Online sellers are concerned about a change PayPal is making to its User Agreement that could prove quite costly to sellers. According to the PayPal notice, PayPal will no longer credit fees for refunds for returns or other reasons:
"We're changing how we treat refunds. If you refund (partially or fully) a transaction to a buyer or a donation to a donor, there are no fees to make the refund, but the fees you originally paid as the seller will not be returned to you."
An EcommerceBytes reader explained what the change will mean to them:
"In the past if a refund was process Paypal has retained the fixed part of the processing fee but did return the % part of the fee. Now it appears that if a seller now does a refund, PayPal will be keeping 100% of the processing fee.
"Previously if a buyer purchased something for $100.00 and paid through PayPal the seller was changed a $.30 fixed transaction fee and 2.9% of the $100.00 or $2.90, the seller ended up with a net payment of $96.80. If the seller refunded the payment for whatever reason PayPal returned the entire $100.00 to the buyer but retained the $.30 fixed transaction fee. The end result was that it still cost the seller $.30 to process the fee. Now it appears that PayPal is keeping the entire fee of $3.20 even if the refund is immediately processed."
The reader said there are numerous reasons why a seller might have to issue a refund. "The list of why a seller may have to refund is exhaustive so this seems like a HUGE money grab on PayPal's part."
On the eBay boards, a seller wrote of the change in policy, "That is huge if you sell a high priced item as the Paypal fee originally charged to you could be rather significant and now you will not be getting it back even though you are refunding the buyer. It goes into effect on May 7, 2019."
It could cause sellers to rethink their returns policy. One seller said, "Free returns just got more expensive, will need to reconsider."
PayPal is making additional changes to the User Agreement, including the following:
"We're removing the flat rate pricing for sending money to friends and family members who have PayPal accounts in a country other than the United States and introducing a new variable fee of 5% based on the amount you send with a minimum of $0.99 and a maximum of $4.99 per transaction. We're also removing any variation depending on the recipient's country.
"We are changing the currency conversion spread to 3.25% over a base exchange rate in situations where you are a sender of money in a PayPal transaction."
Be sure to read the entire announcement and familiarize yourself with all of the changes PayPal is making.
And let us know how the changes impact you and your business. Will you be rethinking your returns policy?
Update 5/12/19: As we reported yesterday, PayPal reversed the new policy, see more information on this post.