Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon May 14 2018 22:32:51

eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

By: Ina Steiner

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Are you ready for eBay's return-policy restrictions that take effect after tomorrow, May 15th? eBay sent an email reminding sellers that it's limiting the options they can offer for returns, which it announce as part of the Spring Seller Update.

Sellers are also weighing their options regarding a related change that was announced as part of the same Seller Update: beginning next month (June 1, 2018), Top Rated sellers will be required to offer 30-day free returns to be eligible to receive the Top Rated Plus discount and badge, with some category exceptions.

Here's the email eBay sent to sellers regarding the change that takes effect after tomorrow:

Hello (redacted),
eBay announced in the Spring Seller Update that 14-day returns will not be an option as of this month.

After May 15th, this return option will no longer be available when you revise or create new listings. If you currently accept 14-day returns, you need to change your return policy to one these 5 return options:

- Final Sale (No returns accepted)
- 30-day buyer-paid returns
- 30-day free returns
- 60-day buyer-paid returns
- 60-day free returns

You can change your return policy by clicking "return options" when you revise or create a listing.

For more information about eBay return policy changes, please follow this link.

Thank you for selling on eBay.

In a FAQ at the time it announced the changes, eBay answered the question, "If I offer more generous returns, won't my return rate increase?" with the following:

"Our research shows that a generous free returns policy can result in fewer item "significantly not as described" return requests. We are also giving listings with free returns policies greater visibility if buyers filter search results by returns policy, which can increase your chances of making a sale."

Are you ready for this week's policy change? And if you're a Top Rated Seller, will you begin offering 30-day free returns in time for the June 1st deadline?

Update 5/16/18: While eBay's letter to sellers referenced above didn't mention it, we should have reminded readers that some categories are exempt from certain provisions of eBay's new rules - it states:

"Certain product categories have unique retail standards and sellers will be able to offer variations on the new returns policy options. Categories that will continue have the option to offer 14-day returns include Collectibles & Art, Cameras & Photo and Medical, Mobility & Disability Equipment."




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 14 22:54:52 2018

Its none of ebays business - wheres Mueller when you need him?

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Mon May 14 23:59:33 2018

I have been a TRS + since there was a TRS + program, and I will NO WAY offer free returns. So, sadly, I will no longer have a Top Rated Plus badge as of tomorrow.

If others wish to do pay for shipping both ways, fine for them. But, in my (and I am sure most all eBay sellers) opinion, the line has been crossed.

Again, free returns are not a ''Retail Expectation'', but a ''Rental Expectation''. My company is in the business of SELLING, not LENDING the merchandise I work hard to source, list, and ship.

This program will only be a success for eBay if a majority of sellers participate. If so, great for them. But a mere 10% off Final Value Fees of 10% is not enough of an incentive to cater to buyers who change their mind.

It is really laughable when eBay states the amount of SNAD returns decreases when a seller has a free returns program. REALLY?!?!?!?!?? Liar buyers do not need to file bogus SNAD claims because it is not necessary to do so.

Sounds just like eBay buyers (who never sell on the site) who proudly proclaim that they have 100% feedback scores when it is impossible to leave negatives or neutrals to their accounts.

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 15 00:44:39 2018

Looks like potential stockholders are wising up to ebay's failed "we ARE the market" attitude.
Share activity today was half of normal. Points to people not buying (i.e., no demand) and stockholders who bought at $44+ hanging on hoping for a miracle rebound.
Meanwhile, unstuck spaghetti litters the floors of the exec offices.

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue May 15 01:25:49 2018

For most of the things I sell I will not be offering Free Returns.  I may try it out on some things, but for the most part no.  Like others I'm willing to give up the discount as I think having the Free Return policy will cost me far more than I'm giving up in discounts from Ebay.

I really wish Ebay realistic in the return policies than they are.  Buyers can file SNADs without complications for them even when there is clear proof in the buyer's own words that it is NOT a SNAD / INAD.  This is something Ebay could do far more about, but they just are not willing to.

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 15 05:11:44 2018

HAIL NO I won't change to Free Returns.  Anyone who currently thinks, ''Oh, my returns are so few and far between NOW that this change won't affect ME.''  is in for a RUDE SURPRISE as  It won't necessarily change instantly.  Rather as the ENTITLED Rats come to EXPECT to be able to just BUY 'EM ALL and return the ones that don't STRIKE their FANCY.  Not just CLOTHING.  
I foresee ENTITLED buyers who WANT a doorbell video camera just blithely buying ALL of the ones currently available... opening them all, unwrapping the component parts and then only KEEPING the one out of the group they FELL in LOVE with.

Mark My Words.   Would everybody do this?  NO, but one in 20 who did would be Quite Enough.   Especially for all those also-rans who would RARELY be the ''lucky winner'' that these ENTITLED buyers elect to KEEP.  

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

This user has validated their user name. by: Shane

Tue May 15 05:31:04 2018

Ebay's new policies aways seem to cost sellers money. Changing my policy to No Returns.

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

This user has validated their user name. by: mcfiver

Tue May 15 05:33:41 2018

I will select FINAL SALE on most of my vintage items and if I lose my TRS status, so be it. There is NOTHING wrong with a 14-Day return policy. NOTHING. It is reasonable, practical and very ADULT. If eBay had any employees with retail experience involved in concocting these policies, this 60-Day return madness would've been squashed at its inception.
Perhaps if eBay would stop clogging up our listing pages with all of their click-bate trash, buyers would be more comfortable focusing on the item descriptions & photos - rather than rushing through the page contents to avoid eBay click harassment.
It's like the old experience of what walking into a mall store or Best Buy was like - being peppered with constant 'may I help yous' instead of letting me wander through at my pace, looking at each item and making a reasoned purchase decision.

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 15 05:43:32 2018

@Shane ..    I think you would be over=reacting and setting yourself up for a whole new Variation on PAIN.  
Others may have different experience, but what I've seen is that sellers who ELECT to be  NO RETURNS...  get painful shocks when eBay FORCES returns for a laundry list of reasons.
Not only is there the SHOCK, but then there is also the PAIN when eBay FINDS FOR THE BUYER if the Seller objects or wants to ESCALATE to next level.
I've seen ONLY the Buyer side of this equation and I have had something like 3 for 3 BUYER WIN (me) when the Sellers tried to OBJECT to being required to accept return. By the way ... 2 of those 3 were Lying, Cheating, Bozo COUNTERFEITERS who sent me Home-Burned DVDs of Rare and OOP movies.  3rd one was a similar BOZO who thought that just because a FEW of the 24 different DVDs she listed WERE Brand New that she could put Brand New as the ONLY gradation of quality.  She got MAD AS HAIL and thought SHE had the high ground.  Nope.

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue May 15 06:20:59 2018

One wonders if there is a dark dungeon at eBay where the "new idea" cauldron steams and bubbles and one of the wart nosed witches clicks her heels and screams"what else can we do to get sellers to leave eBay".

Hopefully there is a bulk edit feature for this because I will not be manually changing thousands of listings.   I don't need this company any more.  I haven't for some time.

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

by: Rob Owen This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 15 08:17:45 2018

I'm not sure if I'll be accepting the new terms and offering free returns. I am a TRS and have only ever had 1 return (a calculator, which I didn't have to accept because it was exactly as advertised and I'm very thorough in describing every detail but the buyer was one of those charities that buys calculators to give to school, so I obliged their return request) so I don't think I'd run into too much gruff if I offer free returns but I don't know. I'll continue to offer the 30-day buyer pays shipping return policy that I've been offering and maybe try out the free return policy on a few of my listings.
As long as I don't lose my shipping discount, I'm cool, and also, I don't think having the TRS badge has helped me sell anything, my 99.8 positive feedback is still going to tell buyers that I'm top rated, so....

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

by: 1st Armored Div. 1971-1973 This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 15 08:37:06 2018

Free returns really doesn't do anything for the seller. It does help ebay's bottom line by removing sellers from being a TRS. They have been doing this for a long time by tighting up standards and when that did not work by lowering the discount from 20% to 10%. I have been a TRS for the better part of its existence. I am jumping ship now.

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

by: BlueDenim This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 15 08:58:37 2018

I started a month ago, changing all my new listings to no returns because of this policy change. There is still a lot of old listings with 15 day returns policy, which I am sad they are doing away with.  eBay really just keeps making things harder for us sellers and I am feeling the full effect of not being found for sure!

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 15 09:55:47 2018

Theres nothing wrong with a sane and smart returns policy.

Too bad eBay doesnt have one.
Too bad eBay cant come up with an original idea ever
Too bad eBay policy is made by people with no ecommerce experience
Too bad eBay tries to coerce sellers into policies that are "anti seller"
Too bad eBay cant work with its sellers instead of against them
Too bad eBay doesnt realize that 14 days should be enough


A used pink bathrobe
A rare mint snowglobe
A Smurf TV tray
I bought on eBay

My house is filled with this crap
Shows up in bubble wrap
Most every day
What I bought on eBay

Tell me why I need another pet rock
Tell me why I got that Alf alarm clock
Tell me why I bid on Shatner's old toupee
They had it on eBay

I'll buy your knick-knack
Just check my feedback
"A++!" they all say
They love me on eBay

Gonna buy a slightly-damaged golf bag
Gonna buy some Beanie Babies, new with tag
From some guy, I've never met, in Norway
Found him on eBay

I am the type who is liable to snipe you
With two seconds left to go
Got PayPal or Visa
What ever'll please ya
As long as I've got the dough

I'll buy your tchotchkes
Sell me your watch, please
I'll buy (I'll buy, I'll buy, I'll buy)
I'm highest bidder now

Junk keeps arriving in the mail
From that worldwide garage sale
A Dukes Of Hazzard ashtray
Hey! A Dukes Of Hazzard ashtray
I bought it on eBay

Wanna buy a PacMan Fever lunchbox
Wanna buy a case of vintage tube socks
Wanna buy a Kleenex used by Dr. Dre,
Found it on eBay

Wanna buy that Farrah Fawcett poster
Pez dispensers and a toaster
Don't know why
The kind of stuff you'd throw away
The way I do
I'll buy on eBay

What I bought on eBay


Should be -

I got throttled on eBay

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

by: OnlyPollyPocket This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 15 10:00:42 2018

@eXtinctBay

Everything you said:  Ditto

I will change to no returns.  I rarely get a return but I am happy to work with a buyer if there really is a problem.  However, not giving carte blanche for any reason under the sun.

Ebay can keep their lousy badge and chintzy 10% discount.  

It is odd, I would think they would want to have TRS sellers if they feel that encourages sales but I've been proven wrong yet again 😉

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue May 15 12:03:47 2018

Changing to NO returns is a BAD idea! Buyers can still file against you and if ruled in their favor they WON'T have to return your product. I changed most of my listings to 30 days buyer pays return shipping about 6 months ago. Not a single return in those 6 months!

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 15 12:18:37 2018

Honestly I don't know how I feel about this change. I can understand sellers of clothing and other high return items would not want to go for this program. I might actually give it shot for awhile to see how it goes. I don't expect sales to go up, but it might be necessary just to keep sales from going down. Besides, if sales increase too much, I will reach one of a dozen limits that will get me throttled anyway.

What is interesting to me in all of this is the fact that many of the false SNAD returns that eBay cites in their ''research'' will just go away. No kidding?? What genius came up with that observation. Sounds more like tacit admission that false SNAD claims are in fact a problem and eBay can't or won't fix it.

Lazy eBay.

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

by: ssusannss This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 15 12:33:39 2018

I sell excellent condition, pre-owned clothing, all seasons, year-round, and did offer 14 day returns for any reason. 30 day return? Oh no...this gives anyone an opportunity to buy clothes for a vacation, use them, then return them. Not everyone would do this, I realize, but I can't chance it. I am not Target or WalMart, and I can't bump my prices to cover rentals because sales come in waves these days. I can go a week without selling something, then I have good sales for three days, then nothing again. I can't count on anything because of the way eBay is burying us at times, and yes, I believe they do. I sure don't make the money I made a few years ago. I am looking at other options, as is everyone else, I just have to make the time to go do it.

Also, as an aside, today is the 15th. I went into my items yesterday to change them all to no returns, and guess what, they had already been changed to 30 day returns by eBay. On the 14th, mid-day....sneaky creepers.  

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

This user has validated their user name. by: FidoMaster
Web Site

Tue May 15 12:41:38 2018

If you sell sized items like apparel, here's a good example of what you're in for:

Buyers will purchase 3 jeans/shoes/blouses/shorts/etc. -- one in "their size" and one-up and one-down from that.

Then they'll try them on and naturally return the other two.

This is fine if you're Nordstrom's or Zappos and have built your entire company around customer LTV.  

Not so much as a transactional mini-fulfillment operation supporting eBay's brand (with your identity/store a barely-visible footnote on the new "Product-Based Shopping Experience").

"Free returns is a retail returns standard and a buyer expectation" my @**.

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue May 15 12:43:12 2018

@mcfiver
If you decide to state No Returns, then you will lose your TRS status.  But before you do that, make sure you are informed on what that decision really means.  It will NOT prevent SNAD claims.  You have to abide by the Money Back Guarantee policy.  You can't get around that.  So before you change your listings, make sure this is what you want to do.  TRS has some perks that can be very important.  So is it worth giving that up just because you are mad.

All you would be doing is hurting yourself in some ways.  Possibly you'd like to consider a 30 day return policy w/ buyer pays for return.  Just a thought to consider.  

Even those that use to have a 14 day return policy really had a 30.  Day 1-14 fell under your return policy and days 15-30 fell under the MBG.

Angrylama is absolutely correct.  Some seller think they are protecting themselves with a No Return policy, but they fail to understand that they HAVE TO comply with the MBG.

I'm just saying, understand your options so you can make an informed decision on what is best for you and your business.  DON'T act in haste or anger.  That is most likely only going to end up hurting YOU!

Perminate Link for eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday   eBay Return Policy Restrictions Take Effect Tuesday

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue May 15 12:53:22 2018

@Rob Owen

You will NOT lose TR status by doing a 30 day return policy.  TRS is NOT at stake here.  It is JUST the discount which is the TRS+ badge on listings.  

TRS+ is by listing.  You have to be TRS FIRST before you can have listings that qualify for TRS+.  You can have a combination of listings as well.  Some that qualify for TRS+ and some that don't.

The ONLY perk of TRS+ is the 10% discount.  NOTHING else is in play if you lose this badge on your listings.

@1st Armored Div. 1971-1973

If a seller chooses not to participate in the Free Return policy, those that are qualified to be TRS will NOT lose their TR status.  ALL TRS can retain it as long as they meet the requirements which does NOT INCLUDE offering free returns.

To become a Top Rated Seller on eBay.com, you must have:

Been active for at least 90 days
At least 100 or more transactions with a minimum of $1000 in sales (US buyers only) over the last 12 months
Uploaded shipment tracking within promised handling time for 90% of transactions during last 3 months
Less than 0.30% of Money Back Guarantee and PayPal Purchase Protection cases closed without seller resolution
A maximum 0.5% of transactions with one or more transaction-related defects for last 3 months (12 months for sellers with less than 400 transactions)
Less than 3% of transactions with late shipping

Top Rated Plus LISTINGS ONLY.
Once a Top Rated Seller, sellers have the option to offer Top Rated Plus listings. These have to provide both:

Fast handling (same day or 1 business day)
Easy returns (30 day Free Returns or longer money back policy)

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