremely stressful…and don’t even get me started on the long-standing errors and site issues.

  • Ready to Jump the ebay Ship

    I have changed my return policy for now. I have experienced an increase in non-paying buyers and return requests for buyers NOT READING the description. Since ebay wants to force me to accept returns, then ebay can take the pictures, write the description, upload the photos and ship the item for me too!

  • thegeargeeks

    I’m seeing the same thing. It really comes down to more complex algorithms. I’ve always had a ” No Questions Asked” return policy. I do notice an up tick of returns slightly. But even more of a burn is when I got stripped of my Top Rated Seller Status for 9 items being shipped over 24 Hours…it was at My Customers Request that the shipping time frames were altered…..Ebay is is going through case by case, but I have lost in the end……Just not that fun anymore and margins are becoming razor….at least in my sector…

  • another seller

    I have been a seller at Ebay for 8 years. Through out all this time, I have seen changes that make your head spin, and sadly seen other good and honest sellers leave Ebay due to said changes. I get a stomach ache literally every time Ebay sends and email announcing a change, which is pretty much every year, and I have yet to see one change that truly is in favor of us sellers.
    The fees alone hurt a seller, there is very little return for your items sold, and now with the return policy, it’s even harder to stay afloat selling from Ebay. Yes Ebay used to be better for sellers, so that was then and this is now, what are we to do?
    For my part I am not accepting returns anymore, I sell homemade items, candles and soaps etc, these are products that cannot be sent back and forth, some customers, even lie about the condition the items gets to them, in my case the very few I have had when I used to accept returns, they wanted to keep the “damaged’ candle and get their money back, which Ebay did return every single time!
    So I learned my lesson and now I do not accept returns, all is “sold as is”. Buyers have a choice ~they can purchase knowing my policy or not~. Simple. In the meantime I am also looking for another selling venue, as it seems its pretty much the majority at Ebay. Very sad that Ebay has gotten to this point. Reality is Ebay is not what is used to be, so we sellers have to make changes that are good for us and look elsewhere where we can find a nice niche that allows us to make money, in an honest manner and without all the hassle we go through with Ebay.

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