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Everything You Need To Know About Amazon’s Return Policy in 2022

Nobody enjoys returning an item they bought on Amazon.

You place an order, wait in anticipation, and then break into a joyful dance when you receive your package—all to realize that your order is not quite what you expected. We’ve all been there, procrastinated returns, and sometimes even kept the item to avoid the hassle of returning it back.

However, Amazon’s return and refund policy is actually one of the most customer-friendly in the market. But as simple as it aims to be, there are, however, certain guidelines and timelines you must follow to receive your full refund.

For example, you may not have known that there are certain items that cannot be returned if bought from a 3rd party or that some items need to be dropped off at a UPS store or specific brand stores for a hassle-free refund. Just to name a few.

So if your mind is buzzing with questions about Amazon’s refund policy, shipping or restocking fees, return criteria, and dates- this guide is for you.

What Exactly Is Amazon’s Return Policy?

Amazon’s flexible return policy is centered on ensuring that its customers are completely happy with their purchases. Therefore, they’ve made sure to make their policy and return process as clear and streamlined as possible.

Here are the important things to know about Amazon’s refund policy:

✔ You have 30 days from the date of delivery to return your items for free and get a full refund.

✔ While most sellers offer the same return and refund policy as Amazon, it’s possible to encounter some third-party sellers that don’t unless the seller’s listing is eligible for Amazon Prime*.* Learn more about Returns to Third-Party Sellers.

Amazon Global Store returns take up to 25 days to reach the fulfillment center. After that, it takes approx two business days to process the refund request and another 3-5 business days for the refund to reflect in your account.

Amazon Baby Gift Registry Return Policy: You can return items from the registry within a generous time frame of 365 days.

Amazon Wedding Gift Registry Return Policy: You get 180 days to return items from the date of delivery.

Amazon Holiday Return Policy: Items bought between Oct 1st- Dec 31st can be returned by the end of Jan 31. ****(Pretty cool, right?)

Timelines for refunds

In this table, Amazon clearly lays out specifics around refund timelines:

Credits: Amazon Help & Customer Service

Also read: 7 Hidden Amazon Hacks That Will Help You Save Big Bucks

Is There A Limit To The Number Of Items You Can Return?

Returning items to Amazon is easy if you follow their 30-day return policy, and no, there aren’t any limits to the number of items you can return as long as your problem with the concerned item is valid.

What Items Cannot Be Returned?

There are a few different types of items that cannot be returned on Amazon. These include digital items, perishable items, and items that are sold by third-party sellers. Additionally, there are some items that can only be returned within a certain time frame or with a restocking fee.

Let’s look at a list of such items:

  1. Downloadable software
  2. Electronic items like desktops, computers, and Kindles, more than 30 days after delivery
  3. Hazardous materials, flammable liquid, or gases. You’ll need to contact the manufacturer directly.
  4. Perishable items like groceries or items from Prime Pantry.
  5. Items missing the serial number or UPC (even if it’s not your fault, you cannot return this item)
  6. Online subscriptions after they’ve been accessed. Like Amazon Prime, Prime Student, or Kindle Unlimited.
  7. Gift cards
  8. Live insects
  9. Prepaid game cards like World of Warcraft, Xbox 360 Live, Wii Points
  10. Some Jewelry Orders
  11. Items with special shipping restrictions
  12. Some health and personal care orders
  13. Open software

Tip: There are some exceptions to this rule, like if the item you received is damaged or defective, even though it was deemed non-refundable, you can still request a refund or replacement in Your Orders, which Amazon will likely honor. If the refund/replacement option is not available, you can contact Amazon

Is Amazon’s Return Policy Different For Prime Members?

NO, the Amazon Prime return policy is the same for both members and non-members i.e. 30-day return period from the day of delivery.

Is It Possible To Return An Item After 30 Days?

It’s been said that you can couple recent orders with an older order (50/60 days old) for returns, and in that way, return an item and get a full refund even after 30 days.

However, this will unlikely work for Amazon’s Holiday Day return policy and registry gifts. You can still try returning the product, but the chances are that you will only get a percentage of the refund back, depending on how old/damaged your item is.

Will Amazon Take Back Opened Items?

Short answer, yes.

But only if the item is sold and shipped directly by Amazon. This may not be the case if you bought from a 3rd party seller, most will not only accept the return. Yet, you will still be responsible for paying for the return shipping cost. Our best advice to avoid these conundrums? Just send your items back before the 30-day return window.

Also read: 7 Pro Tips on Finding The Best Deals Online

Do I Have To Pay Return Shipping Charges?

You typically don’t have to pay for return shipping charges, if your items are:

✔ Fulfilled by Amazon

✔ Not sold by a 3rd party

✔ Wrong/ faulty or a mistake by the Amazon team

What is Amazon’s Electronics Return Policy?

Like Amazon’s regular return and refund policy, you have 30 days to return electronics. However, you can be charged a fee if you return an open box of electronics. Unless, of course, the issue you’re facing is 100% genuine.

The team can also charge you a restocking fee of up to 15% of the selling price (more about the restocking fee below) if they find out that you misinterpreted the condition of the item you bought.

For example, you bought a kindle that you thought isn’t functioning properly. On your return, if the team finds that the item works, you are liable to pay the restocking fee.

And if the product you’re returning is damaged, missing parts, or in an unsellable condition, you’re liable to pay a higher restocking fee as compared to the one above.

Also read: 8 Best Online Thrift Stores For Eco-Conscious Shoppers 2022

What are Instant refunds?

If you want to use your refund amount without having to wait days for Amazon to process your return, you can choose the ‘Instant Refund’ option (if it’s applicable to your order). These refunds are either sent to your credit card or issued as an Amazon Gift Card balance.

Also read: Pick Your Poison: Pros and Cons of Buy Now, Pay Later vs Credit Cards

Does Amazon Refund Without Return?

Some categories like live plants, live insects, and pet supplies are not eligible for a return, but sometimes, Amazon may make exceptions. This part of the policy is usually highlighted under the “buy now” button as “this item is not eligible for return.” However, if you receive a damaged or defective piece, you can request a refund or a replacement, and Amazon will not ask you to mail back the items.

These are the items that fall under ‘returnless refunds’:

  • Amazon Photos and printed products
  • Grocery items (including Amazon Fresh items) and wine
  • Pet food and supplied
  • Live plants
  • Unboxed & expanded mattresses

Also read: 6 Cheap Online Grocery Shopping Stores To Help You Save Money and Live Healthier in 2022

What is Amazon’s Partial Refund or Restocking Fees?

The Amazon restocking fee is a penalty that Amazon sellers charge when an item is returned, and it is calculated as a percentage of the product’s original price. If the product is outside of the 30-day returns window, then a 20% restocking fee may be charged.

For damaged goods, a 50% restocking fee may be applied, and 50% of the amount will be refunded to the customer.

If you return an item in its original condition and within the 30-day window, a seller cannot charge you a restocking fee. But if your item is any of the following, you can expect a partial refund or a restocking fee:

  • Defective
  • Used
  • Damaged
  • Returns accepted beyond the 30-day return window

Also read: The Money Savings Moms Guide: 12 Tips to Help You Save

What is Amazon’s Exchange Policy?

Don’t want to return but exchange your item on Amazon? Here’s how it works!

  • Select the items you want to exchange, plus the reason for the exchange.
  • Amazon will create an exchange order and send you your replaced item with the same shipping speed as your original order.
  • Once the order reaches you, you’ll also be given a return label to send back the item you’re exchanging the new one for.
  • You have approx 30 days to do so, or Amazon will charge you for both items.

Please note✅: Amazon’s Exchange Policy is only applicable to color and size exchanges. They don’t offer a price match. If your exchanged item is less than the cost of your original purchase, Amazon will refund the difference and vice-versa.

Amazon Exchange Policy For Different Colors or Styles?

Amazon offers exchanges for apparel, sports goods, shoes, baby products, jewelry, and watches. However, your item must meet these criteria 👇🏼

  • It’s a different size or color than the item you’re planning to return
  • It’s currently in stock
  • It’s shipped and sold by Amazon (not 3rd party sellers)
  • The item is not a gift (In case of a gift return, you’ll need to return your order and place a brand new order)

Also read: The Nasty Gal Return Policy: 5 Things You Need to Know

How To Return An Item To Amazon?

If you need to return an item that you bought on Amazon, you can do so by following these simple steps:

  1. Go to the Amazon website and log into your account.
  2. Find the item that you want to return and click on the “Return” button.
  3. Select the reason for your return and how you would like to return the item.
  4. Choose from the many return methods and get your package ready to be shipped.

If you’re looking to drop off your item for shipping, here are your options:

  • Amazon Physical Stores: Customers can bring their items with the original packaging to any Amazon physical locations, such as Amazon Books and Amazon 4-Star stores, show the QR code, and complete the return.
  • UPS Store: You can get free returns if you choose UPS store as a drop-off option only if your item doesn’t weigh over 50 lbs, is fulfilled by Amazon, and doesn’t have any 3rd part-seller return costs. UPS stores also pack and label the order for you, but they create different labels for each item. In case you’re returning multiple orders, make sure to separate them into different boxes to receive your correct refund amount.
  • Amazon Hub Locker: Select ‘Amazon Hub Locker’ on the Return Center page. Enter the code you receive at your nearest Amazon Locker facility. Once you’ve secured your locker, follow the instructions on the Amazon Locker Screen to finish your returns.
  • Whole Foods Market: No box, no shipping label? No problem! Just bring your package in its original package to any Whole Foods Store, and they will pack, label, and ship your amazon returns for free. This option helps Amazon reduce packaging waste considerably by fitting more items in a single box.
  • Kohl’s: Same as Whole Foods, Kohl’s also lets you return an item without a box or a label. The good folks at the store do all of that for you.

Want to make sure you’re taking advantage of Amazon’s free returns? Almost all return-eligible items weighing under 50 lbs and sold by Amazon have at least one free return option. You can return the item for any reason in new and unused condition for up to 30 days after purchase. Just make sure to spot the ‘free returns’ next to the price section when purchasing your item on Amazon.

Shop Easy (and avoid returns) With Carrot

Is your head spinning with all this info about Amazon’s refund policy? Then exchanges and refunds are surely something you’d like to avoid! Lucky for you, there’s a tool that can help you do that!

Carrot is a free shopping extension that lets you visually bookmark your favorite items by saving your carts and creating collections from them. Because when you’re able to take your time and make intentional shopping decisions, it’s less likely you need to or want to return things.

So, stay organized and shop with intention, using Carrot!

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