International breaks eBay Managed Returns

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January is the month that retailers breath a sigh of relief to see behind them having managed returns through from the Christmas and New Year period. Takeback Thursday, has become the biggest day of the working year for returns with returns up by 72% compared to the rest of the year and many of the returns have now missed the Christmas season and so will have significantly lost value.

Returns have become a major part of ecommerce businesses, not just at Christmas but throughout the year, so a quick nod to our friends at ZigZag Global who have just celebrated their fifth birthday, having been established to manage international returns on behalf of retailers.

However today we want to draw your, and your buyers, attention to eBay managed returns. Having spoken to a number of retailers it’s clear that eBay Managed Returns works well when it works but when it doesn’t it’s totally broken. When it doesn’t work sometimes appears to be down to a consumer buying on and then opening a return on another site such as In that situation eBay Managed Returns simply doesn’t work.

Opening a return on a different eBay site to where the purchase took place means that the buyer won’t get a free (or paid for as appropriate) returns label and the entire flow simply doesn’t work as well for the buyer. For the seller, it suddenly means talking to eBay support in a different country and if you have eBay Concierge service in the UK then you don’t get that overseas.

If you are a buyer and wish to make a return for a purchase on eBay UK, make sure you log into eBay UK when you start the returns process. You’ll find it a whole lot simpler and if the seller offers free returns (or if they product is faulty) then you’ll get a totally free returns postage label.

If you are a seller, note that if a buyer opens a return on a different country site they may be expecting you to return their postage over and above the refund amount. This really shouldn’t be your problem to sort out, but it could save you from less than glowing feedback.

If you are eBay, a much more joined-up approach to supporting global sellers serving the global marketplace is something we asked you to work on earlier in the year in our ‘Five New Year’s Resolutions for eBay’ post. How about forcing buyers trying to initiate a return on a different country site to where they made the purchase to log onto the original site before proceeding (or simply adding a redirect to force them on to the correct country site so that they can enjoy the managed returns process?)

13 Responses

  1. We haven’t been able to verify directly, but speaking to our buyers and concierge where we’ve seen these go wrong, it seems that some returns started on the mobile app come through as .com returns so break managed returns too. Not just an international problem, but cross-platform as well.

  2. We sell antique items on eBay uk. It’s a nightmare when a return is initiated from
    We are passed to ebay US every time who propose that we ask the buyer to quote for postage return. This is always double what we have originally charged and we never get a receipt. We then have to forward that amount via PayPal. We’ve even had it where a buyer then changed their mind and kept the PayPal payment- stringing us along until it was too late for PayPal to help.
    We have also had empty box returns from eBay US- imagine losing the item, outgoing postage and double return postage!! When the original postage was £110, you can imagine the frustration involved. And in all of this , unsurprisingly, absolutely no help from eBay whatsoever.

  3. returns from any ebay international site are a nightmare
    you have no choice but to suck it up,
    or dont ship abroad

  4. @Jim

    And to boot when you accept a return Ebay flicks the switch and what sales you had come to an abrupt end until which tome the item monies are refunded

  5. We once had a customer in Spain that was not in for delivery so missed it out, then claimed it never arrived, and then they when managed to pick it up they opened a return as ‘no longer needed’. Good enough they were willing to cover the return costs.

    There’s another issue with “international sales” (mentioned already on TB): some buyers not aware of potential custom duty to pay, and eBay delivery partner losing on avg 20-30% of all parcels (WTF). This does not create a good basis for a “returning” customer I’m afraid.

  6. @Gav
    Well let’s put it like this, UK returns are a 50/50 mix of remorse buyer pays and false items not as described seller pays.
    All, yes 100% of our international returns are “items not as described”. Go figure….

    Inevitably there are some items damaged in transit and we always refund or pay for restoration- that’s important to us and only fair to the buyer.

    A recent returns was thus- an antique and rare etching was sold with condition issues- it has three distinct creases. Guess what? Buyer opens item not as described case citing “three creases”. These were mentioned twice in the listing and photographed twice. eBay said I had to pay for the return. Is this really any way to treat sellers ?

  7. @ Jonnah – I agree and worse still you get a Service Metric defect when you have done nothing wrong.

    Thank you for your message on the other thread. I am still alive lol.


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