Brynne Conroy | 

How to Make Easy (And Free) Amazon Returns in 2024

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We all know Amazon has great deals, especially if you have a Prime membership. But sometimes things you buy just don’t work out, whether you use Amazon coupons on them or not. Luckily, Amazon has made it super easy to make returns these days, and the Amazon return policy typically gives you up to 30 days to decide you don’t want something.

And in 2024, we have more Amazon return locations than ever (some retailers will even give you a store coupon just for doing your Amazon return there!).

While there are a lot of great parts to the Amazon return policy, there are also some exceptions that make navigating things tricky. Like did you know you’ll get hit with a $1 Amazon return fee if you make a return at a UPS Store when there’s a Kohl’s or Staples drop-off location nearby?

Here, I’ll break down all the details you need to know, including exceptions to the Amazon return policy and how long you’ll get to return Amazon Renewed items and Amazon-branded products.

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How long do I have to return an item to Amazon?

A person's hand holding an iPhone displaying the "Return Items You Ordered" page on the Amazon app next to an Amazon Prime box with cloth...

For most Amazon items, you have 30 days from the date of delivery to return it.

Some Amazon third-party sellers have different return policies, but anything eligible for Prime shipping will have the regular 30-day Amazon return policy.

Can I return something to Amazon after 30 days?

I have a super simple secret hack if you’re looking to make an Amazon return after 30 days. Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to Your Orders in your Amazon account and select any order you’ve received within the last 30 days.

  2. Initiate a return on that item (even if you don’t plan to return that one).

  3. 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.

  4. Select the actual item you want to return, then unselect the original item on which you initiated the return. Voila!

With this method, I’ve found I can return items I’ve received more than 45 or 60 days in the past. It doesn’t always work depending on your purchase history, but when it does, it can extend that return window.

What is the Amazon holiday return policy?

Amazon’s holiday return policy usually kicks in sometime between mid-October and early November and lasts until the end of December, giving you a little extra time to return holiday purchases.

During the 2023 holiday season, (almost) anything you bought between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2023, could be returned through Jan. 31, 2024. The biggest exception is with Apple products, which have a holiday return deadline of Jan. 15, 2024.

Related: We assembled a list of the best holiday return policies that’ll give you extended return windows.

What do I need to return an item to Amazon?


To make an Amazon return, you’ll need the item and a QR code for the return label. You can get this QR code when you initiate the return in your Amazon Order History.

There are some return methods where you’ll have to repackage the item yourself — like if you’re planning to drop it off at an Amazon Locker. But in most cases, the person behind the desk will print the return shipping label and repackage your item for you, so you don’t need to bring a box.

Where can I return my Amazon purchase?


There are lots of drop-off locations that accept Amazon returns. You can take your item and QR code to any of these locations for a fast and easy return:

If you’re okay with repackaging your Amazon package (and printing out your shipping label), you can also schedule a UPS pickup for some items. That just means that a UPS truck will come to your house to get the package instead of you taking it to them. Another option is dropping your package off at an Amazon Hub Locker.

Are Amazon returns free?


The vast majority of the time, yes, Amazon returns are free. But there are a few situations where you might run into a fee.

First, you might get hit with a $1 fee if you drop off your return at the UPS Store (or at a UPS location inside a Staples store) when there’s an alternative drop-off location closer. For example, if you have a Whole Foods two blocks away and the UPS Store is a mile away, you’re probably gonna get hit with a $1 fee if you go to the UPS store.

If you have a small order and want UPS to pick up your return at home, it appears there’s now a $7.99 return fee for that convenience. Ever since the policy got implemented in 2022, customers have reported that orders somewhere around $60 or higher come with no return fees, but orders or individual items that cost below $60 get the $7.99 pickup charge.

TIP: Each Amazon return label will be linked to a specific return. To make sure that you receive a refund, don’t include items from multiple orders or shipments in the same box.

Can I return an item that I used or opened?

You can return most Amazon items even if you used or opened them, as long as you’re within the standard 30-day return window.

Remember, the 30 days starts on the day your order gets delivered — not the day you placed the order.

Related: See all the latest Amazon promo codes we’re finding.

What is Amazon’s return policy for damaged or defective items?


Amazon will accept damaged or defective items, but usually, they’ll process it as an exchange. If the item is particularly cheap (or small), they may even let you keep the unwanted item rather than send it back.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Select the item you want to exchange and the reason for the return (as usual).

  2. Amazon ships the replacement item immediately with the same shipping speed as your original item.

  3. They will provide you with a return label so you can send the original item back.

  4. You have 30 days to return the original item before you get charged for both the original and the exchanged item.

Most of the time, you’ll just get another one of the same item. But if you exchange for a different item and it costs less than your original purchase, Amazon will refund you the difference. If the new item costs more, you’ll be charged for the price difference.

TIP: You can also ask for an exchange if you just wanted a different size or color. You can only do an exchange for items purchased with a debit or credit card, though. And if someone gifted you something from Amazon or it was part of a promotion, you’ll have to do a return rather than an exchange.

How long do Amazon refunds take?

someone opening up an Amazon truck gift card holder

I’ll be honest — Amazon refunds are not quick. That’s because before Amazon issues your money, they have to receive and process the physical return. That whole thing can take up to 30 days. On occasion, it takes a little longer.

After they issue the refund, it takes additional time to transfer to your bank. Your refund will go back to your original method of payment. Here’s how long you can expect it to take:

  • Amazon gift card: 2 – 3 hours

  • Credit card: 3 – 5 business days

  • Rewards points: Up to 5 business days

  • Debit card, checking account, or SNAP EBT: Up to 10 business days

  • Prepaid credit card: Up to 30 days

Now, if you paid with a credit card or Amazon gift card, your refund may be issued at the time you drop off your return at Kohl’s, an Amazon Hub Counter, etc. No 30-day waiting period while your item ships and gets processed. But that timeline isn’t necessarily something you can count on.

Related: Find out where you can use your SNAP benefits online.

Does the Amazon return policy have exceptions?

An iPad, Amazon Fire stick, and Amazon Echo dot being boxed up to ship

Yes, and maybe this should come as no surprise since they sell almost everything under the sun. The biggest and most obvious exception is if you buy from a third-party seller for a purchase that isn’t Prime-eligible. In those cases, the individual seller will set the return policy — not

But they also have a laundry list of exceptions across product categories. Let’s dive in.

Which items can you never return to Amazon?

Amazon won’t accept these items for returns. Ever.

  • Any item that’s missing the UPC/serial number

  • Any item that has special shipping restrictions (these should be printed in the product description before you make your purchase)

  • Bulk liquidation items

  • Customized items

  • Downloadable software products or open software

  • Gift cards (except as required by state law)

  • Hazardous materials or items that use flammable liquids or gases (in these cases, contact the manufacturer directly for service, warranty, return, and refund information)

  • Live insects

  • Most purchases from the Amazon Appstore, Amazon Digital Music, Amazon Luna, or Amazon Video

  • Online subscriptions after they have been accessed

  • Prepaid game cards (like World of Warcraft, Xbox 360 Live, Wii Points, etc.)

  • Prescriptions from Amazon Pharmacy (you can call 1-855-745-5725 if you think someone tampered with your script)

  • Some health and personal care orders

  • Some jewelry orders

  • Theme park tickets

Which Amazon brand items have a 1-year guarantee?

Certain Amazon brand products qualify for a 1-year guarantee — essentially an extended return window. The brands that qualify sometimes change, but here are the brands that qualify as of this writing:

TIP: Amazon devices have a separate 1-year warranty — whether you purchase them from Amazon or an authorized reseller. Refurbished items get a 1-year warranty, too.

What is Amazon’s return policy for electronics?


Technically, Amazon gives you 30 days to return electronics, just like everything else. (Things like computers, Kindles, and tablets qualify as electronics. But TVs fall under a different policy.)

The return window gets shorter with Apple products. You only have 15 days to return Apple products you buy from Amazon, but this is still technically longer than the Apple return policy you get from the Apple Store (just 14 days). The same 15-day return window applies to Boost Infinite Brand products.

You should also know that Amazon will only accept open-box returns if the item inside the package arrived damaged or defective — not just because you didn’t like the item.

For any electronics refund, you’ll have to report the condition of the item and the reason for your return. If you say that a computer didn’t work when you bought it, Amazon may test the computer. If they find out you misrepresented the condition of the computer, they’ll charge you a restocking fee of 15% of the item’s selling price.

And if they determine that you caused damage to the device or they find that some parts are missing, you’ll get charged an even higher restocking fee.

What’s the return policy for televisions?

As long as your Amazon TV is in new condition and you repackage it in the original box with all parts included, you can return it for any reason during the normal 30-day window.

And when Amazon says to include “all parts,” they mean all cables, remotes, and any other potential accessories. If it came in that original box, it needs to be in the box when you make your return.

What is Amazon’s return policy for books?

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Physical books fall under the normal Amazon return policy. Digital copies of books fall under a different set of rules.

If you accidentally purchased a book from the Kindle store, you have 7 days to return it. Watch yourself, though. Amazon will check up to see if you read some or all of the book. If they think you’re abusing the policy, you aren’t gonna get a refund.

If you received the book as a gift, you can exchange it for an Amazon gift card — but only before you click the button to accept the gift.

TIP: The same 7-day “whoopsie” policy applies to purchases you made through the Amazon Digital Music Store using Alexa.

Can I return furniture to Amazon?

Yes. You can return furniture to Amazon within 30 days from the date of delivery for any reason.

Because return shipping costs so much for bulky items like furniture, sometimes Amazon will just ship you a new item without asking you to mail the old one back. Don’t throw the original item out until you’re sure, though — even if it’s damaged or defective.

How do I return clothing on Amazon?


You can return clothing from Amazon just like you would any other item you purchased — within the 30-day return window. Usually, you won’t run into return shipping fees, but if you purchased something from The Drop, you might have to pay a fee.

Can I return groceries through Amazon?

You can’t return them, per se. But you can request a refund or replacement if your item arrived spilled, leaking, or otherwise damaged or unusable. So most of the time, you’re going to be able to get a refund or replacement as long as you act within those first 30 days.

TIP: The same policy applies to photo purchases and pet food. Amazon doesn’t want your custom photo prints or kibble back. But that doesn’t mean they won’t give you a refund or replace your order if something turned out wonky.

What is the Amazon Renewed return policy?

While most things you buy from Amazon Warehouse fall under a 30-day return policy, purchases of Amazon Renewed products are returnable for up to 90 days after they’re shipped.

Is there an extended return window for registry items?


You betcha. The amount of time you have depends on the registry type:

  • Amazon Baby Registry items can be returned for up to 365 days after they ship. (Plus, baby items are always subject to a longer 90-day return policy if you don’t purchase them from a registry!)

  • Amazon Wedding Registry items can be returned for up to 180 days after the date of delivery. That only applies for gifts, though. If you bought the present off your own registry, you’re gonna be subject to the normal 30-day return policy.

  • Birthday gift list items can be returned for up to 90 days after the date of delivery. The same you-can’t-buy-yourself-a-gift rule applies here — if you bought it for yourself, you get 30 days.

What is the Amazon mattress return policy?

You have 100 days to make a return when you purchase a mattress on Amazon. If you’re returning it because you gave it a test run and didn’t like it, Amazon won’t ask for the mattress back. They’ll just issue you a refund. They only want the mattress back if it’s still in the box.

TIP: If you live in California, Amazon will come to your house to take the unwanted mattress of your hands.

How do I return major appliances through Amazon?

Ideally, Amazon wants you to inspect your appliance for damage or any other imperfections before you sign for the delivery. But if you don’t notice a problem until after the delivery person has already left, you have the normal 30 days to return your fridge, oven, or whatever other appliance you ordered.

Returns are free for major appliances.

Is there a way to avoid notoriously bad buys?

Since March 2023, Amazon has been alerting customers about items that get returned a lot. They added a “frequently returned item” badge to let people know that a particular product has a higher return rate compared to others in the same category — regardless of who the seller is.

They’re doing this to help customers make better buying decisions and avoid the whole returns process altogether. You must be logged into your Amazon account to see the badge on a product page.

You’ll find the frequently returned item tag just below the “About this Item” section of the product listing page.

Related: We did the digging into everything you wanted to know about Amazon Return Pallets.

What happens if I do a trade-in instead?

hand holding iPhone showing Amazon Device Trade-In on screen

Once your item passes its return 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.

With the Amazon Trade-In program, you’ll get Amazon gift cards and a discount for a future purchase when you send in your old device. It’s not going to make you rich, but it’s nice to get something for items you’d otherwise throw out.

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