Sometimes it can be tricky to return items that you bought online. Unlike physical shops, there are lots of extra things you need to contend with—shipping costs, packaging, different addresses, even customs checks.
If you want to return an item on Amazon, there are several different things you need to be aware of. Furthermore, the rules change, depending on the type of item you are sending back.
Let’s take a closer look at how to return unwanted purchases on Amazon.
Will Amazon Accept Any Returns?
Although there some exceptions, Amazon lets you return most items within 30 days of the date you received the delivery.
Some of the most notable exceptions include:
- ebooks (seven days)
- Baby items (90 days)
- Gift cards (non-returnable)
- Grocery items (non-returnable, but refundable/replaceable)
- Amazon Renewed items (if bought from Amazon you get 90 days rather than 30 days)
- Handmade items (third-party sellers are not required to accept returns)
- Collectibles (items above $500 must be insured)
- Appstore purchases (non-refundable)
Can You Get a Refund From a Third-Party Amazon Seller?
Most third-party sellers on Amazon adhere to the same returns policy like Amazon. Technically, however, they are free to set their own policies. You should always check before completing your purchase.
Regardless of the individual policies, all third-party sellers need to meet two requirements:
- They must supply a returns address within the United States (for Amazon.com purchases).
- They must provide a pre-paid returns label or a full refund without requiring you to return the item.
If the two conditions are not met, you can file a dispute through Amazon’s A-to-Z Guarantee process.
How to Request a Refund on Amazon
Amazon has a dedicated Returns Center that you can use to request refunds on your purchases.
When you fire up the page, you can either choose to return an item you bought or return a gift. If you want to return an item you bought, the site will take you to a list of your purchases from which you can select the merchandise you want to send back. If you want to return a gift, you need to know the order number.
To return one of your purchases, click on Return on replace items alongside the order. If you don’t see the link, it means the return period has expired.
On the next page, you will need to select the reason for your return. Because Amazon has a generous returns policy, there is no right or wrong answer. Be honest about why you are sending the item back; it will not affect your eligibility.
The next window will prompt you to choose whether you want a refund or a replacement. Select your preference as needed.
Lastly, you need to choose how you plan to return the item. The most common method is to ship the item back. However, most people don’t realize that you can also use one of Amazon’s drop-off services or an Amazon Locker facility. In some cases, Amazon will even offer to collect the item from your home.
If you choose the shipping method, you’ll need to print the label and authorization letter, then pack the item in a suitable box. Make sure you take good care with the packing process; if an item is damaged in transit, Amazon will hold you responsible and it may impact your ability to get your money back.
Do You Have to Pay Shipping on Amazon Returns?
Amazon’s terms state that you are liable for paying the upfront cost of the return shipment. After Amazon receives the item back at its center, it will refund you up to $20 for the cost of shipping.
If the shipping cost is more than $20, you need to contact Amazon directly to request a refund on the remaining balance. In this regard, Amazon is a bit vague. The company does not confirm that you are guaranteed to receive a refund on the excess shipping. A cursory Google search, however, reveals that almost everyone does receive the extra amount.
The $20 limit does not apply if you are returning defective, damaged, or incorrect items.
Of course, if you’re planning to return lots of items, you could ensure that you get a complete refund for shipping by processing each return individually, rather than doing a bulk return of multiple purchases. It’s a hidden trick that many people overlook.
How to Check the Status of Your Refund on Amazon
It’s easy to monitor the progress of your refund on Amazon. There are two methods you can use:
- Go to Your Order > Order Details > Order Summary.
- Head to the Returns Center and click on Manage Returns.
You will be able to see if Amazon has received your return, whether it has been processed, and whether the rebate has been sent to your bank account.
Does Amazon Respect Manufacturer Warranties?
Yes! If you bought an item directly from Amazon (rather than via a third-party seller), and it stops working during the warranty period, Amazon lets you send the product to one of its repair centers.
It is free to ship an item to a repair center. And if the item is still under warranty, the cost of shipping of the fixed item back to you is also free.
Repairs typically take 14 working days to complete.
How Quickly Will You Receive a Refund From Amazon?
It can take more than a month from the date you ship the returned item back to Amazon until you see the money back in your bank account.
According to Amazon, shipments can take up to 25 days to arrive back at its warehouses. After receiving the return, it takes two business days for Amazon to process the return in its own systems. It then takes a further three to five business days for your bank to process the refund and for it to show up on your statement.
Learn More About Returning Items to Stores
The Amazon returns process is straightforward. As long as you’re not trying to “pull a fast one,” you should be able to get a full refund on almost any item you bought.
If you’d like to learn more about returning unwanted items, make sure you check out our other articles on how to return an item on eBay and how to return an item to a store without a receipt.