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.

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

Subtopics

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.

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) https://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/ia/rules_for_sellers.html

For general information, rules, and legal guidance on offering a return policy for each eBay marketplace, see the help pages for that particular marketplace.

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.

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.

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.