eBay add new returns fields to listing flow

By Chris Dawson February 11, 2013 - 11:06 am

eBay ReturnseBay have changed the returns process, sellers should now be specifying who pays return postage when they list their item, rather than in their “Return Policy Details” or withing their Item Description.

The new options in the listing flow enable sellers to specify that they’ll accept returns for 14, 30 or 60 days from receipt of the item, and also allow you to specify whether you’ll pick up the tab for the return postage or if the buyer will need to pay.

14 days is a pretty generous minimum return window, the minimum the law currently mandates is 7 working days (effectively 10 days). However it’s expected that the EU will mandate 14 days from the end of 2013, eBay have chosen to adopt this early. Not only will this save sellers having to update listings twice in a year, but eBay’s aim is to be ecommerce leaders – expect to see more standard raising programs during 2013.

It would be logical for eBay to put processes into place to manage and monitor returns (they have it in the States), just last week they announced a change to the eBay User Agreement for items not received and significantly not as described. Communications will take place in the Resolution Centre rather than relying on My Messages and contacts from buyers will no longer count against a seller’s performance rating unless escalated to eBay for resolution.

However the one gaping hole in eBay’s return process (and likely to remain so) is exchanges – It’s fairly easy to return an item and for the seller to credit it, but as eBay have limited visibility of a seller’s stock exchanging a faulty product or swapping for a different size or colour will remain troublesome and probably a manual process for the seller.

Don’t expect this to be the only tweak on shipping and returns processes this year – eBay have whole new teams in place and we already know about the Global Shipping Beta Program and that eBay are negotiating courier and postal discounts which we’re expecting to be announced sometime towards the summer. If eBay do get deep discounts on shipping rates it would make sense not only to make these available for sellers but also open them up to buyers when they wish to return an item for exchange or refund.

  • Gary
    8 years ago

    Does this apply to auction listings?

    • 8 years ago

      I would expect that it will. Whilst auctions (regardless of the debate whether eBay’s are “auctions” or “auction style” listings) may be outside the Distance Selling Regulations, eBay want to be the go-to place for shopping with the best terms available anywhere on the net.

    • Gary
      8 years ago

      So someone bids up to £60 on an aution for a used secondhand item and wins.

      They then see a similar item (not absolutely identical as it is secondhand) listed 1 week later for sale for £30 on a “buy it now” and decide to return the secondhand item won in the auction for a full £68 refund including shipping.

      Should ebay be encouraging this practice?

      Or should they be reminding buyers that auctions are treated differently to “buy it now” items from a returns policy perspective?

    • puddleglums rest
      8 years ago

      whats new? ebay sellers are hung out to dry if they are not careful,
      though just recently we have found ebay support much more reasonable

    • davelovesebay
      8 years ago

      I gave up on ebay ages ago, they JUST DONT GET IT.

      A buyer has 60 days to open a case regardless.

      But still they make updates like this to try and ‘improve buyer experience’.

      Most smaller sellers dont even stand a chance on ebay as they get no visabilty what so ever.

      Smaller sellers also struggle with TRS making it even worse.

      Whilst ‘fred cheap goods churner’ might be pumping out a load of rubbish but selling 1500 items a month give him law of average and he makes TRS every month.

      Dispite the cheap turn ‘fred cheap goods churner’ being the reason why so many people have gone off ebay.

      I dont even buy things like the cheap 2.99 phone cases from ebay which ebay seem to best match on pages 1 and 2, instead i go somewhere else and spend 9.99 on one that will last the life time of the phone and actually look good.

      eBay have pushed good sellers away and promoted the wrong ones in my opinion and things like this, simply annoy people selling good products at tight margins and help those selling rubbish goods at higher margins.

    • Stuart
      8 years ago

      This happens in shops all the time, customers buy something, see it cheaper else where and return it.

      It is all about trust and if you are a business selling auction items why wouldn’t you offer the same returns policy as BIN? We do and our returns are pretty much zero on auctions.

      I think ebay are going in the right direction (finally) on this, all business sellers should have identical returns policies in line with the law, no ifs no buts!

    • puddleglums rest
      8 years ago

      we can think of lots of items where returns are not practical, and although we
      we offer a return option ,its not a rental, or a try before you buy, or a sell or return

  • puddleglums rest
    8 years ago

    its all hypothetical anyhow ,in reality there is a 60 day return period

  • JD
    8 years ago

    I updated all my listings with the new options last Friday morning.

    I had expected that the .com section of the dashboard would recognise these listings as eligible for TRS on .com.

    My dashboard however still shows zero listings as eligible on account of the 14-day or longer money back returns policy.

    Is this because the .com and systems are inconsistent in that there is no entry box for ‘money back’ on (store credit seems acceptable in the US).

    The possibility of TRS exposure for UK default listings on .com, that was taken away last year, seems as far away as ever.

  • 8 years ago

    Just bulk updated ours through SMP, you can select ‘Returns not accepted’ to get around auctions.

  • Dave P
    8 years ago

    The issue that I see here is that our return policy is not as simple as buyer/seller pays. It depends on the situation. If the item is faulty or if the wrong item has been sent then we pay the postage.
    If the buyer changes their mind then they have to pay. I suspect the last situation is the one eBay actually thinks this policy ascertains to but it is not clear in any way.

    • Gary
      8 years ago

      Simple solution. Buyer pays in all circumstances.

      You can still negotiate with buyer in the event of a faulty or wrong item.

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