My eBay return policy currently says that we’ll take returns or exchanges for any reason within 7 days of item receipt. Under the new eBay changes, I’ll need to up this to a minimum of 14 days. Which will functionally change nothing about how I do business.

Because here’s the thing about my return policy. Yeah, OK, it says you only have 7 days but do you honestly think that I would ever in a million years turn down a buyer’s request for a return if it were more than that? Of course not. Frankly, I only put down 7 days because I’d like to encourage buyers to contact me sooner rather than later because, obviously, the sooner they tell me that they want to return, the easier it is on my end. Regardless of what it says my return policy is, we’ll always take returns in original condition no matter how long it’s been (within reason).

For that matter, my return policy also says that shipping costs either way are non-refundable. 90% of the time we do refund shipping costs one if not both ways. But my return policy doesn’t say we do because that allows me to offer that as a special extra to smooth over a bad situation when needed instead of just something buyers expect.

My point is simply this: For most of us, our return policy is so much more than what we put in that field on eBay. It’s really just a starting point. If you aren’t under-promising and over-delivering, I’m not sure you’re doing this whole retail thing right.

When I hear people flipping out about these eBay changes to the return policy, I just shake my head. In part because the fact that eBay feels the need to regulate this means that many sellers still aren’t meeting this bare minimum of customer service which is, frankly, inexcusable. eBay shouldn’t have to force you to have a return policy… you should be doing that yourself.

Secondly, if having to offer a return policy is genuinely a problem for you… you have much bigger problems in your business then eBay and what they want in that field. Businesses accept returns. That’s how it is. If yours can’t handle this that has nothing to do with any eBay policy and everything to do with your having set something up wrong along the way. No, of course no one LIKES having to take returns. They’re a pain. But they are, frankly, the bare minimum of what customers expect and are truly not something that can be optional in the current commerce landscape (e or otherwise). If your reaction to being told this is to cry about it… honey, you aren’t cut out for this business stuff.