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Selling practices
In this article
In this article

Overview

Setting clear buyer expectations and then meeting or exceeding them is a great way to make your buyer happy and ensure a smooth transaction.

Some of the simplest things you can do are to provide accurate and consistent details about your item and to be clear and specific about the terms and conditions of the sale.

You should also make every effort to provide excellent customer service from start to finish, including:

  • Charging reasonable shipping and handling costs

  • Specifying your handling time and return policy in your listing

  • Responding to buyers' questions promptly

  • Being professional throughout the transaction

  • Making sure the item is delivered to the buyer as described in your listing

  • Frequently reviewing and updating listings to make sure all information—such as inventory status and item condition—is accurate and up to date

To help you meet our seller performance standards, we have some basic requirements all sellers must meet. We also have tips on how you can meet—and exceed—buyers' expectations.

Guidelines

Be sure to follow the guidelines in this policy. If you don't, your listings may be removed and you may be subject to a range of other actions, including restrictions of your buying and selling privileges and suspension of your account. Keep in mind that you could also lose your PowerSeller or Top Rated Seller status.

The listing page is where buyers get most of their information about an item. Information in the listing helps buyers decide what to buy and know what to expect when they receive an item. It's important to make sure that the listing is only used to describe the item for sale and to communicate the terms of the sale in a professional way.
You're required to:
  • Specify the condition of the item

  • Describe any defects or flaws in the item—this helps avoid problems or buyer dissatisfaction.

    Note: When selling a used, refurbished, or flawed item, you must include photos of the actual item for sale instead of a stock photo.

It's important that you clearly specify the terms and conditions of the sale in your listing so that buyers know what to expect.

What to do

You're required to include the following details in your listing:

  • Forms of payment you accept

  • Return policy

  • Restocking fee, if applicable

  • Shipping method, costs, and other information

  • Taxes and any applicable government imposed fees (such as electronic waste disposal fees)

  • Terms of the transaction

You're required to meet the expectations you've set in your listing.

Be sure to specify shipping costs and related service charges in your listings.

What you can charge

Actual shipping cost: This is the amount for shipping the item. It should be what you paid the carrier.


Handling cost: This can include the cost of packaging materials and insurance cost, if any.


Delivery confirmation and extra services: If you choose to use these options, you must add them to your shipping and handling costs, and you can only charge what they actually cost. Examples of services include:

  • Certificate of Mailing

  • Certified Mail

  • Collect on Delivery

  • Delivery Confirmation - free with Priority Mail and discounted with some other services when you print shipping labels on eBay

  • Registered Mail

  • Restricted Delivery

  • Return Receipt

  • Signature Confirmation

  • Special Handling


Tax and government-imposed fees: Only applicable federal, state, country, city, Value Added Tax (VAT), or equivalent taxes may be charged.

Tips:

  • If your shipping and handling costs are higher than average, consider explaining in your listing what the shipping and handling costs include.

  • We recommend that you provide tracking information. Using tracking information, delivery confirmation, or signature confirmation can help protect you if a buyer reports that they didn't receive an item. This is one of the qualifications for getting an automatic 5-star rating for shipping time.

Categories with maximum shipping costs

We set maximum shipping costs in some categories. You can only charge more than the maximum shipping cost if you use calculated shipping and enter an item's actual size and weight with the packing materials.

When using calculated shipping, make sure the calculated cost isn't higher than the actual shipping cost. If so, it's considered excessive shipping, which isn't allowed on eBay.

Free shipping

You can offer free shipping to select or all destinations.

For a destination with free shipping, no other fees related to shipping, handling, or packaging can be charged.

You're not allowed to use a shipping method that is slower than the slowest one indicated in the listing.

If you offer free shipping in your listing—and we can confirm the buyer didn't pay for shipping—you will automatically receive a 5-star rating on your shipping and handling charges detailed seller rating.
Buyers want to know when they can expect to get their items.

What to do

Specify in your listing clearly and accurately when the item will be shipped.

Ship items within 30 days from the date of purchase (see our presale listings policy for more details).

Use tracking, delivery confirmation, or signature confirmation. Using delivery confirmation can help protect you if a buyer claims an item wasn't received.

Note: We require signature confirmation for transactions of $750 or more. Having signature confirmation can help protect you if a buyer reports that they didn't receive an item. Learn more about the eBay Money Back Guarantee.

You're required to select the shipping option that best matches the shipping service that you offer in the listing. This helps set buyer expectations about when the item will be delivered.

What not to do

If PayPal doesn't make your funds available immediately from payments for an item you sold, you're not allowed to hold shipment until the funds are released.

Note: Holding shipment may affect your seller performance standing or defect rate and buyer satisfaction, which increases the chances of future PayPal payments being held.

Listing formats without handling time

Classified Ads

Real Estate Ad format

Categories that don't require handling time

All Motor Vehicle categories

Real Estate

Specialty Services

Special consideration for specific categories

In certain categories we may require tracking information, specific handling times, or both. This is to enhance the buying experience and to meet industry standards for some items.

You'll automatically receive a 5-star shipping time detailed seller rating if:
* You specify either same business day or 1 business day handling.
* You upload US Postal Service, UPS, or FedEx supported tracking information by the end of the next business day (Pacific Time) after the buyer's payment clears. For same business day handling, upload tracking within 1 business day. A business day is a normal weekday. Saturdays, Sundays, and major holidays aren't business days.
* Tracking data must show the package as having a status of "delivered" with a delivery date within 4 days of payment clear.

Note: In some instances, there may be a delay in processing your shipping details, and buyers may be able to leave you a detailed seller rating for shipping time. If you've met the automatic 5-star shipping time requirements, your rating will be adjusted to 5 stars.
Do whatever you can to provide excellent customer service. Meeting or exceeding buyers' expectations can help you improve your performance on eBay.

What to do

  • Respond promptly to any questions during the bidding or buying process, as well as after the item has been purchased.

  • Communicate professionally, including emails.

  • Be responsive to any buyer concerns or problems.

What not to do

  • You're not allowed to use profane or offensive language with anyone on eBay.

  • You're not allowed to send anyone on eBay inappropriate images including nudity, profanity, or other general content not related to an eBay listing.

Most often, transactions without additional communication are a sign of great service, and you shouldn't receive low detailed seller ratings for communication in these situations.

To give you credit for transactions where a buyer doesn't need to contact you, you'll automatically receive a 5-star communication detailed seller rating if:
  • You specify either same business day or 1 business day handling and upload tracking information within 1 business day.

  • There are no buyer- or seller-initiated communications in eBay Messages

  • There are no requests for contact information between you and the buyer.

  • There are no refund requests or PayPal Purchase Protection cases open for the transaction, and the buyer hasn't reported that the item wasn't received.


Note: Best Offers, Second Chance Offers, invoices, and invoice requests—even if they contain messages added by the buyer or seller—don't affect automatic 5-star detailed seller ratings for communication. You still qualify for an automatic 5-star communication detailed seller rating if you or your buyers send these types of communications.

If eBay shortens the delivery estimate shown to your buyer, we automatically remove any defects related to shipping speed when you upload tracking within your stated handling time and your item arrives on or before the last day of the standard delivery timeframe (your stated handling time plus the carrier's published timeframe).

Communication between a buyer and seller isn't undesirable. If you exchange messages—and the buyer is satisfied with your response—the buyer may give you 5 stars for communication based on their interaction with you.
You're required to specify your return policy in your listings, even if you don't accept returns.
If you accept returns, a buyer can return an item for any reason, including if they change their mind about a purchase—as long as the return meets the return requirements—for example, returning an item within your stated time frame, and meeting item condition requirements.
We encourage you to accept returns—it helps increase buyer satisfaction.

What to do

Specify if items can be returned.

If you accept returns, you must specify:

  • The time period in which a buyer must notify you about a return

  • The restocking fee, if any

  • Who pays for return shipping*

  • If there are item conditions required for return, and clearly state those conditions*

  • How the refund is issued

  • Whether you accept extended returns during the holiday season

Even if you specify that you don't accept returns, a buyer may be able to open an eBay Money Back Guarantee case for eligible items if the buyer didn't receive an item or the item doesn't match the listing description. Learn more about Seller performance standards.

*If you've opted in to the eBay hassle-free returns, some return requirements are automatic and can't be changed. Learn more about using eBay hassle-free returns.

About restocking fees

If you charge a restocking fee for returns, we recommend that you only ask for a reasonable amount.

You shouldn't charge restocking fees for items returned due to damage, defects, or not-as-described in the listing.*

*If you've opted in to the eBay hassle-free returns, you can't charge a restocking fee in these instances.

Along with the description, photos are the most important part of a listing. Photos help buyers to see exactly what they're getting as well as specific details they may be looking for. When selling used items, photos are especially important because they let the buyer to see actual condition of the item along with other details like color.

Other rules for sellers

You're responsible for reviewing and understanding our rules for sellers, as well as all relevant laws and regulations in your User Agreement. Knowing our policies before you list an item can lead to smoother, more successful transactions, and it can help you avoid breaking rules by mistake.

Contact Customer Service
You can contact Customer Service to report a listing you think violates this policy. Go to that listing, and then click the Report item link on the right side of the page.

We'll review your report and take appropriate action.
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