How to handle returns

As a private seller, it’s up to you whether you decide to accept returns on your sales or not.

While your first impulse may be to not accept returns, we find that listings with a clear returns policy tend to sell better than those without one. Buyers feel more comfortable knowing that they can return an item if they need to - even though most buyers never actually return anything.

Even if you decide to not accept returns on a listing, the item may be returned if the buyer opens a case saying the item is not as described in the listing. You can read more about cases in our guide on Help with resolving buyer issues.

Choosing your return policy for a listing

When creating a listing, you can set whether you accept returns or not from the drop-down menu in Review your preferences.

Returns (screenshot)

If you accept returns, the returns policy will be that the buyer has 14 days to return the item and that they have to pay for the return postage.

What happens when a buyer submits a return request

When a buyer decides they want to return an item they have to submit a return request, giving their reason.

If they have simply changed their mind, they will have to pay for the return postage. If the item is faulty, the buyer has 30 days from the estimated delivery date to return the item and you will have to pay for return postage.

Note that buyers can return faulty items even if you did not accept returns on that listing.

When a return request is submitted for an item you’ve sold, you’ll see it in your Returns dashboard and we’ll also let you know by email.

From there, you’ll have some or all of these options, depending on the nature of the return:

  • Accept or decline the return.
  • Offer a partial refund. 
  • Offer solutions to help resolve your buyer's issue.
  • Ask us to step in and help with any issues.
  • Send your buyer a message through My Messages.

When you receive a returned item back, have a close look to check the item’s condition. If you’re happy with it, make sure you refund the buyer within 6 days.

You can track the status of refunds in the Returns section of My eBay > Selling, or through PayPal. Once you’ve issued your buyer a full refund with PayPal, we'll automatically refund your final value fee credit on your monthly invoice.