UPDATE 9-17-21 eBay has finally acknowledged this was a technical issue - importantly eBay says buyers were not being shown incorrect dates and they will not be given additional time to ship their returns.

We are aware of a technical issue causing sellers to see an incorrect return date
We are aware of a technical issue which may be causing sellers to see an incorrect, extended date for buyers to ship their returns. We have not made any changes to our return policies. Buyers are not seeing the incorrect dates, and they will not have additional time to ship their returns. We ex…

We are aware of a technical issue which may be causing sellers to see an incorrect, extended date for buyers to ship their returns. We have not made any changes to our return policies. Buyers are not seeing the incorrect dates, and they will not have additional time to ship their returns.

We expect the issue to be resolved in the coming hours, and we will update this post if there are further delays.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. As always, thank you for selling on eBay.


UPDATE: 9-16-21

It looks like at least one part of the issue may be an unannounced policy change from last year - but eBay staff seems hesitant to give any clear indication of whether there may also be a technical issue in play and/or when exactly the policy changed and why sellers were not proactively informed.

A seller in the community noticed an unannounced change to the eBay policy page from November 2020:

Hi velvet@ebay- Thanks for the reply. Could you please clarify on a couple of points-

1- Can you please review all the posts from this link- CS has opened tech tickets and sellers whose returns have already been open a month are seeing 30 business day extensions added. Please provide some insight on that.

https://community.ebay.com/t5/Returns/Something-isnt-right-Buyer-Return-window-just-got-EXTENDED-by/...

2- Another issue is the policy itself being changed with zero notice to sellers. As of 1 year ago- the policy from the 2020 Spring Seller Update was in effect. eBay appears to have changed the policy in November without warning.

As a reminder- this is from the Spring 2020 Update-

https://community.ebay.com/t5/Updates-to-how-you-service/Sufficient-time-for-buyer-to-return/m-p/307...

When buyers are sent an eBay-generated return label, the return is closed if the label is not printed within 10 business days. If the buyer prints the label, we allow the return to remain open an additional 5 business days to ensure shipping scans are captured. When buyers are not sent an eBay-generated return label, we wait up to 35 business days before closing the return.

velvet@eBay responded

  1. Out of the usernames in that thread that are also eBay accounts, I could find none that had claims being kept open past 35 business days. One of them noted a claim was opened against them on 9/13 and they were told it would close on 10/26. That's actually 31 business days, so they are within the 35 business day window. It appears we may be giving a more accurate picture as to when the claim will close. I'm sorry for any confusion this may have caused, and if you see anyone having funds held past 35 business days, please be sure to let us know so we can have that looked into.

  2. We rely on shipping scans to follow the progress of a returned item. Sometimes this information is either delayed or not shared with us. This means a buyer may have shipped the return without us being aware of it.

Because of this, our system only closes a return once the appropriate time has passed. This is an automatic process and ensures the returns experience follows similar paths for every member.

Most returns close in 10 to 15 business days, depending on what actions the buyer has taken, such as viewing or printing a label as noted in the help page verbiage you shared here. If the return is being shipped using something other than an eBay label though, it may remain open for up to 35 business days.

In the end, if the buyer fails to return the item in the time allowed, the case will close and no further action will be required from you. We can't get much more specific then what's already been provided, but hopefully the info helps.

Velvet failed to answer the most important question about when this policy changed, so the seller asked again.

Thanks velvet@ebay and I'm not trying to beat a dead horse here- but point 2 wasn't about clarifying the current policy. It was about the fact that a specific policy was announced with the Spring 2020 update- then in November 2020 eBay changed that policy again but did not tell sellers- they just quietly changed the policy and the policy page with no announcement of any kind. I hope you can see why that's problematic.

velvet@eBay responded again:

Thanks for clarifying, I really appreciate it. It helps me better understand your context and I'll be sure to pass your feedback on.

So there we have it....or at least as much information as eBay is willing to disclose at this time.


9-15-21 I'm seeing increasing reports from sellers indicating eBay may be allowing extended return times for buyers.

Something isnt right. Buyer Return window just got EXTENDED by another 4 weeks. Anyone seeing this?
I had a guy open a return. Typical lying “defective not working” reason to get free return. Buyer messages me that he just needs to return it. Fine. It happens. I’m really not a stickler. He then NEVER ships. Of course he is using the item, as he got it at a great deal. Electronics are getting mor…
Okay. How long do buyers have to return item after they file a return?
I thought they had 14 days. I have one that received their item 9/1 and filed a return that day. A new watch, Said it wasn’t running. It was new so it shouldn’t have been running. Still in box. But, I accept returns for any reason and pay for return. So, no problem. Ebay sent me the notice and it s…
Return timeframe of 6 weeks?
I thought ebay did away with the extended Covid return window? I had a buyer open a return yesterday. I offer 30 day returns. Return details say buyer has until October 26th to return it!!! What did I miss? I’m not a fan of 6 week rentals, especially with the holidays approaching.
50 days to ship a return??
So i have a return for an item-no biggie, happens from time to time. What I just noticed is that the buyer has 50 days to ship the item back. When did this change? 50 days of money tied up in a deal is a bit ridiculous. I have found that after about 2 weeks if the buyer doesn’t ship the item back, t…

It's not entirely clear yet if there is a glitch in play here, as some sellers have suggested, if there is just confusion about the return time due to eBay using business days vs calendar days, or if this may be yet another unannounced change like the recent changes that were uncovered in the Item Not Received process.

One seller posted some helpful information about changes that were announced back in the Spring 2020 Seller update that could extend return windows in some situations where the return label was not printed through eBay, but noted it appears that eBay may now be using that time frame for all returns.

https://pages.ebay.com/seller-center/seller-updates/2020-spring/service.html#returns-cases

Changes to handling return requests that appear abandoned

Starting April 1, 2020, we will no longer close returns early at the request of a seller when the buyer has not shipped the item back. Instead, we will wait to ensure buyers have sufficient time to provide proof items they requested to return were shipped back. If we do not receive proof of shipment from your buyers while the return requests are active, we will protect you by removing any negative or neutral feedback left on that transaction.

https://community.ebay.com/t5/Updates-to-how-you-service/Sufficient-time-for-buyer-to-return/m-p/307...

When buyers are sent an eBay-generated return label, the return is closed if the label is not printed within 10 business days. If the buyer prints the label, we allow the return to remain open an additional 5 business days to ensure shipping scans are captured. When buyers are not sent an eBay-generated return label, we wait up to 35 business days before closing the return.

Those timelines were obviously thrown out the window. I always hated that a non-eBay label meant the buyer had an additional 25 business days (!!) to return their item. Leave it to eBay to complicate what should be a simple process. Would it be so hard to say a buyer has 10 (calendar) days from the time the return label is sent (whether eBay generated or not!) to get their item scanned in by a postal carrier- but with an unwritten rule that they'll get an automatic 5 (calendar) day extension just so they can't complain they didn't have enough time to return?

35 business days- that's 7-8 weeks depending on weekends and holidays. No buyer should need 2 months to return something! That two months is on top of the 30 days they get to file the return. I mean there's coddling buyers- then there's building a giant bubble for them. They get a quarter of a year to return- think about that- it's ridiculous.

From the examples we all posted in this discussion, it seems like every return filed is getting the extended time frame. I can't comment on that without every other word being bleeped- and those words aren't even part of my everyday vocabulary.

I'll update as more information becomes available.

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