eBay seller to fund Return Postage for SNAD/Faulty

ReturnsIf a buyer returns an item because of a change of heart, it’s right that they pay the return postage so long as the seller has specified this up front in their terms and conditions. If however the item is faulty it’s up to the sellers to fund the return postage. This hasn’t always been the case on eBay, but with the new Managed Returns eBay will enforce this according to the return option the buyer selects.

Tamebay reader Roger received an email from eBay which says:

Many of our sellers have already started using eBay Managed Returns and are paying for return postage on faulty or not as described items. Starting from 15 September, we will introduce requirements that all sellers take responsibility for return postage on items which are faulty or not as described. The majority of our sellers are already providing a great returns service, but for those sellers who choose not to facilitate a return or provide/fund return postage for items that are faulty or not as described, we may refund their buyers without requiring them to return the item and in turn we will seek reimbursement from sellers

In other words they’re making sure that the return policy tmatches the law. That’s a good thing.

We’re well aware that some sellers will worry about items being claimed as “Not As Described” when for instance it’s a garment which was correctly described but simply doesn’t fit the purchaser. However eBay with their mandatory Managed Returns program have told us that more buyers simply return as change of mind than abuse the system adding “We continue to monitor the managed returns program and we’re still seeing a high number of buyers selecting the remorse return reason when they want to return an item“.

What isn’t quite so clear is what happens with overseas sales. They fall outside the managed return process, but buyers (at least in the EU) have similar rights to those in the UK. Whilst sellers are able to negotiate great rates for shipping overseas, they’re unlikely to have access to great rates for returns from the EU.

It’s also been unclear what happens if an item is claimed as faulty or not as described if it was shipped under eBay’s Global Shipping Program, the seller will only have paid for UK postage in the first place. eBay have clarified this telling Tamebay “If an item is claimed as faulty or not as described and has been sent using the Global Shipping Programme, we’ll normally offer the buyer a voucher. This will be in line with the cost of sending the item back to the seller”.

Ultimately it’s your business and up to you to make sure that you follow the law. However eBay’s managed return process has been designed to assist those not familiar with the law to be compliant. Even if you don’t have the correct Ts and Cs, by agreeing to eBay’s user agreement both the seller and the buyer will be guided to the correct resolution.

The only area for sellers to worry about is when you actively ship to overseas destinations (as opposed to the Global Shipping Program). Inside the EU you still have an obligation to take care of buyers when items arrive faulty, what do you do in these circumstances? Do you refund and ask the buyer to dispose of the goods, have a preferred method of getting the items shipped back, or simply refund whatever postage costs the buyer incurs?