How to Return an Item on eBay

Send back your item and get a refund asap

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There's nothing quite so disappointing as buying something from eBay, only to discover it either isn't what you wanted or not as described. Fortunately, the eBay returns system is one that everyone – especially businesses – must adhere to. If you react fast enough, you can send the item back and get a refund in turn.

Worried about your feedback? The return system and feedback are totally separate from one another, so returning an item shouldn't lead to negative feedback for you. If you were a prompt payer in each case, the buyer should have already provided you with good feedback. If you find yourself with negative feedback because of a return, be sure to contact eBay and it will help solve the issue for you.

How eBay Returns Work

There are several reasons you can return an item; eBay specifically cites instances where its Money Back Guarantee return policy is enforced. You can take advantage of this even if your particular seller doesn't accept returns. It's an eBay policy. You can return an item on eBay if:

  • An item arrives damaged or faulty.
  • An item is not as described.

Not all items can be returned, so check your particular item to make sure it can be. Also, if you decide you don't want an item for whatever reason, you will need to request a return form the seller. They aren't legally bound to honor it, but if they have a decent rating they might; it's always worth asking.

How to Return an Item on eBay

If you do have the backing of eBay to push for a return, here's the process you need to take to complete it.

  1. Visit the eBay homepage and login using your relevant details.

  2. Select My eBay in the top-right corner of the page.

  3. Select the Activity tab, then select the Buy section. Alternatively, go straight to your Purchase History.

  4. Scroll down past your current bids and watched items to your Purchases section.

  5. Find the item you want to return and select Return this item, if available. If not, select the down arrow on the right-hand side. In the menu that appears, select Return this item.

  6. Use the dropdown menu to select a reason for the return. Options include the item not fitting correctly, it was damaged, or it’s missing parts or pieces.You can add additional information in the text box underneath if desired, as well as photos.

    Return reason
  7. When you've filled in the form correctly, select Send.

  8. Under eBay's Money Back Guarantee, sellers have up to three days to respond to a return request. When they do, there are several options the seller can choose from, which will lead to different return options for you:

    • Accept your return request and offer a full refund: You must return the item and, when it's received, the seller will refund the original purchase price and also pay for the return shipping.
    • Offer a partial refund and let you keep the item: If you're not totally dissatisfied, this can provide a best solution for all, especially if items cannot be resold by the seller.
    • Offer a replacement or exchange: A seller may opt to send you another item instead of refunding you.

    How long the return will take is dependent on the choices the seller makes. If all goes well, they should work with you so you complete the transaction happily, even if it means returning and refunding the item to you.

  9. You can always check on the status of your return and refund using eBay's tool for the purpose. It should keep you updated on what's going on with the return at all times. Alternatively, contact eBay directly.

In Breach of eBay Return Policy?

If your seller doesn’t respond to you within three days of the request for a return, or you find that their actions are a breach of eBay's return policies, then you can request the auction site weigh in on your case.

If your item doesn't arrive at all, you're also covered by eBay's Money Back Guarantee, although that process isn’t as straightforward as a return. The process can differ from country to country, so make sure to read through eBay's policy for your locale before committing to anything.