15 mins article

Selling practices policy

By keeping some basic selling practices in mind, you'll be able to create a great experience for your buyers.

Our full selling practice guidelines below provide a range of tips for helping ensure you keep your buyers happy. They cover areas such as the item description, your terms and conditions, postage and handling charges, delivery times, communication, returns and photos.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Why do I need to specify the location of the item in my listing?

Buyers like to know where the item is being sent from as it helps to give them an idea of how much postage will cost and how long it might take for the item to arrive. Having an inaccurate item location can cause confusion and lead to a poor experience for your buyer.

What should I include in my terms and conditions?

Be very clear and thorough about the terms of the transaction and include information about the forms of payment you accept, your postage costs and your return policy. Being upfront and honest about these terms helps build trust and provides a positive buying experience for your customers.

Do I have to accept returns?

You don't have to accept returns, but we highly recommend you do – it may help you attract more buyers.

If you do accept returns, you'll also need to specify the time period when you'll accept returns and who pays for the return postage.

Read our full policy

Selling practices policy overview

Setting clear buyer expectations and then meeting or exceeding them is a great way to make your buyer happy and ensure a smooth transaction.

Some of the simplest things you can do are to provide accurate and consistent details about your items and to be clear and specific about the terms and conditions of the sale. You should also make every effort to provide excellent customer service from start to finish, including:

  • Charging reasonable postage and handling costs
  • Specifying your handling time and return policy in your listing
  • Responding to buyers' questions promptly
  • Being professional throughout the transaction
  • Making sure the item is delivered to the buyer as described in your listing
  • Frequently reviewing and updating listings to make sure all information – such as inventory status and item condition – is accurate and up to date

To help you meet our seller performance standards, we have some basic requirements all sellers must meet. We also have tips on how you can meet – and exceed – buyers' expectations.

What are the guidelines?

Make sure you follow these guidelines. If you don't, you may be subject to a range of actions. We may limit, restrict or suspend you from buying, selling or using site features. All of your listings may be removed, displayed lower or not shown in search results, without refunding any or all applicable fees. You may also forfeit special account status and any discounts. You may be subject to the application of fees and recovery of our expenses in policy monitoring and enforcement.

Postage service

Buyers expect their items to be delivered on time, especially when they pay additional fees for express postage services. Using a slower postage service than the one selected by the buyer during checkout may result in the item being delivered later than expected, and an increase in claims for items not received.

What to do

  • Offer postage options in your listings only after reviewing their costs and delivery speeds
  • Send items using postage options with features that meet or exceed those the buyer selected

What not to do

  • Use postage options with features that do not meet those selected by the buyer. For example, using a standard delivery service with a maximum delivery estimate of 7 days when the buyer selected express delivery with a delivery estimate of 3 days.

Postage and handling charges

Make sure you clearly specify postage charges and related service charges in your listings.

What you can charge

  • Actual postage cost: This is the amount for posting the item. It should be what you paid the carrier.
  • Handling cost: This can include the cost of packaging materials.
  • Delivery confirmation and extra services: If these options are offered to the buyer, you can only charge what they actually cost.

Free postage

  • You can offer free postage Australia-wide, and to select or all countries around the world.
  • For a destination to which you've specified free postage, no other fees related to postage, handling or packaging can be charged.
  • You're not allowed to change the postage method to a method that is slower than the slowest one indicated in the listing.
  • You're not allowed to offer free postage to one destination and then exclude posting to certain places within that destination. For example, choosing free postage within Australia in the listing form, then charging extra or excluding buyers from specific suburbs/regions such as Tasmania and Perth. You can select different postage rates for different areas by using domestic postage rate tables. Exemptions to this policy may apply if you are excluding regions to comply with the law.

If you offer free postage in your listing – and we can confirm the buyer didn't pay for postage – you'll automatically receive a 5-star detailed seller rating for postage and handling charges.

Postage and handling time

Buyers want to know when they can expect to get their items.

What to do

  • Specify in your listing clearly and accurately when the item will be sent.
  • Send items immediately after purchase (see our Pre-sale listings policy for more details).
  • Use tracking, delivery or signature confirmation. Using delivery confirmation can help protect you if a buyer claims an item wasn't received.
  • Note: We require proof of signature to confirm delivery for items with a total cost of $750 or more. Having signature confirmation can help protect you if a buyer reports that they didn't receive an item. Learn more about eBay Money Back Guarantee.
  • You're required to select the postage option that best matches the postage service that you offer in the listing. This helps set buyer expectations about when the item will be delivered.

What not to do

  • If PayPal doesn't make your funds available immediately from payments for an item you sold, you're not allowed to hold shipment until the funds are released.
  • Note: Holding shipment may lead to a late shipment being recorded, which may affect your seller level or lead to restrictions on your postage options and handling times.

Listing formats without handling time

  • Classified Ads
  • Real Estate Ad format

Categories that don't require handling time

  • All Motor Vehicle categories
  • Real Estate
  • Specialty Services


Special consideration for specific sellers, categories or items

In certain categories we may require tracking information, specific or maximum handling times, or both. This is to enhance the buying experience and to meet industry standards for some items.

We'll automatically remove low detailed seller ratings for postage time if you offer same business day or one business day handling and upload valid postage tracking information within one business day of receiving cleared payment.

Terms and conditions

It's important that you clearly specify the terms and conditions of the sale in your listing so that buyers know what to expect.

What to do

You're required to include the following details in your listing:

  • Forms of payment you accept, including at least one safer payment method
  • Return policy
  • Handling time
  • Postage method and cost
  • Terms of the transaction

You're required to meet the expectations you've set in your listing:

  • Ensure the safe delivery of the item within the timeframe stated in your listing
  • Comply with the Pre-sale listings policy where applicable
  • Items you list must be in your inventory or you must have an existing agreement with a third party to fulfil the delivery of the item under the terms of your listing

Tracking

Providing tracking details for items you've sold is an industry standard and something that your buyers expect. Tracking data lets buyers know where their item is throughout the delivery process, and can be critical in cases where the buyer claims they didn't receive an item. Learn more about uploading tracking information.

What to do

  • Upload accurate tracking details
  • Upload tracking details within your specified handling time
  • Mark the item as 'Sent' in My eBay or Seller Hub once it has been sent

What not to do

  • Upload information other than valid tracking in the tracking field, including tracking not associated with the transaction
  • Upload tracking information later than the handling time window promised in your listing

Item location misrepresentation

When a buyer purchases an item, they expect it to be sent from the item location included in the listing. Including false, inaccurate, vague or misleading item location information may lead to confusion around delivery time and postage costs.

What to do

  • Include accurate item location descriptions. The city and state, or city and country should match appropriately. For example:
    • Hong Kong, China
    • Sydney, Australia
    • Omaha, Nebraska, United States

What not to do

  • Provide incorrect or inaccurate item location
  • State 'Australia' when the item is actually being sent from China
  • Include inaccurate, vague or misleading item location descriptions, such as:
    • Beijing, United Kingdom
    • Hong Kong, Australia
    • Worldwide, Singapore
    • Direct from manufacturer to, United States
    • Somewhere in Florida, United States
  • Include item location information in the item description that doesn't match the information in the item location field
  • Include inconsistent information in your return policy around the item location which may result in higher return costs or confusion for buyers

Item description

The listing page is where buyers get most of their information about an item. Information in the listing helps buyers decide what to buy and know what to expect when they receive the item. It's important to make sure that the listing is only used to describe the item for sale and to communicate the terms of the sale in a professional way.

What to do

You're required to:

  • Specify the condition of the item
  • Describe any defects or flaws in the item – this helps avoid problems or buyer dissatisfaction

Note: When selling a used, refurbished or flawed item, you must include photos of the actual item for sale instead of a stock photo.

For more information, refer to our Item description policy.

Cancel transactions

Occasionally, you may need to cancel a transaction because the item is broken, you made a mistake in your listing, or the item is out of stock. In these cases, you must first contact the buyer and let them know that you are cancelling the transaction and the reason why. Make sure you use the correct process in My eBay or Seller Hub to cancel these transactions. Learn more about cancelling a transaction.

What to do

  • Inform the buyer that you are canceling the transaction with the reason
  • Cancel the transaction up to 30 days after the sale
  • Use the correct process in My eBay or Seller Hub to cancel the transaction:

What not to do

  • Fail to inform the buyer that you are cancelling the transaction
  • Cancel the transaction more than 30 days after the sale
  • Fail to use the correct process in My eBay or Seller Hub to cancel the transaction
  • Select the wrong cancellation reason in order to avoid a defect on your account

Communication

Do whatever you can to provide excellent customer service. Meeting or exceeding buyers' expectations can help you improve your performance on eBay.

What to do

  • Respond promptly to any questions during the bidding or buying process, as well as after the item has been purchased
  • Communicate professionally, including emails
  • Be responsive to any buyer concerns or problems

What not to do

  • You're not allowed to use profane or offensive language with anyone on eBay
  • You're not allowed to send anyone on eBay inappropriate images including nudity, profanity or other general content not related to an eBay listing

Most often, transactions without additional communication are a sign of great service, and you shouldn't receive low detailed seller ratings for communication in these situations.

To give you credit for transactions where a buyer doesn't need to contact you, you'll automatically receive a 5-star detailed seller rating for Communication if:

  • You specify either same business day or one business day handling and upload tracking information within one business day of payment being received
  • The item is paid for via PayPal
  • There are no buyer- or seller-initiated communications in eBay Messages
  • There are no requests for contact information between you and the buyer

Note: Best Offers, Second Chance Offers, invoices and invoice requests – even if they contain messages added by the buyer or seller – don't affect automatic 5-star detailed seller ratings for communication. You'll still qualify for an automatic 5-star communication detailed seller rating if you or your buyers send these types of communications.

Communication between a buyer and seller isn't undesirable. If you exchange messages – and the buyer is satisfied with your response – you may receive five stars for communication based on their interaction with you.

Returns

You aren't required to accept returns, but if you do, you must honour your stated return policy.

When you choose to accept returns, a buyer can return an item for any reason, including if they change their mind about a purchase. As long as the return meets the options you selected for your return policy, you are required to honour the return.

We encourage you to accept returns – it helps increase buyer confidence.

What to do

  • If you don't want to accept returns, make sure that you've cleared both the International returns and Domestic returns check boxes when listing your item.
  • If you accept returns, you must select:
    • The time period in which a buyer must notify you about a return
    • Who pays for return postage.

Remember, buyers who purchase from you are entering into a contract with you based on the details you included in your listing, including the options you selected for your return policy. Therefore, you may not add to or alter your returns criteria once an item has been purchased.

Even if you specify that you don't accept returns, a buyer may still open a return request under eBay Money Back Guarantee if the item doesn't match the listing description.

Learn more about creating your return policy.

Refunds by law

In Australia, consumers have a legal right to obtain a refund from a business for goods purchased if the goods are faulty, not fit for purpose or don't match the description. Learn more about sellers' obligations under Australian Consumer Law.

You're not allowed to include information in your listing or return policy which may mislead buyers about their rights. You must advise buyers that they may have rights under the Australian Consumer Law.

For example, saying "I only accept refunds for faulty products within 3 days" is misleading because under Australian Consumer Law, faulty goods can be returned within a reasonable period of time from purchase – and 3 days is unlikely to be reasonable.

Photos

Along with the description, photos are the most important part of a listing. Photos help buyers to see exactly what they're getting as well as specific details they may be looking for. When selling used items, photos are especially important because they let the buyer see the actual condition of the item along with other details like colour.

For more information, refer to our Picture policy.

Other rules for sellers

You're responsible for reviewing and understanding our rules for sellers, as well as all relevant laws and regulations in your User Agreement. Knowing our policies before you list an item can lead to smoother, more successful transactions, and it can help you avoid breaking rules by mistake.

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