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eBay UK Updates User Agreement – Managed Returns Mandatory for Some

eBay UK has made changes to its User Agreement and eBay Privacy Policy. These are effective immediately for new members, and take effect on February 17, 2014 for current members.

eBay provided a summary of the main changes for UK users, and one that has sellers sitting up and taking notice is around managed returns:

“We’ve made further changes to the Returns section of the User Agreement and eBay Money Back Guarantee policy to explain that later in 2014 we will be requiring certain categories of sellers to use the eBay returns process to manage their returns on eBay, and where we will protect buyers if sellers fail to fulfil their specified returns policy during the managed returns process.

Some U.S. sellers have been convinced that eBay will at some point require them to use its managed returns process, which not all sellers prefer since buyers can return items for any reason – but it’s not clear that the UK policy change has implications for U.S. sellers.

eBay introduced managed returns as an opt-in program in the UK in the fall, telling sellers, “This new functionality is designed to give buyers a consistent way to initiate returns, no matter which business seller they buy from. It also gives you a more efficient way to offer and manage returns without time-consuming back-and-forth with your buyers. Providing buyers with a consistent and convenient way to initiate returns helps build their confidence in eBay and helps reduce the number of eBay Buyer Protection cases that are opened.”

UK sellers discussing the changes on the eBay discussion board on Tuesday were concerned that they’d have to use Collect Plus for shipping returns back from the buyer. “I really don’t want to be forced into the ebay return system, and have to use Collect+ (or whoever it is) if my buyer wants to return a pattern. Return via RM (Royal Mail) will be 69p, by the ebay method it will be around 3 pounds.”

Oddly, neither the announcement nor the privacy policy spells out which sellers eBay will require to use Managed Returns.

Another change that had sellers buzzing was about the time buyers had for opening a case against a seller. eBay wrote:

“The timeline for opening an eBay Money Back Guarantee case will change from 45 days from payment date to no later than 30 days after actual (or latest estimated) delivery date. This timeline change will give all buyers, domestic and international, the same amount of time after actually receiving or expecting to receive their item, to get protection for their purchase with the eBay Money Back Guarantee. The timeline for buyers and sellers to appeal an eBay Money Back Guarantee case from the day it is closed will change from 45 days, to 30 days.”

Sellers debated whether this would be a positive or negative for buyers and for themselves.

All eBay UK sellers should review the details of the policy changes to see how it affects them, as they go into effect next month for current users – see the announcement on the eBay UK website.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.