In the years that I have been selling online, one thing that has changed is the method of customers returning items for whatever reason…
Both Amazon and eBay offer a service where customers can return items without contacting the seller first: ‘Managed Returns’.
On the face of it, this is quite daunting to a seller: you may have visions of waking up in the morning to find a pile of items that customers have sent back and costs associated with returns added to your bill on eBay or taken from your account on Amazon.
You may not realise it, but as an online seller, you have to offer returns: 14-days returns – and pay for the return.
Luckily (touch wood), in my experience, returns are few – so I am not expecting an increase in products being sent back to me.
Amazon’s returns policy is subdivided into two different reasons…
- Returns of defective, damaged or materially different items (14 days)
- Return of items due to ‘buyer remorse’ (7 days)
eBay’s returns policy differs, but in essence is very similar, with return reasons being anything from ‘item not as described’ to it being faulty.
Again, the subject of returns is quite stressful, but it is necessary as it is an ethical and lawful requirement. eBay insist by offering a no-quibble returns policy, sales will increase.
The rules are there to ensure buyers experience a trusted service and return to use the site repeatedly. As a buyer I am happy to see policies in place to ensure any transactions are good ones. On the whole, I believe most sellers are indeed ethical and do provide a good service anyway.
The way to look at the process of being an online seller is that returns and refunds are part of the system.
How to avoid returns:
- Describe your product accurately.
- Send items in suitable packing so they wont get damaged in the post.
- Send the item that is in your listing – not an alternative without the buyer’s consent.
Remember to take heed these rules and you should find that returns are few and far between, and a bit of fore-planning can reduce the risk of items being returned to you…