Return settings requirements for selling on Google

 

Shopping Actions is changing in the US! As a result, Merchant Center Help Center articles have been updated to support all versions of the experience. Learn more about the changes here

 

This article only applies to merchants enrolled in the new Shopping Actions experience. For general information on returns, see the Merchant Center guidelines. For returns requirements for merchants who have not yet migrated to the new experience or for merchants in France, click here.

There are three pieces of your returns configuration: 

  • Return policies (mandatory)
  • Return addresses (mandatory)
  • Return rules (recommended)

In addition, you'll need to follow:

  • Requirements for processing returns
  • Additional returns policies

Note: The configurable settings will guide your return settings, but will not ensure that your return settings adhere to the required policies. Products that don't meet the minimum standards may be removed from your available inventory. Changes to return settings can take up to a day to reflect on your products.


Return policies

A minimum of one return policy is required for all the products you sell on Shopping Actions. Return policies can be added via Merchant Center Returns section, via feeds, or, via the Content API.

The first return policy you create will be your default return policy. Additional return policies can be created by using labels to define groups of products, like electronics or apparel, and then applying specific return policies to those groups. These policies can be specified in the feed with the return_policy_label.

If the feed for a product does not include a return_policy_label column, or if the return_policy_label attribute is blank, or if the return policy specified by the feed cannot be found, the default return policy will be used.

Requirements for return policies

The following are requirements your return policies must meet. 

Return window

You choose whether or not items with a specific return policy can be returned, and if so, for how long. Eligibility for return is calculated from the date when the item was delivered (or the latest estimated delivery date if the actual delivery date is not available).

Your default return policy must allow customers to make returns for up to at least 30 days, or 14 days for France, from the delivery date. Additional return policies shorter than 30 days (or 14 days for France) may be created, but should only be applied to items in allowable exception categories.
Exceptions: You may provide a return policy with a minimum of 14 days for electronic items. You may provide a return policy that designates food items, perishables, or living things as ineligible for return. 

Customer return fee

By default, all returns on Shopping Actions are marked as free returns. However, you may select some or all of the customer remorse reasons ("better price found", "changed mind," "does not fit," "no longer needed," and "ordered wrong item") for a return to indicate when the cost of return shipping is the responsibility of the customer. If you don't select a reason, or if the reason for return is not included among the reasons you are able to select, you will be responsible for the cost of the return and the customer will be informed that there are “Free returns” for the purchase. You will also be required to specify the actual cost of return shipping that the customers will be charged. Restocking fees are not allowed and therefore cannot be specified.

Seasonal overrides

In order to accommodate for the high volume of both orders and returns during periods such as holidays, you can create seasonal overrides during which there are exceptions to your standard return policy. For example, you might set a seasonal override for items ordered between November 1 and December 25 that allows those items to be returned until January 31 of the following year.

If you set a specific date until which items may be returned and that date differs from the return window of a non-seasonal policy, the more favorable of the two policies will be applied. Seasonal overrides must still conform to all the requirements for a return policy.


Return address

A minimum of one return address is required for all the products you sell on Shopping Actions. Return addresses can be added in the Returns section of your Merchant Center account, via feeds, or, via Content API. The first return address you configure will be your default return address. 

Additional return addresses can be created by using labels to define groups of products, like electronics or apparel, and then applying specific return policies to those groups. These policies can be specified in the feed with the return_address_label.

If the feed for a product does not include a return_address_label column, or if the return_address_label attribute is blank, or if the return policy specified by the feed cannot be found, the default return policy will be used.

Requirements for return addresses

  • Each product must have an associated valid United States return address (even if you manage returns for the products)
  • For Google-facilitated returns:
    • The return address specified as default in your carrier account will specified as return to sender (RTS) address

Return rule

You can add a return rule to the products you sell on Shopping Actions to signify special returns scenarios. You can mark your offers as requiring either  "special processing return" or "returnless refund."

To add a return rule, you'll need to configure its settings in your Merchant Center account and then add it to a product by using the return_rule_label attribute in your feeds or via Content API. If the feed for a product does not include a return_rule_label column, or if the return_rule_label attribute is blank, or if the return rule specified by the feed cannot be found, no return rule will be used for the product.

Requirements for return rules

  • For returnless refund:
    • Products eligible for returnless refund must also have a return address associated with the product.
    • Google may choose to generate a return label on your behalf for these products for fraud prevention or Google may route these return requests for you to review within the Merchant Center. 
  • For special processing return:
    • You must accurately tag why a product requires special processing when configuring the return rule in Merchant Center.
    • You'll receive an email when a customer requests a return for these products. You may respond directly to the email to coordinate with the customer directly for these returns.

Processing returns

When processing returns, you must follow these policies:

  • When you're notified in Merchant Center of a customers' return request, you must complete one of the following within two business days: 
    • Provide a return label and provide the carrier name and tracking number in Merchant Center.
    • Provide the customer with a refund without the need to ship the return. 
  • You must also process a return within two business days of receiving a return at your return address. If you fail to process the return in time, the following may occur:
    • Google may refund the customer at your expense.
    • Google may favor the customer in the event of any subsequent Google Guarantee claim.
    • Your Retailer Standards score may be affected.
  • You must provide a reason (mandatory) when you process a return. We recommend that you provide notes to substantiate the reason for any rejections or partial refunds.

Additional policies

And finally, there are several other requirements for managing returns: 

  • When you've provided your carrier account details (UPS or FedEx), you agree to allow Google to generate return labels on your behalf. You'll be directly billed by the carrier for the return labels that are used. If Google’s call to your carrier to generate a return label fails, as a fall back, the return will be considered a merchant-managed return This would generate a return request,which you will be able to view in the Returns section of your Merchant Center account.
  • You're required to respond to shopper messages via Google-facilitated messaging within two business days. Examples of mandatory reasons for your response include all special processing required returns.
  • You cannot include pre-paid return labels with your products.
  • You must provide shipping dimensions and weights for all products. Failure to do so will result in Google using a default shipping dimension and weight.
  • User email addresses shared with you for the intent of scheduling delivery or pick up can only be used for logistics. 

Related links 

 

 

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