Returns on eBay

Deliver great customer service by offering a generous returns policy

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How Returns Work


Buyer requests a return


You’re notified of the request


Send your buyer a return-shipping label


Buyer ships the item back to you


Inspect the item and issue a refund


The return is now closed

A Day in the Life of a Return

Use this handy infographic to see how the returns process works and where you can save time and money by customizing your preferences.

Provide Great Customer Service after the Sale

A generous returns policy, along with a quick, simple return process, are must-haves for online shoppers. eBay gives you the flexibility to customize how you handle returns with options to automate the process or manually approve specific requests. With eBay returns you can:

  • Approve returns automatically or manually—your choice
  • Offer automatic refunds and tell the buyer to keep an item
  • Choose your preferred return shipping label
  • Route returns to specific addresses
  • Offer replacements and exchanges
  • Include RMAs and structured restocking fees

Simplify Customer Service after the Sale

With eBay returns, you can customize the way you handle returns, refunds, replacements, and exchanges. This makes returns easier and less time consuming for both you and your buyers.

Click the tutorials and the tabs above to learn more about customizing and optimizing your returns.

Customize preferences

Customize How You Handle Returns

Customizing your return preferences lets you choose when you want to expedite different types of return requests by instructing eBay to process them automatically. Simply create basic or advanced rules within your return preferences in My eBay.

For example, if you always accept returns and offer refunds on clothing items that don’t fit, you can now choose to approve those specific requests and send the buyer a return label by creating a basic rule. If you need deeper customization options—such as to only automate returns in certain categories or lists—you can do that using basic or advanced rules. See best practices for suggestions on customizing and automating how you handle return requests.

Return shipping labels

Send a Return Shipping Label to Your Buyer

After accepting a return, you’ll need to send a return shipping label to your buyer and ensure tracking is available as soon as possible. If you are paying for the return shipping, select the eBay labels option to instantly deliver a label to your buyer. You’ll also benefit from discounted shipping rates and automatic tracking. Or, if you have better rates through a different shipping carrier, upload a label from your carrier of choice. Whichever method is used, make sure you always have tracking for your returns to protect you and your buyer in case there’s a problem with delivery.

Tip: Always include tracking on return shipping to help protect you and your buyer in case there’s an issue with delivery.

Offer a New Item Instead of a Refund

Offer a New Item Instead of a Refund

Offering replacements and exchanges is a great way to provide a positive buying experience when there’s an issue with the original item, or if the buyer simply wants a different item. You can even allow the buyer to keep the original item in cases where you don’t want it back.

Tip: A replacement is an item that’s identical to the original and an exchange is an item that is different than the original, so be sure to have plenty of stock available when offering these options.

Best Practices

A clear, generous return policy attracts more buyers

It’s no secret that shoppers are more likely to buy an item when they’re confident they can return it if needed. That’s why offering a generous return policy makes good business sense. To make managing returns as efficient as possible, be proactive about the way you list your item—and respond to buyer questions quickly.

Provide great customer service by doing the following:

  • Set a competitive return policy by researching what other sellers are offering for similar items
  • Be as detailed as possible when describing your item and its condition. Use high quality photos to minimize the need for a return.
  • Clearly state who pays for return shipping—you or your buyer
  • Accept returns no matter what the reason, so buyers know you stand behind your listings
  • Expedite return shipping and handling by customizing and automating some or all return requests
  • Consider offering free returns to boost sales and buyer confidence
  • Offer an extra–generous return window—30 days or longer is most attractive to buyers, and required for Top Rated seller status
  • Offer 60–day returns during the holiday season, letting shoppers know they can buy with confidence throughout November and December
  • Wait until items are returned to you, and check them carefully before issuing a refund
  • Issue refunds quickly—preferably within 2 days of receiving a returned item
  • Ask eBay to step in and help if you can’t resolve an issue with your buyer
  • Limit restocking fees, as they can make shoppers less likely to buy
  • Keep a valid return address on file, and remember that you can manage multiple return addresses through your return preferences

Tools and Resources

eBay labels

Save time and money with USPS and FedEx postage.

Carrier options

Ship the way you want and save, with a variety of delivery options.

Shipping calculator

Estimating shipping costs just got easier.

Have a Question about Returns on eBay?

Find your answers in our FAQ center.

Go to FAQs