EMAIL ‘Returns Resolution’ Pilot

By Chris Dawson January 28, 2016 - 10:35 pm

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 seller and would like to be considered you can apply by emailing your eBay User ID to

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.

  • Dom
    2 years ago

    Amazon returns work fine for us, eBay could do worse than replicate their options. The choices of accept, decline, refund without return, issue a replacement without return work with the option to send either an unpaid return label or upload a prepaid label.

    The problem we have with eBay is buyers selecting not as described or faulty wrongly in order to get free return or they have simply not read the description, just don’t like it or have not followed the instructions. eBay will always side with the buyer.

  • Paul
    2 years ago

    The thrust of the new defect system is that buyers won’t be punished if they accept a return and refund in full. eBay realised that it was daft to punish a seller for actually doing the correct thing. It also benefits eBay as the whole process is automated with none of eBay’s staff’s time being taken up.

    Yet this new defect system hasn’t fully come into play and eBay appear to be tinkering with it already.

    What is needed, is Amazon’s restriction on the ability of buyers to make too many returns (which has the effect of making buyers jolly well grow up), under the threat of shutting down their account and any related accounts. And also making it impossible to open a new account if there is any matching date such as an IP address, postcode, bank account etc.

  • Ian A
    2 years ago

    I believe European law also states that if an item is returned used, damaged or without the original packaging the seller has the right to reduce the amount refunded? Is this not in the consumer contract regulations 2013?

    • Ian A
      2 years ago

      A deduction can be made if the value of the goods has been reduced as a result of you handling the goods more than was necessary.
      The extent to which a customer can handle the goods is the same as it would be if you were assessing them in a shop. consumer contract regs

    • 2 years ago

      There is a very different set of circumstances in a b & m Shop as against goods delivered from an online seller. In a shop the goods may be handled by many people not just one. Online goods should only be handled by the customer and then with a degree of respect.

      Unfortunately far too many treat no goods whether they are in a shop or from an online seller with respect. Yet they expect a full refund should they have to return them.

      As an example in a shop often potential customers handle the book on top and once deciding that they want to buy it they pick a mint copy from behind. Yet a few days later when they decide that they do not want it after all they bring back a book that looks as if it has been handled, thumbed through and probably read by numerous individuals.

      A similar situation exists with a copy bought online. The Book Seller such as myself try very hard to always send out a mint copy. Yet the returned book is often well thumbed and read. Yet still the purchaser wants a full refund.

    • Toby
      2 years ago

      I do believe that the requirement for original packaging is not legal. Which is totally absurd as to me its part of the product.

  • Dave
    2 years ago

    This needs to be rolled out in the UK….Very annoying and demoralizing to sell on eBay when buyers openly abuse the returns system and knowing that we sellers can’t do much about it…

  • Gerry007
    2 years ago

    Typical of ebay, latching the gate after the horse,….etc, etc..

    Why oh why does it take ebay so bloody long to figure this out.
    Sellers have been complaining for several Months of this problem and ebay do nothing till they realizes (their pennies eventually drop) that not only are the buyer conning sellers with their imposed rules, but seller are Very, very pissed off with the whole platform and many are actively looking at ways to get their businesses off the damned place ASAP.

    Little hitlers, come’s to mind.

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