eBay UK Seller Release: Mandatory Managed Returns

By Chris Dawson August 12, 2014 - 12:59 pm

As previously announced eBay confirmed in today’s seller release that managed returns will become mandatory for all sellers by next year. Today they announced some such as the ability to manage them via mobile and consolidation of all return requests through the returns section in My eBay.

Improvements to managed returns

There’s a new look and feel to the returns flow and eBay have negotiated rates with Royal Mail, so returns are priced from £2.78.

Improvements to returns experience

All return requests will come through the returns section under My eBay selling history but eBay have said they will add ore flexibility to use return labels outside of eBay managed returns.

It should be a simpler way for sellers to to manage return requests and eBay will automatically refund final value fees for remorse returns once the buyer has been fully refunded.

Later this year, returns will be able to be managed from mobile devices.


First up and very welcome is clearer after-sales options for buyers aiming to reduce the risk of unintended defects.

eBay will have great visibility and the automatic tracking will give extra protection as part of the managed returns process. It will also give eBay improved insight to help them better understand any problems that might arise. Sellers can report a return or ask eBay to get involved if they suspect buyer abuse.

To streamline the process sellers can set up a ‘refund with no return’ option for low-value items (avoiding being billed the return postage when it’s higher than the item is worth). There will also be direct integration with third-party channel management tools so speak to your provider for implementation time scales.

For consumers there will also be more drop-off points and lower rates with the addition of Royal Mail to the existing Collect Plus arrangements. However consumers will only be offered the cheapest option when the seller is picking up the postage costs, even if it’s not the nearest or most convenient option for the buyer.

Time line

August – October

Some sellers will need to start using eBay managed returns. If you are in this group eBay will let you know
by mid September.

From September

All returns requests will start coming through the returns section in My eBay selling history. For sellers who
are not yet using eBay managed returns, they’ll be able to see this section from September. Sellers will
need to start managing and responding to returns here.

From March 2015

For sellers who haven’t heard from eBay by mid September with a mandate date, they’ll be in touch in March
with a date later in 2015.

  • Toby
    3 years ago

    RM Tracked 48 Price confirmed at £2.78, which is the same as our contract rate, so either eBay are making a profit or did not drive for a better deal than a SME can obtain without much effort

  • Dave
    3 years ago

    I was very disappointed to get the email telling me that we have to opt into this. I opted in earlier in the year for a short while but after about 15 returns opted out once more as CollectPlus via Yodel took 14, 20 and then 31 days to get the final three parcels to me. One of the buyers escalated the case as one would expect, but over a weekend, and eBay found in their favour, returned their money and charged me for the return shipping before Monday even though the parcel hadn’t arrived yet and didn’t arrive for another 4 days.

    I ended up lodging a complaint with CollectPlus/Yodel and received the money back eventually. It was only luck that prevented negative feedback.

    All it ended up doing was upsetting my customers, harming my reputation/rating and was generally very irritating! I was very glad to be rid of it to be honest.

    Some of the best feedback I’ve had is when I’ve resolved problems professionally with my customers as it shows that you’re a seller of repute, honesty and integrity (mistakes happen from time to time, we all know that). Some of that will undoubtedly be lost now as buyers just choose to have the seller pay for shipping and send it back without any contact whatsoever.

    I’ve shipped upwards of 6000 items with my courier, zero complaints, nothing lost/damaged and it’s cheaper than CollectPlus/Yodel and is a next-day signed for service. Why can’t eBay use a carrier of repute rather than forcing us to use these idiots?

  • Gemma
    3 years ago

    Probably shouldn’t be posting in anger, but have just had an email from eBay saying that we’ll be mandated into managed returns between 9-13th September and am furious. We are no longer able to manage any aspect of our own business on eBay, we are simply a product source for eBay to feed off without incurring risk or cost.

    We are not allowed to use our own Royal Mail returns service, which is considerably cheaper than eBay is providing – and how a multinational company can fail to negotiate a better deal than a small three year old limited company is beyond me. Buyers will be forced to pay more for returns than is reasonably necessary – in direct contradiction to the Distance Selling Regulations, which certainly won’t improve the buyer experience as well as increasing our operating costs.

    eBay can’t see beyond themselves and don’t realise the impact this will have on both our reputation and our wider business. We value our our customers, unlike eBay (their biggest customer being their sellers) and want to offer the best service possible. Forcing them to spend more than is necessary on returning an item isn’t doing that. Even worse, from our own point of view is, in losing control of our returns to eBay, we will no longer be meeting the required number of parcels under our preferential contract rates, and so will incur penalties and retrospective charges on parcels already returned this year, and our rates for returns will increase across out whole business, not just for those parcels returned through eBay.

    eBay can clearly see that we don’t have a problem managing returns from our account history – what happened to the saying if it ain’t broke don’t fix it? Will they’ll be forcing Argos, Toys R Us and the rest into managed returns? I don’t think so! There are all sorts of other considerations that haven’t been mentioned – VAT, Invoicing and accounting, damage in transit to mention a few. When an item is damaged en route to a customer, eBay expect us to resolve it and take it up with Royal Mail as our agreement is with them. Presumably if an item is damaged on it’s way back, we can expect eBay to refund and they can take it up with Royal Mail, as we then have no relationship with Royal Mail? I don’t think so, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

    I believe many sellers expressed similar views at recent seller council meetings, and as usual eBay had already made up their minds and take no notice whatsoever. And they wonder why sellers are disillusioned and disengaged.

    • john
      3 years ago

      Just have to grind your teeth and bare with it.(deep breaths lol )

    • JD
      3 years ago

      Snap – I too am to be opted (forced) in 9-13th September.
      Buyers are to be the losers (and being upset then this will cascade to sellers and to eBay themselves).

      I have posed this to eBay but have as yet had no response (am guessing that I will not be getting one):

      ‘Buyers do not get to find out the return cost until, well, they come to make a return.
      Let’s say that an item costs £10 plus £1 postage to buy. The buyer could very reasonably expect the cost of a return to be £1.
      If a remorse return will cost £3 (ok £2.78 now we know) then that might have been influential in the decision to buy at all if they had known this before purchase. It might fall into the category of ‘hidden costs’.
      We think that eBay is not currently planning to operate within the spirit of the legislation on this. We think that any requirement imposed upon a buyer to use a more expensive type of service to make a return (than was used to make a supply) is not envisaged by the legislation and is unreasonable.
      eBay cannot legally make unreasonable conditions for consumers. Legislation also protects consumers against practices that affect ability to make informed choice.
      Have your lawyers had a system runpast with Trading Standards?’

      Does Tamebay have a ‘legal friend’ in the field?

  • john
    3 years ago

    god help you if you get returns over 2kg lol

    That coupled with eBay’s incompetence at solving issues and deleting scam buyers. It’s going to be interesting…. last man standing and all that lol

    • chrissieboy
      3 years ago

      i sell a cd and postage i can charge buyer is capped at £1.50 yet ebay will charge me £2.78 to have it returned. Where is the large letter rate for relevant item returns? Crazy world of ebay.

    • Richard
      3 years ago

      Excellent point well made. Many sellers of items that are low cost and/or low postage costs have been well and truly shafted by this, myself included.

    • john
      3 years ago

      profit and loss…suck it up….until something else happens.

      shame the CMA can’t get involve as the returns cost are anti-competitive lol

      mind you forced paypal payments a also anti competitive lol

    • Richard
      3 years ago

      The one thing I never forget is that I have a choice, as I’m fond of telling other people… My business, my responsibility. Moaning aside and heaven knows we all do enough of it, eBay is still a great platform to make money on. However, due to changes in the past, present and going forward it’s of less value and interest to me due to the time it takes up. I don’t forsee any improvement in eBay going forward either and with that in mind I have already changed future plans, eBay as a platform I have no interest in expanding on, quite the reverse, I’m working towards being able to dump eBay as part of my overall business entirely.

  • Joseph
    3 years ago

    eBay have negotiated rates with Royal Mail £2.78 ?
    For the same service tracked rm 48Hrs i am paying £1.68

    • Pete
      3 years ago

      Indeed, you forget that eBay want another slice of the pie though and are most likely paying less than you and I 😉

      Sellers are becoming a lot wiser to eBay’s antics, got a package from an eBay seller this morning which was in a large printed mailing bag with a bold 0800 number saying if there were any problems to call the number, which made me chuckle.

    • Gerry007
      3 years ago

      That’s a goof idea…
      But an even better extension of that one is have a dedicated phone number that is only printed in the packets sent out (absolutely not published any where else)… That way IF a buyer uses the phone number and a claim for INR is made you know it’s false.

    • 3 years ago

      As I first thought about this idea it sounded sensible. But then I thought about possible regular customers.

      A regular customer has bought several items off you over the weeks, months, years. Maybe he/she has the slip with the dedicated phone number printed on it tucked somewhere. The latest order does not arrive but no matter he/she knows where your number is and phones you on that number.

      If a significant proportion of your business is repeat orders then your idea is not foolproof. If however you rarely get repeat orders(and why not…what are you doing wrong?) then it is a reasonable idea.

    • Gerry007
      3 years ago

      I accept your comment. But If it is a regular customer, then you don’t have a problem anyway & if they did claim INR a few times, then you would not deal with them, Would you?.

      Anyway why would someone ‘tuck’ the phone details away somewhere, when each packet has it on…..

      Book sellers clearly appeal to book collectors etc, hence assuming you have good titles you will get repeat business.
      Our business attracts repeats, but as and when required, as our items are consumables not collectables..

    • Pete
      3 years ago

      I’ve had several parcels this week (from some well established sellers) and it seems they are already ahead of the game.

      We don’t do a huge amount of repeat business so we’re going to go with some self adhesive stickers with a dedicated email address that’s not used anywhere else. We can print the stickers ourselves at very low cost and can stick them on the copy invoice or directly on the back of the product. We’ll be able to cover all bases this way (INR’s & Returns), while also having the advantage of being able to change the email address from time to time, maybe once a month or so. Seems like a nice low cost solution to me, don’t really see a down side to it either.

      Any other ideas ?

    • john
      3 years ago

      Are you trying to say they are taking the biscuit lol

      I think its very ironic, as someone has put above they can cap postage charges on delivery then not cap returns costs lol mind you I assume they will now remove the cap.

      You start breaking things down is some very unsavoury ploys to manipulate the market and revenue.

  • Simon
    3 years ago

    Ebay just doing it to us again. The returns will cost 3 times what it costs me to send out. Not even sure what ebay is doing is legal.

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