2 min article

Return shipping for buyers

If you need to send an item back to the seller, there are a few different ways of getting the item back to them. Who pays the cost of return shipping will depend on why you’re returning it, and the seller’s return policy.

If you're returning an item, you'll need to ship it back to the seller. You can do that using an eBay return label, or a label from another carrier. Once the seller has accepted your return request, you'll be asked to send the item back. You'll need to send it back within 5 business days of the seller accepting your return.

Who pays for return shipping?

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

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 when:

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

How to print an eBay return shipping label

If you're sending an item back using an eBay return shipping label, here's how to print the label:

  1. Go to Purchase history - opens in new window or tab.
  2. Find the item in Returns and cancelled 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.

If you're using your own return shipping label, here's how to add the tracking information to your return:

  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

When you're sending an item back to the seller, there are a few methods you can use to ship it back. If the seller is responsible for the return shipping costs, they decide how they'd like 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:

They may also 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. They may send payment by PayPal to cover the costs of shipping before a return, but if they don't provide a paid method of return shipping, let us know by asking eBay to step in.

If you're covering return shipping

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

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

Return shipping costs when you use an eBay label

When you're responsible for return shipping costs, we charge your PayPal account if you 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, for instance. 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: For each return requested through My eBay, we generally provide one return shipping label. 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 If the package is outside of USPS guidelines, 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, tracking, and for items valued at $750 or more, signature confirmation

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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