Did You Know Amazon Lets You Keep Some Items You Try to Return?

Updated November 8, 2023 by Kyle James

I was blown away the other day when Amazon told me to keep a product that I was trying to return. They happily refunded $15 to my credit card and actually told me that I didn’t have to send the item back. If I only had a use for 12″ hose clamps, then I’d be sittin’ in tall cotton. Here’s how the whole dealio went down and what Amazon told me when I pressed them on this strange phenomena.

Did You Know Amazon Lets You Keep Some Items You Try to Return?

Scenario #1

I recently ordered some hose clamps and failed to notice how big they were…turns out they were HUGE and completely unusable for my project I was working on.

So I hit up my Amazon account and started the return process.

As you can imagine I was quite surprised when I was told I would get full refund and NOT have to return the item.

So now I just have to figure out what to do with these ginormous 12″ hose clamps or find someone who can use them.

See Also: Amazon Return Policy: No More Confusion, Here’s EXACTLY How It Works

Scenario #2

Amazon chat session

As you can see from the screenshot above, it was a horse hoodie that my daughter didn’t like.

She never wore it and it still had the tags on it.

So, much to my surprise I was told to KEEP the item when I initiated the return.

And yes, I got a full refund as well.

This Was Not a One-Off…

Then a few days ago, Allison Gormly, a consumer investigative reporter with WINK News, tweeted out that the same thing recently happened to her!

Here is her tweet:

Then I started reading through some of the comments on her tweet and apparently it’s happened to a lot of Amazon shoppers recently.

And there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.

It doesn’t seem to be a “price thing” as one commenter was told to keep an expensive electric lawnmower and another was told to a keep a Halloween mask.

It also doesn’t seem to have to do with whether the product was sold by Amazon or a 3rd party as my example above was sold by a company named GLIDESTORE and not Amazon.

So What Does Amazon Say About This?

So I figured that instead of trying to guess what was happening, I should go straight to the horse’s mouth and ask Amazon.

So I hit up Amazon chat and was told that since I said “I received a different item than the one I ordered, I didn’t have to return it.”

I then said that it was not actually the reason for the return, but they insisted I keep it and didn’t want to “hassle me” with returning the item.

This seems like a strange response from Amazon as I know for a fact that I selected “ordered by mistake”, not “received the wrong item”, as my reason for making the return.

So I Contacted Amazon Again…

The next day I started a live chat session with Amazon again trying to figure out exactly what was going on in the hopes of writing a useful blog post about this.

I was told the specific Amazon 3rd party seller who sold me the hoodie was not taking items back.

I then asked if this was a COVID-19 related issue as some retailers are not taking back clothing in certain areas of the country.

The chat rep said “Yes” it was more than likely a COVID issue as to why the seller didn’t want the item back.

The rep then told me I could keep, dispose, or donate the hoodie.

See Also: Amazon Sent Me a $339 Item I Didn’t Order…What Happened Next is Crazy

Can You Trick Amazon Into Getting a Refund?

I was curious if I could “game the system” and tried to return a bunch of different items to try and trigger a “keep it and we will still refund you” response.

I was UNSUCCESSFUL on every attempt, even those where I choose “received the wrong item” as the reason for my return.

I tried to return a dozen different items and Amazon wanted me to mail them all back in order to get my refund.

Even though Amazon often tries to scam us shoppers, this is definitely NOT a way to scam Amazon, so don’t try it at home.

But rather it seems to be a completely random “Amazon surprise” when it actually happens.

So enjoy it and hopefully you can actually use the free product or donate it to somebody that can.

Are Other Retailers Doing This As Well?

For a while Walmart was not accepting in-store returns on clothing but has since returned to their regular return policy in most states.

Ask the Reader: Has Amazon ever told you to keep a product and still refunded your money? If so, what was the item and was it sold by Amazon or a 3rd party? 

By Kyle James


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This happens to me often, actually!


I’ve had that happen with food items. Broken, open, etc damaged. In fact always when a food item is damaged. I always take photos presuming they’ll want proof but they’ve never asked to see the arrival condition.

Interestingly enough since they changed their “free returns” where I could put package on porch for UPS or go to “my local UPS facility (25 miles so 50 round trip from my rural location) at no cost to me, returns are disappointing. I am far more shy about what I will *try* particularly with clothing. A fabulous lightning deal loses all its sparkle when it costs that much to exchange it plus the cost of the item. Further I am disabled & don’t have independent transportation so combining town errands to better justify the trip isn’t even an option I can indulge in. If anyone knows a fabulous hack for THAT conundrum, I would LOVE to know it!


This just happened to me today. I ordered a tshirt via Amazon but it wasn’t exactly what I had expected. Amazon sent me an email telling me they had refunded my $19 and that I did NOT need to return the item. So I scored a free shirt apparently.


I bought a Luna controller, and the cloud feature it had stopped working after a month. I contacted amazon about it and they said the couldn’t do anything about it and I would receive a refund but I got to keep it too.

Mike Daniels

Walmart did the”keep, donate or discard” thing with a hairbrush I wanted to return. Amazon has done it twice: once when I ordered 2 different sets of biscuit cutting rings and today for 6 mousetraps.


I don’t think it’s a COVID thing since I went to return an external SSD enclosure today that I hadn’t used because I didn’t need it any more (only £5.60, but still!!) and they told me I could keep it! I suppose I will keep it around for if I ever need it the future!


I recently ordered a set of 4 pasta bowls. Opened the box; one was broken (surprised that they weren’t all broken because the packaging was horrible.) Amazon and they said to return the box with all the bowls.

I said, can’t you just send me one replacement bowl, why do I have to return all of them? Next thing they said was, never mind returning any of the bowls, and we’ll send you another box of 4 bowls.

And they did. Now I have 7 pasta bowls. I’m going to donate 3 of them.