4 min overview

Manage returns, missing items and refunds for sellers

Here's everything you need to know if something goes wrong with an order, or a buyer changes their mind and doesn't want the item any more.

If a customer has a problem with their order, or if they change their mind about a purchase, they'll get in touch with you and ask for help. Once the buyer tells you there's a problem, you've got 3 business days to resolve it.

If an item has gone missing and hasn't arrived, you'll either need to provide additional/more detailed tracking information, or offer a replacement or refund. If the buyer got their item but it's faulty, damaged, or doesn't match the listing, you'll have to work with them to resolve their issue – you'll also have to cover the return postage costs. If they changed their mind, how you can respond (and who pays for return postage) will depend on your return policy.

  1. What to do if a buyer has an issue
  2. If you weren't able to resolve the buyer's issue, ask eBay to step in
  3. Tips for avoiding issues with buyers

What to do if a buyer has an issue

Help a buyer with an item that hasn't arrived

If a buyer doesn't receive their item, they're entitled to a refund unless you can provide tracking information showing that it was delivered. When a buyer lets you know there's a problem, you should work with them to come to a solution that works for both of you.

Handle a return request

If the buyer wants to return an item to you, your options for responding will depend on why they want to send it back. If the item is damaged, faulty, or doesn't match the listing description, they're covered by the eBay Money Back Guarantee, and you'll have to refund them or replace the item even if you don't offer returns. If they've changed their mind, your options will depend on your return policy.

Return postage

If you accept a return from the buyer, they'll need to send the item back to you before you issue a refund or send out a replacement. If the buyer is sending an item back because it doesn't match the listing description or it arrived damaged or faulty, you're responsible for the cost of return postage, even if you don't offer returns. If they changed their mind or ordered the wrong item, who pays for return postage is determined by your return policy.


If you weren't able to resolve the buyer's issue, ask eBay to step in

Ask eBay to step in

If you and the buyer haven't been able to come to an agreement after 3 business days, you can ask us to step in and resolve the issue. We'll assess all the information and come to a decision. It's important to remember that if you ask us to step in and we decide the case in the buyer's favour, it can count against your seller performance – so you should only ask us for help when you've exhausted all other options.

Appeal eBay's decision on a case

If you disagree with our decision after we've been asked to step in, you can ask us to take another look. To request an appeal, you'll have to provide additional details for us to take into consideration, such as photographs showing there's nothing wrong with the item. We'll review your new information, and get back to you with our final decision, usually within 48 hours.


Tips for avoiding issues with buyers

Set up your return policy

When you sell on eBay, you need to state whether you accept returns or not, and if so, under what conditions. Whatever you decide your policy is, it needs to be clearly specified in your listings. You can also set up rules to automatically accept returns or issue immediate refunds. Handling some returns automatically can not only save you time, but also means your customer gets their request sorted out straight away.

Avoid disputes with buyers

To avoid problems in the future, our article has best practices for creating listings and tips on how to pack and send items, as well as how you should communicate with buyers.

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