How to Return a Purchased eBay Item for a Refund

Last updated: June 12, 2017 - 11:15am EDT

Hopefully, you'll be fully satisfied with all of the items that you purchase on eBay.com. But sometimes, there will be a problem with an item: it arrives damaged, it's missing pieces, or it’s significantly different than how it was described in the listing. Or maybe you just don't need it anymore, or you found that you can buy it somewhere else at a better price. So what can you do?

In this lesson, we'll explain eBay's return and refund policies. This will help you to know what timelines you have to work within to return something, as well as how much money you'll get back (if any). And, of course, we'll also explain the actual process of returning an item with illustrated, step-by-step instructions!

What is eBay's return policy?

eBay doesn't have a fixed return policy. Instead, it allows its sellers to set their own return policies, including whether or not they will issue refunds (or replacements) and how long buyers have to submit a return request. However, most items are covered by the eBay Money Back Guarantee.

How to do a return on eBay

1. Go to eBay and log into your account.

Use your web browser of choice to navigate to www.ebay.com. Then log into your account.

2. View the items that you've purchased through eBay.

Move your mouse cursor over My eBay in the top-right corner of the home page, and then click Purchase History in the menu that appears.

How to view your Purchase History

3. Indicate which item you'd like to return.

Scroll through your purchased items until you find the one that you want to return. Click More Actions beside it to make a drop-down menu appear, and then click Return This Item.

How to initiate the return of an item bought on eBay
(Image source: YouTube – eBay)

4. Explain why you want to return the item, provide evidence, and submit a return request.

On the next screen, you will have to provide a reason for why you want to return the item to its seller (e.g. the item arrived broken or damaged, it's missing parts or accessories, it isn't like how it was described in the listing, etc.). Click the drop-down menu labelled Select a Reason and choose one of the options. Then, click in the text box below the menu and type in a few details that could help the seller understand why you are returning the item. The more detail you can add here, the better!

Completing your return request
(Image source: YouTube – eBay)

If it helps, you can also provide pictures of the item to show what condition it's in, or pictures of accompanying documents to show that you actually ordered and received the item. Below "Add Photos", click the add picture button and use your file explorer to find a relevant picture on your computer. Click it to select it, and then click Open to upload it. Once a picture is uploaded, you can click the "X" in the bottom-right corner of the thumbnail image if you need to remove it.

When you're done, click Request a Return in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

5. Keep an eye on the item's return status, and await a response from the seller.

The next screen will show you the details of your return request, including when it was initiated, why the return was requested, what refund will be issued (if any), and when the seller is supposed to respond to you by.

Viewing the status of your return request
(Image source: YouTube – eBay)

At this point, there isn't much you can do until the seller responds to your request. Depending on what course of action they choose, you may have to continue the return process, or you may be able to stop here. We'll explain more below.

After your return request: how to get a refund on eBay

Once you submit your return request, the seller will receive an email from eBay notifying them about it. Depending on your case, and the return policy of the seller you bought your item from, the seller can respond to your return request in two general ways.

A. The seller lets you keep the item and offers you a refund or partial refund

Sometimes, the seller will simply allow you to keep the item and issue you a refund anyway. If they choose this response, they will have up to 6 days to process your refund. However, it can take between 2 and 30 business days for you to actually receive your refund, depending on how you paid for the item.

B. The seller accepts your request to return the item

If the seller wants the item back before they give you your refund, you will have 5 days to send it back to them. Here's how you can do that:

  1. Go back to www.ebay.com and log into your account.

  2.  Move your mouse cursor over My eBay, and then click Purchase History.

    Viewing your purchases on eBay

  3. Scroll down to the "Returns and Cancelled Orders" section and click See Return Details beside the item you need to return.

    How to view the status of an item you wish to return
    (Image source: YouTube – eBay)

  4. In most cases, either the seller or eBay itself will provide you with a return shipping label. Just click Print Shipping Label and follow the instructions to print it out. If this option doesn't appear, click Contact Seller instead and send them a message requesting a shipping label.

    How to print a return shipping label
    (Image source: YouTube – eBay)

    (NOTE: If you aren't able to complete this step, then follow the next two. If you are, then skip them.)

  5. If you don't get a return shipping label from eBay or the seller (or just don't want to use it), you can also get a return shipping label from a post office or courier service. If you do this, a good idea is to add the label's tracking information to the package. This lets the seller know that the item is on its way (which is important for your eBay feedback score). To do this, start by clicking Add Your Tracking Details on the return status screen.

    How to upload return tracking information manually
    (Image source: YouTube – eBay)

  6. On the next screen, click in the box labelled "Add the Tracking Number" and type in the tracking number on the shipping label. Then click the drop-down menu labelled "Select the Shipping Carrier" and click on the name of the postage service that you're using to send the item back (if you select Other, also click in the box labelled "Add the Shipping Carrier Name" and type in the name of the postal service you're shipping with). Then click Add Your Tracking Details.

    How to add a return tracking number and carrier
    (Image source: YouTube – eBay)

  7. Now that the shipping paperwork has been taken care of, it's time to actually pack the item and send it off! Be sure to pack the item in a box that's slightly larger than the item itself, so you can add cushioning materials such as foam peanuts and bubble wrap. Also be sure to seal the box tightly with lots of robust tape. See our article on how to ship items on eBay for more packing tips.

    After you've packed the item and attached your return shipping label to the box, simply take it to a post office or your designated courier service and hand it over. That's it! You're done the return process!

You can follow steps 1 through 3 in this section to check the status of your return. It will tell you when the seller got the item back, as well as when your refund was issued. The seller has 6 days from when they get the item back to issue your refund. Again, though, processing your refund can take between 2 and 30 business days, depending on your method of payment.

What is eBay's refund policy, and how much will my refund be?

If you returned an item that you bought from eBay because it wasn't as it was described, or because it arrived damaged, broken, or missing parts, you are entitled to a full refund. This includes the full purchase price of the item (including taxes and other charges), as well as all shipping costs (original and return).

If you returned the item for any other reason, your refund will typically only consist of the full purchase price of the item. You usually won't get your shipping charges refunded, and the seller may also deduct a restocking fee from your refund.

 

That's everything you need to know about returning an item on eBay and (potentially) getting a refund for it! We're sorry to hear that things didn't work out with your order, but at least now you know what you can do if you aren't satisfied with the item.

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