Many sellers ask questions such as “Do I have to refund the postage a buyer paid if they return the item” and “Do I have to pay the return postage”. As a business seller the simple answer to those two questions is “Yes” and “Maybe”, for more information you need to familiarise yourself with the
Most business sellers strive to create terms and conditions, including returns policies, which comply with the law. Others do their best to argue the finer points and a few simply ignore the law and apply their own conditions. There’s also a confusion as to which legislation applies to immediate purchase items and which apply to auctions.
It’s worth noting that in some cases by abiding by the law you actually get more favourable terms, an example being under the Distance Selling Regulations (DSR) a buyer can return the item at will for up to three months and seven working days. By complying with the DSR this can be reduced to just seven working days.
In reality you can have whatever terms and conditions you choose at will. So long as you inform the buyer of their rights under the law you don’t have to apply the law in preference to your own terms unless specifically asked to.
So now you know that your selling terms and return policy can be almost anything you like, what should you do? The real answer is having terms which meet the legal requirements in the first place isn’t a bad policy and in fact there’s a great arguement for going further than the minimum that the law insists on.
Firstly it’s worth bearing in mind that if you accept credit cards, PayPal or similar payment methods buyers will have more protection automatically, and that includes items from private sellers and eBay auctions.
Whilst the disclaimer “These terms do not affect your statutory rights” could be used to offer poorer service than the law demands, how much more impressive is it to say “The law says we don’t have to refund your return postage but we will anyway”? Or “You only had seven working days to return that item and it’s now two weeks but we’ll accept a return regardless”?
Giving the customer better service than the law demands is the mark of the best companies. On eBay if you’re fair to customers you’ll be successful, the best sellers will get the best rewards in terms of repeat business and feedback.
Don’t look at the minimum service you can give and hide behind a buyers statutory rights. Look to give the very best service you can and exceed your buyers expectations.