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Cost of Using eBay Hassle Free Returns Goes Up

eBay announced it is raising the cost of return shipping rates on eBay on June 4 “to better align with the United States Postal Service rate changes announced in January 2014.” The USPS return-shipping rates apply to all sellers that offer hassle-free returns, but sellers with large volumes of heavy-weight returns, such as furniture or appliances, will experience the greatest impact, eBay explained.

The new rates are available on the eBay website – click on “Return shipping rates.” As one seller pointed out, the USPS costs are higher than shipping outside of the program. For instance, they explained, “Without the Hassle-Free Program, return shipping for a 3-ounce item is $1.93. With the Hassle-Free Program, it’s $2.60.”

“I guess it’s not a lot for an individual seller, considering very few transactions are returns, but it still looks like a fee hike to me,” the seller added.

However, eBay explains, “When you use hassle-free returns, your USPS return shipping rate is never more than the original outbound rate, provided that you purchase eBay shipping labels for both the original shipment and the return.”

eBay promotes the program, formerly called Managed Returns, as a way to boost conversion rates and streamline the returns process. In Monday’s announcement, however, it recommended sellers encourage buyers to contact them prior to making a return on any heavy items – removing one of the advantages of using the program. “If possible, provide alternate instructions in your listings and on your packing slips,” it suggested.

Some sellers are loathe to use the program since it allows buyers to return items for any reason. And some sellers have objected to the way eBay describes the program to shoppers. Julia Wilkinson wrote about the pros and cons of the program recently on the AuctionBytes Blog.

More information about the program is available on the eBay FAQs page for Hassle Free Returns.


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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/.