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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2021 - April 16, 2009 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 5

eBay UK's Free Shipping Requirement and Returns Management

By Ina Steiner
April 16, 2009

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eBay UK launched a new returns process and said it would require sellers to offer free shipping and handling as their first domestic postage option in certain categories beginning June 15, 2009. The requirement affects selected categories in Video Games, Mobile & Home Phones, Consumer Electronics, Computing, Photography, and Clothes, Shoes & Accessories. According to the company, "The categories we've selected are extremely competitive in the UK with online retailers increasingly offering free delivery. We believe this is the market price for P&P for those categories in the UK."

eBay will offer occasional incentives for sellers affected by the free-P&P requirement. The first runs from April 6 - June 30, 2009, and provides sellers with Shops a 20% Final Value Fee discount when they offer free P&P in the categories listed above. (Terms & conditions apply.)

The news came as eBay announced a rash of changes affecting UK users beginning in June. A similar announcement was made in the U.S. on Tuesday. eBay UK classified the changes coming in June into three buckets: Better listings to drive more sales; Making selling on eBay more efficient; and Policy & other changes to selling on eBay. As in the U.S., eBay UK is introducing a new dispute process (link).

eBay UK also launched a new returns process for managing customer returns on all items paid for with PayPal. Sellers will be able to track returns from a single place, refund payments and reclaim Final Value Fee (FVF). Buyers will see a "returns" link in My eBay, the item details page and the eBay Resolution Centre for all items on which sellers offer returns.

According to the announcement, PayPal payments can be refunded directly from within the case. Once a seller has refunded a buyer, eBay will automatically credit the commission fee to the seller's account. To qualify for a FVF refund, sellers need to refund at least 80 percent of the item price, excluding postage costs.

However, if a buyer asks for an exchange instead of a return, eBay recommends sellers process the return anyway and ask the buyer to buy the correct item from you. "That way, you have a record of the correct purchase and there is buyer and seller protection on the item," according to eBay's FAQ.

eBay UK wrote, "We highly recommend that you use the new application and review your processes and return policy to make sure that it complies with the law and that it offers a good service to customers. eBay will provide API support so that you can easily integrate the eBay returns management into your own tools. Please try it out an let us know what you think of the new process."

Buyers who want to return an item but didn't pay with PayPal will not be able to use the new process.

See website for more information

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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