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I hear it now and then from fellow resellers selling on eBay, “What do you do when a buyer does not receive the item and the package is returned to you, marked “return to sender?”
Reasons for returns
There can be several reasons for this happening, such as the buyer having remorse and simply marking the package “return to sender” without paying return shipping, the package being delivered to the wrong address, refusal of the delivery, or a failed delivery attempt, to name a few. Whatever the reason, the bottom line is, the seller is responsible for taking action and either refunding the buyer or resending the item. Make sure you understand the reason for the return before taking any action.
Contact the sender via eBay messages
It’s important to create a “positive” communication history between buyer and seller. This will be helpful if eBay is needed to step in and review what’s happening. The odds will be in your favor if you are communicating respectably.
Follow shipping carrier instructions
If the package was returned due to a failed delivery attempt or an incorrect address, follow the instructions provided by the shipping carrier to arrange for a new delivery or update the address.
Consider changing your shipping method
If you frequently experience returned packages, consider changing your shipping method or using a different carrier to improve delivery success rates.
Overall, the best course of action will depend on the reason for the return and the policies of the sender and shipping carrier. Communication and follow-up are key to resolving any issues and ensuring successful delivery.
Worst-case scenarios, you will need to refund the buyer and relist the item, or you will need to print a new label with a new address and decide whether to charge the buyer or take the loss. Sometimes a small loss is worth keeping a professional reputation as an online seller.
If you are a buyer and want to learn more about returns, visit the eBay Returns page.