Buyers rights highlighted in listings

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eBay have recently started highlighting buyers return rights on fixed price listings, spelling out that buyers have a minimum of seven working days from receipt of the purchase to change their mind and return it.


While eBay are emphasising the rights of buyers what is less clear are the rights of sellers. In the eBay specified that sellers must accept returns “within 14 days of receipt” even though the minimum proscribed by law for a buyer to change their mind is .

The explanation to sellers is: “We require business sellers to accept returns for a minimum period of 14 calendar days so that the buyer has enough time to let the seller know about the cancellation and post the item back.” It would have been a lot clearer for buyers if eBay had simply specified business sellers must accept returns within 7 working days, as specified by the law, without allowing for transit time.

By informing buyers that they have up to 14 days to return an item, many will interpret this as notifying the seller they wish a return after two weeks (not including transit time), especially as a 14 day returns policy reads “Item must be returned within: 14 Days of receipt”, not “Returned item must be received by the seller within: 14 Days of receipt”.

eBay have effectively increased a minimum requirement of a 7 working day returns policy to a 14 day returns policy. Many sellers have routinely offered returns policies longer than the minimum required by law and if eBay want to insist that all sellers offer extended returns policy, in principle, it’s arguably a good move. What I do disagree with is the confusing messaging as 7 working days, 14 days and no mention of transit time leave buyers without clearly stated, easy to comprehend, returns rights.

16 Responses

  1. I should also add there is no allowance for a returns policy for domestic UK items and a seperate returns policy for international sales. 😯

  2. If I was only allowed one thing to ask it would be that eBay used properly trained staff to write their help pages and instruction boxes.

    The confusion and inconsistency is not only irritating to buyer and seller alike, it affects our own reputations not just that of eBay.

  3. bottom line is as long as I am making money I dont care ,
    though profits are taking a hit at the moment,
    we are becoming less and less able to jump thru all the hoops and still be viable
    we only do ebay for profit
    if its not profitable we dont do it,
    ebay needs to keep this in mind

  4. #5 – let’s face it, eBay sellers are used to bending over and taking it.

  5. North
    I have read several of you blog comments about only being here for the money. At the end of the day we all have bills to pay and if ebay was not a means to earn money none of us would be here. So I don’t disagree with you. I would however like to point out that you take an active part in blog discussions, and there is no money whatsoever here. Isn’t it a case that apart from the business of buying and selling, ebay has had a social element to it for many years? I know that I have enjoyed communicating with buyers and sellers over the years. If ebay continues on the path of business, business, business and forgets that many buyers enter ebay in order to find people who collect the same weird and wonderful things they do, not only will ebay cease to be fun, it will lose business. I don’t think I have ever seen ebay in such a state of disarray with so many sellers seriously looking at alternatives. If ebay is to regain the loyalty of buyers and sellers it needs to get buyer / seller friendly. They have completely cocked up on the feedback issue, and I can only hope that they are picking up on seller dissatisfaction though blogs and PS support. So perhaps contributing to blog subjects is actually good business after all.

  6. #9 – There one line forums for most businesses types, and in all of them you’ll get people complaining that ‘its not what it used to be’ and how they’re ‘thinking of leaving the trade’.

  7. Bag goes our T&C’s then!!!.

    I have seen an more & more sellers adding their (own) T&C’s lately. Many of which say if the buyer does not agree, please do not bid/buy.
    Assuming ‘their’ own terms do not counteract the law of the land, what’s the problem. A buyer can always click somewhere else if they do not want to trade with a seller, because of their T&C’s.

    The problem is, if you state your own overiding T&C’s, will ebay pull your listings for whatever reason they can & then suspend you.

    I think 14 days is to long without some provisions. Some bad buyers will sit on an item, then at the last minute say they want to return it.

    I do wholeheartedly agree though, the period stated by ebay should emphasise it includes return transit time, BUT THEN if it gets delayed or lost what time then applys as far as refunds are concerned.

    Also, what happens if an item is damaged in it’s return tansit. We will deal with this type of problem in transit claims from us to the buyer. can you inmagine what abuyer would do if we had to tell them, it had arrived damaged & to claim off the carrier. There would be NEGS all the way.

    The sellers will loose again.

  8. debbie and glenn
    plenty of profit in me being here, though probably not a lot in my prattling,

    cost me nowt to be here, other than a little time , its often very cost effective use of my time,

    I have learned plenty from this forum ,and knowledge is as good as money!

  9. I have to say that if it wasn’t for Tamebay I wouldn’t know half the things that eBay do and more to the point the things that I am supposed to be doing!

  10. As the DSR’s are not a new thing, I have one question:-

    Why now?, why not years ago?

    ok that was 2 questions :-p

  11. WoW! Yet another confusing ebay policy change. I didn’t even know about this one. I stopped paying attention somewhere along the line. I keep hearing that Ebay wants to be more like Amazon. Amazon is organized. They have rules – yes. They have rules that protect the buyer and the seller. They may have an occasional modification to a policy but nothing like the wrecking ball ebay has become. Very sad. It used to be such a fun place.



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