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Responding to a case when the item doesn't match the listing description

Most sales go smoothly, but occasionally there may be a problem. eBay Buyer Protection helps buyers and sellers work together to resolve issues with items.

Important: If you sell on or, cases from these buyers may have different timelines. Learn more about responding to cases on international eBay websites.

Issue a refund

Buyers are expected to return an item if they want a refund. We'll ask the buyer to ship the item to you—with tracking information—within 7 days. We require buyers to pay the cost of return shipping, unless you and the buyer have come to a different agreement. In unusual circumstances, we may pay the cost of return shipping.

You should issue a refund through the eBay Resolution Center within 3 business days of receiving a returned item. If the buyer didn't pay with PayPal, it's important that you refund the buyer using the same payment method used to buy the item. This prevents buyers from getting 2 refunds—one from you and one from the credit card company.

Once the case has been resolved, you'll receive a final value fee credit.

Issue a partial refund

A partial refund allows the buyer to keep the item, and helps you avoid having to issue a full refund or ship a new item.

For example, if a buyer bought a new camera, and it arrived with scratches, the buyer might be generally happy with the item but want to return it for a new item without scratches. You might offer a partial refund to the buyer to make up for the scratches.

You and the buyer can communicate through the Resolution Center to agree on an acceptable amount for a partial refund. The buyer can accept your offer for a partial refund, request a different amount, or suggest a different solution. You can refund the buyer in the Resolution Center.

Provide documentation that the item was properly described

If you can show that an item was properly described, the case can be closed. Here are examples of descriptions that match the item: 

  • The buyer states that the item is used, not new, and the listing clearly describes the item as used.

  • A defect in the item was correctly described by the seller.

  • The item was properly described, but the buyer didn't want it after receiving it.

  • The item was properly described but didn't meet the buyer's expectations.

  • The item has minor scratches and was listed as used condition.

Offer another solution

You can always offer another solution to the buyer. It's important that you and the buyer try to come to an agreement, and the buyer is happy with the outcome. Please contact the buyer through the Resolution Center, so there's a record of communications and we know the status of the case.

More about refunds

Once a case is opened, funds in your PayPal account (related only to that sale) may be put on hold. When the buyer is satisfied, or we find in your favor, the funds are again available for you to use.

If you've agreed to issue a refund for an item, you must do so in the Resolution Center within 3 business days. If the buyer doesn't receive the refund within 3 business days, the buyer can ask us to help. If you agreed to refund a buyer and haven't, we will refund the buyer:

  • If the buyer paid with PayPal, eBay will deduct the refund from your PayPal account.

  • If the buyer didn't pay with PayPal, there aren't sufficient funds in your PayPal account, or PayPal isn't your preferred reimbursement payment method, we'll ask you to add a reimbursement payment method.

  • If you've already designated a preferred reimbursement method, we'll deduct funds from that account.

If you don't reply to a case by the deadline, or you and the buyer can't reach an agreement, the buyer may escalate the case. We'll review the case and come to a final decision. If we find in favor of the buyer, we'll refund the buyer directly and recover the amount of the refund from you using one of the methods described above.

Contact Customer Service

If you have an additional question about this subject, email us at Customer Service.
If you would like to ask a question on another subject, please use the Contact Us page.

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