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Creating your returns policy

Buyers are more comfortable shopping with sellers who accept returns, even though most buyers will never return an item. We've found that items that have a clear returns policy typically sell better than items that don't have one.

Your obligations

We require all sellers on eBay to specify a returns policy, whether the policy is to accept returns or not. If you don't specify a returns policy, eBay will select a default returns policy for you.

As a business seller you are obliged to inform your consumers about their right of withdrawal before the purchase. As a private seller you may voluntarily offer returns. Learn more about your return rights and obligations.

Important: Even if you specify 'no returns accepted', under the eBay Money Back Guarantee the buyer can still return an item if it doesn't match the listing description. Learn more about the eBay Money Back Guarantee.

Returns time frames

The minimum time frame that you can specify for your returns policy is 14 days, according to current UK and Irish distance selling rules. These regulations came into effect in June 2014.

The returns window that you enter is the number of days that a buyer has to inform you that they intend to return the item.

How to create a returns policy

To specify your returns policy:
  1. Scroll to the Add other details section of the listing form.

  2. Select Returns Accepted or Returns Not Accepted from the drop-down menu.

  3. If you accept returns:

    • Select the time limit within which the buyer needs to notify you that they intend to return the item.

    • Select who will pay for return P&P - you or the buyer.

  4. Continue with your listing.

Tip: Don't include returns policy details in the item description as buyers may not see it.

Learn more about managing returns on eBay.

Returns policy recommendations

The clearer and more buyer-friendly your returns policy is, the more secure your buyers will feel shopping with you. The following recommendations can help increase buyer satisfaction, improve the likelihood your item will sell, and earn you higher detailed seller ratings. Learn more about our selling practices policy.

Offer a buyer-friendly policy
  • You're legally required to pay return postage costs and to refund original P&P costs when the buyer returns the item because it's defective, isn't as described, or it was damaged in the post.

  • You are not legally permitted to charge restocking fees or any type of administration fee.

Be specific
  • Use the fields provided to indicate who would pay for return postage (you or the buyer), and time limits (how long buyers have to return the item after they receive it).
    Remember, if an item is being returned because it's not as described, you are legally required to pay the return postage costs.

  • Provide clear, easy-to-follow instructions for returns in the Additional return policy details section of the listing form. Specify your returns policy for international sales, if it's different from your return policy for sales to buyers in your country. Make sure the information in the listing doesn’t conflict with the returns policy options you’ve selected.

  • Specify how the refund is issued. (You do need to offer a refund via the same payment method that the buyer used, unless agreed otherwise with the buyer.)

  • Set a reasonable expectation for how long it will take you to process a return and refund the buyer. Depending on the payment method, the time frame to refund the buyer shouldn't be more than 5 working days.

  • Be clear about the condition of the item required for a return - for example, 'unopened box' or 'opened box with all original materials'. If you like, you can reference the item condition policy for returns.
    (Note: Under the Distance Selling Regulations, business sellers can't insist that buyers return the item in a certain condition.)

Specify the correct return address - you can keep multiple addresses on file and select the appropriate one for each return.
To update your returns address:
  1. Go to My eBay > Account.

  2. Click Addresses on the left side of the page.

  3. Next to Primary returns address, click Change.

Buyers who misuse returns

Once a buyer opens a return request for any reason, funds related to the sale in your PayPal account may be put on hold. When you resolve the situation with the buyer, or we find in your favour, the funds are again available for you to use.

To help protect yourself from poor buyer practices, wait until you've received a returned item before issuing a refund.

In situations where the buyer has returned the item in a different condition or the item isn't within your return requirements, try to work with your buyer to find a solution that you can both agree on.

If your buyer is misusing returns (e.g. returning an empty box), you can ask eBay to step in. We'll investigate and if we find that the buyer is breaching our Buying practices policy, we will take action. This may include cancelling cases in the Resolution Centre, or limiting the buyer's account privileges.

Learn more about handling problems with your buyers.

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