14 day returns policy sneaked onto auctions

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From yesterday it became mandatory for all business sellers to specify a 14 day returns policy for fixed price listings on eBay. The eBay help pages specifically state “” and the original announcement outlined the requirement to accept “”.

That was until TameBay reader Niel, of , spotted eBay automatically appending a 14 day returns policy to his auctions. The policy appears for auction style listings when:

  • You list an auction style listing using the SYI form
  • You change an auction to “no returns” and then use “sell similar item”, the new listing form has the 14 day returns policy ticked again
  • If you open the listing to edit it the 14 day returns policy will be automatically ticked again

I can understand why eBay might do this for fixed price listings (BIN, SIF and SCO) as it is now mandatory, but not on auctions. If you’re a seller who chooses not to accept returns on auctions you’ll need to monitor listings closely to make sure eBay don’t sneak in a returns policy without you noticing.

7 Responses

  1. I would like to see the loophole closed that allows business sellers to refuse returns on new items just because they were listed at auction.

    I don’t think eBay should be making sellers of used items accept returns, but I have no problem if the items are new.

  2. I could be wrong Taex, but I don’t think the law distinguishes between new and used under the distance selling regulations.

    The auction/fixed price distinction is from a customer service standpoint debateable and I for one am not going to offer returns on one but not the other. It would be a very poor buyer experience to for instance, tell them they can’t return the item they won on auction but they can return the accessories they bought on BIN to go with it 😯

  3. Yes Chris! Was looking earlier at a seller of S/H clothing (not knickers) complaining re DSR (legal type). I am sure that the SIF situation is cut and dried.
    I often sell same stuff in auction and in shop. Will (continue to) offer the returns option on both if only to keep possible repeat buyers onside.
    I guess the issue may be addressed by the question of a possible repeat buyer?

  4. I guess the issue may be addressed by the question of a possible repeat buyer?

    For me the issue is simply I can’t be arsed to argue if a buyer should or should not receive top quality service aka be allowed to change their mind. I don’t have the time nor the patience… if they don’t want it they can send it back and have their money back while I bugger off and play golf rather than argue with them 😀

    Simplistic maybe, but I’m not in the business of forcing people to do business with me, I just want the easy ones that are happy and if they’re not I’d rather refund em and let them go on their way than make their life hell refusing returns 🙂

  5. I agree with Chris (although I certainly won’t be playing golf!) – I’ve always had 7 day returns on both auctions and BIN, whether the stuff is new or second hand. If ebay demand 14 days on BIN items then it will be 14 days on everything, it’s too complicated for both me and the buyer to bugger about with different t&cs for different items. And for the record, I have never had anything returned for no real reason, just the odd CD that “jumps” – well I can accept that that will happen now and again with second hand CDs (and some CD players are temperamental anyway).
    Like Chris, I can’t be arsed to argue.

  6. We go a step further and offer a refund on return postage from “anywhere” in the world if the customer is not happy in any way…

    Now in all the years we have done this, the returns can be counted on one hand.

    The confidence the buyer has?


    Its about having a “them” focus.

    It is easy to tell when a seller has a “me” focus.

    They will tell you in their listings.

    The only concerns I have with Ebay of late is that despite our excellent DSR’s we are not eligible for FVF discounts (based in the UK, listing on .com).

    And all their changes have been implemented with nothing to protect our business from a bad buyer.

    The ability not to have feedback withdrawn is a major oversight on the part of Ebay.


  7. sod offering return postage too
    we are a business not a charity



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