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Responding to a case when the item doesn't match the listing description
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In this article


Most sales go smoothly, but occasionally there may be a problem. The Resolution Center helps buyers and sellers work together to resolve issues with items.

Important: If you sell on eBay.co.uk or eBay.de, cases from these buyers may have different timelines. Learn more about responding to cases on international eBay websites.

Issue a refund

Buyers need to return an item if they want a refund:

  • We ask the buyer to ship the item to you—with tracking information—within 7 days.

  • We require buyers to pay the cost of return shipping, unless you and the buyer have come to a different agreement.

  • In unusual circumstances, we may pay the cost of return shipping.

Be sure to issue a refund through the eBay Resolution Center within 3 business days of receiving a returned item. If the buyer didn't pay with PayPal, refund the buyer using the same payment method used to buy the item.Refunding the buyer using the original payment method prevents a buyer from getting 2 refunds—one from you and one from the credit card company.

Once the case is resolved, you receive a final value fee credit.

Issue a partial refund

A partial refund allows the buyer to keep the item, and helps you avoid having to issue a full refund or ship a new item.

For example, if a buyer bought a new camera, and it arrived with scratches, the buyer might be happy with the item but want to return it for a new one without scratches. You might offer a partial refund to the buyer to make up for the scratches.

You and the buyer can communicate through the Resolution Center to agree on an acceptable amount for a partial refund. The buyer can accept your offer for a partial refund, request a different amount, or suggest a different solution. You can refund the buyer in the Resolution Center.

Provide documentation that the item was properly described

If you can show that you properly described an item, the case can be closed. Here are examples of descriptions that match the item: 

  • The buyer states that the item is used, not new, and the listing clearly describes the item as used.

  • A defect in the item was correctly described by the seller.

  • The listing properly describes the item, but the buyer didn't want the item after receiving it.

  • The listing properly describes the item, but the item didn't meet the buyer's expectations.

  • The item has minor scratches and was listed as used.

Offer another solution

You can always offer another solution to the buyer. Try to come to an agreement with the buyer, so that the buyer is happy with the outcome. Contact the buyer through the Resolution Center, so you have a record of communications and we know the status of the case.

More about refunds

Once the buyer opens a case, funds in your PayPal account (related only to that sale) may be put on hold. When you resolve the situation with the buyer, or we find in your favor, the funds are again available for you to use.

If you've agreed to issue a refund for an item, refund the buyer through the Resolution Center within 3 business days. If the buyer doesn't receive the refund within 3 business days, the buyer can ask us to help.

If you agreed to refund a buyer and haven't, we refund the buyer:

  • If the buyer paid with PayPal, we deduct the refund from your PayPal account.

  • If the buyer didn't pay with PayPal, you don't have sufficient funds in your PayPal account, or PayPal isn't your preferred reimbursement payment method, we ask you to add a reimbursement payment method.

  • If you've already designated a preferred reimbursement method, we deduct funds from that account.

If you don't reply to a case by the deadline, or you and the buyer can't reach an agreement, the buyer may escalate the case. We review the case and come to a final decision. If we find in favor of the buyer, we refund the buyer directly and recover the amount of the refund from you.

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