(Updated 5/20/19) There’s been a lot of confusion recently on how Amazon’s return policy actually works. Are all returns free? How often can you return something? Do you have to be a Prime member to get free return shipping? All questions that aren’t clearly answered by Amazon. So I figured is was time to do the research and find the answers to these questions. After several phone calls and live chat sessions, here’s how Amazon’s return policy currently works.
What Exactly is the Amazon Return Policy?
Here are the details of the Amazon return policy:
– You have 30 days from date of delivery to return items for free for a full refund if the item is defective, damaged, or the incorrect product.
– Items must be sold and/or fulfilled by Amazon directly, otherwise customer has to pay for return shipping, MAYBE. See below for details.
– UPDATE 8/05/17: 3rd party sellers now fall under the same return policy as items fulfilled directly by Amazon. You can actually print a prepaid return shipping label via the Online Return Center instantly.
Return policy does NOT apply to international shipping.
Do I Have to Pay Return Shipping Charges?
If items are fulfilled by Amazon, you typically won’t have to pay return shipping charges.
If items are sold by a 3rd party and you try and initiate the return through the Amazon return page, you’ll probably have to pay return shipping fees.
But…if you start a live chat and initiate the return that way, you stand a great chance of NOT having to paying return shipping fees.
Your chances of success rise greatly if you’re a Prime member and order quite a bit every month.
To prove it, here’s a screenshot of this exact scenario. I was going to be charged return shipping until I started a live chat and then the operator gave it to me for free.
What if the Item is Opened or Used?
Doesn’t matter. If the item had been opened or used they’ll take it back within 30 days. Plus, they’ll pay for the return shipping charges.
Keep in mind that the item must be sold and shipped directly by Amazon and not a 3rd party.
Can You Abuse the Amazon Return Policy?
If you tend to return the majority of the stuff you buy, Amazon will take notice and could flag your account and not let you make any more returns.
Also, if you ask for a return, but never actually return the item, Amazon will take action against you.
The action they’ll take is to check the “concessions limit” of the seller.
For example, it could be a $1000 limit, or it could be $500. Amazon actually has a team that researches your returns and comes up with the specific dollar amount for policy “abusers”.
If you cross this limit, Amazon will mark your account as “concession abuse”.
That means that you typically only contact Amazon for a refund or discount and abuse their policy frequently.
Once your account is marked “Concession Abuse”, no returns will be accepted on any orders made by you in the future.
Worried about getting banned? Amazon will send you a warning notice via email first, keep abusing their policy and you’ll get your account banned permanently.
Is the Return Policy Different for Prime Members?
No, it is not.
Amazon Prime and non-Prime members get to enjoy the same liberal Amazon return policy.
Do You Need a Reason to Return an Item?
Yes, you need to state a reason. It could be you just don’t need or want the item and that’s perfectly acceptable.
You’ll be asked if it’s broken or the wrong item, but you’re under no obligation to answer.
How Many Returns Can You Make Before Raising a Red Flag?
As long as your issue is genuine, there is NO limit for the number of Amazon returns you can make.
Can Any Sized Item be Returned?
Yes, any product can be returned. No matter what size or weight, it can be returned within 30 days.
What About Holiday Orders?
Any purchases you make between November 1st and December 31st have an extended “Holiday” return period.
You have until January 31st to return any items bought within this 2-month time period.
Ask the Reader: Have you ever returned anything to Amazon? Was it a smooth process, not worth the hassle, or somewhere in-between?
By Kyle James