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eBay Says It Is Changing Returns Process

Retailers and online merchants generally set return policies based on the type of goods they sell, but when selling on eBay and Amazon, merchants must adhere to one-size-fits-all policies with few exceptions.

eBay revealed it will be changing its returns process and will have more to say about it at its upcoming seller summit being held in San Jose next month. The company announced the new eBay Seller Summit in July, and in an updated program guide now available online, it tells would-be attendees, “Find out how we’re streamlining the returns process to make it easier for you and your buyers.”

Returns are tricky particularly for sellers of highly valuable or unique items – many claim they receive damaged or inferior substitutions of their items when buyers request returns. Returns are also a problem for clothing sellers who say some shoppers make a habit of wearing items and returning them to sellers stained, expecting a full refund.

eBay instituted a new policy covering sellers’ returns policy in 2012 – sellers had to provide shoppers with a minimum return period of 14 days, otherwise they were required to advertise “no returns accepted” in their listings. eBay also required a money-back refund option for all returns.

And last year, eBay announced Managed Returns and said that by the 2015 holiday shopping season, all sellers would be forced into the program, known as Hassle Free Returns to shoppers.

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After surveying sellers about the new Managed Returns process last year, we concluded that while the new policy was meant to make it easier for buyers to return items for any reason, the change could result in more listings offering a no-return policy due to sellers wishing to avoid the Managed Returns program – the results of the survey can be found in this Newsflash article from last summer.

eBay executive Devin Wenig said he planned to make significant changes when he became CEO – he replaced John Donahoe last month – so it’s uncertain if the planned Returns program will be further changed.

Also in its 2015 Seller Summit program guide, eBay revealed that it will be making changes to seller tools: “Many of the insights, tools, reports used to run your business will be brought together in one centralized easy to access spot.” Note that sellers are currently without a robust analytics tool after eBay discontinued its Traffic Reports.

eBay also revealed it will be changing seller performance standards – more information can be found in Monday’s blog post below.

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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