eBay.com ‘Returns Resolution’ Pilot

eBay have been running an interesting pilot in the UK, with participating sellers able to withhold some of the funds when processing refunds.

The meat of the pilot is that instead of issuing a full refund, pilot participants have the option to deduct the cost of return shipping (and charge their predetermined restocking fees, which aren’t allowed in the UK) if the buyer has misrepresented their return reason as “not as described”. Sellers in the pilot also have the option to ask eBay to get involved before issuing any refund to their buyer.

eBay say that this returns resolution pilot is part of their program to listen to sellers and make changes based on what they’re told. Due to the feedback from the pilot eBay are continuing it and expanding it’s reach. If you’re an eBay.com seller and would like to be considered you can apply by emailing your eBay User ID to sellergtm@ebay.com.

Often successful pilots on eBay are the forbears of international site roll outs. This is one we’d love to see come to the UK as a full program for all sellers – especially bearing in mind that UK sellers foot the bill for return postage if a buyer declares an item as “not as described”.

Even if the buyer picks the wrong option by ‘accident’, neither they nor the seller can then update the case to a change of heart return reason. Of course UK law states that the entire original payment has to be refunded, but being able to withhold at least a part of the payment to cover return postage costs may be permitted under the legislation if it was worded correctly in terms and conditions.