Deal with Disappointment: Getting Refunds

Get your money back when an item isn’t all it was made out to be.

In some ways, eBay is no different from any other store. Whether it’s a brick-and-mortar shop down the street or an online superstore across the country, sometimes you don’t get what you were expecting and you want your money back.

Getting your money back requires three things: knowing what your rights are, understanding what policies and requests are considered “reasonable,” and—most of all—knowing what tools you have at your disposal if the seller is less than cooperative.


Sellers: see “Master Expectation Management” [Hack #50] for easy ways to reduce the likelihood of returns, and “Deal with Stragglers, Deadbeats, and Returns” [Hack #89] for tips on getting your eBay fees refunded if you allow a customer to return an item.

Diplomacy Tactics

It’s the seller who sets the return policy for any given auction, so before you write the seller and complain, you’ll need to check the auction description and the seller’s About Me page (if applicable) to see if the seller has outlined a policy on returns. For instance, the seller might accept returns only under certain circumstances, or might not accept returns at all. Other sellers will be more understanding, accepting returns within three days of receipt, or offering refunds on everything except shipping.

Next, see if the problem (your reason for wanting a refund) is stated in the auction. For example, if the seller wrote in the ...

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