Best practices for seller protection

Providing great service to your buyers is key to your success on eBay. Here are some proven selling strategies for smooth transactions.

2018 Spring Seller Update    See What’s New

Best Practices

I. Let buyers know when they'll receive their item

Buyers want to know when their items will arrive. Set the right expectations by selecting a handling time you can meet on every order. Then ship on time and keep your buyers informed regarding the status of their items by uploading tracking information on all your transactions.

  • Specify your shipping services—Economy, Standard, Expedited, or One-day shipping. If you choose a generic shipping service, make sure the carrier you use aligns with the expectations for that service. An estimated delivery time is shown for each shipping service you offer. The time is calculated using your specified handling time added to the carrier's posted delivery estimate for that shipping service.

  • Ensure you clearly state shipping costs by either inserting the eBay Shipping Calculator or entering a flat shipping rate for each service you offer.

    (1) Specify the right handling time

  • Handling time is the number of business days between when you receive payment and when your package is scanned by your shipping carrier.

  • Handling time determines when we tell your buyer they will receive your package.

  • Buyers like to get their items fast, so the sooner you ship the happier they'll be.

  • Attract more buyers with 1-day and same-day handling

    (2) Stick to your commitment

    Your handling time is a commitment you make to your buyer. That's why it's important to choose one you know you can meet—and then meet it.

  • Specify your shipping policies in the shipping details section of your listing.

    (3) Upload tracking on all your transactions

  • Use the eBay labels printing service to automatically upload tracking information into My eBay for you and your buyer to see. You can also manually upload tracking, upload in bulk, using one of our bulk tools, or automatically upload it to My eBay via popular third-party shipping label tools. Uploading tracking information helps to avoid—and resolve—buyer cases for items not received.

  • Use signature confirmation on delivery of items of $750 or more.

II. Clearly describe the item

Specify the item's condition, describe any flaws, and include lots of pictures.

  • Specify the item's condition accurately, such as new, used, or refurbished. Stating the condition of your item helps set buyer expectations and is required in most categories. Buyers can also sort their searches using item specifics—a powerful tool to help ensure that your items are found by buyers who are searching for them.
  • Describe any flaws such as scratches, dings, functional problems, missing parts, or odors (cigarette or pet odors, for example).
  • Include multiple pictures of the item in your listings, with multiple angles—especially if there are flaws. You get 12 FREE pictures per listing.

III. Offer a generous returns policy

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

  • Provide long return windows—30 days is ideal and can help you get a discount on your final value fees. Learn more about the TRP discounts here.
  • When setting up your return policy, ensure that any conditions you set in your policy do not conflict with your item description.
  • Pay for shipping on all returns.
  • Waive restocking fees.
  • Offer a replacement when you have the depth of inventory to support a replacement in lieu of a refund. Otherwise, use the 'money back' as your refund option.
  • Wait until items are returned to you before issuing a refund. Privately alert us if a buyer was misusing the process, after you've successfully resolved the return. This action will not impact your seller standing and helps eBay build and refine future detection capabilities against returns misuse.

IV. Set up payments to avoid unpaid items

Offer PayPal, use eBay checkout, and sign up for Unpaid Item Assistant.

  • Make it easy for your buyers to pay by offering PayPal.
  • Require immediate payment for auction-style listings with a Buy It Now price.
  • For fixed price listings below $1000, specify a shipping cost and PayPal as the only payment method. For this type of listing, buyers will be asked to pay for the item immediately when they click the Buy It Now button.
  • Sign up for Unpaid Item Assistant to automatically open and close unpaid item cases as early as 2 days after the transaction ends. The payment details section may also include how long the buyer has to make a payment before an unpaid item case is opened.
  • You can also take steps to protect yourself by using buyer requirements and buyer management tools, including the blocking buyers feature. This lets you block buyers who have unpaid items or other policy violations on record, buyers in certain countries of residence, or even specific buyers.

V. Use the Resolution Center to respond

Provide detailed information in your listings to help buyers find the answers they need.

  • Buyers often have questions before, during, and after a sale. Help buyers find the answers they need by providing detailed information in your listings using auto answers, communicating shipping information as soon as possible, and responding right away to any questions buyers send you directly.
  • If a buyer opens a case in the Resolution Center for an item not received or an item not as described, be sure to respond promptly within 3 business days.

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