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I was on the phone with eBay again last night and finally did get this resolved in my favor. After my case got escalated to the second line support, they were very helpful in explaining how things work. A few key points:

  • A seller does not have to accept returns even if they have a 14 day return policy. The 14 day return, contact seller to request a return is the default setting. Only in the case of the item not being as described (which is always arguable) can you return the item without the seller's consent. The rep I spoke to said he thought that was confusing and backwards, but that is the policy. If you want to be sure you can return an item, he recommended that you look for additional verbiage in the listing saying satisfaction guaranteed, returns accepted if not satisfied, etc. Sellers who opt in to the managed returns process are also going to be easier to return items to as by opting in, they are basically agreeing to accepting returns within the return timeframe.
  • Before you return an item, make sure you have a written agreement from the seller to accept the return. Without this, you will not get a refund, even if you have sent the item back. The only reason I won the case is because the seller had agreed to the return.
  • Once you have agreement from the seller, return the item with Delivery Confirmation before you escalate or appeal any open case. My situation was complicated by the fact that the seller made the return process difficult even after agreeing to the return. In retrospect, I should have just sent the item back the minute I got the return authorization and ignored any further comments from the seller.


Bottom line, just because a seller has a return policy does not guarantee you can return the item. This certainly changes my bidding strategy, especially on higher ticket items. In my 12+ years on eBay, I've only returned 4 items. Still, I will be less likely to bid now unless I am absolutely certain about an item or the seller more clearly indicates returns are not a problem. Lesson learned. Luckily it didn't cost me any $$$.

N/C



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