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Tag Archives: distance selling regulation on refund


Refund policies – An Insight from Camilla @ IWOCA

Source – Flickr

Are they even important? Should you have them? Well, yes. It’s definitely worth having a think about your return policies. First of all having a return policy can protect your business. Second of all, having a return policy can help you sell more.

Let’s address one concern before we go further into this subject. Many sellers mention in different spaces that a return policy doesn’t matter because eBay has terms that buyers can make use of, and these will overrule the sellers’ return policy in any case. While that may be true, just remember that doing that is not easy. And it will take a lot for a buyer to want to go through all that work and in most cases they won’t.


I asked about refund policies in the Facebook group UK online sellers. Jane Bell from eBayAnorak was kind enough to supply me with an excellent link to Distance Selling Regulation. In here you can find a lot of relevant information about the regulations around returns.

And there are quite a few rules that you must follow, when you finalize a sale that is not face-to-face. The buyer must receive some information from you before they enter into a contract, i.e. finalize a purchase. You must provide enough information for the buyer to know who they’re dealing with. It is also important that there’s a description of the main characteristics of the goods you’re selling as well as a clearly stated price. For an eBay seller this is equally important for other reasons, such as credibility and list rankings.

Delivery and payment

The regulations also require for you to provide details of the delivery costs as well as informing the buyer how payment can be made. Again, there are many other reasons for being clear about this information. When you’re a seller you want to appear trustworthy, because if you do there’s a bigger chance that a buyer will go from potential to actual. This means that by informing buyers of delivery time, cancelation time and return costs you seem more credible and hence the buyer will feel more confident entering into an agreement with you.


For goods, there is a time limit for cancellation. The cancellation time is seven working days, after the day on which the customer receives the goods, provided you have given the buyer written information. Seven working days from the day after the day on which the consumer received the written information and within three months of the goods being delivered, when the written information is not provided at the time of delivery, or three months and seven days from the day after the day the consumer receives the goods if you do not give the required written information at all (or give it after the three month period mentioned above).


While there are many rules to follow, other members of the group focused on softer parts of the subject. One member mentioned that having a clear refund policy was a great help in retaining loyal customers. It essentially becomes part of a service, offering customers more than just an eBay purchase. This is something that has been discussed on various occasions, in relation to many different subjects. eBay, Amazon or wherever you sell it’s always about creating value for the customer, especially if you’re looking for them to come back.

What’s your policy and experience?

Camilla GilbroCamilla Gilbro is  Community Manager at IWOCA who provides small business loans dedicated to online sellers.

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