Dawn Papandrea | 

AutoZone Return Policy: How to Get Your Money Back

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The AutoZone return policy seems pretty generous at the outset, but there are a number of fine print items to be aware of. You’ll want to know how the AutoZone return policy works in case you end up buying the wrong car part or you no longer need something.

What happens if you don’t have the original packaging or you lose your receipt? Who pays for shipping costs for online returns? What if you’re dealing with hazardous material? And what role do warranties play in the whole process?

We looked under the hood of AutoZone’s return policy to break down what you can expect if you need to make a return, whether you’re shopping online or at one of the more than 6,000 AutoZone stores.

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1. With the AutoZone return policy, there’s no big rush to bring back your stuff.

a man opening door to go inside an autozone store

AutoZone gives you a full 90 days to return items that you purchased online or in a store. That’s three times as long as you get with the Amazon return policy, twice as long as the Advance Auto Parts return policy, and right on par with the policies at stores like Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s. (Home Depot gives you 90 – 180 days, depending on whether you shopped in store or online.)

To help your AutoZone return go as smoothly as possible, you’ll want to have your item in its original condition and packaging — and the receipt. If you’re returning an item that has already been opened but is defective, you can return it anytime within that item’s warranty period. You’ll get a refund the same day that the return is processed.

2. But not all returns are that simple.

a woman putting a filter in a car

The first thing to be aware of is AutoZone’s catch-all disclaimer that says “Autozone reserves the right to limit returns and exchanges regardless of receipt.” Language like that isn’t very consumer-friendly, as it sounds like they want to decide on the spot whether to accept your return or not. You’ll also be asked to show a valid government-issued photo ID when making a return.

In addition, there are a couple of clear exceptions to the return policy to be aware of, which we list out below.

Things you can’t return to AutoZone:

  • Gift cards — These are always final sale, which is fairly standard across store return policies.

  • Items used or installed — Unless something is defective, once you use it, it’s yours.

  • Special orders — If they can’t resell it easily, they don’t want it.

Returning “core” parts will require a few extra steps.

When sending back any core parts (which are old or failed parts that are often replaced and recycled), the parts must first pass an AutoZone inspection in order for your refund to get approved. If the parts fail their inspection, AutoZone will send the core back to you and withhold your refund.

Core parts also have to be free of all flammable and hazardous fluids before you ship them back for a return. That means you may have to drain all fluids yourself. Be sure to also check with your shipping carrier for any further rules about sending automotive parts in the mail.

Related: Never pay full price for car maintenance with these oil change coupons.

3. If you lose your receipt, it can be harder to complete a return.

A man looking at oil filters in autozone

If you don’t have a receipt, AutoZone store associates probably can’t help you. But you can contact AutoZone Customer Support at (800) 288-6966 and see if they can look up your transaction information needed to process the return. You may also be able to get store credit instead of a refund.

4. Improve your in-person return success odds by bringing your receipt, ID, and payment method.

Headlights in their package from Autozone

You can return your AutoZone purchases to any AutoZone store location, whether you shopped in store or online. Just remember to bring your photo ID, along with your original payment method if you used a debit or credit card. If you used cash, PayPal, or a digital wallet app, you can still get reimbursed once you show your receipt.

TIP: Whenever you purchase something from AutoZone and think there’s a chance you may be returning it, be sure to keep the box and the receipt.

5. Return online purchases like a champ — don’t forget the Return Form.

A stack of autozone.com boxes sitting on a doorstep

If you place an online order and need to return something, you can do so by mail. The key is to package up the item securely and include the Return Form found in “Section B” of your original shipping invoice. You’ll want to fill out all the details on the Return Form to help the process go smoothly.

For core parts that have any sort of fluids, you may have to drain them before shipping them.

TIP: Choose a shipping carrier that lets you track the package so that you can keep tabs on its arrival. Once it gets received and processed, you’ll be credited back for the full price of the product.

6. You may have to pay for your own shipping with the AutoZone return policy.

If you’re returning something because you no longer need it, you will get reimbursed for the price, but you’ll have to cover shipping charges. The exception to this rule is if the return is due to an AutoZone error. They consider it their fault if you received a damaged or wrong item. In that case, the shipping expenses will be waived. However, you’ll need to contact AutoZone to set up the paid shipping.

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