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eBay Partial Refund: Everything You Need to Know

August 12, 2020 3 min read
eBay partial refund

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Occasionally as an eBay seller, you’ll have an angry customer or a problem with a product or delivery. But eBay makes it easy to win over dissatisfied customers when things go wrong by giving you the option to issue an eBay partial refund. Let’s learn more.

What is an eBay partial refund?

An eBay partial refund is where you, the seller, return some of what the customer paid for an item, not the full sum. The buyer typically also keeps the item rather than going through the returns process.

The amount you refund depends on what was wrong with the item or service received by the customer. A few scratches on an otherwise perfect product might warrant a quarter refund, if something’s damaged but still functional, a half refund might be more appropriate.

eBay partial refunds are a great way to resolve disputes without going down the route of getting eBay themselves involved. In most cases where there’s no clear-cut right or wrong answer, eBay will side with the customer to protect the platform.

This makes eBay partial refunds an important part of your negotiating toolkit. Knowing the best time to offer one can save you time, effort, money, and protect your reputation as a seller.

When is a good time to offer a partial refund?

eBay partial refunds are useful when your customer reports a problem with what they bought, but it’s not serious enough to immediately warrant a return. Partial refunds are for cases which can be saved by meeting the buyer halfway.

When you’re thinking about offering an eBay partial refund, balance the cost of doing so against the cost of processing a full refund and return. Refunding in full and getting your item back doesn’t recoup the time you spent shipping or dealing with the case.

Also consider if the item is worth selling if you were to get it back in the condition the customer reports. Partially refunding it and letting them keep what they bought is often a good compromise.

More importantly, consider your reputation as a seller. Even if the customer’s complaint is minor, their feedback may not be. Offering a partial refund can turn a slightly annoyed buyer into a vocal advocate for your business, which is well worth the price.

Important things to remember before issuing a partial refund

Of course, an eBay partial refund isn’t right for every situation. In some circumstances it might not even be possible, and this can depend greatly on how your customer acts during the process.

For example, it’s important to leave a paper trail. Be sure there are eBay messages exchanged between the customer and yourself which give a reason for any refund being requested. If not, a partial refund could lead to a defect showing on your account.

There’s also no option to partially refund items a customer didn’t receive. If they make an ‘item not received’ request, you’d need to issue a full refund through the request itself.

If, however, the customer makes a ‘return’ request, you can open discussion and politely steer them towards an eBay partial refund. Assuming they’re happy with the idea, there are two main ways to do this:

How to give an eBay partial refund in PayPal

It’s probably quickest and easiest to issue an eBay partial refund using PayPal. You have 180 days in which to do this by following these steps. Once you’ve logged in:

  1. Click ‘activity’ in the header of the page, which you’ll see between ‘summary’ and ‘send & request’
  2. Find the payment in question from the list of transactions
  3. Select ‘refund this payment’
  4. The full amount shows up by default, change this to the amount you’d like to refund
  5. Select ‘continue’
  6. Make sure all the information is correct and select ‘issue refund’

How to give a partial refund in eBay managed payments

If you’re enrolled in managed payments, you can also issue eBay partial refunds direct from your seller hub:

  1. Find the order in question in your hub, you’ll see ‘start refund’ on the dropdown menu
  2. Enter the reason you’re processing the refund
  3. Set the amount of money you’re refunding, either by item or by order
  4. Once the right amount is entered, hit ‘send refund’ and you’re done

You’ll then see the amount you refunded show up on the order details.

Related article: eBay Managed Payments: The Ultimate Guide

Things to remember when refunding via eBay managed payments

You can choose to issue an eBay partial refund either by order or by item. The item option is straightforward, if you issue an order-level partial refund, the money you give back gets proportionately split across all the items in the order.

Remember, you can only give one partial refund per order. If there’s a dispute or claim against the order, you won’t get the option to issue any refund until it’s settled.

Unlike PayPal refunds, refunds can be issued via managed payments up to 60 days after the order was first paid for.

Final thoughts

eBay makes it easy for sellers to have an open, transparent conversation with customers to resolve disputes. Offering an eBay partial refund can make the difference between negative feedback and a happy customer who tells their friends about your business. Think long term and always put the buyer first.

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