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Enhancing Returns on eBay

We’re bringing more buyers to you. We’re enhancing our returns to deliver a returns experience that’s consistent and competitive with the evolving marketplace. Returns are an important aspect of the purchase decision process and our research also shows that you could benefit from improved conversion if your returns policies are in line with the retail standards*.

Topics we'll cover

What You Need to Know

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  • From July 2018, you’ll have 3 business days to issue a refund, once we see you’ve received a returned item.
  • From August 2018, we’ll automatically issue refunds on your behalf, if we see that it’s been 3 business days since a tracked item was delivered.
  • From July 2018, we’ll be increasing our use of automated returns to provide a faster, retail-standard returns process.
  • From August 2018, for listings offering 3-, 7- and 14-day returns, we’ll automatically update the returns period to 30 days on your listings.
  • We're updating our guidance on the condition of returned items so buyers know what's expected and it's clearer when you should be issuing a partial refund (available from June 2018).
  • We’re also updating the order cancellation process so that buyers can request a cancellation if they change their mind within an hour after the sale (as long as you haven’t already posted the item).
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Streamlining the Returns Experience

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At eBay, our commitment is to help you deliver an exceptional experience that keeps customers coming back so that you can sell more than ever.

Starting in July 2018, we’re streamlining the returns experience by optimising the number of days a seller has to process a refund to a buyer for a returned item. So that you can provide the best experience to buyers, the number of days will be updated from 6 business days to 3 business days.

If you haven’t processed the refund, eBay may automatically issue a refund on your behalf three business days after the tracking number shows a confirmed delivery status. This will close the return for you with no effect on your seller performance.

In cases where you may want the buyer to return an item to a different location from the one you sent it from, you’ll have the flexibility to specify the location when you set rules in your return preferences. You’ll still be able to set your own automation rules within the return process.


How do you benefit?

Streamlining the returns experience will provide a more optimised and efficient timeframe. You can expect to enjoy:

  • Repeat purchases from more buyers – A simple, retail-standard shopping experience encourages buyers to come back for more.
  • More convenience – Days required to take action are in business days which is more intuitive if you don’t operate over weekends.
  • Greater customer experience – Automating refunds will mean less delays, less buyer escalation and less risk of your seller performance being impacted.


What you need to do:

You don’t need to do anything, as the update will take place automatically starting in July 2018. We want to ensure you’re providing the best customer experience and recommend that you don’t take longer than the given timeframes to avoid any buyer escalations and impact on your seller performance.

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Enhancing Automated Returns

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We strive to make running your business on eBay as easy as possible, but we know that as your business grows there are more demands on your time. Starting July 2018, we’re saving you time and giving you quicker access to funds on hold by automating returns.

We’re trialling increasing our use of automated returns. For example, we may immediately accept a return request for an item not as described if it falls within your return policy. We may also immediately accept a return request for change of mind reasons if you offer free returns. In both cases, we’ll provide the buyer with a return postage label and you may be charged for that label. Automating returns provides a streamlined returns experience for buyers and encourages customers to come back for more.

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.

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Partial Refunds Update

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As announced in the Autumn 2018 Seller Update, we’re empowering sellers to issue a partial refund for returned items that were returned used, damaged or in a condition other than the one in which you sent it.

So that we can provide you with more clarity on when a partial refund can be issued, we've created some guidance so that sellers understand the flexibility they have to issue partial refunds. We’re updating the Condition of returned items policy to help educate buyers that the returned item must be in the same condition in which it was received.

Please note: Partial refunds will be available for sellers from June 2018 (not in May 2018 as previously announced).

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Simplifying Returns

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Earlier this year, we also announced that we’re simplifying our returns policy options so that you can deliver a returns experience that is consistent and competitive with the evolving marketplace.

The updates to our return policies are in the process of being rolled out for all new listings and existing listings when revised or relisted. Our return policies have been simplified to five options:

  • Returns not accepted
  • 30-day returns
  • 30-day free returns
  • 60-day returns
  • 60-day free returns.

Starting in August 2018, the simplified return policies will be applied for Good ‘Til Cancelled (GTC) listings. We recommend that you update your return policies now for any GTC listings as this will help drive a retail-standard returns experience for buyers and help boost your sales.

If you’re using a third-party listing tool or listing directly through APIs, you can continue to create or revise listings with an outdated return policy, we’ll notify you to make adjustments to your return policy settings to ensure that they are compliant. However, starting in August 2018, you will no longer be able to list using the outdated return policies.

Remember, you can also set returns policies yourself, with the flexibility to set different return policies for domestic and international returns. For example, you can choose to offer free returns domestically and, in the same listing, offer paid returns to an international buyer.


How do you benefit?

Our mission is to help you drive more sales and the update in return policies will result in a retail-standard returns experience that meets buyers’ expectations when shopping online. In fact, the simplified return options could lead to higher conversions for you:

*Conversion lift seen based on January 2018 data. Individual results may vary. eBay does not guarantee that each seller will experience the same lift. “Free returns” refers to when the seller pays return postage no matter the reason for return, with no restocking fee.


What you need to do

You'll have to choose one of the new return policy options whenever you create or revise a listing.

We recommend that you start updating the return policies on your Good 'Til Cancelled (GTC) listings now. Any GTC listings with old return policy options will be updated from August.

If you’re using third-party listing tool or listing directly through APIs, we also recommend that you update your return policies now to ensure they are compliant. Starting in August 2018, listing with an outdated return policy will no longer be possible.

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Updating the Order Cancellation Process

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We want to help you provide a more consistent and convenient after-sale experience. So we’re streamlining the cancellation process. Starting July 2018, buyers can request a cancellation if they change their mind within an hour after the sale (as long as you haven’t already posted the item).

This will help reduce the hassle of unpaid items and help you get your merchandise back up for sale faster.

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FAQs - Streamlining the Returns Experience


FAQs - Enhancing Returns Automation


FAQs - Simplifying Returns


FAQs - Conditions of returns policy


FAQs - Order Cancellation Process