|Fri Apr 17 2009 10:15:50|
eBay's Product-Return Requirements in US and UK
By: Ina Steiner
eBay announced changes this week that sellers are still reviewing to determine the effect on their businesses. In the UK, there were differences, including the announcement of a new returns process tied to transactions paid for with PayPal.
In the U.S., eBay is requiring sellers to have a return policy (announced last year). "We encourage you to accept returns, as this increases buyer satisfaction. However, you don't have to accept returns. You may specify "No Returns Accepted" as your return policy."
Originally the deadline for specifying a return policy in listings was March, it has been extended to June, according to this week's announcements. ("Return policy and handling time required for new listings and re-listings beginning June 15. Deadline for updating your Good ‘Til Cancelled listings extended to mid-September.")
In the UK this week, eBay announced a new returns process for managing customer returns on all items paid for with PayPal. Sellers will be able to track returns from a single place, refund payments and reclaim Final Value Fee (FVF). Buyers will see a "returns" link in My eBay, the item details page and the eBay Resolution Centre for all items on which sellers offer returns.
According to the announcement, PayPal payments can be refunded directly from within the case. Once a seller has refunded a buyer, eBay UK will automatically credit the commission fee to the seller's account. To qualify for a FVF refund, sellers need to refund at least 80 percent of the item price, excluding postage costs.
However, if a buyer asks for an exchange instead of a return, eBay UK recommended sellers process the return anyway and ask the buyer to buy the correct item from you. "That way, you have a record of the correct purchase and there is buyer and seller protection on the item," according to eBay's FAQ.
eBay UK wrote, "We highly recommend that you use the new application and review your processes and return policy to make sure that it complies with the law and that it offers a good service to customers. eBay will provide API support so that you can easily integrate the eBay returns management into your own tools. Please try it out an let us know what you think of the new process."
Buyers who want to return an item but didn't pay with PayPal will not be able to use the new process.
It's interesting to note that, according to eBay UK's help pages, business sellers in the UK are legally bound by the Distance Selling Regulations as outlined in eBay's Legal Guidance for Business Sellers policy page. "Businesses selling on eBay are legally required to offer buyers a "cooling off" period of 7 working days after receipt for all Buy It Now items with very few exceptions."
Would be interested to know how eBay North America sellers would feel about such a Returns Process here?