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Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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.

22 thoughts on “Understanding eBay’s New Returns Policies, Penalties, and Protections”

  1. When Vice President of Seller & Marketplace Operations Bob Kupbens decides to offer FREE RETURNS on his listings then maybe I will consider it. But when the person that is standing there telling us what a great program this is, but refuses to participate in it personally, that tells me that everything he is saying is nothing but hot air. In fact he does not only NOT OFFER FREE RETURNS, he does not accept returns at all.

    I would lay odds that Ebay has even privately exempted his account from SNAD returns as one of his executive perks. So Bob Kupbens. when are you going to step up and add free returns to your listings on EBay. Remember good leaders lead by example and others such as Wenig (and so far yourself) continue to lead by do as I say not as I do, which appears to be Ebays management style.

    I do see why Carl Icahn stated that Ebay was the most mismanaged company he had ever dealt with. I am sure their were a few choice adjectives tossed in there also, but I will keep it clean for this round of postings.

  2. Clothing is a high return area because of the archaic method manufacturers use to size their stuff. Sizes vary not only from brand to brand but within brands. The only standard is feet and inches… or meters and centimeters.

    I thought my only hope was to explain the measurements game in my item description along with graphics.
    I find from the questions I get that buyers using a ‘smart phone’ rarely read my descriptions, likely because they are not visible unless you click on a tiny right arrow where it says ITEM DESCRIPTION.

    It seems to be eBay may be unaware of the high returns problem or how to solve it. Free shipping both ways, compliments of me, is not a solution I am interested in.

  3. A wardrobers dream world on the horizon.
    Sellers have to be confident that ebay will pick up on buyers abusing the system.
    Given privacy laws a new buying account is only a new hotmail address away.
    This of course will not provide compensation for sellers who have already been defrauded.

  4. ““If you’re a retailer like eBay, and you want…”
    EBAY is not a retailer.

    “Free 30 days is important – as you look at the retail landscape, he said, free 30-days is starting to be the basic expectation of buyers from all retailers”
    I went through a lot of my receipts from the stores, 14 DAYS is the normal.

    FUNNY that the eBay management doesn’t offer FREE RETURNS.

    Well, I guess since my sales have gone down to 1 or 2 sales, I don’t have much to worry about and will be concentrating on eCrater and eBid.

  5. If I return something to ANY brick & mortar store, they NEVER offer to pay for the gas I used to get there.
    How is that a FREE return?

  6. I started offering free returns at the beginning of the year. It did nothing for sales but it did increase returns. What’s even worse, people have been trained to use Items not as Described to get free returns anyway. They aren’t going to look at your policy. They’ll hit the button that gives them a free label.

  7. “[R]aise your prices to compensate for the cost of higher returns.”

    So… they want sellers to price themselves out of competing for sales?

  8. Make no mistake about it, no matter what kind of returns you offer, or if you offer none at all, ebay is not going to protect you. If there is a chance that they can save/make a few cents, it is under the bus for you….and they will back up and run over you again and then pull forward again and run over you again.

    “One is that they’re going to get something returned that doesn’t have the same value as the thing they sent out – that happens a lot.” Yes, it does and once again, ebay will lie to you, defraud you and once again (see bus comment above). They will do NOTHING to discourage or correct this.

    “The other is that people would game returns – we really haven’t seen that (THAT’S BECAUSE YOU HAVE YOUR HEAD SOMEPLACE WHERE THE SUN DOESN’T SHINE) – the data doesn’t show that we’ve got a dramatic increase in returns. But we’ve done a few things.(VERY FEW)

    – One is, if you offer 30-day free returns, we protect you by allowing you to offer a partial refund – up to 50%, if you get something back in a degraded condition. (That’s not “appealable” by the buyer; they can’t come back and force you to issue more of a refund (they have to take it up with eBay.)”


    “We know there are some issues, we’ve tried to create seller protections in the form of partial refunds, some of the buyer abuse – checking them, as well as removal of negative and neutral feedback. We believe this is the future, we’re trying make sure that we give you the tools to get there with us.”


  9. Since a buyer can simply state “I just don’t like it” how is ebay protecting me if they give me a strike?

  10. This is disappointing. We had a a generous 14 day return policy. Since we sell clothes, we would attach a tyvec strip , like the ones you get when going to concert, to clothing. Our return policy would be null and void if they took it off. We didn’t want clothing renters.

  11. Called ebay Sunday afternoon and they removed a negative for me. The only one I have had in over a year or more. Thanks for posting this article on ecommercebytes or I wouldn’t have known about this benefit.

  12. The most malicious part of all of this is that Ebay’s leadership like Devin Wenig, Fisher, Kupbens are failing at their jobs. But they continue to make always increasing amounts of money out of Ebay profits- the money that sellers make for them.

    Wenig=more than 14 million dollars a year, bonuses, stock options, corporate jets to go on vacation with.

    They are failing but the ones who pay the price are the SELLERS who now are going to be losing money and losing profits with this new returns thing at a time when costs keep going up

    The lies that Ebay leadersip tells is insane. Kupbens isn’t aware of buyers gaming returns? Well, other corporations are seeing that.

    LL Bean changed their return policy, Amazon admitted to just one case involving millions (think how many are going on, but their monopoly push is hiding a lot of that under the rug)

    Many other companies are tightening returns policy, instituting charges.

    But the combative attitude by Ebay leadership is that sellers exist for them to plunder, and lie to cover up the problems. The Wall Street-connected media lets them do it and doesn’t push past the lies.

    Sellers are now going to be paying dearly with their livelihoods. Sellers who buy groceries with their earnings, not multimillion dollar vacation homes in the Hamptons. All so Wenig and cronies can keep plundering.

    Then there are problems like the failure Ebay phone app, which hides descriptions and details but makes the sellers pay for its failure.

    Check the Ebay seller discussion boards, which few people can even find, and there is a flood of sellers with buyer returns-gaming problems. Fraudulent buyers with long histories who keep on doing it despite many complaints to Ebay. There is NO buyer fraud investigation being done by Ebay because the sellers pay. Kupbens, Wenig, and the rest do not.

    1. I guarantee you Kupbens sees the gaming and scamming that is going on by the buyers because all of his items state NO RETURNS. This is the big shot Ebay Executive who is touting all of these programs that the Sellers should just roll over and accept, yet he never follows any of his own advice.

      Another leader who believes in the Do as i say not as I do version of Leadership. No wonder Ebay is failing miserably at showing any growth.

  13. I’ve gone to multiple online retailers to see what type of return policy they offer & not one was so generous as ebay claims. Sure, a lot of them do offer 30 day or better returns, some even free – IF you pay an annual fee to the retailer, or IF you spend a minimum amount. Even then, the generous returns are still conditional & often limited to a select few items or categories.

    Seeing with my own eyes what many large online retailers really offer, I know ebay is full of crap. Return policies are getting tighter in some places too, due to buyer abuse of returns. From my perspective it appears ebay is actually on the opposite side of what’s happening in the “retail landscape”.

    1. Yes, you are right. Retailers have tightened up on returns, have more restrictions, and charge for returns more often. Exchanges too. The corporations aren’t stupid.

  14. So ebay is going to “protect” you? Who is going to protect you from ebay? It ain’t Wallstreet. It ain’t the government. It ain’t the management. Who?

  15. Let’s get really stupid…does ebay return policy extend to ebay motors?
    Dude buys a $250.000 Maserati…puts on 10,000 miles in 29 days and wants to return for FULL REFUND.
    How does THAT work?

  16. eBay has numerous operational and procedural problems that make it progressively harder for American small business sellers to succeed. Rather than address these problems, management continues to roll out new marketing gimmicks and policies in an attempt to compete against Amazon.

    The solution to eBay’s problems is clear. New management is long past due. Devon Wenig and the entire C-level team should be replaced with outsiders. The problem is that the Board of Directors are unable (or refuse) to see that there is a serious management problem. Seller confidence in Wenig is at an all-time low.

    Sadly, it is going to take a substantial drop in share price before the Board takes action. At that point, it may be too late for eBay to recover.

  17. Knowing Wenig’s lack of morals, he probably spent EBay money to have each board member investigated and has something on each of them so that they will not touch him. He is so concerned with only how much can he pull out and get away with that nothing else matters and for the BOD to let him run the company into oblivion like he has, there has to be something on each of them ensuring their silence. If not, Ebay has the most incompetent BOD in the history of American companies to go along with the most incompetent CEO to ever grace the planet.

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