Guest Post from eBay UK: The latest on eBay’s new returns service

This is a guest blog post from Emma Grant, who looks after managed returns at eBay in the UK, in response to the numerous comments on Tamebay.

There have been a great number of comments and queries on managed returns over the past few days and we’re keen to tackle your concerns.

We’ve introduced managed returns because returns are important to buyers. Have you ever returned something to an online retailer? It’s so easy. You get the same experience every time and it’s clear what you have to do. On eBay, each seller offers a different returns experience. There can be a lot of uncertainty; what’s the first step, the back and forth on email and what does a ‘case’ have to do with it, anyway? Returns on eBay are anything but simple.

We want to provide our buyers and sellers with a simple and consistent experience. And we want buyers to be able to shop with confidence, knowing they’ll have the smooth returns experience they’d expect from any other online retailer, no matter which eBay seller they buy from.

So, are you making the new returns service mandatory?
From Autumn, we’ll start making the new eBay Managed Returns service a requirement for certain sellers who already offer returns on their listings. Gradually it’ll become a requirement for all business sellers no matter what they sell or the size of their business. We’ll let sellers know what they need to do at least 60 days in advance. We’ve announced this now to raise awareness of the change and give sellers plenty of notice.

But before it’s rolled out fully, we’re making some changes to make the system even better:

• We’re adding Royal Mail as a new carrier alongside Collect+. That means buyers have more choice of where to drop off their return items and we can select the lowest priced service available for the weight of the item. We’ve negotiated rates with both carriers, so returns postage costs are competitive when you need to pay for the return postage.

• You only pay for the return postage if the item is damaged, faulty or not what was ordered, otherwise the buyer pays the return postage cost, unless you’ve specified that you’re happy to pay returns costs for remorse returns in your listing.

• It’ll be even easier for you to report a returns issue to our customer service team. This means we can act quickly to resolve any issues with bad buyer behaviour and remove repeat offenders from using the service.

• You’ll have clear instructions on how to deal with different returns types such as exchanges or replacements outside of the eBay Managed Returns service.

Why should I use the new eBay Managed Returns service?
If the reasons above haven’t convinced you yet, there are many other reasons why this service makes sense:

• Automatic final value fee refunds once you’ve refunded a buyer, and free insertion fees on re-listing. Gone are the days of having to contact our customer service team or struggling to cancel transactions.

• Refund amounts are automatically calculated for you.
(N.B. legally, you’re responsible for refunding the outbound postage cost on any return, but you are only responsible for the inbound postage cost if the item is damaged, defective or not as described.)

• Easy compliance with legal obligations for both you and your buyers.
(N.B. your buyer legally must let you know that they want to return their item within 14 days of receiving it, and has to get the item back to you within another 14 days.)

• Buyers have to give a clear reason for returning the item, so you’ll always know why.

• No more matching randomly returned items back to transactions, tracked returns labels mean we’ll let you know when you’ve received the item and you can refund directly from the new returns dashboard.

• Buyers no longer have to open a ‘case’ in the Resolution Centre just to return an item.

• You can set up rules if you don’t want the item back, for example if it is low value.

• You can specify an alternative return postage address.

• Returns are fully tracked.

• Increased seller protection with all returns information fully recorded, so you can report a returns issue if needed, and we can better support you.

What does this mean for the new seller standards?
We understand that not all transactions go well and this is just a part of doing business. With the new seller standards, as has been previously mentioned, ‘returns for item not as described’ will count towards the new performance measurement.

If you disagree with the reason selected by a buyer for returning the item, you can report a return issue, add pictures of the item and we’ll prompt the buyer to escalate the return to eBay for review. If the case is resolved in your favour, it won’t be counted against your seller performance and you won’t pay return postage costs.

What if managed returns doesn’t work for me?
There are certain circumstances where you won’t have to use the managed returns process. For example, if you sell larger, heavy items, if the buyer doesn’t have a UK address or if you aren’t based in the UK.

You can also change your preferences within managed returns to set up rules. You can select preferences for individual items or categories and also make sure that anything under a certain value doesn’t need to be physically returned by the buyer.

Find out more about the new managed returns service.