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eBay Sellers Being Told They Must Accept Returns

Sellers are still struggling to come to terms with eBay’s new returns policies and practices, and apparently eBay customer service is adding to the confusion. One reader says she is very concerned about what eBay Customer Service Reps are telling sellers about returns:

“It has come to my attention that eBay CSRs are now telling sellers on a regular basis that if we have a return policy stated on our listings, no matter what it says, we have to accept returns for any reason. So if a buyer tells you they don’t like the color because it clashes with their eyes or that they found it elsewhere cheaper, they can return the item to the seller whether the seller agrees or not.”

The reader pointed to several places on the eBay site where it reference returns and said “even eBay’s policies on the website conflict with each other, so it is no wonder that the CSRs have issues with this subject.”

However, on eBay’s after sale experience page published as part of the Fall Seller Update in August, eBay made it clear that a) sellers don’t have to offer returns, but b) sellers must accept returns if the buyer claims the item was not as described:

Do these changes mean I have to start offering returns? No, you still have the choice of whether or not to offer returns through your returns policy. If you’ve chosen not to offer returns and a buyer requests a return because they changed their mind, you can simply decline the request. Please note, however, that your buyer may still be eligible for the eBay Money Back Guarantee if they’ve requested a return because they believe the item they purchased is not as described in your listing.

Will buyers be able to request a return even if I don’t offer returns? In the new after-sale experience, buyers will be able to request a return, whether it’s because they no longer want the item or because the item wasn’t as described. If you don’t offer returns and the buyer requests to return the item for a reason that’s not related to the item being not as described, you can decline the request.

In a related incident, a seller spotted a change in his buying account, where eBay had replaced a large “Leave Feedback” button with a large “Return this Item” button in the list of transactions on buyers’ purchase history pages. This may be something eBay is testing, or it could be part of changes rolling out to the site – see the EcommerceBytes Blog (link follows).

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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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/.