4 min article

Return postage for sellers

Who pays for return postage – you or the buyer – depends on the reason they're returning the item and your return policy.

Read our most popular questions and answers on how to handle return postage for items you've sold. You can also find more information in our full article below.

I don't accept returns, why do I have to pay for a return postage label?

If the buyer is returning an item because it's damaged, faulty, or didn't match your listing description, the eBay Money Back Guarantee allows them to return it for free. That means that you'll need to accept the return and cover the cost of return postage, even if you don't normally offer returns.

eBay may automatically accept a return request from a buyer on your behalf if an eBay postage label is available. Once you've received the item, you have 2 business days to review and issue a refund, or ask eBay to step in and help.

 

What happens if the item is damaged while it's being returned?

When returning an item, it's the buyer's responsibility to ensure that it's packed properly and protected during delivery. If the item is damaged while it's being returned to you, you may be entitled to offer them a reduced refund. See our Partial refund guidelines for more details.

 

What happens if the item is lost while it's being returned?

In general, whoever pays for return shipping is responsible for ensuring the item arrives at its destination. If you paid for the return postage, you'll need to work with the postal carrier to try and find the item. If the buyer paid, they’ll need to contact the carrier instead.

 

What happens if the buyer refuses to pay for return postage?

Who's responsible for return postage costs depends on why the item is being returned. If the buyer is returning the item because it's damaged, faulty, or didn't match your listing description, then you're responsible for the return postage costs, even if your returns policy says you don't offer free returns.

If the buyer is sending the item back for another reason, for instance, if they ordered the wrong item or changed their mind, then they’ll need to pay for return postage, unless your returns policy states you offer free returns.

If the buyer is responsible for return postage costs, and they refuse to pay, you can ask us to step in and help resolve the issue.

 

If the buyer is sending an item back because it doesn't match the listing description or it arrived damaged or faulty, you're responsible for the cost of return postage, even if you don't offer returns.

If they simply changed their mind or ordered the wrong item, who pays for return postage is determined by your return policy. If you stated you offer free returns, you'll have to pay, otherwise you can ask the buyer to cover the cost.

Tip
We recommend using a tracked service for return postage. Tracking lets you know the item is on its way, and eBay can see the progress of the return in case we're asked to step in.

Return postage options

When you're responsible for return postage, you can choose from a couple of options in the return request form. To get to the return request form go to your Returns dashboard - opens in new window or tab and select View return details. If you've accepted the buyer's return or offered to send them a replacement, you can choose one of the following options to let them post the item back to you.

Upload your own label

When you're responsible for return postage costs, the primary option available to you is to provide your own return label from a carrier of your choice.

When you use this option, make sure to upload the label and tracking details to the buyer's return request. For items that have a total cost of EUR 550 or more, signature confirmation is required.

How to upload your own label

Postage labels for international returns

Language barriers may make it difficult to purchase an international return label. If you're unsure, you can try contacting the buyer to ask if they'll purchase an international label on your behalf.

If they agree, you'll need to send funds to cover the cost. Ensure the buyer uses a tracked service, and includes signature confirmation if the item has a total cost of EUR 550 or more.

International returns and customs

If you're sending funds to cover the postage cost, the buyer will be required to fill out the customs forms.

To ensure there are no delays with your return, provide all the necessary customs information to the buyer. Double check that your information is correct, as falsifying a customs form is against the law and eBay policy.

Since you're the recipient of the parcel, you'll be responsible for paying any customs, brokerage, service charges or duty fees.

Ask the buyer to use a label you sent along with the item

If you included a return postage label with the item when you sent it to the buyer, you can let them know that they should use that to send it back to you.

Here’s how you can let the buyer know about the label from the View return details section:

  1. Select your carrier and enter the tracking number.
  2. Add a message to the buyer.
  3. Tick the box beside I provided a return label with the original item.

Offer to send the funds for the return postage cost

Use the carrier's postage calculator to find out how much return postage will cost. If you're unable to determine the cost, contact the buyer and ask them to provide a quote.

Ensure that the amount includes a tracked service, and signature confirmation if the item has a total cost of EUR 550 or more.

Here's how to send funds to the buyer:

  1. Contact the buyer through Messages, and ask how they would like to receive funds to purchase a return label.
  2. Send the funds using the buyer's preferred method.
  3. Ask the buyer to confirm that they have received the funds, and to upload tracking to the return request so you can see that the item is on its way.

Accommodate the return another way

If you'd prefer, you can provide the buyer with another method of returning the item. For instance, you can offer to pick up the item in person, or let them drop the item off at your closest store. If you want to provide an alternative method of returning the item, simply select Confirm you will facilitate the return from the View return details section.

Return an item with alternative postage arrangements

Sometimes returning an item may require additional, alternative postage arrangements, such as:

  • Posting a return with insurance: Insurance isn't available for returns that use eBay labels. If you or the buyer prefers that an item be returned with insurance, purchase your own return postage with insurance instead of using the return postage label provided
  • Returning multiple packages: For each return requested through My eBay, we generally provide one return postage label. If the buyer finds that they need multiple return postage labels to send multiple packages back to you, ask them to contact you to make alternative postage arrangements for the packages
  • Item is outside carrier's guidelines: An eBay return postage label is only available for items within the carrier's size and weight guidelines. If the package is outside of their guidelines, you need to make alternative postage arrangements
  • Item was originally delivered by freight or collected by the buyer: When you're responsible for return postage costs and you need to make alternative postage arrangements, speak to the buyer to agree on the service and cost before they send the item. Make sure that they include the packing slip and tracking information. For items valued at EUR 550 or more, signature confirmation is required

When the buyer wants to return an item using alternative postage arrangements and you're responsible for the return postage charges, they'll need to work with you to agree on the postal service and cost before returning the item.

If the buyer uses alternative postage arrangements, return postage charges aren't included in any eBay Money Back Guarantee refunds, even if the you agreed to pay return postage charges.

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