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Returns best practices
A great return policy gives you a boost in Best Match and helps you win buyers.
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Manage returns, hassle-free
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Online buyers look for a reassuring return policy when deciding which products to buy. To be competitive and to attract the most number of buyers, offer a generous return policy. If you have a standard or above performance rating you’ll also get a boost in Best Match, eBay’s default sort order, for offering a 14-day or longer return policy.
 
Remember, all listings on eBay must specify a return policy—even if the policy is no returns accepted.* Keep in mind that a relatively small percentage of purchases get returned and most sellers find that offering a generous policy more than pays for itself in increased sales.

It’s important to clearly explain how your policy works in your listings, on your eBay Store pages, and on your About Me page so buyers understand their options. Make sure the return policy options you specify in your listing and any details you offer about your return policy in your listing description are consistent.
 
Beginning the first week of May, sellers who accept returns will be required to have a minimum 14-day return policy and offer a money-back option. Starting the first week of May 28, you will also have the opportunity to use a new return process on eBay—giving buyers an easy way to return items and you an efficient way to manage returns—including 1-click refunds that automatically credit back your final value fees. 
 
Key details to include in your policy:
  • Time limits: How long will buyers have to return the item after they receive it? To attract the most buyers consider offering 30-days or longer.
  • Refund type: Use the new “Money back or exchange” refund option when you have enough inventory to support an exchange for a different size, color, or replacement item. If you have limited inventory but want to offer great customer service, select the “Money back” option.
  • Return shipping charges: Clearly state who pays for return shipping--you or the buyer.
  • Restocking fee: State if you charge a restocking fee. “Typical” restocking fees vary by product type. “No restocking fee” is ideal for buyers, but 15% is often considered reasonable.
  • Item condition: Clearly state the required condition of the returned item. For example, "unopened box" or "opened box with all original materials.”
  • International sales: If you sell to buyers outside of the US, describe any international limitations to your return policy.
*Note that under eBay Buyer Protection you may be required to accept a return if the item is significantly different from what was described in the listing, regardless of your return policy.
Best practices
Best practices for getting the most mileage from your return policy:
  • Set a competitive return policy – one that is supportable within your business model and strives to exceed buyer expectations. The best ways to reassure today’s e-commerce buyers:
  • Accept returns for any reason.
  • Give long return windows—30 days or longer is ideal, 30-days after the holiday for gifts.
  • Pay for return shipping cost.
  • Don’t charge restocking fees.
  • Provide clear, easy-to-follow instructions for returns in your “Additional return policy details” section.
  • Clearly indicate who is responsible for return shipping costs, you or your buyer. Make it clear if this varies depending on the reason for the return (for example, any reason except a flaw in the item).
  • Be sure to state what you require to accept a return: for example, tags must still be attached, item must not be adjusted, installed, etc.
  • Keep a valid return address on file with eBay. To specify or update your return address:
  • Go to the Account tab in My eBay.
  • Click Addresses on the left side of the page.
  • For the Primary return shipping address, click Change.
  • Click Edit address.
  • Enter your current address, and click the Ship to this address button
  • Wait until items are returned to you and inspect them before issuing a refund. Learn more about how to receive a returned item.
 
Best practices for preventing and reducing returns:
  • Provide specific details and clearly describe the condition of the item you’re selling to set the right expectations with your buyer.
  • Make descriptions easy-to-read: use headlines, bulleted lists, and other visual elements.
  • Use great pictures to give buyers a more visual shopping experience and a more accurate idea of what to expect and distinguish your listing from others of its kind. This is especially important if you’re selling vintage or gently-used items that can have small blemishes.
  • Reiterate key information such as brand, model, capacity, features, dimensions, name and item condition.
  • Include exact measurements of your item. For example, when listing in a fashion category, use the new size charts and include inseam measurement, bust size, and/or pant or skirt length, when appropriate.
  • Clearly describe imperfections: scratches, stains, chips, missing accessories, defects, and other flaws.
  • Respond quickly to resolve buyer issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I specify a return policy in my new listings?
The next time you list an item, choose "Returns accepted" or "Returns not accepted" directly in your listing—specify whether you accept returns and if so, under what condition.
 
Do I have to accept returns?
No, but you do have to specify a return policy. You may specify that you do not accept returns by setting your policy to “No returns accepted.” If you accept returns, you’re required to accept returns for any reason, including when buyers change their minds.
 
We encourage you to accept returns to attract more buyers and increase the likelihood of selling your items. All sellers should familiarize themselves with the terms of the eBay Buyer Protection Policy, which offers buyers certain protections if an item is not as described or not received. There may be instances where eBay instructs a buyer to return an item to you.
 
What elements of my return policy will I need to specify?
If you choose to accept returns, you'll need to specify the time period within which the item may be returned, how you'll give the refund, and who will pay the return shipping cost. Beginning the first week of May, sellers who accept returns will be required to have a minimum 14-day return policy and offer a money-back option.
 
What happens if I decide not to accept returns?
You may decide not to accept returns by setting your policy to “No returns accepted”. Regardless of your return policy, all sellers must adhere to eBay's policy for sellers, which include accepting a returned item if it doesn’t match the listing’s description.
 
What happens if the information in my Additional return policy details doesn’t match the standardized values I’ve selected for my return policy?
If a buyer files an eBay Buyer Protection case and you have conflicting return policy information in the listing, the outcome will be determined by whatever time frame is longer. Listings with conflicting information are in violation of the eBay Selling Practices Policy and may be subject to removal.
 
Am I required to pay for return shipping?
You can decide whether you or the buyer will pay for return shipping. Be sure to specify shipping costs and related return service charges, if any, in your listings. Consider paying for return shipping when your buyer feels that the item is different from what was described in the listing.
 
Can I charge a restocking fee?
Yes, you are allowed to charge a restocking fee. However, keep in mind that a high restocking fee may discourage buyers from purchasing your item. If you charge a restocking fee, we recommend that it’s a reasonable amount and that you include specifics in the return policy details.
 
If a buyer wants to return an item, can I ask them to send it back before issuing a refund?
Yes. In fact, it’s a best practice to wait until items are returned to you and inspect them before issuing a refund. Be sure to mention this in the listing so buyers understand in advance if they will be responsible for return shipping and the expected condition of a returned item. If you choose to pay return shipping, you can add details about how and when you’ll do so by selecting “seller” in the Return Policy “change return policy” menu and providing details in the text box such as, “buyer will pay for return and will be reimbursed by seller.”
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