Restocking fees

Restocking fees is a tool that some online shops use to annoy their customers. When I recently bought something from eBuyer, I was happy to get lots of new stuff but quite unhappy with their “restocking fee”.

Samsung SyncMaster 213T 21

One of the things I bought was a monitor, which was quite expensive (but nice!) The day after I got it, the advertised price dropped by around $200 – and since eBuyer offers a full refund within 7 business days, I was a happy customer.

I went online to check their returns policy and it seemed just fine. But rather than returning the monitor, getting a refund, and ordering a new one at a lower price, I contacted them to see if we could meet in the middle somewhere – give me a partial refund in the form of a voucher or something.

This is where the restocking fee of 20% was first mentioned. To return an item that has been taken out of the box, eBuyer deducts 20% from the refund. I was unhappy with this and mentioned that the policy or even terms and conditions do not make any mention of this concept – how am I to know about it??

The answer was less than satisfactory: because eBuyer does not want to have a returns policy that is too long, they decided not to mention the restocking fee. In fact, the only way you can see it online is when you click the “Return a product” link and select a product you have already bought. In other words, until you have actually bought something, there is no way for you to know about the restocking fee. (And no, eBuyer does not take telephone orders so you cannot ask either).

The text that eBuyer does not want to clutter their returns policy with, in its entirety, is this:

Note: Some actions (marked with *) may subject the item to a 20% re-stocking fee

The “Some actions” include “Incorrect Item Ordered” (reasonable, I think), but also “Wrong Item Delivered”. Why do I have to get 20% less money back if I want a refund because eBuyer delivered something I didn’t order???

I won’t be buying from eBuyer again. I suggest you think twice before doing so as well.

4 thoughts on “Restocking fees

  1. it’s a bloody outrage – I think you should write to your local MP

  2. In the UK you have the right to cancel within 7 days after the product has arrived. See cooling off rights. In my experience if you cancel an order from Amazon they send you a freepost address for the return. So unlike a returned item they cover the return costs.

  3. Thank you for this. I am just in the process of trying to challenge this fee myself, and think your approach is far too reasonable. I won’t accept this fee, which is nothing short of a returns tax for lazy and inefficient e-retailers, and do not believe it can possibly comply with the UK Trading Standards. Next they will add 50p to my invoice for every email I send. Retail companies cannot and should not be permitted to slew off particular tasks – handling returns, and allocate undeclared fees to them. If I have any success I will write to you again. If I get no success, I will take this further, and would like to recover other people’s 20%’s when I go to Fair Trading. Let’s have some fun….


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