eBay UK business sellers must accept returned goods

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eBay UK have just announced that for fixed price items that are returned within 14 days of receipt. As eBay acknowledge, this goes beyond the legal minimum period of 7 working days after receipt, “so that the buyer has enough time to let the seller know about the cancellation and post the item back.”

It’s fantastic news that eBay are starting to enforce buyers’ legal rights and to stop sellers over-riding them, and should be welcomed as such by all legitimate sellers. In fact, by making sellers state a returns period, eBay do business sellers a favour: under the , sales which have not specified a different returns period default to giving buyers three months to change their mind.

But there’s still wiggle-room for the unscrupulous: eBay haven’t specified how a returns policy is to be communicated to buyers. Hiding it away in small print on a terms and conditions page is very different to having it advertised in the “returns policy” box on each listing, and eBay should have specified an expectation (if not a standardisation) of how sellers communicate this information.

The real bad news is that this applies to SIF listings as well as BIN, and so SIF listings which have made sales will need to be ended and relisted if they state a 7 day returns period. This is one time when eBay really should make it possible for all sellers to edit all their listings at the touch of a button.

As previously announced, from 1st May UK sellers will also need to provide their business name and geographic address on at least one of the view item page, about me page or a custom shop page no more than one click from the front of their shop.

21 Responses

  1. great news,

    I am tired of buyers assuming all sellers are shady back street spivs,

  2. though I dont agree with the our address being made so available to everyone and anyone,

    we deal in some very valuable items, we dont need to tell everyone on the planet where we are, if only buyers know who and where we are at least we have a starting point if we have a problem

  3. Shame they couldn’t have given at least a 30 day notice though, as then I could just change the details straight away on new listings rather than having to go in and change all the shop items.

    Someone hasn’t got a lot of common sense in the timing of these things…

  4. Lynne: yes, more notice would have been nice. 😥

    Biggles: just to clarify for everyone else, business to business transactions are not covered by the DSR. However, there is nothing in eBay’s announcement that exempts them from eBay’s rules.

  5. I notice on the page linked to from the announcement it specifically states:

    “The UK Distance Selling Regulations do not apply to eBay auction format listings on eBay.co.uk, and do not apply to all types of items.”

    Is this the first time eBay have actually taken this stance publically?

  6. Steve, I am sure I have seen it somewhere before – possibly in a pink posting on one or other of the boards. I know that there was a judgement made (last year I think) that it would only apply to BINs or SILs. Personally, I’ve just changed my templates globally to make returns 14 days including auctions.

    If someone wants to return, then they can as far as I am concerned. I want a happy returning buyer not someone feeling aggrieved and disappointed for whatever reason….

  7. I am not bothered by these changes, as I dont get many returns, and if I had a request for one well after the stated
    time I’d still honour it. I’v had like 5 in the last couple years.

    I dont like the way eBay are sticking their oar in. All the requirements are covered by legislation, we dont need eBay parsing the legal requirements through eBay Towers for their spin.

    Are returns such a big problem???

  8. Not for me, I suppose I’ve had maybe 4 or 5 in the 6 years I have been trading on eBay…

    But for a lot of people buying it is a problem if the seller flatly refuses to allow refunds for any reason at all. I can understand why they have decided to introduce their own rules. Don’t forget these are eBay rules, not DSR rules….

  9. Why don’t ebay just remove the 7 days option from the drop-down menu in the return section? Default will then be 14 as they want, or sellers can select 30.
    Saves everyone who has 7 from messing about changing everything.

  10. Nah, I’ve changed it in my template from now, but I’m doing nothing until the day comes around. Lots of eBay things happen between declaring something WILL happen and getting to the actual date it happens… I don’t jump at anything anymore…

    Louise, they may well take the option out, but with BINs still with possible short durations, they wouldn’t do that until 1st May.

  11. Like all the changes, once you give it 30 seconds to “ferment” in your thought process, you can see that it is a very positive move. Amazon insist on 30 days, so 14 days is still a way off that. Depending on your viewpoint, maybe they should have gone the whole hog and said 30 day return policy like the nearest competitor?

    Incidentally I had a chat with my account manager yesterday and she was saying that even more changes are planned for the next 6 months. She said that ebay would be hardly recognisable in 6 months time ❓ . They really feel like they have to come out fighting if they want to maintain the market share that they have. I wholeheartedly support them, it’s time to end ebays shady, back street, out of a suitcase image that it has unfairly received. Most of the sellers are good decent people, these changes will make it VERY difficult for dodgy dealers to operate, so applause from us!

  12. Louise: I think if they just changed all “7 days return” to “14 days return”, without sellers’ approval, there would be a huge outcry that eBay were editing our T&Cs without our permission. Though it would be convenient in this instance, I don’t think we want to send them the message that it’s permissable to do that!

  13. “I’ve worn this dress now / watched this DVD” and want to return it because ebay say I can.

    If you don’t like it I’ll leave you neg feedback and there is nothing you can do about it.

  14. There are many laws and regulations out there that protect us sellers too, Shame Ebay are not as pro-active in implementing and enforcing them.

  15. “I’ve worn this dress now / watched this DVD” and want to return it because ebay say I can.

    If you don’t like it I’ll leave you neg feedback and there is nothing you can do about it.”

    must admit I have some concerns about this too

    cant remember the last time we had a return
    and we have always refunded without argument
    so I dont think it will be a big problem in my categories,
    though in some others its bound to be a problem

  16. Sue Bailey Says:

    April 11th, 2008 at 7:13 pm
    Louise: I think if they just changed all “7 days return” to “14 days return”, without sellers’ approval, there would be a huge outcry that eBay were editing our T&Cs without our permission.

    By forcing me to change without my approval from 7 to 14 they already are.

  17. We’ve had our full contact details on our eBay “About Me” pages since 2000 and never had any problems with it. It’s in graphic form so it can’t be scrapped or purloined into any third party database.

    As for the 7- or 14-day return policy, we’ve had a 45-day “no questions, right of return” policy since 2001. It’s only been used four or five times and mostly for “unwanted” gifts. Our items are mostly collectibles, so provided they are returned in their original packaging without damage, we are happy to accept returns. We simply split up the sets and recycle them as “free” gifts for our repeat or high value customers.

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