How to Deal with Buyer’s Remorse on eBay

Buyer’s remorse is an unavoidable part of any retail business. When selling online, however, it becomes a more complex issue. The process of shipping unwanted items between seller and buyer can be a costly and time consuming process. This article will examine the issue of buyer’s remorse on eBay and how sellers can deal with this common problem.

What is buyer’s remorse?

Simply put, buyer’s remorse is a feeling of regret after having made a purchase. It is most often associated with the purchase of a high priced item such as a house. It can, however, happen with any kind of purchase.

Buyer’s remorse can be communicated in a number of different ways on eBay. The buyer may state that they:

  • Do not like the item
  • Found the item cheaper elsewhere
  • Made a mistake when purchasing
  • Purchased two of the same items accidentally
  • Measured incorrectly and the item does not fit
  • Bought the wrong item

These are just a few variations of buyer’s remorse commonly experienced while selling on eBay.

Buyers’ remorse and cancellations

If a buyer changes their mind immediately after a purchase, the easiest and most straightforward solution is to cancel the transaction.

A buyer can submit a cancellation request up to one hour after purchase. After this time, they must contact the seller and ask for a cancellation. Sellers have no obligation to accept the request, though it can be a worthwhile decision to avoid prolonging the issue.

Sellers are able to cancel a transaction up to 30 days after a sale, as long as the item has not been sent yet, the buyer has not filed an Item Not Received request or the seller has not opened an Unpaid Item Case.

As long as a seller finalizes the transaction as a ‘buyer requested cancellation,’ they will not be penalized for it.  The buyer is unable to leave low detailed seller ratings or negative/neutral Feedback.

If the item was already paid for, the seller will receive a Final Value Fee credit in the event of a buyer requested cancellation. PayPal fees will not, however, be refunded.

Buyer’s remorse and returns

In the event that a buyer changes their mind after an item is sent, there are fewer options to resolve the situation. Offering a return policy that includes buyer’s remorse is optional for sellers.

Sellers have a choice of five return policies for most listing categories:

  • No returns accepted
  • 30-day buyer-paid returns
  • 30-day free returns
  • 60-day buyer-paid returns
  • 60-day free returns

If a seller chooses ‘no returns accepted’ for a listing, they do not have to return items for reasons of buyer’s remorse (that is, unless the item did not match the listing). In this scenario, buyers experiencing remorse about the purchase can still request a return but the seller does not have to accept.

If a seller chooses any of the four other remaining categories, it is indicated that a return is possible for almost any reason. eBay promotes that sellers who allow free returns may experience a ‘conversion lift’ of up to 25%.

Sellers who allow returns can choose between various automation options to streamline the refund process. One of these is automatic acceptance for return requests for reasons of buyer’s remorse.

Buyer’s remorse and eBay’s Money Back Guarantee

As previously mentioned, eBay sellers have the choice whether to offer returns or not. Sellers who choose the ‘no returns accepted’ option do not have to refund buyers experiencing buyer’s remorse

There is, however, an exception to this rule. If the item is damaged or ‘significantly not as described,’ the buyer is protected under the Money Back Guarantee and is entitled to a refund.

For this reason, the protection offered by eBay’s Money Back Guarantee is sometimes abused by unscrupulous buyers.

In a situation in which a buyer is unhappy with their purchase but is aware that the seller does not accept buyer’s remorse returns, they may try to make a fraudulent Money Back Guarantee claim. To do this, they may declare that the item is damaged or entirely different to what was advertised in the listing.

Being customer service orientated, eBay is often persuaded to side with buyers. Sellers are allowed to argue and even appeal their case, but it can be difficult to overcome a Money Back Guarantee claim.

For this reason, sellers should be careful to keep all communication with buyers on eBay. Buyers frequently mention their purchase regret to sellers, which can be helpful in the event of a claim via the Money Back Guarantee.

How to deal with buyer’s remorse

The issue of buyer’s remorse can be a difficult one for eBay sellers. While it may not be an obligation (at least, at this time) to allow buyers to return unwanted items, eBay’s customer service focus means that unscrupulous buyers are able to take advantage of the system to force a return.

Where possible, sellers would be best advised to accept cancellation requests for reasons of buyer’s remorse. Not only does this save the effort and money involved with shipping items, but it also saves valuable time.

eBay heavily promotes sellers to accept returns for reasons of buyer’s remorse and to also offer free return shipping. Indeed, listings must have 30 day free returns to qualify for Top Rated Seller Plus status.

The choice of whether to accept returns for unwanted items is a personal one. It should be noted that some experienced sellers choose to accept returns for any reason at all, in an effort to save time and maintain high customer service standards.

How do you deal with buyer’s remorse while selling on eBay? Let us know in the comments below!

Gemma is our all things eBay expert. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Canada and travels extensively. You can read about her travels at her blog Off Track Travel.

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