In the world of online selling, it is a fact of life that at some point you WILL come across customers who wish to return an item they have purchased from you. If you are a business seller on eBay, and are offering items at Buy It Now prices, you MUST allow returns on your items (excluding certain items for hygiene reasons, or perishable items).

So, how do you handle them? What procedure should you follow? Well first of all you must abide by the regulations and selling laws that apply in your country. Different countries have different laws, so you really must research the laws that are applicable to you.

Most of these laws can be found by entering terms such as 'Selling Laws' and then adding your country on the end, in Google. official government websites are the most trusted source for this type of information.

Second, and probably the most important aspect for your business and customer, is keeping the customer happy. If a customer wants to return a product, whether it is faulty or simply just not what they need, then the first goal is to keep the customer a happy one.

The Service a Customer Gets Will Determine if they Return or Not

So how does a business go about keeping a customer happy, while also dealing with a returned item efficiently and professionally?

Here are 8 top tips for dealing with customer returns on eBay.

1. Deal with returns requests quickly and politely. It is no good trying to make excuses, or denying them a refund, this will just infuriate your customer who just wants the issue dealing with, and could lead to bad feedback being left.

2. Ensure you set out your own Terms & Conditions, which will have information about returns.

3. ALWAYS apologise twice. Apologise once at the start of the return message, and once again at the end.

4. Dependent on what the item or fault is, sometimes a customer will accept a partial refund. For example, you sell an MP3 Player, and the box arrives damaged. The customer complains and wants to return it.  In some cases, offering a small partial refund will make them agree to keeping the item.

5. If you are sending a replacement, ensure you test it beforehand, and if it is a relatively low cost item, send it before you receive the faulty one back.

6. For high cost items, always try and record any serial numbers that may be on it. For mobile phones, it is imperative that you record the IMEI number. Unfortunately, not all return requests are genuine.

7. Invest in a UV marker pen and UV light set. For high cost items, mark your user ID in an inconspicuous place, so for any returns, you can physically see that it is your item that they are returning.

8. Overall, be polite, be professional. Think how your customer feels, and do what is right.

Dealing with returns is an important part of selling physical products online. If you haven't already got a clear strategy of how to deal with returns, then now is the time to implement one.