4 min article

How to handle a return request as a seller

You can choose whether to accept returns if a buyer changes their mind about a purchase. However, if an item arrives damaged, doesn't match the listing description, or if the buyer receives the wrong item, you'll generally need to accept the return.

When you create a listing, you'll add a return policy, which will determine your options if the buyer wants to return an item for "change of mind" (or "remorse") reasons. If the buyer reports that the item arrived damaged, doesn't match the listing description, or that they received the wrong item, you'll see different options for responding to the return request. If the purchase is covered by the eBay Money Back Guarantee policy, you'll have to accept the their return, even if you have a no-returns policy.

When a buyer opens a return request, we'll notify you by email (to your registered email address) and through eBay Messages - opens in new window or tab. You have 3 business days to respond to the request and resolve the buyer's issue. We've outlined your response options below. In some cases, we may automatically accept a return request on your behalf.

If you're unable to sort things out within 3 business days, the buyer may ask us to step in and help find a solution. In some cases, if you haven't responded to the return request, we may refund the buyer and seek reimbursement from you without requiring the buyer to return the item.

Tip
When listing an item, it's important to specify your returns address. If you don't, and the buyer requests a return, the item will be returned to your registration address by default.

 

How to start resolving a return request

Choose the item above to start resolving a return. You can also use the Resolution Centre - opens in new window or tab, or open up your Returns dashboard - opens in new window or tab and select View return details from beside the item.

You'll be able to see the buyer's reason for requesting the return, the date you need to respond by, and any additional comments or photos provided by the buyer.

Check buyer returns

 

Your options for responding to a return request

Your options for responding to a buyer's request depend on the reason they're returning the item, and the return policy you stated in your listing.

The item doesn't match the listing, or it arrived damaged or faulty

If a buyer receives an item that's different to the listing, or if it arrives damaged or faulty and the purchase is covered by eBay Money Back Guarantee, they can return it to you even if your return policy states that you don't accept returns.

If you don't respond to the return request, we may refund the buyer and seek reimbursement from you, without requiring the buyer to send the item back.

Here are your response options:

Accept the return

The buyer will send the item back to you for a full refund, including the original postage cost. You'll also be responsible for covering return postage costs.

eBay may automatically accept a return from a buyer on your behalf if a return postage label is available. Once you've received the item, you have 3 business days to review and issue a refund, or ask eBay to step in and help.

If the item is returned used or damaged, you may qualify to issue a partial refund. See Partial refund guidelines.

How to accept a return

Give a full refund

You'll issue a full refund to the buyer, including original postage costs, and they'll keep the item. This is a good option for low-value items.

How to issue a refund

Offer a partial refund

You'll issue a partial refund to the buyer, and they'll keep the item. This can be useful when the buyer isn't completely satisfied with their purchase. For example, if an item arrived with a minor scratch but the buyer is happy to keep it.

How to offer a partial refund

Send the buyer a message

If you have any questions regarding the buyer's request, you can contact them directly. You can also use this option if you want to offer to send out a replacement item.

How to send the buyer a message


If you respond to the request but don't come to an agreement with the buyer after 3 business days, you or the buyer can ask us to step in and help.

If we're asked to step in and help, we will ask the buyer to return the item to you. Also, if the item is returned used or damaged, you will no longer be able to issue a partial refund to the buyer even if you qualify to issue partial refunds under our seller protections.

 

 

You accept returns in your policy and the buyer changed their mind about a purchase

If you stated in your listing's return policy that you accept returns, your buyer can return the item to you, even if they've changed their mind.

For returns where the buyer is responsible for return postage, we'll automatically accept the return request on your behalf – you just need to wait for the buyer to send the item back and then issue their refund.

If your policy is to offer free returns (you'll cover return postage charges), here are your response options:

Accept the return

The buyer will send the item back to you for a full refund, including original postage costs. You need to choose how you'll arrange for the item to be returned, such as providing a return postage label.

If the item is returned used or damaged, you may qualify to issue a partial refund. See Partial refund guidelines.

How to accept a return

Give a full refund

You'll issue a full refund to the buyer and they'll keep the item. This can be a good option for low-value items.

How to issue a full refund

Offer a partial refund

You'll issue a partial refund to the buyer, and they'll keep the item. This can be useful when the buyer ordered the wrong thing by accident – for example, the wrong colour or size – and you'd like to offer them a gesture of goodwill.

How to offer a partial refund

Send the buyer a message

If you have any questions regarding the buyer's request, you can contact them directly. You can also use this option if you want to offer to let them exchange the item.

How to send the buyer a message


If you respond to the request but don't come to an agreement with the buyer after 3 business days, you or the buyer can ask us to step in and help.

If we're asked to step in and help and the item is returned used or damaged, you will no longer be able to issue a partial refund to the buyer even if you qualify to issue partial refunds under our seller protections.

 

 

You don't accept returns in your policy and the buyer changed their mind about a purchase

If you stated in your listing that you don't accept returns when a buyer changes their mind, you're not obliged to accept their return request. However, if you do, you'll provide a great customer experience that encourages the buyer to purchase from you in the future.

Here are your response options:

Accept the return

The buyer will send the item back to you for a full refund. You can advise the buyer that they'll be responsible for covering return postage costs, or you can provide a label.

If the item is returned used or damaged, you may qualify to issue a partial refund. See Partial refund guidelines.

How to accept a return

Give a full refund

You'll issue a full refund to the buyer and they'll keep the item. This can be a good option for low-value items.

How to issue a full refund

Offer a partial refund

You'll issue a partial refund to the buyer and they'll keep the item. This can be useful when the buyer ordered the wrong thing by accident – for example, the wrong colour or size – and you'd like to offer them a gesture of goodwill.

How to offer a partial refund

Decline the return

You can decline the return request if you've stated in your listing that you don't accept returns.

How to decline a return

Send the buyer a message

If you have any questions regarding the buyer's request, you can contact them directly. You can also use this option if you want to offer to let them exchange the item.

How to send the buyer a message


If you respond to the request but don't come to an agreement with the buyer after 3 business days, you or the buyer can ask us to step in and help.

If we're asked to step in and help and the item is returned used or damaged, you will no longer be able to issue a partial refund to the buyer even if you qualify to issue partial refunds under our seller protections.

 

Tip
In some cases, your response options may differ. For example, you may have opted to automatically accept return requests.

How to accept a return

To accept a return:

  1. Go to your Returns dashboard - opens in new window or tab.
  2. Select View return details beside the item.
  3. Select Accept the return and then Continue.
  4. If you're responsible for return postage, choose how you'll arrange for the item to be returned.
    If the buyer is responsible, choose your return address from the drop-down menu.
  5. Enter a Return Merchandise Authorisation number, if you use them.
  6. Select Confirm.

We'll then ask the buyer to post the return.

How long does a buyer have to send the item back?

Once the return is accepted, we'll provide the buyer with a date by which they should post the item back. If we don't see any indications that the item is on its way back to you, we may close the return to protect you from negative Feedback. Returns cannot be closed at the request of a seller.

  • If you provided a return label: If you gave the buyer a pre-paid postage label and entered the tracking number, we may close the return if we don't see tracking scans or signals from the buyer showing the item was posted within 15 business days of when the label was provided.
  • If you didn't provide a return label: If the buyer is responsible for return postage, we may close the return if we don't see tracking scans or signals showing the item was posted within 15 business days of the return being accepted. If you are responsible for arranging return postage and you don't provide a label, we may wait up to 35 business days from the date the return was accepted before closing the return.
 

How to issue a full refund

To issue a full refund:

  1. Go to your Returns dashboard - opens in new window or tab.
  2. Select View return details beside the item.
  3. Select Give a full refund and then Continue.
  4. On the next page you'll see the refund amount. Select Refund the buyer.
 

How to offer a partial refund

To offer a partial refund:

  1. Go to your Returns dashboard - opens in new window or tab.
  2. Select View return details beside the item.
  3. Select Offer a partial refund and then Continue.
  4. Enter the amount you wish to offer the buyer.
  5. You can choose to add a message to the buyer.
  6. Select Send offer.

You can only offer a partial refund once, and the buyer can choose to accept or reject your offer.

 

How to decline a return

You can only decline a return if the buyer is returning the item because they changed their mind, and your return policy stated you don't accept returns. Here's how:

  1. Go to your Returns dashboard - opens in new window or tab.
  2. Select View return details beside the item.
  3. Select Decline the return and then Continue.
  4. You have the option of entering your reason for declining the request, but it won't be visible to the buyer.
  5. Select Decline return.

The return request will then be closed.

 

How to send the buyer a message

To send the buyer a message:

  1. Go to your Returns dashboard - opens in new window or tab.
  2. Select View return details beside the item.
  3. Select Send the buyer a message and then Continue.
  4. On the next page, enter your message and select Send.
 

How to offer a replacement or exchange

To offer a replacement or alternate item:

  1. Go to your Returns dashboard - opens in new window or tab.
  2. Select View return details beside the item.
  3. Select Send the buyer a message and then Continue.
  4. On the next page, enter your offer to replace or exchange the item and select Send.
 

How to issue a partial refund when the item is returned in a different condition

To issue a partial refund:

  1. Go to your Returns dashboard - opens in new window or tab.
  2. Select View return details beside the item.
  3. Select Decide what to refund.
  4. Select the percentage you want to deduct from the refund amount.
  5. Add a message to the buyer explaining why the refund wasn't full.
  6. Select Send offer.

If we're asked to step in and help and the item is returned used or damaged, you will no longer be able to issue a partial refund to the buyer, even if you qualify to issue partial refunds under our seller protections.

 

How to specify a returns address

  1. From My eBay, select the Account tab.
  2. Select Addresses.
  3. Select Add beside Return address.
  4. Enter your return address and then Save.
 

Payment holds

When a buyer opens a return request, funds related to the sale may be put on hold by PayPal or eBay. We may release the funds if the issue with the return is resolved, or if we resolve a case in your favour.

If you're a managed payments seller, funds subject to a hold released by eBay will be paid out to you in your next scheduled payout. Learn more about payment holds for managed payments sellers.

Refunding the buyer

When you agree to give the buyer their money back, or once you receive the returned item, you'll need to issue their refund within 3 business days. To do this, simply go to the case in your Returns dashboard - opens in new window or tab and choose Refund buyer. If you don't refund the buyer within 3 business days of receiving the item, and the buyer has uploaded return tracking, we may automatically issue a refund to them on your behalf.

When you issue a refund to the buyer via eBay:

  • They'll be refunded through their original payment method. Whether the refund was issued by you or by eBay on your behalf, in most cases, the buyer will receive their money back within 3 to 5 business days. However, depending on the payment method the buyer used, it can take up to 30 days to process the refund. (Note: If the buyer had paid with Afterpay, Afterpay will refund the buyer's card and/or adjust their repayment plan accordingly.) If you're a managed payments seller, learn how refunds work.
  • We'll automatically relist your item for you. If you don't want your item to be relisted, simply clear the Relist item or Relist item after cancellation box when issuing the refund.
  • We may credit your final value fee, provided you had issued a full refund to your buyer without us stepping in. Learn more about fee credits.

Tip
Carefully check the returned item before issuing a refund. Eligible sellers may be able to deduct an amount from the refund if an item is returned used or damaged (see Partial refund guidelines below).

Partial refund guidelines where the item is returned used or damaged

In most cases, you'll issue a full refund to the buyer, but in certain situations it may be appropriate to give a partial refund. If your listing offers free returns or has an eBay Plus badge, you'll have the option to issue a partial refund where the item is returned used, altered or damaged. Learn more about our seller protections.

See the table below for guidance on issuing a partial refund.

Refund deduction guidelines table

Condition of return

Refund deduction guidance

Excellent condition:
  • Unused, undamaged, or unaltered
  • All items included in the original package
  • Factory or vacuum seal must not be broken/opened (if applicable)
  • Original tags included & attached (where applicable)
  • Must include provided certificates of authenticity, grading or appraisal

No deductions

Good condition:
  • Missing original packaging
  • Factory or vacuum seal is broken/opened but the item is still in its original condition
  • Original tags included but unattached

5%–10% deduction

Fair condition:
  • Missing parts
  • Some signs of wear or use
  • Item has been installed
  • Item has been registered or user has not logged out of the device's account, and cannot easily be set back to factory settings
  • Original tags missing

15%–30% deduction

Poor condition:
  • Significant signs of wear, or significantly different than how it was sent to the buyer
  • Missing essential parts
  • Item is damaged, scratched, defective, or requires service or repair
  • Missing provided certificates of authenticity, grading or appraisal
  • Opened items that cannot be resold (perishables, liquor, makeup)

35%–50% deduction

How to issue a partial refund after the item is returned

Misuse of this feature

Seller protections are intended to give you confidence when providing provide buyers with exceptional experiences, such as offering free returns. The partial refund feature may not be used to recoup market losses on items returned in the same condition or recoup return postage and restocking fees.

A partial refund may only be used to recoup losses when an item is returned used or damaged. Sellers who misuse seller protections may be subject to a range of actions, such as losing access to this feature, or suspension from buying, selling or using other site features.

 

Get help from eBay

We know that you want to provide buyers with a great experience, but sometimes you're not able to reach an agreement. If you and the buyer haven't been able to resolve the issue within 3 business days, we're always ready to step in and help.

If we're asked to step in and help and the item is returned used or damaged, you will no longer be able to issue a partial refund to the buyer, even if you qualify to issue partial refunds under our seller protections.

Learn more about asking eBay for help.

The buyer is entitled to return an item that arrives faulty or damaged – even if you said in your listing that you don't accept returns.

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