How to Refund a Buyer on eBay

how to refund a buyer on ebay

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Someone operating a business through eBay will need to be aware of the return policy as a dissatisfied customer happens to every seller at some point. This complete guide contains everything a business owner needs to know about the eBay return policy and how to issue a refund.

What is the eBay Refund Policy?

The eBay return policy is very straightforward and follows three simple steps as you can see below. The reasons for returning the item will determine the options of the seller, and these will be examined in detail further below. The eBay process to issue a refund works as follows:

  • Buyers open a return application via the website after changing their minds.
  • Enter reasons for returning the order.
  • Send the order back.
  • Receive a full refund, partial refund, or replacement item.

Sellers on an eBay shop have three days to respond to a return application once it has been registered. Once the return has been accepted, the customer either receives a return shipping slip or will be instructed to cover return shipping themselves, depending on why the buyer changed their mind about a purchase. There is an eBay money-back guarantee which covers most transactions, so buyers will get their money back if their order either didn’t arrive, arrived defective or damaged, or doesn’t match the listing.

Why the Buyer May Want to Return an Item

There are four reasons why an honest buyer changes their mind about a purchase:

  • Item doesn’t match the information in the listing description.
  • Delivery of the wrong item.
  • Damaged or defective item.
  • Item arrived too late / no longer needed.

How to Issue a Refund via eBay: 7 Simple Steps

The refund process from a seller’s point of view is obviously more complicated than it is for the buyer, so here we will run through the steps necessary to perform a refund through eBay.

1. Check your Returns Policy

A business owner should always check their returns policy before issuing a requested refund as there may be a ‘no returns’ rule for certain items. Check or edit your policy via the Sell option after clicking on the My eBay tool at the top of any eBay page.

2. Accept or Decline the Refund Request

There is a Returns dashboard on your seller’s homepage where you can accept or decline refund requests. You must respond within 3 business days to each request, though you have the right to dispute the refund claim if you believe it is unwarranted.

3. Select ‘Send Refund’ from the Drop Down Menu in the Seller Hub

To issue a full refund, select View Return Details on your dashboard and select Send Refund. You will need to add or edit some extra details before finalizing the refund.

4. Select a Reason for the Refund

You have the option to add reasons for the refund for future reference. These can simply be the reasons provided by the buyer or more detailed reasons with extra insight from the seller.

5. Select the Amount to Be Refunded

Full refunds will automatically prompt you to refund the total paid for the item by the buyer along with the shipping cost of the problem item, but you can edit the partial refund cost.

6. Decide How the Item will be Sent and Who Pays Shipping Costs

The shipping fees of the problem order will be covered by whichever party is responsible for the return. If the problem is the order articles arrived damaged or faulty, then it is the responsibility of the seller to cover the return shipping costs. If the seller is covering the shipping for their part, then they must choose the most suitable carrier for the article from the shipping options available.

7. Send the Refund and Confirm

Once the additional details have been edited or confirmed, click Continue and the next page will show you the money to be refunded. Finally select Refund the Buyer from the options.

What Happens Next?

Once the return is accepted and the refund process above is complete, eBay gives the buyer the date by which the articles need to be on their way via return. This is usually 15 days, though it is 35 days in some cases. If the seller is responsible for shipping the article, then they must provide a shipping label to the buyer. Remember the transactions with your customers become part of the eBay statistics, so make sure to do right by your customers as much as possible.

How to Give a Refund on eBay via Paypal

As eBay uses PayPal to process its payments, sellers have the option to issue refunds directly through the online payment method. It has the advantage of allowing the seller to get the transaction fee back via Paypal, minus a processing charge, while many customers like using their email address account for this payment method. The refund via PayPal process is as follows:

1.     Click the Activity link on your PayPal account page.

2.    Locate the transaction to be refunded.

3.    Click the Refund This Payment button.

4.    Enter the amount to be refunded and confirm.

What is a Partial Refund on eBay?

A partial refund is when the business owner refunds a portion of the full amount. A company may offer a partial refund more often for a problem with an item that isn’t quite worth returning it for. Circumstances to offer a partial refund include:

  • Minor blemishes.
  • Wrong color product.
  • Wrong logo words.
  • Inexpensive product.

How to Issue a Partial Refund on eBay

  1. Open your Returns dashboard to offer a partial refund.
  2. Select View Return Details beside the item.
  3. Click on Offer a Partial Refund and then Continue.
  4. Enter the amount of the partial refund.
  5. Add words such as comments or questions for the buyer regarding the partial refund.
  6. Select Send Offer to propose the partial refund to the buyer.

What are the Issues with Partial Refunds?

Partial refunds can cause issues if the buyer is not satisfied when the seller wants to offer a partial refund. The customer may challenge with answers insisting on a larger amount of the sale price for reasons such as:

  • Dissatisfaction with service.
  • Different case or holder than advertised (main item fine).
  • Poorer quality item than the customer understood it to be.

Things to Note About a Refunded Item

Whether full or partial refunds, there are some additional details regarding eBay refunds that sellers should keep in mind. These include:

  • Automatic Relisting – Returned items are automatically relisted so damaged or faulty items will need to be unlisted by the business owner.
  • Final Value Amount Crediting – eBay may credit the final value amount of the item once the return or the issue refund request has been fully resolved.

How do I refund a buyer on the eBay app?

Select ‘Start Refund’ from the dropdown menu in the Seller Hub, and then select a reason for the refund. Then enter a refund amount and select the ‘Send Refund’ button to complete the process.

How do I refund an eBay managed payment?

Managed payments are a good way to sell and get paid in the same place, with buyers able to use a wide variety of eBay-protected ways to pay including by credit card. To refund via managed payments, follow these steps:

  1. Select Send Refund from the dropdown menu in the My eBay Sold tab.
  2. Select a reason for the refund.
  3. Enter the refund amount at the item or order level.
  4. Confirm the refund amount and select Send Refund.

Does an eBay seller have to accept returns?

All eBay sellers must state their returns policy up front in their shop posts. Private sellers can include a no returns policy, although they are still subject to eBay’s Money Back Guarantee. Business sellers must accept returns by law and let customers know via their policy that they can request a return within 14 days.

Will I get my final value fee back from eBay after a return?

Sellers are not automatically given the money paid in transaction fees relating to the articles sold. If eligible, sellers can request their final value fee by opening a case in eBay’s Resolution Center.

Can I decline an eBay return request after 30 days?

Sellers can decline a return request if 30 days have passed because the money-back guarantee has expired. A buyer can still open a request to discuss the order details, but there is no longer an obligation on the seller to accept it for any reason.

Can I refuse to give a refund on eBay?

Technically, yes, you can refuse a request, but the buyer has ways to open an account case with eBay who will make the final decision. If they decide the request is reasonable, then they will process the request and transfer the money from the company’s funds to the buyer.

Image: Depositphotos

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Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. She is based in the United Kingdom and since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".