Offering a Clear Return Policy

eBay's research shows that "difficulty in returning items" is the top shopping barrier cited by buyers. Often, the source of the difficulty is buyer confusion over a seller's return policy. This means sellers who clearly spell out a return policy in their listings have an edge on the competition. That is, sellers who provide a clear return policy are likely to sell a higher percentage of their listed items than sellers who do not have a clear return policy. In addition, Top-Rated Sellers must offer a 14-day (or longer) return policy in order for their listing to qualify as a Top-Rated Plus listing. See the Becoming a Top Rated Seller and qualifying for Top Rated Plus help topic for more information.

eBay's research also shows that only a very small percentage of sold items are actually returned.


Return Policy Requirements by Site

Listing an Item with a Return Policy

Retrieving an Item's Return Policy

Return Policy Requirements by Site

Due to differences in legal requirements for each country, different sites support different return policy options. To make return policies easier to specify and to understand, most eBay sites offer a standardized way to specify and display return policy information.

Sellers are required to specify a return policy for auction and fixed-price listings in most categories. Sellers can choose not to accept returns, but they must still specify this clearly by using the standard return policy options.

Note: Regardless of your stated return policy, all sellers are expected to adhere to eBay's Rules for Sellers, which include accepting a returned item when the item is not as described. Rules for Sellers (eBay US)

For general information, rules, and legal guidance on offering a return policy, see the eBay Web site's online help. Here are a few examples:

Specifying Your Return Policy (eBay US)

Ihre R├╝cknahmebedingungen (eBay Germany)

Legal Guidance for Business Sellers (eBay UK)

Returns & the Law (eBay UK)

Legal Guidance for Business Sellers (eBay Ireland)

Returns & the Law (eBay Ireland)

Specifying Your Return Policy (eBay Australia)

Specifying Your Return Policy (eBay India)

Guidelines for Creating Legally Compliant Listings (eBay India)

Warranties (eBay India)

Listing an Item with a Return Policy

To include your return policy in a listing:

  1. For the site you're listing on, use GetCategoryFeatures to determine which categories require a return policy (see ReturnPolicyEnabled). If either the primary or secondary category in your listing requires a return policy, then the listing must include a return policy.
  2. For the site you're listing on, use GeteBayDetails to determine which return policy fields are supported, and which values are supported. Set ReturnPolicyDetails as a DetailName element in the call request, and then look for the ReturnPolicyDetails in the response, as this container will contain all of the supported values for return policies.
  3. If your application has a user interface, present the available return policy options. Buyers and sellers typically expect return policy information to be grouped with payment and shipping instructions.
  4. When you list the item by using AddItem or related calls, specify the supported values returned in GeteBayDetails into the corresponding return policy options in the Item.ReturnPolicy fields.

Please note that ReturnPolicyType (which is the type used for Item.ReturnPolicy) defines a pair of fields for several return policy options. For example, for the refund option, there is a RefundOption field (an enumeration of type xs:token) and a Refund field (a localized display string). You can only use the "option" field (e.g., RefundOption) in AddItem and related calls. You can't use the other field (e.g. Refund) in these calls. The localized string is only provided as a convenience for displaying refund options in user interface elements.

Using the ReturnsWithin (text field) or ReturnsWithinOption (token value based on ReturnsWithinOptionsCodeType), the seller must state the number of days a buyer has to return or exchange the item. Using the RefundOption (token value based on RefundOptionsCodeType), the seller must state their refund policy (e.g., Money Back). To verify which ReturnsWithinOption and RefundOption values are allowed for a specific site, the seller should call GeteBayDetails, using the ReturnPolicyDetails as a input filter.

Extended Holiday Returns

Note: Extended Holiday Returns is a seasonally available feature, but it might not be made available every year. To ensure that the feature is enabled in any given year, check the Returns on eBay page of the eBay Seller Center before the holiday season starts.

When you list an item by using the AddItem, ReviseItem and RelistItem families of calls, use the boolean Item.ReturnPolicy.ExtendedHolidayReturns field to enable the holiday returns policy for the item. The GetItem call returns the ExtendedHolidayReturns field when the policy is enabled. A value of true indicates the seller is offering the item with an extended holiday returns period.

The extended holiday returns period is defined by three dates:

Note: These dates may vary by a few days each year. Sellers will be notified of the current dates on their eBay site before the holiday period starts.

Sellers can specify Extended Holiday Returns (as well as their regular non-holiday returns period) for chosen listings at any time during the year. The Extended Holiday Returns offer is not visible in the listings until the current year's holiday returns period start date, at which point it overrides the non-holiday returns policy. Buyers will see and be subject to the Extended Holiday Returns offer in listings purchased through the purchase cutoff date, and will be able to return those purchases through the end date.

After the purchase cutoff date, the Extended Holiday Returns offer automatically disappears from listings, and the seller's non-holiday returns period reappears. Purchases made from that point on are subject to the non-holiday returns period, while purchases made before the cutoff date still have until the end date to be returned.

If the value of ExtendedHolidayReturns is false for an item, the returns period specified by the ReturnsWithinOption field applies, regardless of the purchase date. If the item is listed with a policy of no returns, ExtendedHolidayReturns is automatically reset to false.

For the AddItem family of calls, the value of ExtendedHolidayReturns is false by default.

For the ReviseItem family of calls, you can omit ExtendedHolidayReturns from the input if its value does not need to change. If the item being revised has bids or orders, you can add the extended holiday returns option to the listing, but you can't remove it. If the item does not have bids or orders, you can add or remove the extended holiday returns option; however, this is a significant revision, triggering a version change in the listing.

For the RelistItem family of calls, you can omit ExtendedHolidayReturns from the input if its value does not need to change.

For the GetItem call, ExtendedHolidayReturns is returned only if the site you sent the request to supports the seller's return policy. Typically, this is only when the request is sent to the listing site.

Note: Top-Rated Sellers offering Extended Holiday Returns on a listing will get an additional 5 percent discount on the Final Value Fees on top of the 20 percent discount they get for creating Top-Rated Plus qualifying listings. See the Becoming a Top Rated Seller and qualifying for Top Rated Plus help topic for more information on Top-Rated Seller, Top-Rated Plus requirements, and the 5 percent bonus discount for Extended Holiday Returns.

Retrieving an Item's Return Policy

GetItem, GetSellerList, and GetBidderList all return the Item.ReturnPolicy fields. For your convenience, they return both the enumeration values that can be used in AddItem as well as localized display strings for each field.

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