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Receiving a returned item and refunding your buyer
In this article
In this article


Most transactions go smoothly. Occasionally, a buyer may receive an item that doesn't match the listing description and open an eBay Money Back Guarantee case. In this instance, the buyer will return the item to you and you'll refund the buyer.

Note: This information will help you if you have an eBay Money Back Guarantee case. If you've opted in to eBay hassle-free returns, the steps and time frames for receiving a returned item and refunding a buyer are different. Learn more about using eBay hassle-free returns.

Receiving a returned item

If you and the buyer reach an agreement for a refund, the buyer should ship the item back to you.

If the buyer asked us to review a case for an item that doesn't match the listing description, and we determine that you owe the buyer a refund, we put the case on hold for 10 days and ask the buyer to ship the item back to you.

We ask the buyer to use tracking or a delivery confirmation number so we know where the package is in transit, and we're able to confirm that you received it.

If the buyer opens a case and we have confirmation that you received the item, we provide a refund to the buyer covering the cost of the item and original shipping within 3 business days.

If we find in favor of the buyer in a case, we may seek reimbursement from your PayPal account or other reimbursement payment method on file.

We require buyers to pay return shipping, except in situations where you and the buyer agree to another arrangement, or we agree to pay the shipping.

Refund deadlines

If you've agreed to issue a refund for an item, you must do so within 3 business days of promising the refund, or within 3 business days of receiving the returned item. To issue a refund, go to the Resolution Center.

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 but haven't done so, we refund the buyer:

  • If the buyer paid with PayPal, we deduct the amount of 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 for or use a different reimbursement method.

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

If you haven't assigned a reimbursement payment method, we ask you to do so.

If you don't reply to a case by the deadline, or if you and the buyer can't agree to a course of action, we review the case and come to a decision. If we find in favor of the buyer, we refund the buyer directly and recover the amount of the refund from you. We either deduct the amount of the refund from your PayPal account, or from your preferred reimbursement payment method. Either way, we let you know when we're seeking reimbursement. 

If we're unable to recover the amount of the refund from you, we may limit or suspend your account until payment is made. 

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