eBay UK Summer Seller Release:
Returns Option

By Chris Dawson May 22, 2018 - 1:56 pm

eBay are putting into effect the returns changes they announced in spring affecting a number of categories – they’re removing the 14-day returns option so you’ll only be able to offer 30- or 60-day returns in these categories. eBay will also start to automate refunds for sellers who are slow to process payments.

Returns period changes

From May 2018 it won’t be possible to offer 14-day returns on new listings in those select categories, and you must offer a minimum 30-day returns period instead. An interesting titbit from eBay is that they saw sellers who changed their returns policies from 14-day to 30-day returns experienced an average 13% lift in their conversion rate.

From August, if you haven’t updated your returns period for existing listings in these categories then eBay will automatically update the returns period to 30-days on your listings.

Categories where 14-day returns will no longer be available

  • Fashion
  • Health & Beauty
  • Home & Garden
  • Sports, Hobbies & Leisure
  • Media
  • Vehicle Parts & Accessories

4 returns policy options available within these categories

  • 30-day buyer pays return postage
  • 30-day free returns
  • 60-day buyer pays return postage
  • 60-day free returns

Automatic refunds

It’s reasonable that if a buyer returns an item that they are refunded promptly. eBay say that they see a significant number of buyers return items and then have to chase their refund and often this puts the seller’s metrics at risk if the case is escalated to eBay.

To counteract this, sellers will now have two days to perform the refund or eBay will step in an automatically refund the buyer in cases where the item as tracked and eBay can see it was returned. Once the buyer is refunded, eBay will close the refund request to protect the seller from escalations and having their performance dinged unnecessarily.

We know returns aren’t top of most seller’s priority lists and that generally picking and packing orders takes precedence, especially at the beginning of the week when a whole weekends sales have to be despatched. However the days of letting returns pile up and be processed on a Friday are gone… unless you’re happy for eBay to process refunds on your behalf but you may not be as then there will be no chance of issuing a partial refund.

Partial Refunds

Last year eBay started to let sellers issue what they term as a ‘less than full refund’ if goods are returned in a different condition to when despatched. To help provide more clarity over when a partial refund can be issued, eBay are updating the Partial Refunds Guidance so you understand the flexibility you have to issue a “less than full refund”.

  • Dave
    8 months ago

    Well this is a bit of a backwards step:

    ‘From July 2018, sellers will have 2 business days to issue a refund once they’ve received a returned item. From August 2018 we’ll automatically issue the refund on behalf of the seller if we see that a tracked item has been delivered and that 2 business days have elapsed.’

    We sell electrical items and these do fail from time to time which is clearly not ours or the buyers fault. Usually the buyer wants a replacement and uses the eBay returns to sent it back to us and then we replace it.

    I guess thats now gone completely out of the window and they’ll have to re-purchase the same item again via another transaction to get a replacement?

    Why do eBay ALWAYS assume that buyers return things for a refund? About 80% of our returns get replaced with another item.


  • S
    8 months ago

    Where are the changes and updates for decent buyers. Don’t see how if you intend to buy in the first place this helps.
    If eBay didn’t keep advertising ‘Returns’ then maybe they wouldn’t attract so many timewasters.

    Also UK law states online 14 day returns with items delivered in 30 days not 30 day returns + 2 day delivery.
    There update is surely illegal , and with the amount of businesses selling on their could impede their legal wright to vend in thus market place.
    With ownership over the online market place and advertising for such there are equal liabilities for there company and realistically not for me but many companies on the website may not have time to access the site within thus time.
    Cant see how there able to have any legal power to enforce this and some users could suffer a loss of revenue usually acquired from their website , or even a loss of stock.
    Not to mention Writing a business plan would become impossible if funding was sought elsewhere as what you’d be told to review as business guideline to comply with the law would be dismissed.

    Would have to wonder if this only affects .UK or all eBay sites and if this new deal with there financial partner has anything to do with it.

    PayPal also seems to continuously advertise returns which makes you think there’s some need for it as if there buying dodgy stock which surely cant be pro advertising.

    Without business sellers consenting to this the other argument is that they intend to override a policy against the advice of the UK law.
    What happens if they want to override another UK law.
    Do they just do so without any care and get away with it so long as your privacy is protected.?
    On this series of 2 changes that aren’t going drum up sellers it may be ignored however in future they could start looking to write their own laws on even more important issues which would have to be a major concern.

    In England We have a monarchy then we Vote for a government , and I don’t expect to have their decision overruled by disgruntled non elected business heads.

    Bought time eBay started putting genuine costumers and committed sellers first not a multi year bull~~~

    • James
      8 months ago

      This is not “illegal”, 14 days is the minimum requirement in UK law:
      “You must offer a refund to customers if they’ve told you within 14 days of receiving their goods that they want to cancel. They have another 14 days to return the goods once they’ve told you. You must refund the customer within 14 days of receiving the goods back.”
      eBay are simply going above and beyond what the law states, as many high street and online retailers already do. Car manufacturers who offer a 7 or 10 year warranty, or Ikea who will accept a return if you change your mind within 365 days for example.
      As with all their changes, they will simply say that if you are not happy or disagree with the changes you are free to vote with your feet and leave the marketplace.
      We have offered 30 day returns for some time, and had the same initial preconceived ideas that our returns rate would increase etc. In fact this has not been the case.

  • 8 months ago

    its about time ebay took issue with international returns
    especially as they extol the virtues of the global shipping service. though when it come to international returns they leave you up the creek without a paddle

  • james
    8 months ago

    dealing with a customer last night before i went home for the evening.
    arrive at the office this morning, he’s sent 6 messages, most of them after midnight, opened a case, escalated it, and received a full refund from ebay, all before i reached my desk.

    the date of sale was the 20th may, today is the 23rd may.

    I had already told the customer to repack and inform me when ready, and i’d book collection. telling me it’s ready for collection at 3am apparently means a refund before 9am these days.

    I had previously asked the customer for photo evidence, and there’d be no need to return. He’s claiming both of the 2 items he ordered are completely broken, but he sends one close-up image of one corner of one product (that could be any product of a similar nature), absolutely no reason for a close-up, massively suspicious to me, hence why i asked him to repack both items and i’d book a collection.

    such suspicions are only confirmed when they go and do a midnight case-opening.

    why is this reprobate even allowed to open a case against me after 2 days?
    never mind escalate it in the small hours of the morning before i’ve had a chance to reply?
    and then had the case decided against me outside of office hours?
    not that ebay even offer me the opportunity to respond once a case is opened….

    ebay don’t abide by their own return policies, our return policies, UK law or common sense.
    i REALLY do not want them starting (continuing) with automatic refunds given this kind of track record.

    • northumbrian
      8 months ago

      many of our return requests are in reality just partial refund discount attempts,
      we often hear no more once we refuse
      so ebay will now give us even more chew because buyers game their system

    • james
      8 months ago

      same here, though recently we’ve stopped playing altogether.
      if you open a return request, we accept it and insist the item is returned.
      we don’t entertain exchanges, replacement parts, or partial refunds once a return-for-refund case is lodged with ebay. we’ve learned from experience.

    • Dave
      8 months ago

      James – I guess that we will have to do the same.

      The eBay Managed Returns is the worst thing that eBay have ever introduced. It is simply not fit for purpose, especially if you sell consumer electronics.

      If anyone at eBay bothered to think about it for more than a millisecond, maybe they’d understand that most people DO actually want the thing that they’d bought, you know, that award winning Soundbar or UHD Blu-ray player.

      Things break or fail, thats life. With electronics, the failure rate is called the bathtub curve – either they fail within a couple of hours/days, or after a few years as they reach end of life.

      Usually the customer doesn’t want a refund, they either want it fixing or replacing.

      Now, that has gone completely out of the window. Yes, we can ask the buyer to close the return so that it doesn’t time out and send them a return label anyway, but who is going to do that? They DO want to return the item, just not for a refund.

      Once again eBay, useless.

  • S.
    8 months ago

    Actually seller subscription business fees start at £19.99 so id assume they fund more than buyers especially when if they get a refund they don’t pay any commission to eBay.
    A lot of other sites are also blocking timewasters due to high numbers of returns as its not pick an item, mess round with it then send it back cause you need they cash for something else. You enter a binding contract when you make a purchase even more so when you bid in an auction

    In terms of it being illegal it technically is as the items are not owned by eBay so a business trading anywhere in the UK operates by the law not what eBay says so. you only follow these beyond rules if you still choose to sell through them despite a large amount of growing competitors. its on bins headlines today amazon (who I don’t use)block excessive returners, any many more state 14 which is what the law says.
    People arguing for them would also be instantly on my blocked list with a price increase to compensate. you don’t consent to price comparison by entering with a online vendor , and if those wanting returns more where actually going to buy and PAY you wouldn’t need to worry.
    This just shows what disrespect eBay has especially for there long time users and a sellers has got the right to complain. I’ve had few returns but 1 involving threatening messages for an item worth under £10 (which I can get police involved in if I wish)
    If a business wants to offer a longer policy its up to them but id also point out the law is an EU law and we are having a Br-exit for good reason.
    In the past I’ve asked buyers to upload photos of so called not as described items which they haven’t and sent back in good order.
    Feedback is another issue as a seller if you can sell thing with returning costumers in cash or elsewhere your not going to start listening to a few idiots.
    Unfortunately some buyers think they can spend a few quid they’ll try and get back then suddenly dictate how every business should do things.
    Spoils it for everyone else looking to buy in the first place cause technically they could loose out on a buy to some chancer, who has no judging panel to even determine if the item is at fault.
    Id like to compare eBay’s actual stats from buyers in comparison to other non taken stats from sellers. Doubt with all the online complaints from sellers they would actually see the same result. And much bigger high street stores are having to set aside large sums of money to compensate. Its like the EU using £100 minimum pay at the pump fees. Smaller business don’t have access to disposable capitol like larger chain stores and car manufactures do
    its delusional.
    Obviously none of you complaining about buying have sold anything on the site. maybe try selling first or ask eBay to introduce a sell before you buy policy to eradicate this.

    It is forcing a non law on a user without there consent.
    They can close there account over it but in terms of there legal right as a seller they can protect their business trading rights.

    If the law states 14 days to decide, then 30 days to refund adjusting this without business consent is inappropriate. Again its the sellers items inventory / stock not eBay’s so its nothing to do with eBay what policy they choose to trade with so long as it complies with the law

    Also in other countries you would charge they buyer a restocking fee

  • NorthCrystal
    8 months ago

    What about buyers opening return case and then returning then item with huge delay (usually when I have to personally chase them up) ? This does not help small sellers as I would prefer to have the item back asap and up again for sale so I make some money to pay even more eBay fees.

  • S
    8 months ago

    Also with media what happens if they watch a dvd once then think they send it back cause they’ve seen it.
    CEX for example make money from people trading in and with all the other sites offering cash ins there are a lot of people who will start using this as a cheap rental service.

    I’m not a driver, but with cars surely you don’t pop them in a letterbox so they see them face to face meaning it isn’t long distance selling regulations and therefore very different refund rules.

    And do they pay the petrol they use over the month or for repairs needed if they make a major error?

    As you cant view your buyer before you sell vehicles could end up going to under qualified drivers .
    I’m not sure as to how eBay even checks for licences on thus issue and I imagine MOT insurance and other documentation signed over then resigned would look a bit dodgy not to mention MILEAGE if they go back and for across the country in it.

    All of which are again points business sellers will have to rework in order to write a business plan which in some cases is a bank or legal requirement for financial reasons.

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