How to Get an Amazon Refund for a Late Delivery

Did your Amazon package not arrive on time? You might be able to have those shipping fees refunded!
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Amazon box sits on wood floor.

Anyone who regularly shops on Amazon has likely experienced the inconvenience of a late package. While the online retailer used to offer a free month of Prime to its active Prime members when a late delivery happened, that perk disappeared years ago. Consumers who face this disappointing turn of events now might be curious about what resolution they'll get for packages that aren't delivered on time — especially when they were guaranteed to.

It's not a sure thing, but in some cases you can get a refund or other compensation for a late delivery from Amazon. Be warned, though, that not all Amazon orders qualify, and those that do must meet quite a few requirements. Want to know more? Check out the facts below to see if your order qualifies and how to get an Amazon refund for a late package.

How to Get an Amazon Refund for a Late Delivery

Can I Get a Refund if My Amazon Package Is Late?

Frequent Amazon shoppers know that when placing an order, there's a chance they'll be given a "guaranteed" delivery date — at least on the checkout page. But what happens when the order doesn't arrive by that date? Is there anything you can do besides try to cope with the disappointment?

Your Amazon order must meet several requirements to qualify for a late-delivery refund.

The simple answer is yes — but the more complicated answer is sometimes. There are instances where you can pursue a refund on shipping fees if your package is delivered late. But the cases are specific, and your order must meet several requirements to qualify for said refund.

And what happens if the delivery is so late you might not need the product anymore and are thinking about a return? You may be able to both get a refund and keep the item! Amazon is one retailer that sometimes offers "returnless refunds," according to CBS MoneyWatch. This "keep the item" policy can arise because of the high costs of processing, repackaging, and attempting to resell certain products.

When Does an Order Qualify for an Amazon Late-Delivery Refund?

What are the requirements for receiving a refund on shipping from Amazon?

You can see the long list of them on Amazon's Guaranteed Delivery Terms and Conditions page. Notably, your order must meet the following qualifications:

  • The order is shipped to an eligible address
  • The shipping option selected is the same one advertised on the product page
  • The order is placed before the "order within" countdown on the checkout page
  • The payment method must be successfully charged before the deadline listed in checkout

Amazon lists other requirements and includes more explanations on the aforementioned page. So we recommend reading the guidelines before ordering items or pursuing a shipping refund.

For instance, say you think you've placed an order before the deadline shown on a checkout page. Amazon states the "delivery date may become unavailable" within that time frame because of inventory changes or delivery capacities before you place your order. Essentially, you could place an order within the window still believing that you'll get it by the guaranteed date, only to learn via your order confirmation email that the confirmed delivery date is different.

SEE ALSO: Yikes! What to Do When Your Amazon Package Is Not Delivered

If you're preparing to take your concerns to Amazon, have all the pertinent information on hand, including the order number and tracking details. Even if the customer service contact can look up that info themselves, you could save them the trouble and make them more willing to help you out.

When Does Amazon Not Give Refunds for a Late Delivery?

In some instances, orders won't qualify for a shipping refund. Amazon notes via their terms and conditions that the guarantee doesn't apply when a delivery date is missed due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the company's control, such as:

  • Strikes
  • Natural disasters
  • Severe winter storms

Amazon also states on that page that "delivery scans might be inaccurate." And that may be why if you try to contact Amazon when a package is late, they'll tell you to give it 48 hours more before trying to file a claim. That's because packages can be marked as delivered before they've been deposited on your porch. (Is your package completely missing? Check out our advice on what to do when your Amazon package is not delivered!)

Also note that Amazon states on the Terms and Conditions page that "an attempted delivery on or before the guaranteed delivery date" meets their delivery guarantee. An indication that a delivery was attempted will likely mean you won't be able to pursue a shipping-fee refund.

How to Request an Amazon Late-Package Refund

If you're going to request a refund on Amazon for a late delivery, the first step you'll want to take is to engage with Amazon customer service. You can do that in a couple of ways. One option is to call them at 1-888-280-4331, if you prefer to speak the old-fashioned way. If you'd rather chat virtually, you can navigate to the site's customer service page.

Planning to ask Amazon to refund your shipping fees? The first step is to contact Amazon customer service.

Expect the top of the page to say something like "Do you need help with a recent item?" followed by some suggestions. You'll also likely see two buttons below those suggestions that say "Help with a different item" and "Help with something else". So choose the next step accordingly!

If you want to go straight to live chat options, click "Help with something else" and another series of larger buttons should appear. Click "Something else", and you'll likely be taken to a page asking what you need help with. You can choose the relevant category, but if you click "I need more help", then a chat window will open.

You'll need to answer a few questions from the Messaging Assistant, which is a bot. Hopefully you'll have your issues solved that way. If not, you can then be connected to a human agent who can help further.

Can Amazon Prime Members Get Compensation?

When it comes to shipping refunds, Amazon Prime members hold a unique position. After all, the items they order typically qualify for free shipping to begin with. (The exception may be certain products from third-party sellers.) Therefore, if a package is late, there aren't shipping fees Amazon can refund these shoppers. But members may still be able to get some kind of compensation for a Prime delivery that arrives late.

SEE ALSO: 7 Ways to Score Amazon Prime Membership Deals

Historically, reports have come out about customers receiving gift certificates worth $5-$20 or even 20% off a Prime membership when deliveries were late. But we didn't see anything about this on Amazon itself, just that you may be able to get shipping fees refunded. If you didn't pay for shipping, you may not be able to get anything. Yet if you're a Prime member, it's worth contacting customer service and seeing if they'll do anything to make the situation sting less.

Amazon Has Ended Other Popular Programs

The perk that let Prime members receive a free month when a package was late ended long ago, and it's not the only program Amazon has bid farewell to in recent years. For example, the retailer used to run a giveaways program that offered chances to win a variety of different products. Sometimes hosted by Amazon itself, and other times hosted by big brands or third parties, the program ended in late 2019. (If you want to enter giveaways, our sweepstakes program is still going strong!)

Along with the 'free month of Prime' perk for late packages, Amazon has also ended its sweepstakes, Pantry, and AmazonSmile programs.

Then there's Amazon Pantry — known previously as Prime Pantry. It was a way for shoppers to order essentials for their pantry (no surprise there) by shopping the same sizes of products available in grocery stores. The program came with its own pitfalls, such as split orders, no default 2-day shipping, and a number of delivery exclusions. Perhaps that's partly why Amazon opted to end Amazon Pantry in early 2021.

A more recent program shutdown was AmazonSmile, which allowed people to support designated charities when shopping Amazon. The program launched in 2013 and closed its proverbial doors in early 2023.

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Julie Ramhold
Senior Staff Writer/Consumer Analyst

Julie's work has been featured on CNBC, GoBankingRates, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, Money, The New York Times, Real Simple, US News, WaPo, WSJ, Yahoo!, and more. She's extolled the virtues of DealNews in interviews with Cheddar TV, GMA, various podcasts, and affiliates across the United States, plus one in Canada.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).

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