eBay’s mandatory Managed Returns: why are they so expensive?

Yesterday, we reported that the Collect+ mandatory Managed Returns price is going to increase from next week. Admittedly it’s a small rise but all price rises are significant. Especially when the fee is already quite uncompetitive

One point that readers have commented on via the news post and also via email to Tamebay is the considerable expense that the Managed Returns fees represent. You can find the full price list here.

If you consider the Collect+ prices, it’s noticeable that these fees are no better than rack rate. Other sellers have pointed out that even quite small sellers have effectively done deals with Collect+ to get a price of something like £3-4 for up to 10kg. And obviously with Royal Mail, sellers sending in bulk can also get better rates.

It does seem odd that eBay hasn’t been able to negotiate and put in place a much more competitive price list for Managed Returns. Surely eBay has enough clout and buying power to get a deal on behalf of sellers? Certainly lower fees for Managed Returns would reduce some of the annoyance sellers feel at being required to use the system.

This raises more than a few questions but most importantly: is eBay actually profiting from these returns by taking a cut from the Managed Returns fees sellers pay?