How to deal with the automatic returns of eBay

How to deal with the automatic returns of eBay?

Following eBay’s Autumn Seller Release in 2018, eBay introduced automatic returns. They even put this out as a separate announcement board post. 

“As we recently announced, we’re making further improvements to the returns experience on eBay. Today a large number of returns may require the buyer to wait multiple days before they can access a return label. This drives buyer anxiety, churn and an increased likelihood of the buyer asking eBay to step in to help. As a result, we’ll be increasing the frequency in which the buyer will have immediate access to a label on domestic returns, regardless of why they want to return the item. This means that when a buyer opens an ‘Item not as described’ return request, it will be automatically accepted if it’s within the seller’s offered return window. We’ll be rolling out these changes over this year, starting on September 17th, and will listen to your feedback as we ramp up this new functionality.”

– eBay

A lot of sellers aren’t particularly happy with this change, because of the way how returns will be processed. From the seller’s perspective, eBay is trying to take control over seller’s return experiences and to be able to make a decision on a case by case basis.

The current eBay seller return options are few:

  • Send the buyer a message if you need more information
  • Refund the buyer / they keep the item
  • Offer a partial refund and allow them to keep the item
  • Accept the return

eBay Automated return option

  • RMA number – let eBay know whether you would like to include an RMA number to each return label.
  • Send a refund – Buyer keeps the item and the seller has to fully refund them
  • Approve a return – Automatically approve a return based on the price and the reason for it.

A lot of eBay sellers are not happy with this update as I mentioned before. They are frightened that the buyers will choose the “Significantly Not As Described” option as a way to get free postage for the return. This will ultimately impact sellers leading to 4% surcharges”

Also “Buyers will abuse returns using it as a try before you buy service”

What should you do? 

It is impossible to disable the automatic return function, so as dropshippers we need to find other solutions and a way to work with these returns.

For this to happen, we must do two things:

1) Make buyers understand that we want them to contact us to get a label

2) Send our buyers a shipping label manually, so they can send us the items using this specific label

3) Go to eBay return settings and turn on the RMA option. RMA stands for Return Merchandise Authorization number. This will allow you to provide a return label and you won’t be charged for an expensive one from eBay. As a dropshipper, this is very important because we get our labels for free from the supplier.

eBay is putting a lot of obstacles in front of sellers, but we need to learn how to deal with them. Every business has problems and dropshipping is no exception, but with every solved problem we are getting stronger.

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