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discount designer apparelIn the world of fashion, where fit, color and designer are everything, returns are inevitable. Follow a few simple rules and you will get your money back and glowing feedback.

  1. READ THE SELLER'S RETURN POLICY BEFORE YOU BID. If you have questions, ASK THEM. That way you'll know whether the item you purchased is, in fact, one the seller will accept as a return and under what conditions the return would be accepted. You'll also know the types of compensation the seller offers for returns (cash or exchange) and how much. 
  2. Pay with PAYPAL, if possible. Handling returns is a labor-intensive, time-consuming pain in the "you-know-what" for sellers. Plus, they loose money to fees and by taking time out to process refunds instead of listing and selling items. Making refunds by check or money order is an even bigger pain, and should the post office loose your refund, well .. good luck in persuading the seller to issue you another check. Refunds through PayPal are easier for sellers and you get your money right away. Anything that makes the refund process easier and more cost-effective for sellers increases your chances of getting a prompt, full refund and great feedback.
  3. Even if you know the return policy, review the listing for the item and read about the seller's return policy AGAIN before doing anything else. If the criteria have been met for a return, CONTACT THE SELLER to let the seller know you are returning your purchase. Do not simply stuff the item in a box and sent it back, so it comes as a surprise one day at the seller's door. Sellers do not like surprises. Even if the return policy states all sales are final, CONTACT THE SELLER ANYWAY. Often sellers will refund your money, even if they don't say so, because they don't want buyers to indiscriminately purchase items and then ask for refunds just because they can.Sellers want your business, and if you have a legitimate reason, you stand a good chance at getting your money back
  4. If the problem prompting the return has to do with the item itself (such as bad fit or wrong color, rather than gross misrepresentation), but you are happy with the seller's service, LEAVE POSITIVE FEEDBACK for the seller, if you have not already done so.This shows you appreciate your seller's service and are eager to work out any other issues. Sellers can't leave you a negative no matter what, so you have nothing to lose by getting on your seller's good side. You can always add comments about the item in follow-up to your feedback if you are unhappy. If the item is a fake or grossly misrepresented, contact eBay Safe Harbor AFTER contacting your seller to try to resolve the problem. Be sure you can back up your claims the item is a knock-off. Just because it doesn't "look" real, doesn't mean it isn't, especially if the seller has a stellar reputation. So before you start accusing the seller of sending a fake, get your ducks in a row. Reputable sellers are sometimes quite offended when buyers yell "fake" without any supporting evidence. And a reputable seller would rather refund you, even KNOWING the item is real, than get into a fight about the authenticity of the item. Remember, your goal is to get your money back and great feedback, not retribution -- at least not yet.
  5. Most contacts are made via email, so when you do contact the seller, BE SPECIFIC about why you are returning your item. Saying, "it doesn't fit", "it was the wrong color", or "was not perfect, as expected," says nothing to the seller. Most likely the seller will be re-listing the item and really needs to know what your concerns were so he/she doesn't have it returned again. For example, if the dress is a size 8 but fits you bigger, say so. Explain that it fits you more like a size 10, and was, for example, way to big in the bust and what your bust size is. In other words, explain the problem. Colors and condition are also difficult for sellers to judge, being so subjective. What is blue to one person is green to another, and monitors vary in their representation of the listing pictures. And a slightly loose button on an otherwise perfect dress might be considered a dress in "good" condition to you, while being described as "excellent" by the seller. The seller needs to know this is the reason for the return. If the item has been clearly misrepresented, DO NOT threaten the seller with negative feedback if he/she doesn't accept the return and give you a full refund.. Threats can be documented and reported. After you receive your refund and good feedback, you can always opt for leaving bad feedback on a gross misrepresentation, but until you have your money and praise, fly low and avoid the radar.
  6. AXIOM: Reputable sellers who work eBay as a business are very protective of their feedback and will do just about anything to avoid receiving a negative from you, so don't be afraid to tell your seller what he/she can do to make you happy. For example, your seller may have another item listed you did not see which could be the perfect substitute for the one you are returning. Give the seller a chance to offer it as appropriate compensation. Serious sellers do not want to lose your business, and returns are much easier for sellers to accept if they "think" they have you as a trading partner, even if you both know you'll never deal again.
  7. Be sure you both agree and understand all the terms of the return. Even if you know the return policy by heart, confirm it with your seller. Make sure you know exactly what your refund or compensation will be. Most sellers do not refund shipping and handling charges, so don't ask for them, unless you believe the item has been grossly misrepresented. Even then, don't press the issue. Most sellers WILL refund your return cost if they've made a mistake. Even if the item IS misrepresented and you file a claim with PayPal, PayPal will require you to return it at YOUR expense before issuing a refund to you, so you have NOTHING TO LOSE by being polite and coorporative.
  8. PACK YOUR RETURN SAFELY, even if your item is non-breakable. Any poorly packed item could be damaged in shipment. How would a seller know that it wasn't YOU who damaged the item and not the shipper? Even if the seller knows it was the shipper's fault, you have now given the seller the perfect opportunity to reneg on issuing a refund. You always have the option of going to eBay or PayPal for a refund, but your goal is to get your money back, and hopefully your return shipping too, so don't be hasty. In the box with the return include: your name, address and EMAIL, the eBay item number, date you purchased it, what method you used as payment, the amount you expect to be refunded to you, and how you have agreed the refund is to be issued. It makes it easier for the seller to trace and issue a refund, especialy if the seller transacts multiples of identical items.
  9. CONTACT THE SELLER to let him/her know when the return was mailed, via what shipper, and about when it should arrive back. If there is a tracking number, provide that to your seller. If you've created a label through USPS and give USPS the seller's email, USPS will send the seller the tracking number automatically. Easier for everybody. DO NOT send back the item WITHOUT a tracking number. You don't want the seller to claim he didn't get the item back and thus refuse your refund. And if you go to PayPal for the refund, you're screwed. No tracking, means no washy.
  10. FOLLOW-UP in the appropriate amount of time to see if the seller has received the return. If the item has been lost or delayed in shipment, it is YOUR responsibility to track it down. A short email will do: e.g. "Just checking to make sure you got those brown Ferragamo pumps, item number (xxxxxxxxxx) back. Let me know, thanks." Even if the tracking number shows the item has been returned, this is still a good idea. Some sellers get many returns a day and you don't want yours to get neglected.
  11.  DON'T ASK YOUR SELLER HOW SOON IT WILL BE BEFORE YOU GET YOUR REFUND. Most sellers have business schedules and running to the computer or to his/her checkbook to process your refund the nanosecond the seller receives the return rarely happens. It only upsets sellers and gives the impression you don't trust them. Even if you don't, you want the seller to think you do until you get your well-earned "positive" and full refund.
  12. Once you have received your refund, CONTACT THE SELLER to thank him/her and mention you would appreciate a positive feedback if one has not already been left. Even if you know you'll never trade with your seller again, say you look forward to doing more business. Keep stroking your seller until your glowing feedback is left. Once that's done you can go into eBay's community chat and spread the word about the seller's bad business practices, report to Safe Harbor, or anything else you feel appropriate. You goal is to GET YOUR MONEY and GLOWING FEEDBACK FIRST, before you do anything to get even.

Follow these tips and I can virtually GUARANTEE you will receive positive feedback and a full and speedy refund.    

Brought to you by eBay's "Designers Bargains"


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