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EXECUTION E-commerce policies (returns, eBay)

Veloman

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Feb 10, 2018
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Is it standard practice to offer free returns? Are 'restocking fees' antiquated/will piss of customers? I get the feeling with online sales these days, you need to offer free returns as that's what customers expect.

I sell on ebay, one product in particular. The problem is that in order for my product to work, the customer's item (which is pairs to) needs to be in good working condition (which is not always easily seen). So I have about a 5% return rate. My product is essentially never defective. But the customer often thinks it is, so they hit return and mark as defective. Which then means I have to pay shipping both ways, in addition to a full return. Of course, less than 0.002% of the time, my product is 100% working condition.

During the times that the customer hits return and marks it as 'ordered by mistake' or some other reason that is not my fault, then I have the option to not refund shipping and take out a restocking fee up to 20%. Sometimes the customer will ask why they didn't get a full refund since they paid shipping. I'm considering not applying a restocking fee because I feel that it might hurt my rating even though I specified it in my listing (who ever reads the full listing terms?)

So I'm just looking for advice on best practices. Should I just absorb the costs associated with returns as the 'cost of doing business'? My product shipping cost is about 10% of the price and profit margin is very good for the product category which is a very small niche with only one competitor with a 'lesser' product.
 

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