Easier returns, extra exposure for free returns, restocking fee update, and automatic acceptance.


Easier returns for you and your buyers

Make it easy for buyers to find your returns information by displaying it in the Return Policy field in your listings. We make it easy for you, too. Remember to add your returns information in the structured data (drop-downs) area. Buyers value a consistent experience—do not repeat returns information that appears in structured data in your returns policy details.

We will also educate buyers about returns best practices by providing a resource about eBay returns policies in Fall 2017.

Benefits of offering free returns

As we announced in our 2017 Summer Update, you can gain additional exposure for listings that offer free returns, including:

  • Giving buyers options to search for and filter by free returns policies
  • Highlighting free returns policies when buyers visit your listings
  • Featuring listings with free returns policies in eBay marketing campaigns

Starting Fall 2017, you will have added protection when you offer free returns. You can deduct up to 50% of the item price if the returned item is damaged or missing parts.

Restocking fee no longer permitted with free returns

A free returns policy means just that—free returns with no additional fees. Starting in 2018, you will no longer be able to charge restocking fees when you offer free returns.

If you do not offer free returns, you will still have discretion to charge a 10%, 15%, or 20% restocking fee. However, starting in 2018, the buyer will only see a restocking fee of "up to 20%" in the listing.

Automatic acceptance of returns

Beginning in October 2017, returns requests may automatically be accepted to make the returns process easier for you and your buyers. eBay will automatically accept a return request and provide a return shipping label to the buyer when the buyer pays for return shipping. If you offer free returns or if you’re required to pay for the return shipping label, automatic acceptance will only occur if you have not replied to the buyer return request within three business days.

Automatic acceptance allows buyers to ship items back to you quickly and efficiently, and get their refunds sooner. You will also save time and receive reimbursement for final value fees.

You can continue to control the efficiency of your returns process by creating rules in your return preferences to automatically approve returns or send immediate refunds without requiring the buyer to send the item back.

  • Why can't I include returns information in my item description?

    The returns policy in structured data (drop-downs) allow buyers to find your items. This information is often duplicated or contradicted in the item description or policy details field (My eBay > Policies). By keeping returns information out of the description, you'll provide a better experience for the buyer.

  • Where do I communicate additional details about my returns policy?

    In most cases, selecting details from structured data (drop-downs) in your returns policy is sufficient. This information is prominently displayed to buyers on both desktop and mobile devices. Use the returns policy details field (My eBay > Policies) to include information relevant to pre-purchase (i.e., "Courier pick-up," "Return to store available," etc.).

  • Can I still choose "No returns accepted?"

    Yes. However, listings that do not offer free returns will not benefit from our new marketing exposure and may result in lower conversion rates. A generous returns policy is important to buyers and increases their trust in you as a seller, so we encourage you to offer free returns.

  • Am I required to offer free 30-day or 60-day returns?

    No. You have a range of returns options. However, we strongly recommend free 30-day or 60-day returns, as they are ecommerce standards.

  • What are you doing to prevent buyers from abusing the returns system?

    We employ several measures to prevent abuse of free returns:

    • Early detection of buyers who might misuse sellers' returns offers to prevent them from starting a return
    • Clearly defined guidelines for acceptable returns
    • Clearly defined consequences, including restrictions for buyers who do not meet eBay returns policy standards or misuse the platform
  • Why will I no longer be able to charge a restocking fee if I pay return shipping?

    Many consumers look for free returns policies where the seller pays for return shipping (for any reason) and there's no restocking fee. We want to deliver those buyers to your listings as well as an industry-standard, best-in-class experience. We also know that eBay buyers sometimes find eBay's returns policies confusing and complicated. Simplifying returns variations that a buyer experiences will result in increased buyer confidence-and more sales.

  • Why am I only allowed to pick one restocking fee option?

    To avoid confusion, we're simplifying the returns variations to help build buyer confidence and conversion. Even though we're limiting the restocking fee options a buyer sees up front, you can still charge no restocking, 10%, 15%, or 20% when issuing the refund.

  • What if a return comes back damaged or broken?

    If you currently offer free returns (seller pays return shipping with no restocking fee) on an item, you'll be able to issue a partial refund if the item is returned damaged or broken.

  • What is the easiest way to update my returns policy?

    To update your returns policy, go to My eBay (My eBay > Account > Business Policies). Click "Return options" when creating or updating a listing.

  • How does automatic acceptance improve the returns process?

    Buyers are always looking for faster returns. To speed up the process, we are removing a step by automatically accepting a return when the buyer doesn't want the item and is paying for the return. Quick acceptance of returns is an ecommerce standard, and the new policy will make eBay a more competitive marketplace. You also reduce your risk of receiving a defect from a customer support escalation, which could impact your seller performance rating.

  • If I offer free returns, will a return request be automatically accepted?

    If an item has a free returns policy, the return will not be immediately accepted. You have three business days to manually accept the return and select the return shipping label option for your buyer. You will also be responsible for the cost of the label. If you do not approve the return request and select a label for your buyer within 3 business days, eBay will automatically approve the request and provide a label when available.

  • When do return requests qualify for automatic acceptance?

    To qualify, return requests must meet one of these criteria:

    • "Buyer doesn't want the item anymore" (return reason codes include "doesn't fit," "changed my mind," "found a better price," "just didn't like it," or "ordered by mistake")
    • Requests meet the seller's listing returns policy
    • The return is domestic and will be shipped within the US
    • The buyer pays for return shipping
    • The return is not an exchange or replacement request
  • Will eBay accept "Not as described" return requests on my behalf?

    eBay will not immediately accept "Not as described" return requests for you, which include:

    • Doesn't work or defective
    • Doesn't match description or photos
    • Wrong item sent
    • Missing parts or pieces
    • Arrived damaged
    • Doesn't seem authentic

    However, if you offer free returns or the buyer claims an item is "Not as described" and you do not respond within three business days, eBay will automatically accept the return and provide a label to the buyer (when available). You may also set return automation rules to automatically accept “Not as described” return requests in your return preferences page.

  • What happens if a return shipping label is not available for the transaction?

    In some situations, a shipping label won't be available and the buyer and seller will need to make alternative shipping arrangements. For example, when a return request is accepted, the buyer may need to obtain their own return shipping label from the post office to ship the item back to you.

  • Will eBay automatically accept return requests outside my policy (or outside of eBay Money Back Guarantee policy) on my behalf?

    eBay will not automatically accept return requests if they are outside of your returns policy or the eBay Money Back Guarantee policy. You will need to review and accept those requests as necessary.

  • Can I opt out of automatic acceptance?

    No. If you offer a returns policy, we want to ensure that the return process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible. If a buyer requests a return because they don't want an item anymore and the request meets your returns policy, the request will be automatically accepted.

  • Who pays for the return shipping label cost?

    The party responsible for the return shipping label cost depends on your returns policy. For example, if you indicate that "buyer pays" for return shipping, the buyer will need to pay for the label used to ship the item back to you if the buyer doesn't want the item anymore. Alternatively, if you offer free return shipping ("seller pays"), you will be charged for the return shipping label used by the buyer.

  • What if the buyer prefers to return the original item for a "replacement" or "exchange?"

    If you offer a buyer the option to ask for a "replacement" or "exchange," instead of a full refund, in your returns policy, the buyer can indicate their preference at the time of the return request. "Replacement" and "exchange" requests will not be automatically accepted. You will need to accept them manually and work out details with the buyer.

  • I would rather provide a full refund for an item than have it returned to me (e.g. the cost of the shipping label may be more than the cost of the actual item price). Is there an opportunity to automate the full refund?

    Yes; if you don't want the buyer to return an item back to you for certain reason codes, you can set up return automation rules to automatically send a refund using our return preferences page.