2 min article

Return shipping for buyers

There are several ways you can send an item back to the seller. The seller’s return policy and the reason for return determine who pays the cost of return shipping.

We've temporarily extended our returns timelines and adjusted our eBay Money Back Guarantee policy to help you if you need to return an item during COVID-19.

You'll now have 21 business days from when a return is accepted or a shipping label is provided to you to send your item back. Once tracking shows that the item has been successfully returned, the seller has 5 business days to inspect the item and issue your refund.

You'll find more information in our article on Additional supports during COVID-19 for buyers and sellers.

 

When the seller accepts your return request, you’ll either receive a return shipping label from eBay or the seller, or you’ll be asked to purchase a label directly from a carrier.

You’ll also receive a date by which you should ship the item back. You can find this date in the details of your return request that will be sent to your eBay Messages - opens in new window or tab with the subject “Send the item back.” If you don’t ship the return by that date, we may close the request and you will not receive a refund. You must use a tracked service with signature confirmation to return an item worth $750 or more.

Who pays for return shipping?

The seller pays for return shipping if they offer a free returns policy or if the item was damaged, faulty, or doesn’t match the listing description.

You pay for return shipping if you’re returning the item because you changed your mind, and the seller’s return policy states that buyers are responsible for return shipping.

Learn more about what to do in either scenario:

Tip
You need to have a PayPal account to print an eBay returns label, regardless of who pays for return shipping.

How to print an eBay return shipping label

Here’s how to print an eBay return shipping label:

  1. Go to Purchase history - opens in new window or tab.
  2. Find the item under “Returns and canceled orders”.
  3. Select View return details.
  4. Choose Print label.

If you’re responsible for the return shipping costs, you’ll see the price of return shipping, and be able to purchase your label.

Print an eBay return label

Tip
You don’t need a special printer or self-adhesive labels when printing return shipping labels. Simply print the label on normal paper and tape it to the package. Make sure the barcode is clear so the carrier can scan it easily.

Adding tracking to your return

Adding tracking details to your return helps protect against delays or issues in the refund process. If you use an eBay returns label, tracking details are automatically uploaded.

Here’s how to add the tracking information to your return if you’re using your own return shipping label:

  1. Go to the return request in My eBay - opens in new window or tab.
  2. Select the shipping carrier from the dropdown list. If you select Other, enter the carrier name.
  3. Enter the tracking number.
  4. Select Mark as sent.

If the seller is paying for return shipping

There are several ways you can send an item back to the seller. If the seller is responsible for the return shipping costs, they decide how they want the item to be sent back to them, and they’ll let you know which method to use. Generally, they’ll ask you to send the item back using one of the following:

The seller may contact you to make other arrangements, such as returning the item to their store or reimbursing you for return shipping.

Tip
If the seller is responsible for return shipping, it’s important that they cover the costs. If the seller won’t cover the cost, let us know by asking eBay to step in.

If you’re paying for return shipping

If you’re responsible for the return shipping costs, you can choose how to send the item back to the seller. You can either pay for an eBay return shipping label or choose to send it back using the carrier of your choice.

If you choose to use your own carrier, we recommend using a tracked service. Tracking is important: it lets the seller know the item is on its way and allows eBay to see the progress of the return in case there’s an issue we’re asked to help with.

Return shipping costs when you use an eBay label

When you’re responsible for return shipping costs, we charge your PayPal account to ship the item using an eBay shipping label. We may ask you to accept a billing agreement to authorize payment for these kinds of charges.

Anytime you use an eBay return shipping label, returns are shipped by either USPS First-Class or Priority Mail, depending on the item’s cost, package weight, and delivery time. In some instances, return shipping charges are estimated rather than based on the actual weight of the package. These charges are based on rates eBay negotiated with the USPS and are typically less than what you would pay at the post office for the same item.

If the expected shipping charges exceed the expected refund or the refund value of a replacement or exchange, an eBay return shipping label won’t be available.

Other ways to send the item back

Sometimes returning an item may require additional, alternative shipping arrangements, like adding insurance to your package. Select Examples of alternative shipping arrangements below for more information.

Examples of alternative shipping arrangements

  • Shipping a return with insurance: Shipping insurance isn’t available on eBay return shipping labels. If you or the seller prefers that an item be returned with insurance, purchase your own return postage with insurance instead of using the return shipping label provided
  • Returning multiple packages: We generally provide one return shipping label for each return requested through My eBay. If you find that you need multiple return shipping labels to ship multiple packages back to the seller, contact the seller to make alternative shipping arrangements for the packages
  • The item is outside USPS guidelines: An eBay return shipping label is only available for items within the USPS size and weight guidelines. Otherwise, you need to make alternative shipping arrangements
  • The item was originally delivered by freight or local pickup: When the seller is responsible for return shipping costs and you need to make alternative shipping arrangements, contact the seller to agree on the service and cost before sending the item. Make sure to include the packing slip and tracking. A tracked service with signature confirmation is required for items valued at $750 or more

When you want to return an item using alternative shipping arrangements, and the seller is responsible for the return shipping charges, you must work with the seller to agree on the shipping service and cost before returning the item.

If you use alternative shipping arrangements, the return shipping charges aren’t included in any eBay Money Back Guarantee refund you’ll receive.

When returning an item, use a carrier that provides tracking and upload the details to the return request.

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