Amazon bought Zappos back in 2009, but fortunately they didn’t also adopt Amazon’s less than liberal return policy. They kept their same “100% satisfaction guarantee” policy which had made them so successful up to that point. But like any store policy, there are nuisances and tricks to make it work best for you and Zappos return policy is no exception. Here’s exactly how it works PLUS some hacks for success.
How Many Return Days Does Zappos Allow?
You get exactly 1 year from your date of purchase to make a return if you’re not completely satisfied.
Are There Any Exceptions?
According to the Zappos website, there are “no minimums or exclusions” on returns.
But is that completely true? More on that later.
So I Can Buy 20 Pairs and Return 19 of Them?
I hit up their live chat and asked them that exact question and you can see their answer above.
They put no limit on what you can buy and return.
Who Pays the Return Shipping Costs?
Not only will Zappos mail them to you for free, but they will ALSO pay all return shipping charges.
They’ve made the process really easy, you just login to your Zappos account and follow the return instructions.
Can the Shoes By Worn?
Technically, NO, they must be in “new” condition and this serves as the 1 major policy “exclusion”.
They suggest you wear them indoors for an extended period of time to determine how they fit and if you want to keep them.
They actually suggested to me that I buy multiple sizes so I can test them all indoors before making a decision.
If you wear them outside and scuff the bottoms they are now considered “used” and not eligible for a return unless there is something wrong with the shoe.
But having said that, it’s pretty easy to make the argument that the reason they don’t fit right (or give me blisters) is due to a design flaw in the shoe.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Use your best judgment and try not to abuse their VERY liberal return policy or it will probably go away one day.
Do I Need the Original Box?
Zappos says you do, but from personal experience, you DO NOT always need the box or original packaging to make a return.
This doesn’t mean to throw the shoe box away the second you get it.
It’s always smart to hold on to it until you know for sure the shoes are keepers as the return will be much easier.
What If I Wear New Shoes for a Week and They Hurt My Feet?
I was told by a chat rep that if you wear a new pair to work, and the fit sucks, to “let us know and we can look into it”.
Takeaway: If you have a problem with a pair of shoes you bought from Zappos, whether new or used, let them know about it and they probably will be able to help you out with a refund or replacement.
What About Running Shoes?
This is where their return policy has gained notoriety as many joggers have returned running shoes after many miles of use.
Because of this, Zappos recently instituted the 30 Day Runlimited Guarantee.
This guarantee lets you buy a pair of running shoes, run in them for 30 days, and return them for any reason.
What Happens If I Lost My Packing Slip?
No worries, just login to your Zappos account and follow the return instructions.
Does Zappos Track My Return History?
You can pretty much guarantee it.
I’m guessing that if you make too many returns that they consider “used” you might have your account flagged.
From the research I did, this was corroborated by a Zappos employee.
Does their Policy Apply to Just Shoes?
No, it applies to everything they sell.
This includes clothing, bags, wallets, belts, hats, and even watches.
How Long Does It Take to Process My Return?
Once Zappos receives your return and inspects it you can expect it to be processed within 72 hours.
You’ll get an email confirmation once the return is completed.
Zappos Policy Hacks:
1. Returned Shoe Deals – I have it on good authority that many shoes that are returned to Zappos are sold on their discount site 6pm.com.
Check out 6pm before you shop at Zappos as you can often get the same exact shoes for 20-60% less.
The 6pm outlet does not offer free shipping EVERYTHING, but they do offer free shipping with any 2+ items totaling at least $50.
2. Join the VIP Program – It’s worth logging into the Zappos VIP Program with your Amazon credentials and signing up for free.
You’ll get bonus points that you can use on your next purchase and may even qualify for free upgraded shipping.
3. Be Patient – Don’t be in a rush to make a return if you’re not sure about a pair of shoes.
They give you 365 return days for a reason, they WANT you to test them out thoroughly at home before making a final decision.
Ask the Reader: What’s been your experience with the return policy at Zappos?
By Kyle James
Photo courtesy of Zappos.