Help! eBay accepted my return but never sent a refund

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Christopher Elliott

When Gloria Lenoir received approval from eBay to return a recent purchase, she expected a prompt refund. Instead, the company sent her a notification that it had closed her case. How does she get eBay to reopen it?


I recently bought two tubes of Voltaren, a pain medication, through eBay. I paid $29 for the product but decided I could not use it and I asked eBay for return approval after the seller did not respond.

eBay provided a USPS shipping label so I could send back this product. I returned the item to the eBay seller about a month ago but I did not get my refund.

When I tried to enter the USPS tracking number, the eBay website would not accept it. eBay has now closed the case and refused to send my refund. Can you help me? — Gloria Lenoir, Austin, Texas


So let me get this straight: You returned your tubes of Voltaren to the buyer via eBay and you received nothing? Come on.

The seller should have responded when you asked to return the product. This isn’t the first time we’ve had a nonresponsive eBay seller. When that happens, eBay should reconsider whether the merchant belongs on its platform. No ghosting customers! And after talking to eBay myself, there’s no evidence the merchant got a talkin’-to.

I’m glad eBay got involved and sent you a return label. For a few days, at least, it looked as if eBay had taken your side and would be sending your refund. “We have reviewed this case and decided in your favor,” eBay said in an email to you. “You should return the item to the seller for a refund. We’re sorry you had a problem with your purchase.”

eBay should have been able to track your return and issue a refund, but for some reason, it couldn’t. The tracking number USPS gave you was valid. Someone in New York accepted the merchandise after you sent it back. But it looks like the tracking number didn’t quite work with eBay’s system.

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You can avoid most of these problems by checking out my ultimate guide to product returns.

The good news: Here’s your refund from eBay!

Closing your case was the wrong move; eBay should have opened an investigation and not closed it until it was resolved. Your case just slipped through the cracks.

I think you did everything you could to keep your case alive. You kept your correspondence in writing (good work!), and you kept all emails and messages (nice going!), but you still couldn’t get to the right place at eBay. Next time, try one of these executive contacts at eBay. A polite, brief email with your entire paper trail attached should get to the right person.

I asked the company about your case. Although eBay wouldn’t reveal what went wrong with your refund, the company promptly refunded your $29.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Tokyo.

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