eBay UK considers default returns policy for CSA

No primary category set

boomerangeBay UK is consulting sellers on the possibility of imposing a minimum returns policy on all sellers in the Clothing, Shoes and Accessories category. In a post on the PowerSeller board (PS login required), Pink Elisabeth says

we are in the process of exploring whether to establish a default minimum standard return policy (that reflects the minimum legal standard) for all Business sellers in the CSA category (with a view to roll out to other categories). In addition to the minimum standard, we are also considering offering additional flexibility to sellers to enhance select return policy components by adjusting set variables (e.g. – # days of cancellation, seller pays return costs when buyers change their mind). This would allow sellers who choose to go further than the minimum requirement to keep offering this type of service to their customers.

She then asks for feedback from sellers on this: do we like the idea, do we like the idea of a policy slightly more generous than the legal minimum, do we want to be able to specify who pays returns costs, and – bizarrely – how should eBay roll out this change?

Having argued myself that eBay should enforce the law on returns, I start off being in favour of this change – but when I see them even considering not allowing sellers to specify who pays returns, and how many days cancellation buyers can have, my heart sinks. I’ve lost count of the number of times over the past decade I’ve thought “this was almost a great policy, but eBay screwed it up”.

Please, Elisabeth, don’t let this be another case of that. Enforce the law, but beyond that, let sellers run their businesses. Put a couple of radio buttons in to choose between “buyer pays return shipping” and “seller pays return shipping”. Put a “how many days” box in that can’t be set to fewer than 7 days. It’s not complicated.

But more than anything, do something about the sellers who are ignoring both the law, and the existing eBay policy. We barely need more rules – what we need is eBay to enforce the ones they’ve got.

If you have a PS login, please go over to the thread and leave your thoughts – and, PS or not, leave us a comment here too.

Image credit: Ale Paiva on Stock Xchng

14 Responses

  1. Yes enforce the law but don’t force us to pay return P&P unless it is faulty.

    Also yesterday I completed an eBay survey on proposed changes to the item condition specifics with the stated aim of reducing disagree between buyers and sellers leading to returns.

    The new item conditions were:

    New; New: with minor defects; Used; Damaged/for parts.

    I was concerned that the proposed definition of new was, “A new, unused, unopened item with absolutely no signs of wear. The item may not be in its original packaging, and/ or may be packaged in non retail or non-standard packaging”

    If I received an item described as new but was not in its original packaging I would be disappointed.

  2. Oh Lord.

    The last thing we need is eBay getting in the way of giving customers with problems great customer service.

    By all means enforce the law by examining our published returns procedures and customer experiences of them (I thought this was already a requirement — for business sellers to accept returns within 14 days).

    Until eBay have an 0800 number and a person who answers it and deals with a buyer’s problem live, their proposed solution isn’t as good as letting my staff get on with it. They don’t want to get involved in this level of granularity and detail: “there are just too many of you” and so resort to progammatic solution (imagine a “menu” of returns options, I can hear being said at the meeting).

    Buyers *hate* “having to use eBay” to get a refund and leave feedback accordingly. It’s bad enough persuading them to use the resolution centre to cancel a transaction once we’ve given them a full and immediate refund (around 50% of our returns customers can/will/are bothered).

    Incidentally there was a focus group run for eBay on this topic two weeks ago which I was invited to, but disinvited from since I had in my life met a person who worked at eBay. Representative focus group, then.

  3. Yes enforce the law but don’t force us to pay return P&P unless it is faulty.

    Now there’s a can of worms… 😆

  4. Enforce the law only.

    99% of the probs on ebay would not be there, if it was policed properly in the first place.

    sellers are getting abused as it is.

  5. I can’t help but agree it’s a good idea for eBay to guide sellers to comply with the law. However I think it unfair for eBay to insist that sellers go further than the absolute minimum that the law proscribes.

    Personally I don’t give a stuff what the law says (although I comply) because my customer service by far exceeds the minimum requirements. However I want the choice to implement the minimum if I so wish (e.g. if a buyer negs me they’ll get the absolute minimum that the law demands).

    If eBay concentrated on removing illegal T’s and C’s from the site (especially the “I’m not responsible for lost in post”) then eBay would be a much happier place for buying from.

  6. That sellers comply with the law should be a given.

    eBay has been talking about sorting out 99p/private sellers/overseas sellers for months now but still nothing has been done.

    You have whole categories which a swamped with items which do not comply with UK legislation (silver which is not hallmarked for example) but still nothing is done.

    You have sellers blatantly abusing eBay rules (call this number for bulk order, URL’s in listing) and nothing is done.

    eBay needs to start taking on some of the responsibility for providing a good customer experience.

  7. The trouble with systems i.e like a return system is the assumption you have covered every angle, the trouble occurs when messy non-conforming humans get involved, eBays track record of ‘improvements’ is pretty poor.

    Regarding the wider issue:
    eBay are like the current government, endless legislation and no enforcement. As Jimbo, Whirly et al point out there are a lot of issues out there that are not being enforced by eBay.

    Currently I have been absolutely staggered at the amount of ‘private’ sellers with hundreds or thousands of listings the majority of which are below £0.99 (Free listing as a private seller is no incentive to register as a business). Putting yet more pressure on existing properly registered business sellers will also be counter productive.



Graham Forsdyke – The man who changed British retail forever

Strike at DHL impacts Amazon shipping

Amazon Prepaid Return Labels mandatory for all returns


eBay Spring 2020 Seller Release: Faster Returns


eBay UK Spring Seller Release:
Returns policies


eBay pricing promo: final value fees capped at £1 for eligible private sellers

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.


Take a look through a selection of the latest articles on ChannelX

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars