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

By Dan Wilson August 27, 2015 - 12:48 am

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?

  • JD
    2 years ago


    eBay have already admitted that their Managed Returns rates include what is effectively a management fee.
    So they can make this any price that they like?

    What they cannot do is insist that buyers making a return actually have to use it (managed returns).

    It’s all quite a difficult issue.

  • 2 years ago

    As yet we haven’t had anyone use this facility – they always contact us directly.

    We don’t get many returns so for us the actual cost through Ebay is much less than we would pay UK Mail to do a collection back to us.

  • Because eBay like to profit from bottom feeders.

  • Neil
    2 years ago

    Absolute delusion if you don’t believe they have negotiated the best possible rates, of course they have. They simply don’t pass them on because they’re a company not a charity.

  • Why don’t ebay cover the return postage and offer free returns for buyers, even for just changing their mind? This would make more people buy through the site and increase overall sales.

    Ebay could then base an element of the best match search results on the sellers who have the least returns. It would make sense as the less returns a seller has, most likely, the happier buyers have been with their items by not having to return them.

    Ebay is made up of small businesses and paying for these expensive managed returns when margins are so tight is very difficult, especially in cases when the seller is not at fault. If ebay want to catch up with Amazon then this could be an idea to get some more buyers coming to the site.

    • james
      2 years ago

      thats fine if all you sell is phone cases and keyrings, sub-£5 stuff nobody can be bothered returning even when it is faulty….

      if you sell big ticket items; things that require measurements, or require some basic technical competence, or having to read the instructions first, or require a correct fitting to be selected, all you’re doing is burdening the cost of millions of idiots. most times theres nothing wrong with the product, the fault exists between chair and keyboard.
      – if its costs £40 just to collect your item, you think ebays volunteering to pay that for you? do you want to pay the £40 every time someone didnt bother measuring before ordering, but blames you for that?

  • james
    2 years ago

    we all KNOW ebay are exploiting a quasi-monopoly to illegally extort money from users, skimming profits off the top of a service they say is not-for-profit. its as plain as day, and does their reputation no good, though it is what we’ve come to expect from ebay.

  • As I said, paying for these expensive managed returns is very difficult for sellers, especially in cases when the seller is not at fault

    At the moment the seller is being burdened with the cost for these buyers you’ve mentioned. They are not reading listings / understanding the product they are buying and then the sellers are having to cover their return postage costs either through an incorrect reason through managed returns or being threatened with negative feedback if they don’t cover the return cost. This is unfair and you may think it is wishful thinking, but ebay should consider covering these return costs.

    2 years ago

    Why would ebay want to pass on any savings to the seller ?
    managed returns system is a complete joke and is scammers paradise and ebay want to punish those naughty sellers regardless of if its sellers fault or buyer remorse what do they care!
    I have heard much waffle about improvements to seller protection and a fairer system but as usual its all hot air.

    meet the new boss same as the old boss..

  • Chinny Raccoon
    2 years ago

    Has anyone else had issues with the returns tracking? I had a return that according to ebay, was delivered back to us the day it was sent by parcelforce. (Friday)Now of course that has started to clock ticking for us to issue the refund, despite not having the item back, and with the Bank Holiday weekend has eaten 3 days of the refund period. The parcelforce tracking shows the correct info and that it is due for delivery today.

    I have had this issue before, but ebay didn’t respond to my query.

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