eBay UK Spring Seller Release:
Returns policies

No primary category set

eBay research has shown that returns are a real priority when buyers decide to shop, and that some sellers could benefit from improved conversion by extending their returns policies. With this in mind, eBay are updating their returns policies to meet customer expectations and the standards in today’s market.

In a nutshell, 30 day returns policies are the new norm and eBay will make them mandatory in some categories from August 2018. eBay are also reducing the number of returns policy options within select categories, to make things simpler.

As an added benefit, you may see a conversion lift by updating your existing return policies. In 2017, eBay found that sellers who changed their returns policies from 14-day to 30-day returns experienced an average 13% lift in their conversion rate. Although individual results may vary, the conversion lift is based on data from eBay UK during October to December 2017 and is normalised by Seller Standard, item price and category.

From talking to sellers, it’s interesting to note that often a more generous returns policy has zero or little effect on the number of items that are actually returned – this move is much more likely to increase your sales than increase returns.

Categories where 14-day returns will no longer be available

  • Fashion
  • Health & Beauty
  • Home & Garden
  • Sports, Hobbies & Leisure
  • Media
  • Vehicle Parts & Accessories

4 returns policy options available within these categories

  • 30-day buyer pays return postage
  • 30-day free returns
  • 60-day buyer pays return postage
  • 60-day free returns

Update now (or wait for eBay to automatically update your listings)

eBay recommend that you start changing your return policies now. eBay will be migrating listings that have policies that are not consistent with the new set later this year, and will share more details in spring.

If you already offer 30-day returns, there won’t be any changes to your listings.

It’s refreshing to see that eBay will update listings automatically (we are only too well aware how often you are asked to update your listings). However they do recommend updating your listings sooner as they believe it will increase your sales – this is especially true if you have detailed your returns policy within your listing descriptions.

eBay will also remove the ‘Additional return policy details’ field that some sellers may use to include details of their returns policies. This means that the returns policies will be standard across eBay for buyers.

15 Responses

  1. This will affect me, it doesn’t take 30 days to decide if you like a top or not, so I only offer 14 day ret. Once received you try and you know if it’s for you or not, so why hold up my item for 30 days. I am not a major player so siting and pondering on my item for 30 days, could and would ruin my business. Also takeing away the part of the returns where I put my ret details, just don’t cut it. What order my item keep for a month send back in any condition you like.

    For the sellers in health and Beaty
    I’ve decided 30 days later that the nail polish I’ve purchased is not for me.

    I feel like iam not running my own show to progress but making it easy for the platform I am using to continue to move on up, whilst I stay stagnant Not happy so will need to find another way after 13 years.

  2. I’m also in fashion and I have been offering 60 day returns for two years now and would offer longer if I could. Outside eBay I offer 12 month returns and am now considering extending that to infinity.
    I started like most businesses with 14 days, then extended to 30 days and then beyond and found that although there was a very slight increase in the move from 14 to 30 days, anything beyond that makes no difference at all. I also believe my sales improved as a result, but as I was making other enhancements at the same time, I can’t isolate it to the returns effect.
    Returns are a fact of life but since we don’t have to refund the money till the goods are safely back in our stock, to me it makes no difference if it’s a week or 6 weeks after the initial sale.

  3. I understand what you say, Sandra and I can see that at low volumes, returns are much more of a pain. Not that my business is huge, by any means: I’m still a one man band, but the numbers work OK for me. I get roughly 11% of items returned and like you I get occasional ruined items. Fake tan and deodorant marks are the most common, but they are very few.
    I also sell internationally and for those orders the return times can be as long as 2-3 months. Not due to tardy customers but just thelong process of having them sit in a US or Australian warehouse, till there are enough to box up and send to me. In the meantime, of course I have refunded the customer, since as far as they are concerned, they have done their bit. So, maybe getting used to this has made me a bit more relaxed about long return times.
    In the end of course, it all comes down to the numbers. If the margin on successful sales is enough to cover the downside cost of returns and still show enough profit, then it works. If it didn’t I’d change my policy. And of course each business has their own numbers to put in that calculation.

  4. We re-list our returns on auction format and almost always get at least the money back that we have paid for the item.

    I appreciate you will not be able to do this with all categories or all items but you can with most………

  5. Everyone there is a simple answer “ON BUY” list on there and start the eBay desertion.

    Returns will mean all the small companies that are making small profits just to stay nearly competitive will just be a lending library.
    The big giant firms such as Tesco and Argos will have no problems and of course i think they are helping eBay make these crazy decisions.

    But the battle you will need to go through on returns will be time consuming.

    They purchase a rat trap from us bait it use it then a month later want to return it. We see its used and do not want to refund why would we.
    Its now used and no longer re-sellable. But of course in step ebay and they say you have to so now you try to refund 50% and again ebay step in and say no.

    Even if they agree we do not end up with a 100% profit on a perfect sale so we will be 100% out of pocket.

    But and here is the big but.

    If you allow eBay to carry out the return they take all responsibility for the items condition and safe transit. You cannot speak with the carrier as they have the contract with eBay not you and not the buyer.
    They actually state that in the terms and conditions the item is packed correctly for a safe journey through the carriers system.
    So all you need to do is receive the item (for example a nice coat) open the return and see its used and un-sellable ring ebay and say the buyer returned a house brick and no coat. Ebay are totally responsible for that returned item and if they say they’re not they are breaking their legal responsibility. The moment they took the item into their control they made leaglly binding decisions.

    1) they are now the sender.
    2) they agree in the terms of the carrier that the item is packaged correctly for the journey through the carriers system.
    3) the item is exactly as it should be.
    4) only they can deal with the carrier as they are the contracted party.

    If you claim the item was not the item sent they have no way to argue as they already broken number 3 as they did not pack or see the item.
    So stand your ground and threaten small claims court its only £60 and you will win and get all your costs refunded. WE DID for an item that we sold for £29 we were awarded Full reimbusement of £29 our £60 court fees and £56 legal costs of 1 letter from a local solicitor. We also never had to attend court as ebay settled out of court.

    Remember also that your contract with eBay which they say shows you agree with all their rules is invalid as you have not been given any hard tangible copies of it so their rules are not enforceable in UK or EU courts.

    TO win against eBay you either have to desert them to other platforms or use the law. The first 1,000 sellers to claim a house brick was returned will have the new rules changed instantly.

  6. My Two Cents:

    Moving to Onbuy is not the answer. Simply add it as an additional sales channel along with Amazon (if you do not already).

    More channels mean better sales. When Onbuy has more sales than eBay, then walk away from eBay if you want to. Onbuy is currently a cheap and easy option, but it does not have the traffic.

    With eBay all we can do is lift prices to cover higher selling costs, tracked delivery and easier returns etc. Yes we know eBay is doomed to eventually fail unless they change tactics. Until they crash and burn, simply use them as best you can – after all eBay is doing that with the vast majority of sellers.

    eBay is trying desperately to match Amazon and in doing so is alienating both sellers and buyers without achieving their aim. The backlash from sellers has resolved the tracked large letter problem in the short term, but eBay is determined to morph into Amazon and any amount of ranting will not change it.

    Some sellers may well find it impossible to continue, if not with these changes then when free returns or the new payment systems arrive (with extra fees and delayed payments of course). If and when this is the case then having other platforms to fall back on will allow them to survive.


eBay Appoints Amy Bannerman as its in-house Pre-Loved Style Director

Step inside eBay’s Love Island shared wardrobe

eBay's fourth annual Recommerce Report

eBay’s fourth annual Recommerce Report

Wahaaj Shabbir - From sneakerhead to Head of Sneakers at eBay UK

Wahaaj Shabbir – From sneakerhead to Head of Sneakers at eBay UK

eBay UK returns as Love Island sponsor to promote pre-loved fashion

eBay UK returns as Love Island sponsor to promote pre-loved fashion

eBay Roadshow Belfast - 13th June

eBay Roadshow Belfast – 13th June

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