What is a return?

Very simply, a return is a request for ShipBob to receive and perform actions on inventory that is coming back into our fulfillment centers. Typically, the return is a result of an order being requested to be refunded or exchanged. Importantly, ShipBob does not handle refunds or exchanges - we simply process the inventory according to your returns preferences. 

There are 2 types of returns:

  1. Return To Sender (RTS): A return that results from a carrier or delivery failure and arrives back at ShipBob. We will automatically restock every item with the pickable inventory unless an RTS action has been defined as quarantine or dispose. Read here for more details.

  2. Return Order: A return that is sent back to ShipBob at a merchant’s request. Return orders can be created in 3 ways:



Return Order:

  • Label fee: Label buying is optional. You can buy a label from us at a discount, otherwise, you can buy your own labels or ask your customers to buy them. Click here to see our label fees. Note: You can't create ShipBob return labels for international orders.

  • $3 processing fee: This includes the processing of all items in the return and is only applied to your account when the return physically arrives in our fulfillment center. Please read below on what the processing fee include.

  • For International RTS, merchants will be responsible for all return fees which are subject to shipping cost, including all duties and taxes owed at time of import. ShipBob cannot forecast additional fees prior to the item being returned back.

Domestic RTS: A fee equivalent to the original cost of the shipping label. There is no additional processing fee charged for RTS within the country the shipment was sent from.

SLA: 10 Business Days


Important Notes: 

  • We require clean inventory items to be added to a Return order: This means only the physical items, not bundles or non-physical products (variants) like digital downloads. 

  • Lot Items: While Lot items may be returned, we do not support restocking lot/exp date products with the original lot at this time.

  • 1 Return = 1 Box: We assume that all inventory items on the Return are in the same box. If not, you will have to create 2 separate returns with different tracking numbers or RMAs.

  • Identification of the Return: When sending returns to ShipBob fulfillment centers, you must submit a Reference ID/RMA (Mandatory) and a tracking number (highly recommended). These two allow our staff to identify your return and associate them to your account. Failure to do so will result in product disposal.

Some items are NOT eligible for returns to our facilities:

  • Any hazardous material (e.g. fertilizers, aerosols, batteries).

  • Any food products. These products will be disposed of upon receipt or rejected.

  • Intimate apparel, toys, or any intimacy-related goods.

  • Syringes or medical supplies that include testing/sample kits.

  • Medical supplies used for collection fluids.

  • Medicine (ie vitamins, supplements).

Processing Fees:

This $3 processing fee includes:

  • Any dispose or quarantine action.

  • For restock: 3 inspection steps or less.

This $3 processing fee does not include:

  • Plugging in or testing any electronic devices.

  • Disassembly of the core product (e.g. unscrewing, taking out batteries, etc.).

  • Re-kitting. If a de-kitted product is being returned, we recommend disposing or quarantining and sending back as a wrapped pallet at regular intervals.

  • Serial scanning.

  • Logging anything on a third party document such as a spreadsheet or a third party software.

  • Sort by lot codes or expiration dates.

  • Photos of returns.


  • Why is my return shipping label more expensive than the original fulfillment price?

    • Return shipping labels are priced based on the shipping zone and carrier rates from UPS & USPS ground services only. ShipBob gets steep discounts due to our shipping volume, and we pass those directly onto you for a significant discount relative to buying them at retail. In some cases, your return label fees might be higher than the original fulfillment cost, since we cannot utilize other low-cost carriers (e.g. UPS SurePost) without POS where packages can be dropped off.

  • I don’t want to buy SB shipping labels. What alternative options do I have?

    • Other than buying ShipBob labels, you could also use your own labels and just share the tracking number of the label with us when you create the return. You can do so from services like Shippo or Shopify - but, your prices are not likely to be much better than buying them directly from ShipBob since they are using the same carriers and similar discounts. If you do use your own labels, ensuring you have the correct tracking number will help us process your returns faster. 

  • Does ShipBob's international fulfillment centers follow this processing fee structure and return process?

    • Each of our fulfillment centers will follow this same process (international and domestic) and can accept returns coming from customers within the same region.

Read here: How to Create and Track Return Orders.

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