Dealing with Amazon returns is not exactly something I look forward to. And even though boxing a thing up isn’t the most difficult or time-consuming activity I could think of, something about it inspires sheer procrastination in me.
If this is you, I have good news. Amazon has a few tricks up its sleeve for making returns more convenient.
1. The Amazon return policy gives you 30 days from delivery to make your return.
Amazon’s standard return window is 30 days from delivery.
But there’s a pretty simple workaround worth trying if you’re looking to make an Amazon return after 30 days.
Go to your orders in your Amazon account and select any order you’ve received within the last 30 days and initiate a return on that item (even though you don’t want to return it). Amazon will then show you additional items you’ve ordered in the past few months in case you want to add them to your return. I’ve found I can return items I’ve received more than 45 or 60 days in the past, with this method. Select the item you want to return, then unselect the original item on which you initiated the return. Voila.
2. Amazon returns are free when you drop off at UPS.
When you make an Amazon return, you will see different return options depending on the seller, item and reason for return.
For items sold and fulfilled by Amazon, you will have at least one free return option, most frequently a drop off at UPS store. There are exceptions like items weighing over 50 lbs.
Even for items sold by 3rd parties, you usually will not be responsible for return shipping fees, but it all depends on the seller’s policy. Keep in mind, 3rd party sellers can also have a return window shorter than 30 days.
Amazon has a whole table that explains return costs of single and even multiple items, when they do exist.
Tip: Each return label is assigned to a specific return. To make sure that you receive the correct refund, don’t include items from multiple orders or shipments in the same box.
3. Many Amazon returns can be dropped off at Whole Foods for free.
You do not need to package your return or print a return shipping label when you select Whole Foods dropoff for your Amazon return. Whole Foods Market will pack, label, and ship your return for free. Just bring your item in its original packaging.
Choosing this option helps Amazon reduce packaging waste by fitting more items into a single box, thus reducing shipping containers and trucks on the road.
Start your return online and Amazon will send you a QR code. Show the code on your smartphone to the associate at Whole Foods.
4. Or drop off your Amazon returns at Kohl’s — you don’t even need a box.
To make an Amazon return at Kohl’s, the process begins just the same. Open the Amazon app and follow this process: Orders → Return or Replace Items → Reason for Return → Select Kohl’s Dropoff.
Amazon will send a QR code to your email. Show it to the Kohl’s associate when you hand over your items, unboxed just like at Amazon.
5. Or try an Amazon Hub Locker return.
To get started with a Hub Locker, select “Amazon Hub Locker” in the Amazon Return Center. You’ll get a code to enter at your nearest Amazon Locker.
Once you reserve it, your locker will be available until the store closes on the following business day.
Package up your return and attach the return label. Follow the instructions on the Amazon Locker screen to finish.
Learn more about how Amazon Hub Lockers work.
6. The Amazon holiday return policy gives you up to 4 months to return items purchased after Oct 1.
Most major retailers like Walmart and Target begin their extended return policies on November 1st. Amazon started a whole month earlier this year. Their October 1 start was new in 2021. Items purchased on or after October 1st could be returned any time before January 31st.
Extended holiday return policies essentially freeze the start of the standard return window until after December holidays. Many retailers use December 25th. Amazon uses December 31st. So this Amazon holiday return policy works by suspending the 30 day standard return window until Jan 1st, giving you until the 31st to make returns. Amazon’s extended return policy is one of the very best.
7. There are some things you can’t return at all.
There are some items that you can’t return to Amazon.com They are:
- Items classified as hazardous materials or that use flammable liquids or gases (contact the manufacturer directly for service, warranty, return, and refund information)
- Live insects
- Downloadable software products and open software
- Online subscriptions after they have been accessed
- Gift cards (except as required by law)
- Prepaid game cards (World of Warcraft, Xbox 360 Live, Wii Points, etc.)
- Some jewelry orders
- Some health and personal care orders
- Grocery products (with exceptions for Amazon brand items. See tip 15.)
8. And others that can be refunded but not returned.
Some categories like pet are not eligible for return, but you may still be able to get a refund. Always look on the listing page for the return policy before making a purchase. Beneath the ‘buy now’ button, you’ll see the return policy plainly listed plainly. Many pet products have the following return policy, “This item is non-returnable, but if the item arrives damaged or defective, you may request a refund or replacement.”
Should you decide to return the item, your return will work in the same manner as any normal return, except instead directing you to a return label and a drop off spot, Amazon will let you know they are processing your refund and they don’t need the item sent back. Like all returns, “returnless refunds” are tracked in your account and abusing or taking advantage of this policy could get you banned.
The following categories are among those that give refunds without requiring you to mail back the item back:
- Grocery items (including Amazon Fresh items) and wine
- Amazon Photos and printed products
- Pet food and similar products
- Unboxed, expanded, and full size mattresses
9. Amazon exchanges ship before you send the original item back.
If you prefer an exchange to a return, here’s how they work.
Select the item you want to exchange, and the reason for the return, as usual. The item you wish to receive in the exchange will ship immediately with the same shipping speed that was used on your original item. Amazon will provide you with a return label so you can send the original item back. You have 30 days to return the original item before being charged for both the original and exchange items.
If the item you’re exchanging costs less than your original purchase, Amazon will refund you the difference. If the new item costs more, you’ll be charged for the difference in price.
10. Amazon electronics return policy will charge a 15% fee when an item’s condition is misrepresented by the buyer.
So technically Amazon gives you 30 days to return electronics, just like everything else. But, there are a few potential fees you’ll incur when returning open box electronics, if you’re not careful.
For any electronics refund, you’ll have to report the condition of the item and reason for your return. If you say that a computer didn’t work when you bought it, Amazon may test the computer and if they find the customer misrepresented the condition of the computer, charge a fee of 15% the item’s selling price.
And if any computer is returned damaged or missing parts or in otherwise unsellable condition, the buyer will be charged an even higher restocking fee.
Generally speaking, Amazon’s return policy for electronics is as good or better than any other competitor. The full month to make returns is double some stores:
- Apple return policy allows 14 days to return electronics
- Best Buy return policy allows 15 days to return electronics
Note: Before returning items on which you’ve saved personal information, such as laptops, cameras, or other electronic devices, erase this information completely.
11. Amazon’s return policy for baby items is 90 days
Baby items including diapers, wipes and gear have a a 90 day return policy instead of the standard 30 days. The return window begins on the day the shipment is delivered.
Baby items are not eligible for free return shipping. The buyer will pay return shipping fees in most cases.
Breast pumps must be returned unused in their original condition with the factory seal and packaging intact.
12. Amazon return policy for gift registries is 90-365 days
All returns of gifts through Amazon registries are eligible for a more longer return window.
- Gifts purchased from a Baby Registry can be returned within 365 days of delivery.
- Gifts purchased from your Amazon Birthday Gift List as a gift can be returned within 90 days of delivery.
- Gifts purchased from your Amazon Custom Gift List as a gift can be returned within 90 days of delivery.
Baby items purchased by the registry owner can be returned within 90 days. Items purchased by the the owners of other registry types are still subject to the standard 30-day Amazon.com Return Policy.
13. Amazon’s return policy for mattresses is 100 days
Mattresses that have been opened and used may not be refunded, but you can request a refund if you are not satisfied. You have 100 days to make your request for refund.
Amazon does accept returns of unopened mattresses in their original packaging. If the mattress weighs over 50 lbs, the buyer will be responsible for return shipping.
14. Some Amazon brands have an lifetime satisfaction guarantee
Amazon’s owned brands have an unlimited lifetime warranty. If you’re not completely satisfied with any of these brands, Amazon will give you a refund. And in most cases, Amazon will not ask you to return the item.
These are some of the Amazon brands that guarantee their items for life.
- Buttoned Down
- Core 10
- Moon and Back
- Peak Velocity
15. And those who don’t still have a 1 year satisfaction guarantee.
Amazon grocery brands will refund you if you’re not satisfied and you’ll never have to send the items back. Their policy reads,
“We’re proud of our products. If you don’t love them, we’re happy to give you a full refund up to 365 days after you receive the product.”
Amazon grocery brands are the only groceries for which you can receive a refund. Wickedly Prime, Amazon Elements, Happy Belly, Mama Bear, and Presto! all offer a full year satisfaction guarantee.
In addition to grocery brands, these additional Amazon brands have warranties of a year or more.
- AmazonBasics brand carries a standard a one-year warranty.
- AmazonBasics lightning cables are guaranteed for life.
- AmazonBasics luggage come with a three-year warranty.
- AmazonBasics lightbulbs come with a three-year warranty.
- AmazonBasics Gel-Infused mattresses come with a ten-year warranty.
- Stone & Beam furniture products come with a three-year warranty.
- Ravenna Home furniture products come with a one-year warranty.
- Rivet Furniture products come with a one-year warranty.
- Pinzon products come with a one-year warranty.
16. If you can’t make a return, see if your item qualifies for Amazon Trade-In.
Once your item is past its returnable window, you’re generally out of luck. But certain tech and devices like tablets, Kindles, phones, security equipment, and more may be eligible to trade in. You’ll get Amazon gift cards and a discount offer for a future purchase in return. It’s not going to make you rich, but it’s nice to get something for items you’d otherwise throw out.
Find out all the details about how Amazon Trade-In works.