Here’s Exactly How Amazon’s Return Policy Works (Plus Insider Tips for Success)

Updated June 11, 2020 by Kyle
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There’s been a lot of confusion recently on how the return policy at Amazon 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 their return policy currently works.

Amazon Return Policy: How Exactly Does It Work

COVID-19 Update (6/04/20)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon has extended it’s return policy to both U.S. and Canadian shoppers.

The vast majority of orders placed between March 1 – April 30 can now be returned all the way up to May 31, 2020.

Items bought after April 30th revert back to the standard 30 day return policy.

Update on 6/04/20: If you start a live chat and politely ask if you can return something beyond the return window they will allow it in many cases, especially if the item is damaged or defective.

What Exactly is Their Return Policy?

Amazon Return Center

Here are the important details:

– 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 the customer has to pay for return shipping, MAYBE. See below for details.

Return policy does NOT apply to international shipping.

Any Exceptions to the 30 Days?

Yes, there are a few important ones…

– 3rd Party Sellers – Sellers sometimes have their own stated return policy which ranges from 7 -30 days.

I recently was denied a return from a 3rd party as they told me I had to deal with the manufacturer directly. It came as quite a surprise to me.

This is a relatively new change. Because of this it’s smart to be aware of their policy before you make the purchase.

Wedding Registry Gifts – These come with 180 day return policy from the date the item is delivered.

Baby Registry Gifts – You get a generous 365 return days for most items purchased from your registry.

See Also: 8 Brilliant Ways to Save Money on Amazon

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.

Amazon Free Return Shipping

What if the Item is Opened or Used?

Easy Returns

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 Their Return Policy?

Absolutely, YES.

If you tend to return a lot of the stuff you buy, Amazon will take notice and could flag your account and not let you make any more returns for a certain amount of time.

Also, if you ask for a return, but never actually return the item, Amazon reserves the right to take action against you although I think you’d have to do this a lot for them to notice.

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”.

In other words, if you typically only contact Amazon for a refund or discount, and abuse their policy frequently, you’ll fall into this category.

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.

If you keep abusing their policy you’ll get your account banned permanently.

How Do You Return a Gift to Amazon?

Gift Returns

Returning gifts to Amazon is slightly different than a normal return.

Start by visiting the Gift Return Page and enter your order number which is the 17-digit code found on the packing slip.

Next, follow the online prompts and you’ll get a free shipping label which you can print and attach to the box.

If you DON’T know the order number you can either ask the gift giver or contact Amazon customer service at 1-(888) 280-4331.

When calling, make sure you have the”gift giver’s email address, phone number and the package tracking ID ready (if you have it).”

Is the Policy Different for Prime Members?

No, it is not.

Amazon Prime and non-Prime members get to use the same 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 answer is perfectly acceptable.

You’ll be asked if it’s broken or the wrong item, but you’re under no obligation to answer.

Does Amazon Limit Your Returns?

As long as your issue or problem with the product is genuine, there is NO limit on the number of returns you can make.

What’s the Return Policy on Electronics?

You can return consumer electronics and computers to Amazon within 30 days of purchase.

If the reason for the return is a defective product, incorrect description, or wrong item sent, you will not have to pay the return shipping fees.

Be aware that you may get hit with a restocking fee if the item is damaged due to misuse, missing parts, or unauthorized tampering.

Can Amazon Ban You For Making Too Many Returns?

Amazon has never come out and said that they can ban your account, or limit your returns, because you made too many returns.

But it goes without saying that they track your return history and absolutely reserve the right to take action if they feel you’re abusing their policy.

I’ve heard of account holders being warned via email if they return 15-20% of all their Amazon purchases but have yet to find any concrete evidence of a specific percentage that triggers a warning.

Can Any Sized Item be Returned?

Yes, any product on the Amazon website can be returned.

It doesn’t matter what size or weight, it can be returned within 30 days.

What About Returning Items Bought via Alexa?

Items bought through Amazon Alexa voice shopping can be returned just like any other non-digital item you buy on Amazon.

Also, if you accidentally buy a digital song or album with Alexa you can request a return and refund within 7 days of date of purchase.

Just contact Amazon customer service and let them know you’d like a refund.

What Items Cannot be Returned?

Because Amazon sells so many different products this list is quite long.

– Grocery/Prime Pantry products – Perishable produce, dairy, and meats are not eligible for a return.

– Live Insects – Unless your lady bugs or ants show up dead you’re stuck with them.

– Downloadable Software – This keeps people from downloading the program then returning it.

– Gift Cards – Fortunately these are basically like cash.

– Online Subscriptions – This includes Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, and Prime Student.

– Hazardous Materials or Gas – You’ll need to contact the manufacturer directly.

– Some Personal Care Items – Not sure what items specifically.

– Pet Food – Not returnable but you’re eligible for a refund if there is something wrong with the food.

– Live Plants/Fresh Flowers – Make sure you really want that house plant before you order it.

– Some Jewelry Items – Think personalized jewelry that can’t be resold.

– Stuff Missing the UPC or Serial # – If an item is tampered with and this information is removed you’re stuck with it.

If you order one of these non-returnable items and it arrives damaged or defective you should contact Amazon to get resolution to the problem.

Can I Make a Return to Amazon Brick & Mortar Stores?

Yes…in most cases.

If you’re lucky enough to live close to an Amazon store you can take “eligible items” bought on Amazon.com there for a full refund within 30 days.

According to their website, items that are NOT eligible for an in-store return are really large items, or stuff that doesn’t meet “safe to ship standards”.

Keep in mind that you can also take your return to your nearest Kohl’s store and they will process your return for free.

No box or packaging supplies required.

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.

Will Amazon Ever Give Me a Refund But Let Me Keep the Item?

Yes.

If you order from Amazon regularly this has probably happened to you. They’ll give you a refund, but tell you there is no need to mail it back.

Personally, I’ve had it happen when I was sent something I didn’t order, but it can also take place if they send you too many of an item, or for any random reason…they’ll tell you to keep it or donate it to charity.

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

14 Popular Stores That’ll Happily Price Match Amazon’s Lower Price

Updated June 16, 2020 by Kyle
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Are you considering dropping Amazon Prime as you can’t justify the annual $119 fee? If so, you found the right article. Turns out MANY retailers will happily match the lower Amazon price and provide free shipping as well. In other words, who needs Amazon? Sure you won’t get some of the cool Prime perks but you can get their low prices on certain items by asking for a price match at these stores. Some of the stores below will even beat the Amazon price by up to 10%. Let’s get to it.

14 Popular Stores That’ll Price Match Amazon.com

Abt Electronics

Abt Live Chat

I could not find any evidence on the Abt Electronics website that they price matched Amazon.com so I fired up a Live Chat session and asked. Here is what I discovered:

  • First of all, I found a 32″ Samsung Smart TV on Abt that was $30 bucks more than what Amazon was selling it for.
  • My live chat operator, Nick, was a little vague when I asked if they price matched Amazon.com. But I pushed him on it and he said that they do indeed price match Amazon as they are considered an authorized dealer.
  • Not only would Abt match the price, but they would ship it out to me for FREE. Well done Abt Electronics!

Academy Sports

Not only will Academy Sports match the Amazon price but they’ll beat it by 5%.

  • When shopping in-store, show them the lower Amazon price at checkout via your smartphone and they’ll make the adjustment.
  • When shopping online, you can call them at 1(888) 922-2336 or start a live chat and tell them about the lower price.
  • They also give you 14 days after your purchase to get a price match if you notice a lower price on Amazon.

Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond

The next time you’re shopping at your local Bed Bath & Beyond and doing some price comparison shopping via your smartphone, be sure to check the Amazon.com app first as BB&B will price match Amazon. Here is what you need to know:

  • The items must be the exact same model, brand, and make.
  • Item cannot be on sale and must be in-stock.
  • Just present you smartphone or tablet with the Amazon.com price and an associate will gladly do a price adjustment for you.
  • Also, many Bed Bath & Beyond locations will allow you to use their famous “20% off any 1 item” coupon in addition to the Amazon price match. Winning!

Best Buy

Best Buy was one of the first retailers to price match Amazon.com. Here is the skinny…

  • The Best Buy price match policy is limited to one price match per identical item, per guest.
  • Just talk to a store associate or visit the customer service desk to get your price match request taken care of.
  • Again, the best way to match the Amazon price is by using your smartphone to do a quick price comparison.
  • In addition to Amazon, they will also price match the following 4 websites: Crutchfield.com, Dell.com, HP.com and TigerDirect.com.
  • They will also match prices post purchase if they lower their price within 15 days of your purchase. Always keep your receipt.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Dick's Price Guarantee

Dick’s Sporting Goods is the most recent big-box store to start price matching Amazon. Here’s what you need to know…

  • The product must be an identical match meaning the same brand, model number, color, and size.
  • Item must be sold by Amazon directly and not a 3rd party seller.
  • Won’t work on items that are part of special daily or hourly sales at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Fry’s Electronics

Fry's Electronics

A smart alternative to Amazon, especially when buying consumer electronics and computers, is Fry’s. This is especially true since after instituted their “Fry’s Will Not Be Beat!” price match policy. Here are the nuts and bolts:

  • They’ll happily price match Amazon pricing, both in-store and at Fry’s.com.
  • Not only will Fry’s match the Amazon price, but they’ll beat it by 10%.
  • Offer good on all brand new, unopened products of the same exact model with same warranty.
  • Fry’s gives you 30 days to bring your receipt back in if you find the item cheaper at Amazon. Be sure to bring in evidence of the lower Amazon price.
  • Their price match policy does not work on expired ads or seasonal sales.
  • In addition to Amazon, Fry’s will also price match these sites: Bhphotovideo.com, Dell.com, HP.com, and Newegg.com.
  • Call Fry’s at (408) 350-1484 to request an online price match.

Golf Galaxy

Golf Galaxy is determined not to be undersold, to this end they happily price match Amazon.

  • Not only will Golf Galaxy price match Amazon at the time of purchase, but up to 30 days after the sale.
  • Just show them the lower price on your smartphone and they’ll hook you up.
  • They won’t price match clearance items, promotions, or 3rd party Amazon sellers.

Home Depot

Home Depot will price match Amazon, but they will not beat their price by 10%. Here are the details:

  • From the Home Depot website, “Online purchases are subject to price match only.”
  • The item must be completely identical and currently in-stock at both Home Depot and Amazon.com.
  • Also, does not apply to special orders or open box merchandise.
  • Just take evidence of the lower price to the customer service desk to get your price adjustment.

JCPenney

JCPenney price match

Hats off to JCPenney as they are one of the only retailers on this list who explicitly say they price match Amazon. No beating around the bush, I like it. Here’s how their Lowest Price Guarantee works.

  • JCP happily price matches Amazon and beats their price by 5%, but items must be sold directly by Amazon and not 3rd party sellers.
  • You can get the Amazon price for up to 14 days after your purchase date, just come back in and show an employee the lower price on your smartphone.
  • For an online price match you need to call JCP at 1-(800) 322-1189 and they’ll help you get your savings.
  • You can get this price match in every state except Alaska and Puerto Rico.

Lowe’s

The Lowe’s website does not say anything specifically about price matching Amazon.com, only local competitors. So I called Lowe’s customer service and here is what I discovered:

  • I found the perfect product to test. It was an American Standard faucet selling for $225 at Lowe’s and $196 at Amazon. $30 bucks cheaper…definitely worth the effort.
  • I called and asked the Lowe’s rep, “Do you guys price match Amazon.com pricing?” She immediately said, “If it’s the same exact model, absolutely.”
  • I then said, “Yes, it is the same exact faucet and you guys sell it for $30 bucks more than Amazon.”
  • She said, “Just print out the product page from Amazon and bring it in to your local Lowe’s and head to the customer service desk and they’ll take care of it.”
  • She made sure to stipulate that you can’t price match with Amazon on online purchases, has to be in-store.

NewEgg.com

NewEgg.com has a well defined price match policy which includes Amazon pricing. They call it their Iron Egg Price Guarantee. Here are the nuts & bolts:

  • If you find an identical item at Amazon.com which is priced lowered than NewEgg, you can request a price adjustment. Simply request a price adjustment HERE.
  • This is applicable at time of purchase and up to 14 days after you make your purchase.
  • NewEgg also stipulates that the price will not include ANY Amazon Prime free shipping benefits.

Office Depot

Office Depot will price match any item that is sold and shipped by Amazon.com, excluding Amazon Marketplace items and 3rd party sellers.

  • The item must be identical, including model number, color, etc.
  • Limit 1 price match per guest. Just take evidence of the lower Amazon.com price, via smartphone or print it out at home, and show it to an employee and they’ll get verify the price match and get you your savings.
  • In addition to Amazon, they will also price match Staples, Target, Walmart, and Best Buy.

Staples

Staples clearly hit the “easy button” and will definitely price match Amazon.

  • Staples will only price match Amazon at one of their brick & mortar locations.
  • The item must be identical with same model number and warranty.
  • Keep your receipt! You have up to 14 days after your purchase to take advantage of a price match.
  • Like all other retailers in this article, they will not price match items sold by 3rd party Amazon sellers.

Target

The price match policy at Target has been including Amazon pricing for quite some time now. Here is how it breaks down.

  • If you find a better price at Amazon.com, they’ll match it only if they carry the same exact product.
  • Can’t price match clearance items, closeout products, or refurbished stuff.
  • They have a limit of 1 online price match per item, per shopper.
  • Once you find a cheaper item at Amazon, just bring in evidence on your tablet or smartphone. You can also bring in a printed copy detailing the item and the price at Amazon.com.
  • Target does not limit online price matching to Amazon. They’ll also price match items from Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, Costco.com, and SamsClub.com, and over 25 other websites.

Walmart

Walmart will price match Amazon but only in certain situations. Here’s what you need to know.

Ask the Reader: Have you ever used Amazon pricing to get a price match? If so, what store were you at and how much did you save?

Note: This post was originally written back in 2014 (wow, I’m old) but I recently spent some time and refreshed it as it contained very outdated information and even some retailers that went out of business years ago. The comments are dated but I’ll leave them for old times’ sake. I hope you still find the information useful.


By Kyle James

These Stores Have Made Temporary Return Policy Changes

Updated June 16, 2020 by Kyle
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In an effort to help shoppers, many retailers have made temporary changes to their return policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few of the most significant changes so you can plan your return strategy once stores do reopen for business.

These Stores Have Made Temporary Return Policy Changes

Amazon

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon has extended it’s return policy to both U.S. and Canadian shoppers.

Orders placed between March 1 – April 30 can now be returned all the way up to May 31, 2020.

Items bought after April 30th revert back to the standard 30 day return policy.

Costco

Costco is buckling down on returns that include high-demand items.

High demand items include things like toilet paper, water, paper towels, and Lysol.

It should also be noted that not all Costco stores are posting this new policy, but keep an eye out at your local Costco for signage informing you of this temporary return policy change.

Target

Starting today, Target is not accepting in-store returns for 3 weeks.

If you made a purchase with a return window that expires in the next 3 weeks, NO WORRIES as you’ll have 3 weeks from the date they reopen to bring back your items.

Kroger

Kroger has also temporarily ended grocery returns for the safety of their shoppers as they can’t control what happens to products once they leave their stores.

They’ll still accept returns of meat, deli, produce, and seafood items that don’t meet their standards.

Apple Store

Apple recently closed all their retail stores temporarily in the U.S. but they have vowed to accept all returns for 14 days after they reopen.

Kohl’s

Kohl’s announced that they will extend their 180 day return policy by 30 days once they reopen their stores.

They are still accepting online returns and here is the form if you need it.

Nordstrom

Norstrom has extended their return policy to 45 days after stores reopen, this includes Nordstrom Rack.

For stuff bought online after February 1st, you can either return via snail mail or bring back to a brick and mortar location up to 45 days after stores reopen.

TJ Maxx

TJ Maxx is extending their return policy to 30 days from when their stores reopen, and 40 days from when their online business reopens.

Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond is extending all of their return policy timelines by 60 days.

This temporary policy change applies to all purchases made after February 20, 2020.

Home Goods

Home Goods has extended their return policy by 30 days from the date they reopen their stores.

This policy has also been extended to 40 days for online purchases. In other words, 40 days from when their online business reopens.

Old Navy, GAP, Banana Republic

All 3 retailers closed their stores on March 19th due to the COVID-19 crisis.

But all 3 stores have extended their return policy to July 1, 2020 for ALL purchases made between January 1 – March 31.

JCPenney

JCPenney recently announced that they will be extending their return policy by 30 days from the date they reopen their stores. 

So consider their reopening date your “purchase date” and you have 30 days from then to make your returns.

Macy’s

Until further notice, Macy’s has extended their return policy by 30 days.

I’m assuming this is 30 days from when they decide to reopen their brick & mortar locations.

American Eagle

American Eagle is asking you to hold on to your returns and they’ll take them back once they reopen.

For online purchases, they are currently NOT accepting returns by mail so hold on to them until further notice.

J.Crew

The folks at J.Crew are extending their return period to 60 days for all orders placed after March 1st.

This policy is bound to change if their stores can’t reopen in a reasonable amount of time.

Ask the Reader: Did I miss any significant return policy changes? Let me know below.


By Kyle James