Return Postage Options | Guide

While you can always require that customers handle all of the shipping logistics of their returns, shoppers prefer buying from companies that provide prepaid shipping labels.

ShippingEasy provides two versatile options to accommodate any return policy:

  • Prepaid returns
  • Scan-based returns

ShippingEasy does not provide a portal for your customers to request a return label from your website.

Provide a Prepaid Return Label Upon Request

A prepaid return label is purchased by a merchant, paid for when printed, and provided to a customer in order to return the product back to a warehouse. Keep in mind, that you can still seek compensation from your customer for this label, but the actual purchase will be made through your own carrier account.

This will be the default option for most businesses as it does not require any advanced planning. Simply wait for notification from your customer that they need to return a purchase. Then generate the label and send it to them. When purchased from ShippingEasy, you can even automatically email the return label to your customers.

Advantages of Prepaid Return Labels

  • Screen returns: since customers will need to contact your company before sending back a product, you will have a chance to better understand their reasons and take measures to overcome their objections and/or fix any problems.
  • Save labels: when you email a label to your customer, you save on label and/or ink costs.

Disadvantages of Prepaid Return Labels

  • More customer inquiries: the flip side of having your customers contact you is that your customer service team will field more inquiries. This could drain your resources if you do not have a clear plan in place.
  • Refund unused labels: when you generate a prepaid label, you pay for it upfront. If your customer changes their mind and does not use it, you are still out the postage. Fortunately, Stamps provides simple tools to locate and refund unused labels. Learn how to locate eligible refunds.

Creating Prepaid Return Labels in ShippingEasy

Before you begin processing prepaid return labels, make sure that you have configured your ShippingEasy account.

First, decide how to send the label to your customer. There are several options available within ShippingEasy:

  1. Automatically email it upon purchase. Learn how to set it up.
  2. Download PDF. Then print it and snail mail or email it from a personal account.
  3. For Amazon merchants, download it and upload it to Amazon. Learn how to process Amazon returns.

If you opt to have ShippingEasy email the label, take a few extra minutes to customize your return notification email. Learn more about confirmation emails.

With your settings configured, you are ready to generate a prepaid return label. Just follow our step-by-step guide for simple to follow instructions.

For more information about prepaid return labels, take a look at our FAQs.

Mail a Scan-Based Return Label with Each Purchase

Unlike prepaid returns, scan-based returns are not paid for when the label is created. Postage is only deducted from your postage account if and when the return label is scanned by USPS into the mail stream. While normally offered to customers as part of a free-returns policy, with careful logistics you could also reasonably pass these costs onto your customers.

Scan-based returns are often preferred for rental returns, buying clubs, as well as fashion and apparel retailers. However, to use this option via ShippingEasy requires some advanced planning as it will need to be set up through Endicia's Pay-on-Use Returns service. Once configured, the scan-based return label will be printed in tandem with the outbound shipment and mailed to your customer in the original package.

Advantages of Scan-Based Return Labels

  • Only pay for labels you use: there is no need to watch for unused labels as you will only be charged for those that enter the mail stream.
  • Fewer customer inquiries: reduce the time your customer service team spends on customer inquiries by eliminating the need for customers to contact you for a return label.
  • Automate returns: ShippingEasy's Shipping Rules provide the option to automate a variety of actions, such as assigning specific carrier services, to orders that qualify for scan-based returns. Learn how to automate returns.

Disadvantages of Scan-Based Return Labels

  • Lost opportunity to screen returns: since your customer will not need to contact your business before returning an item, you may not even know that there was an issue until the package arrives back at your warehouse.
  • Use more labels: since the scan-based return label will be mailed with the package, it will be printed in tandem with the outbound label, using 2x the labels.
  • Surcharge: Stamp's Pay-on-Use Returns service includes a surcharge on any redeemed scan-based return label.

Creating Scan-Based Return Labels in ShippingEasy

Before you begin processing scan-based return labels, make sure that you've configured your ShippingEasy account. Learn more about setting up your account for scan-based returns.

With your settings configured, you're ready to generate a scan-based return label. Just follow our step-by-step guide for simple to follow instructions.

For more information about scan-based returns, take a look at our FAQs.

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I have been trying to print a return label for orders delivered manually. I went through your very easy process. I am entering all the information correctly in the fields ("TO" my shop's saved address, and "FROM" the customer's address), but when it is done and ready to print, the label is the other way around. It is preparing a label from me to the client. I am paying for it and I don't need it... What is the solution?

So far I have had to go with this label that I don't want, and print a return label from that. So I am paying for a label "TO" the client, which I am not using :( 

Can you please help? Why is it giving me a wrong label after I enter the info correctly?

Thank you!

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Hello Louma - Thank you for reaching out! I'm sorry to hear that you've run into this trouble, though it's good to see that you found the option to create the return label from the accidental label.

Regarding the label that you do not need, I recommend cancelling this one. This will allow you to get a refund for the postage paid. However, please keep in mind that Endicia will need to wait 10 days before processing the refund request, just to make sure that the label doesn't enter the mail stream. We have more details in this guide: How to: Cancel a label

As for creating the return label manually, I'd like to make sure that you navigated to the correct "Quick Ship" page.

From the blue navigation bar, there is the "Quick Ship" tab and it sounds like you found that just fine. If you just click on this tab, it will open a form to create a "New" outbound label - and it seems like that's what you wound up with. On the other hand, if you hover over the tab, you'll see two options - the second option being "Return label". If you click on "Return label", you'll see a slightly different form. 

There are some distinct difference between the "New label" and "Return label" forms.

  • New label - This form is titled "Create Manual Order". You'll also notice that the default order number starts with "M" (for Manual).
  • Return label - This form is titled "Create Return Label". Also notice that the default order numbers starts with "R" (for Return).

These could be good points to check before creating the label, to make sure that you're on the right form.

If you run into this problem again, I'd love to hear about it. So far, I haven't been able to recreate this on our test server, but I'd be happy to give it another go if it comes up again!

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Hi Jennifer,

I appreciate your prompt response! This is what I am doing. I am clicking on Return label, the form says return label, and the order number starts with R.

All the fields look good when I am filling them out. "From" is actually the client's address, and "TO" is my address. However, when I get to the printing stage and see the label in the table, the From and To addresses are switched.

Do you know what that may be about?

Thank you!


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Hi Louma - Based on your description, it sounds like you've followed the correct steps.

I've attempted to replicate this error again on an independent account, but was unable to. Just to confirm that we're following the same process, this is how the "Create Return Label" form looked when I was filling it out:

The label also confirmed the correct to/from for a return (keep in mind that this is a test label, so it has notations that you would not see on your label):

Unfortunately I'm unable to locate more details about your specific label as I see that there are multiple orders with that same order number, but a few of them were cleared from your account before shipping. Regretfully, this limits what I can search in our database.

I'd love to keep tabs on this, though. If you create another return label again and experience the same problem, please alert me and I'll see if I can find any new information. 

On a last note - please don't forget to cancel the label that you didn't use. This will ensure that you're refunded for the postage paid. Learn how to cancel a label.


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Hi Jennifer,

Thank you so much again for your help; you are thorough and awesome :)

This is exactly what my process looked like. However, when I clicked Save and Get Rate, the label would be saved in a table that looks like the "Order History" table, but the addresses were switched. That's why I was ending up with a label I didn't need. From that table, I was then clicking on the green arrow and choosing "Create Prepaid Return Shipment", and that action was then issuing the label I needed, like the one in your response above.

I did cancel the label that was wrong though, so thank you! I didn't know I could do that. If I can do this an unlimited number of times, then I will keep doing what I'm doing and canceling the wrong labels :))

But of course I would love to find the bug and make the process easier from the beginning.

Would it help if I filmed my process and uploaded it for you to take a look?

Thank you so much again, Jennifer!! Have a great day!



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Hello Louma - Thank you for the additional details.

Just to confirm, after clicking "Save and Get Rate", does this take the shipment to the Ready to Ship page, for you to select your Carrier and Service? Or does this take the shipment to the Orders page?

I think that a video could help at this point. If you create one, please email it to This will help us review the information, while keeping your personal information (company and customer) private.



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Hi Jennifer,

I filmed the process I was doing, and it worked! I have no ideas what I have been doing wrong, but this time it worked. I will surely let you know if I run into that same issue again...

I did the same thing and now it worked...

Thank you so much for your help! Have a great weekend!


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Thanks for the update Louma! I'll keep my eyes on this thread in case anything changes next time you go to create a prepaid return label.

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