How to Return an Item on eBay for a Refund

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.


How to Cancel an Order on eBay

Not sure that you want an item that you bought on eBay anymore? Unfortunately, eBay doesn’t make cancelling a purchase the easiest thing in the world to do. Cancelling an order for something you’ve directly bought on eBay is complicated enough, and if you’ve bought an item on eBay by winning it in an auction, it’s even tougher (though this is more for legal reasons than technical ones).

When can you cancel an eBay order?

You can attempt to cancel an eBay order within 30 days of purchase if you cannot complete the sale, either as a buyer or a seller. You must contact the opposite party through the eBay website, and ask them to accept your cancellation. In most cases, if the cancellation is accepted, you will receive a full refund.

To cancel an order in eBay:

  1. Find the seller and click Contact.
  2. Click “Select a Topic,” “Other,” “No, I Want to Contact the Seller,” and Continue.
  3. Type a message and click Send.
  4. Confirm your cancellation by clicking Respond Now in an email.
  5. Click “I Accept the Seller’s Request to Cancel This Transaction,” and then Send Response.

Was that too quick for you? If you want a more detailed set of instructions, be sure to read below where we explain the process step-by-step (with pictures)!

Detailed instructions for cancelling an order in eBay

1. Visit www.ebay.com in your web browser of choice, and sign in to your account.

Go to www.ebay.com. For this tutorial, we’ll be using Google Chrome, but any web browser you prefer will do.

Visit eBay website in web browser

2. Locate the seller.

Find the store or user that you bought the item from, and click on them to see their details.

Locate eBay seller

3. Contact the seller.

In the top-right corner of the user’s profile, click Contact.

Contact eBay seller

4. Choose a topic for your message.

Click the “Other” button under “Select a Topic”.  At the bottom of the screen, click the button beside “No, I Want to Contact the Seller” (if there are any answers to questions under this category) and then click Continue.

Send a message to eBay seller

(HINT: You can also get to the next step by moving your mouse cursor over My eBay in the top-right-hand corner, clicking on Purchase History, then clicking on More Actions and then Cancel Item underneath the item that you wish to cancel, and then clicking Contact Seller on the new screen that pops up).

5. Send a message to the seller.

On the next screen, click in the box marked “Enter a Topic” and type in “Need to Cancel Purchase”, or something to that effect.  Then click in the box labelled “Hi [seller’s username]” and type in some details about why you have decided to cancel your purchase. Then click in the box next to the distorted image and type in the numbers that you see; this is a security check to prevent computer programs from automatically sending fake emails to people. When you’re done, click Send.

eBay contact seller form

6. Wait for a response from the seller.

You should receive a response within a day or so. Move your mouse cursor over My eBay and click Messages.

eBay Messages

7. Respond to the seller’s answer.

If the seller has agreed to accommodate your cancellation request, there will be an email from eBay asking you to confirm your cancellation. Click Respond Now.

8. Confirm that you want to cancel your order.

On the next screen, make sure the button beside “I Accept the Seller’s Request to Cancel This Transaction” is filled in (and click it if it isn’t).  (NOTE: Be sure that you either haven’t already paid for the item, or have already received a refund confirmation from the seller, before you do this. Otherwise, you need to contact the seller again and work this out).

Click in the box marked “Give Additional Information to the Seller” and type in some last comments if you wish, and then click Send Response.

If you have difficulty completing this process, or your request is denied, you can always contact eBay’s customer service department, and they may be able to help you cancel your order. It’s always a good idea to try to resolve issues with the seller directly first, as eBay will ask you if you have already done this. But if you need the extra help, we’ll teach you all about how to do that in our tutorial on how to contact eBay customer service here.

 

That’s how to cancel an order on eBay! Thanks for sticking with us through it! If you’re looking for some more information about your eBay orders, consider reading our tutorials on how to track your eBay order. If you haven’t made a payment yet, but accidentally bid on something you don’t want, check out our upcoming tutorial on how to cancel an eBay bid.


How to Track eBay Orders

Now that you’re familar with how eBay works, and have signed up for an account, you probably want to know how close you are to getting your order from eBay. Once you’ve ordered a package on eBay, you may be able to track its progress if the seller uses a shipping label purchased from eBay or PayPal. In this article, we’ll teach you exactly how to track an eBay order, and keep up with the status of your eBay shipments.

To track an eBay order

  1. Visit www.ebay.com in your web browser.
  2. Sign in to your eBay account.
  3. Move your cursor to the top-right corner of the screen and hover over My eBay. Click Purchase History.
  4. Locate the item you want to track, and click the tracking number beneath it to see its tracking status.

If you need a little more detail, be sure to read the detailed instructions below where we go through the process step-by-step!

Detailed instructions on eBay order tracking

1. Type www.eBay.com into the address bar of your favorite web browser.

Go to www.ebay.com. Any web browser should do the trick, but for this tutorial, we’ll be using Google Chrome.

Visit eBay.com in any web browser

2. Sign in to your eBay account.

At the very top-left of the screen, click Sign In. Enter your email address and password, and then click the blue Sign In button to sign in to your eBay account.

eBay Sign In button

3. Access your eBay account features, and locate your purchase history from the drop-down menu.

In the top-right corner of the screen, move your cursor over My eBay. From here, a drop-down menu will appear, where you can click on the Purchase History box. You will now be taken to a screen with your eBay purchase history, so you can see everything you’ve purchased (and cancelled) with your eBay account.

eBay Purchase History menu

4. Locate the item you want to track, and click on the tracking number below the item to see its status.

Your items will be sorted from the top of the page to the bottom as such: “Orders,” “Cancelled Orders,” “Cancelled Invoices,” and “Returns and Cancelled Orders.” In your current orders section (at the top), located the item you are interested in tracking. A long number will appear in brackets below the item, and if you click on it, you will receive the status of the order that item is a part of, so you’ll know approximately when it will arrive.

eBay item tracking numbers

Depending on what shipping option the seller is using, you may also be able to get tracking updates via email.

 

That’s a bit of information about how you can track your orders! If you need to learn about cancelling your orders or bids on eBay, be sure to check out our next step tutorial on how to cancel an eBay order. We also have an article that will show you how to cancel a bid on eBay.


How to Buy Items on eBay

eBay was known primarily as an auction website for a long time.  However, in order to compete with new online marketplaces, they now include products that you can buy immediately, without having to bid on them.  No muss, no fuss!

For this tutorial, we’re going to assume that you have created an account on eBay (so you aren’t buying as a guest), but have never actually bought an item before.

Buying on eBay

  1. Go to www.ebay.com in your web browser and click Sign In in the top-left corner.

    Sign in to your eBay account

  2. Type your email address or username into the first box, and then click in the second box and type in your account password.  Then click Sign In.

    Enter your log in information for eBay

  3. Once you’re back on eBay’s main screen, find an item that you’d like to purchase, and click on it to see its details.  (Note: if clicking on it just creates a new window or a pop-up window, you may need to click on that item again in the new window to see its details.)

  4. Once you’re on the item’s details page, look over things like the description of the item, shipping rates, shipping times, types of payment accepted, and return policies.  If everything looks okay to you, use the functions near the top of the screen to select the version (if applicable) and the quantity of the item that you want.

    View the description of the item you are interested in and confirm its details

    From there, click Buy It Now if this is the only item you want to buy right now, or click Add to Cart if this is just one item that you wish to buy, and you will be adding more items to your order before you check out.

  5. Regardless of your choice, on the next screen, you will be asked to enter your address so that eBay knows where to ship your items, as well as how to contact you (if necessary).

    Enter a shipping address

    Depending on the country that you choose from the drop-down menu, you may be taken to one of eBay’s international websites, and your options in the proceeding boxes may change slightly.  In any case, use the rest of the text boxes and drop-down menus to input your street address city, province/state/territory, mailing code, and phone number. Then click Continue.

  6. If you chose to add your item to a cart, you will be taken to your shopping cart, where you can review the items you wish to order, including changing their quantity or removing them from your cart. If you want to add more items to your order, just repeat steps 3 and 4.  When you’re ready to buy, click Proceed to Checkout.

    View your eBay shopping cart

  7. On the next screen, you will have a few different options.  First, click one of the buttons under “Pay With” to decide whether you want to pay for your order with a credit card or with the online transaction service PayPal. (Either way, eBay will process your transaction through PayPal, since it owns the service.)

    Choose a payment method

    You may also be able to choose which shipping option you want to use here, if more than one is available.  You can also choose to make a donation to charity with your purchase, and enter a coupon code if you have one.

    When you’re all set, click Continue.

  8. Assuming that you want to pay with a credit card, you’re going to want to focus on the boxes in the screenshot below on the next screen.  Click the drop-down menu to select the country that issued your credit card, and then in the boxes below, enter your credit card number (the “Payment Types” field will automatically make a selection based on the number that you type in), your credit card’s expiration date, and your credit card’s security code (click What Is This? if you need help finding it).

    Enter credit card information to confirm your payment

  9. The rest of your billing, shipping, and contact information should already be filled in, but you can change some of it if you wish.  Click Save Your Information with PayPal if you wish to create a PayPal account using the information that you’ve already filled in.  This will make it so that you don’t have to re-enter it every time that you go to pay for an order.  Otherwise, when you’re ready, click Pay.

    Save payment information for the future

You will receive a confirmation email of your order, and your order will be added to your purchase history (see this tutorial about eBay purchase history for more information).  Now, all that you have to do is wait for your order to show up at your door!  Congratulations on buying from eBay!

eBay Global Buy

The eBay Global Buy program is a system that makes it easier for people outside of the United States or United Kingdom to buy items from eBay.  It works by having an item’s seller ship the item to a local global courier service, and then that service delivers the item (or items) to whoever ordered them.

This service is only available in certain countries, and certain items are not allowed to be shipped through the Global Buy program.  In addition, buying items through the Global Buy program may result in extra fees and taxes.

To learn more about the Global Buy program, see this help article on eBay.

And now you know how to buy on eBay! In our next tutorial, we’ll show you how to track the orders you’ve made.


How to Create an eBay Account

One of the neat things about eBay that distinguishes it from some of its competitors is that you don’t actually have to create an account to use it. Well, you do if you want to sell items, but not if you want to buy things or place bids for them. However, signing up for an account makes it much easier to buy and bid on items, since you can save your shipping and billing information, and don’t have to re-enter it every time you want to make a purchase or bid.

To sign up for eBay:

  1. Visit www.ebay.com in your web browser.
  2. Click Register in the top-right corner of the webpage.
  3. Click in each of the labelled boxes and type to enter your “Email Address” (and confirm it), a “Password,” your “First Name,” and your “Last Name.”
  4. Click Register.
  5. Click Continue to finish the process.

Do you need a little more information? Check out our detailed set of step-by-step instructions below (with pictures) so you don’t miss a beat!

Detailed Instructions on how to create an eBay account

1. Visit www.ebay.com in your web browser of choice to start the sign up process.

Go to eBay’s homepage: www.ebay.com. (This will work in any web browser, but for this article, we’ll be using Google Chrome.)

Visit eBay.com in a web browser

2. Click to register with eBay for your own personal account.

In the top-right corner of the screen, click Register, to begin creating your account.

eBay register button

3. Enter your personal information and create a secure password.

Click in the labelled text boxes, and type in:

  • your email address
  • a repeat of your email address
  • an account password (must be at least 6 characters, including at least 1 number or symbol)
  • your first name
  • your last name

eBay sign up form

Once you’ve entered all of that information, click Register.

4. Optional final step: customize your eBay username, if you want to make it more personal or unique.

Upon signing up, eBay will give you a username for the website. You can click Customize Your Username if you want to pick your own username (just type it in the box that appears and click Save), or if you’re okay with what’s there, click Continue.

Customize eBay username

You will receive a confirmation email, and be taken back to eBay’s home page.

 

And that’s all there is to creating an account! Once you’ve completed your sign up, you need to start learning how to use eBay. In our next tutorial, we’ll teach you the basics of buying items on eBay.