|Home > Help >Selling & seller fees>Selling basics>Using eBay hassle-free returns|
Using eBay hassle-free returns
To be eligible to opt in to eBay hassle-free returns your account must be in good standing.
Once you're opted in to eBay hassle-free returns, there are additional requirements for a sale to be eligible. Hassle-free returns can be used when:
If you don't have a US return address, you can still opt in to eBay hassle-free returns, but your buyer won't be able to print a return shipping label on eBay.com.
If a buyer tries to return an ineligible item using eBay hassle-free returns, we ask the buyer to contact you directly.
Opting in and getting started
Returns, Refunds and Replacements
eBay hassle-free returns gives your buyers an efficient way to return an item for a refund or a replacement. A replacement is an item that is exactly the same as the original item.
Exchanges—for a different size or color, for example—can't use eBay hassle-free returns.
Sellers who aren't registered on eBay.com may not use eBay hassle-free returns for replacements.
To opt in to eBay hassle-free returns, go to My eBay > Site Preferences > Return Preferences > Opt in. You can also opt in from the hassle-free returns area of the Seller Center.
All new sellers are automatically opted in to eBay hassle-free returns.
Changes to your active and scheduled listings
When you opt in to eBay hassle-free returns, your active listings are updated as follows:
Take a moment to review your active and scheduled listings to be sure your return policy settings are correct.
Setting up your hassle-free returns preferences in My eBay
When you opt in to eBay hassle-free returns, we ask you to set up your return preferences.
You can update your hassle-free returns preferences any time:
Setting up your return policy in a listing
When you opt in to eBay hassle-free returns and you have active listings, the return policy settings on your active listings aren't changed. For new sellers, your default return policy is automatically set to No returns accepted. If you want your buyers to be able to return an item you're listing, specify in the listing that you accept returns. Once you're opted in to eBay hassle-free returns, any requests from your buyers to return an item are handled through hassle-free returns.
If you're using the quick listing tool and you specify in the listing that you accept returns, you'll see the default return policy of 14 days with money back, buyer pays return shipping. If you set up your return policy using the advanced listing tool, you have more options.
To set up your return policy in the advanced listing tool:
How it works
If you specify in the Return policy section of a listing that you accept returns, a buyer can start a return for that item for any reason. We'll guide both you and your buyer through the process, step by step.
*Business days are weekdays—Monday through Friday. Saturdays, Sundays, and major US holidays aren't business days.
Return shipping charges
Either you or the buyer is responsible for return shipping charges, as specified in your return policy, except when an item is being returned because it isn't as described in the listing. In this instance, you pay the return shipping charges.
When you're responsible for return shipping charges
When you're responsible for return shipping charges, the charges are included on your next monthly seller invoice as a fee. These fees may be charged to your automatic payment method on file.
If the buyer uses alternative shipping arrangements, you need to reimburse the buyer for the agreed-upon shipping costs outside of eBay hassle-free returns. You can send payment to the buyer through PayPal or another payment method.
When you use hassle-free returns, your USPS return shipping rate is never more than the original outbound rate, provided that you purchase eBay shipping labels for both the original shipment and the return.
When the buyer is responsible for return shipping charges
When the buyer is responsible for return shipping charges, we charge the buyer's PayPal account.
If you used calculated shipping or printed shipping labels from eBay or PayPal to send the item, we use this package weight to determine return shipping charges for the buyer. In some instances, return shipping charges may not be based on the actual weight of the package, but on an estimate.
Returns are shipped through the USPS Parcel Select, First-Class, or Priority Mail—whichever is the most appropriate for the cost, package weight, and delivery time.
Return shipping charges are based on rates negotiated with USPS. These charges may differ from actual rates to ship an item, and are subject to change.
Refund amounts are automatically adjusted for any restocking fees or shipping charges, depending on the reason for return.
When the item isn't as described:
If a buyer returns an item because it's not as described in the listing, arrives damaged, or is missing parts, then your refund to the buyer is:
In these situations, you're required to pay for the return shipping charges and you can't charge a restocking fee. If the buyer used alternative shipping arrangements, you're expected to refund the buyer for those agreed-upon charges through PayPal or another payment method.
All other returns:
If a buyer returns an item for any other reason, including deciding not to purchase the item after all, you keep any restocking fee specified in the listing Return policy. You can waive this fee, if you like.
In these situations, you can also keep the original shipping charge. The buyer pays for the return shipping charges, unless you specify in the Return policy section of the listing that you pay for return shipping charges.
For this type of return, in most cases the refund is the total purchase price, including item cost, sales tax and other charges, less:
If a return is escalated
If you don't issue a refund through eBay hassle-free returns within 6 business days of receiving the returned item, a buyer can open an eBay Money Back Guarantee case. The eBay Money Back Guarantee refund amount, regardless of the reason for the return, is:
A refund amount could be higher through the eBay Money Back Guarantee. We strongly encourage you to issue original refunds on time.
Learn more about the eBay Money Back Guarantee.
Timeline for Refunds
If you're registered on eBay.com, and you have inventory available, you may want to offer a buyer who is returning an item the option of getting a replacement, instead of a refund.
When your buyer initiates a return for a replacement, we guide you through the process step by step.
A buyer can request a replacement when:
Things to keep in mind:
Timeline for replacements:
Alternative return shipping arrangements
In some cases, buyers can start a return with eBay hassle-free returns, but won't print or use a return shipping label:
Insurance isn't available for return shipments. If either you or your buyer prefers that an item be returned with insurance, return postage with insurance should be purchased instead of using the label provided through hassle-free returns.
Occasionally, more than one package is needed to return an item. In these instances, buyers can use the label provided on one package, but are expected to make alternate shipping arrangements for the remaining packages.
We can only issue a return label for items within the USPS size and weight guidelines for the shipping service used.
If the package is outside of the USPS guidelines, the buyer needs to make alternative shipping arrangements.
A return shipping label isn't available if the expected shipping charges exceed the expected refund. If you routinely handle this type of return request by allowing the buyer to keep the item, you can automate that process with seller automation rules.
Go to My eBay > Account > Site preferences and scroll down to Return preferences to set up seller automation rules.
You and the buyer need to agree on alternative shipping arrangements or, in the case of local pickup, a way of getting the item back to you safely.
When using alternative shipping, we instruct buyers to include tracking information. If the item is valued at or more than $750, delivery confirmation is also required. We give buyers a packing slip and ask them to enclose it with the returned item.
When using alternative shipping arrangements, either you or the buyer pays for return shipping charges as outlined above.
If you're responsible for return shipping charges, we ask the buyer to contact you to agree on the service and cost before an item is shipped. In these instances, you need to refund the buyer for the shipping charges—or you can provide a pre-paid shipping label.
Final value fees and PayPal fees
Final value fees
Refunds: When a refund is successfully deposited in the buyer's account through eBay hassle-free returns, your eBay final value fees show as a credit on your next seller invoice.
Replacements: If a buyer requests a replacement but does not return the original item, the replacement is then handled like a standard purchase. The buyer is charged for the second item and a final value fee for the transaction appears on your next seller invoice.
When you issue a refund through eBay hassle-free returns, your variable PayPal fee is refunded based on the total refund amount. Your fixed PayPal transaction fee isn't refunded. To learn more about variable and fixed transaction fees, see the PayPal User Agreement.
If you send a replacement item to your buyer instead of issuing a refund, there is no change to your PayPal fees.
Seller performance and Feedback
In general, if a buyer uses eBay hassle-free returns, your seller performance isn't affected. However, if a buyer opens a case involving a return, and you don't resolve the case, your seller performance may be affected. Learn more about how eBay Money Back Guarantee cases can affect your seller performance.
eBay hassle-free returns doesn't change existing rules about Feedback.
After we notify you that a buyer has started a return, you can contact the buyer through Messages in My eBay (to keep a record of the conversation) and ask them not to send back the item. Keep in mind that we ask buyers to ship back an item within 5 business days after starting a return, so contact your buyer quickly.
We discourage haggling or trying to dissuade buyers from returning an item. We recommend that you only contact buyers if you feel that you can resolve the problem in another way.
Examples of when you may not want an item returned to you:
You can also set up seller automation rules in My eBay, to handle this type of situation automatically. Go to My eBay > Account > Site preferences and scroll down to Return preferences.
Occasionally, you and your buyer may decide that a return isn't necessary. If this happens, you can't close the return yourself.
If you and your buyer have communicated through Messages in My eBay, and you've determined that a return is no longer necessary, ask the buyer to close the return. The buyer can close the return if the return shipment isn't already in progress.
If your buyer has already printed a return shipping label, but hasn't shipped the item back to you, the buyer can simply disregard the label. No shipping charges occur unless a label is scanned by USPS.
A lenient return policy can work in your favor. If the item still arrives within your return time frame, we recommend you issue a refund. However, if the buyer doesn't ship the item within 5 business days of initiating a return, you're not obligated to issue a refund.
Take into account a possible carrier delay—it's possible that the buyer shipped the item at the end of the last business day, but USPS didn't scan the package until the following morning.
If a buyer doesn't send back an item, you don't need to issue a refund.
If you send a replacement and a buyer doesn't send back the original item, we charge the buyer for the second item, and make a payment to you. A final value fee for the transaction appears on your next invoice.
For each sale (or transaction), a buyer has one opportunity to return an item or items. For multi-quantity listings, a buyer has a single opportunity to return any of the multiple items purchased.
For example, a buyer selects a quantity of 5 when buying T-shirts. The buyer has one opportunity to return any quantity of the 5 T-shirts. If the buyer returns 2 of the 5 T-shirts, the remaining 3 shirts can't be returned later.
You can only refund up to the total amount paid by the buyer. If you want to add a courtesy credit or you need to reimburse the buyer for alternative shipping arrangements, you need to make a separate payment outside of eBay hassle-free returns.
There may be situations when you authorize a refund, but the refund failed, canceled, or did not complete. If a buyer hasn't received their refund within the required time frame, they can open a case. We recommend that you confirm a refund has been completed successfully.
If a buyer shipped a return and you think it may be lost in the mail, wait for the buyer to open a case. We'll look into the matter at that time.
If you receive a returned item that's been damaged in the mail, report the item to us. From the Returns section of My eBay, find the item and select Report a buyer from the Action drop-down menu.
Misuse of returns
Many problems are misunderstandings that can be worked out when buyers and sellers talk to each other—but occasionally, you may not be able to resolve an issue. If you feel a member is abusing eBay hassle-free returns, we want to know about it.
If a buyer has tried to ensure an item is returned to you safely, we suggest you issue a refund to provide great customer service.
A lenient return policy is strongly recommended, except in circumstances where the buyer is at fault:
If you suspect that a buyer is abusing eBay hassle-free returns for a specific transaction, contact the buyer through Messages in My eBay in order to keep a record of the conversation, and try to resolve the issue. If you still suspect buyer abuse, report the buyer to us. In the Returns section of My eBay, find the item and select Report a buyer from the Action drop-down menu.
In instances like this, a buyer may escalate the issue to Customer Service. Customer Service reviews and considers your communications with the buyer, as well as the information you provide, in the report. If photos of the item would be helpful for documenting the condition of the item you sold and shipped, you can upload as many as 10 (PNG, JPEG, BMP, or GIF; max size 5MB). You can add photos until the return process is closed. Uploaded photos can be removed only by contacting Customer Service.
If we determine that a buyer has abused eBay hassle-free returns or the eBay Money Back Guarantee, you may be protected from any negative Feedback left by the buyer. The buyer may also be subject to a range of actions, including limits on buying and selling privileges and account suspension.
If you agree to accept returns using eBay hassle-free returns, and a buyer acts within all return time frames, but you fail to issue a refund within 5 business days of receiving the returned item, the buyer may file a case.
The eBay Money Back Guarantee does not require a buyer returning an item through eBay hassle-free returns to wait for you to respond before we review the case. Either you or the buyer is responsible for return shipping charges, as detailed in the listing's return policy.
If we determine that a seller has abused eBay hassle-free returns or the eBay Money Back Guarantee, the seller may be subject to a range of actions, including limits on buying and selling privileges and account suspension.
Changes to this process
We may update eBay hassle-free returns at any time by posting the amended terms on this site.
You can choose to opt out of eBay hassle-free returns at any time.
There are some things keep in mind if you opt out:
If you opt out, those active listings that can be edited will be updated to remove the restocking fee field and to restore the Additional return policy details text field. Any editable listings that you created before you opted in to eBay hassle-free returns will use your previous return details from this field.
To opt out of eBay hassle-free returns:
We recommend that you review your listings after opting out of eBay hassle-free returns to confirm that your restocking fee and other return policy settings have been restored.
Contact Customer Service
Report problems with another eBay member.
Have a question? We can help.