4 min overview

Manage returns, missing items, and refunds for sellers

Here’s everything you need to know if something goes wrong with an order or if a buyer changes their mind and doesn’t want the item anymore.

If a customer has a problem with their order, or if they change their mind about a purchase, they’ll get in touch with you and ask for help. Once the buyer tells you there’s a problem, you have 3 business days to resolve it.

If an item went missing and never arrived, you'll either need to provide additional tracking details from one of the shipping carriers integrated with eBay, or offer a refund. If the buyer got their item but it’s faulty, damaged, or doesn't match the listing description, you need to work with them to resolve their issue (you also have to cover the return shipping costs). If they changed their mind, how you can respond (and who pays for return shipping) depends on your return policy.

  1. What to do if a buyer has an issue
  2. Unable to resolve the buyer’s issue? Ask eBay to step in
  3. Tips for avoiding issues with buyers

What to do if a buyer has an issue

Help a buyer with an item that hasn’t arrived

If a buyer doesn’t receive their item, they’re entitled to a refund unless you can provide tracking information from one of the shipping carriers integrated with eBay showing it was delivered by the estimated delivery date.

Handle a cancellation request

If a buyer opens a cancellation request with you, you have 3 days to approve or decline it. If you approve it and the buyer has already paid for the item, you have 10 business days to issue a refund. If you don’t refund the buyer within 10 days, they can file a claim through the eBay Money Back Guarantee.

Handle a return request

If the buyer wants to return an item to you, your options for responding depend on why they want to send it back. If the item is damaged, faulty, or doesn’t match the listing description, they’re covered by the eBay Money Back Guarantee, and you’ll have to refund them or replace the item, even if you don’t offer returns. If they’ve changed their mind, your options depend on your return policy.

Return shipping

If you accept a return from the buyer, they need to send the item back to you before you issue a refund. If the buyer is sending an item back because it doesn’t match the listing description or it arrived damaged or faulty, you’re responsible for the cost of return shipping, even if you don’t offer returns. If they simply changed their mind or ordered the wrong item, who pays for return shipping is determined by your return policy.

Offer a refund

Sellers can offer buyers full or partial refunds up to 90 days after the original transaction date. If there's an open cancellation request, return, eBay Money Back Guarantee claim, or an open dispute made outside of eBay against an order, then the Send refund option will not be available. 

Handling payment disputes

In some situations, a buyer may ask their financial institution to open a payment dispute if they believe there’s an issue with their order. Learn how to handle a payment dispute on an eBay transaction.


Unable to resolve the buyer’s issue? Ask eBay to step in

Ask eBay to step in

If you and the buyer haven’t been able to come to an agreement after 3 business days, you can ask us to step in and resolve the issue. We’ll assess all the information and come to a decision. It’s important to remember that if you ask us to step in and we close the case in the buyer’s favor, you could receive a defect (which might affect your seller standards), so you should only ask us for help when you’ve exhausted all other options.

Appeal the outcome of a case

If you disagree with our decision after we’ve been asked to step in, you can ask us to take another look for up to 30 days after the claim has been closed. In order to request an appeal, you must provide additional details for us to take into consideration, such as photographs showing there’s nothing wrong with the item. We’ll review your new information and get back to you with our final decision, usually within 48 hours.


Tips for avoiding issues with buyers

Set up your return policy

When you sell on eBay, you can save time managing your return requests by setting up rules that automatically accept returns or issue immediate refunds. Automating your return process can not only save you time but also provide a great experience for your customers.

Avoid disputes with buyers

To avoid future problems, our article shares best practices for creating listings, tips for packing and shipping items, and advice for communicating with buyers.

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