Here's Why Amazon's Return Policy May Surprise You

Amazon has a return policy and we've got the details on it.

An Amazon delivery truck.

Sometimes you buy a thing and you need to return it. This is an undeniable fact of shopping life. Thus, we can all be deeply grateful that return policies exist. What about in specific regards to online shopping giant Amazon? Do they have such a policy? If so, what qualifies? What doesn't qualify? Is there a return window? Is this window completely closed, ajar, or wide open? It's hard to answer this question as it has been framed because the relevant window isn't an opening in a wall designed to let light/air into a building but rather an interval or opportunity for action. Enough nonsense talk I say. Let's get down to business. Onwards!

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What To Know About Amazon's 2024 Return Policy

The most important baseline detail to know about Amazon's return policy is that items can be returned within 30 days. There are exceptions of course and we'll get into them as we progress. It should be noted that we'll be referring to products purchased on Amazon that are either from Amazon themselves directly or from third party sellers in which the order has been fulfilled by Amazon. There are plenty of sellers on Amazon that offer products whose orders are not fulfilled by Amazon and their return policies can differ from seller to seller. An easy way to know if your purchase is covered by Amazon's own return policy is if the order is Prime shipping eligible.

What Qualifies for Amazon Returns?

  • Most items purchased from Amazon can be returned within 30 days.
  • Some specific category may however have a return window greater than 30 days. For example, you can request a return or refund for any reason within 100 days of receipt of shipment of a mattress.

What Product Categories Differ from the Normal Amazon Returns Policy?

As mentioned above with the mattress example, certain products do have their unique return factors to take into consideration. While we're here, let's delve into some of the more notable examples of this.

  • Baby items can be returned within 90 days of receipt of shipment while gifts bought from a Baby Registry can be returned within 365 days. Breast pumps must be returned unused in their original condition with the factory seal and packaging intact.
  • New desktops, laptops, tablets, and other electronics (excluding televisions, Amazon-branded devices and Amazon Renewed products) that don't work upon arrival or arrived in damaged condition or are still in an unopened box, can be returned for a full refund within 30 days of delivery. Apple products can however only be returned within 15 days.
  • Fresh flowers, live indoor plants, or insects are not returnable to Amazon but apparently might be refundable. This seems like something that may be decided on a case by case basis.
  • Similarly, pet food is not a returnable product type but may also be refundable.
  • Items on Amazon Renewed are backed by the Amazon Renewed Guarantee where mentioned on the product detail page. This guarantee ensures you are eligible for a replacement or refund within 90 days of receiving the product (or within 1 year of receipt of a Renewed Premium product) if you are not satisfied.

Amazon has an extensive list of category specific returns information on their website so if you're curious about any more categories we haven't covered here, check it out.

What Doesn't Qualify for Amazon Returns?

By and large, a vast majority of the items purchasable on Amazon can be returned in line with their standard return policy However, there are exceptions. To the bullet points below!

  • Hazardous material - items classified as hazardous materials or items that use flammable liquids or gases.
  • Devices - computer laptops, desktops, and Kindles more than 30 days after delivery.
  • Digital - downloadable software products, open software, or online subscriptions after you have accessed them.&
  • Cards - gift cards (except as required by law) and prepaid game cards.
  • Amazon Bulk Liquidations Store - items purchased through Amazon Bulk Liquidations Store are final sale and not returnable.
  • Amazon Fresh and grocery products.
  • Items with special shipping restrictions.

Amazon has a dedicated page that goes into even more detail, should you require it.

I Don't Have My Receipt, Can I Still Return the Purchase?

Amazon is an online store so it would be quite remarkable if you somehow didn't have a record of your purchase in either your email inbox or in your Amazon account details. If this has happened, then greater forces are conspiring against you than we can assist with. Good luck! But for the rest of us, there's no need to worry about receipts. Simply view the purchase you want to return in your Amazon order history and smash the relevant easy to see return button and you're on your way. 

What is Amazon's Return Window?

As you may or may not not have noticed above, Amazon's return window is 30 days generally speaking. Some items have a longer period and some can't be returned at all. For more information on both of these topics, some slight scrolling upwards is recommended.

How Do Holiday Shopping Returns Differ from Regular Returns?

Do holiday shopping returns differ from regular returns? The answer is a resounding yes. Last holiday season, Amazon's policy was as follows: most items bought between November 1 and December 31 were eligible to be returned until January 31. So depending on when your purchase was made, you may have had up to double the normal amount of return window to work with. Neat! Will the same approach ring true for this upcoming holiday shopping extravaganza? Time will tell.

Bonus fact: Intriguingly, Apple products bought in that same time frame could only be returned up until January 15.

Can I Make a Return In-Person After Purchasing Online?

This would be quite an unlikely scenario considering Amazon is an online store. "Aha! But what about those fancy schmancy Amazon Go corner shops? Can't I return an Amazon package there, assuming it meets all the usual returns criteria?" Yes you can. I have been caught out and I hang my head in shame as a direct result. However! There aren't many Amazon Go store operating across the country so a standard return is probably your best bet, unless you live in close proximity to one.

Are There Any Special Considerations That I Should Know of?

Amazon may ask you to provide additional information and documentation in order to process your return in an effort to prevent fraud from occurring. In such cases, you may be asked to show a government-issued photo ID so do be aware that this is a standard part of their returns procedure.

Amazon FAQ

A building with the Amazon logo.

What time does Amazon open?

Conveniently, Amazon is open 24/7. That's because it's a website on the world wide web. All shopping, all the time. A dream come true.

How to save the most at Amazon?

If you shop at Amazon frequently, it's almost certainly worth your money becoming a Prime member. You'll get access to exclusive Prime discounts and that's even outside of Amazon's big events like Prime Day, that are for members only. Apart from that, you'll enjoy free shipping on orders that wouldn't otherwise meet the threshold for free shipping. Plus, there's a host of other benefits too. Other savings measures include Amazon's Subscribe and Save program, which can offer up to a 15% discount on repeat deliveries of everyday essentials. You can also partake in Amazon's Warehouse Deals and Outlet sections, where open-box and clearance items are sold at reduced prices.

There's lots of ways to stay on top of the best deals at Amazon but chief amongst them is checking out DealNews' own Amazon corner. Here you'll find all the latest and greatest Amazon deals, including the best of the best that have been bestowed with our prestigious Staff Picks tag. Ooooh!

How does shopping compare online vs in-store?

Well, it doesn't really. No seriously, there's literally no comparison since shopping in-store at Amazon isn't an option. (Amazon Go stores don't count. Away with your technicalities.) This is an online only operation, which is to say that of all the normal benefits of online shopping and none of the normal drawbacks of in-store shopping are at play here. Lucky you.

What else should I consider when shopping at Amazon?

You could Consider Phlebas, since it's part of the Audible subscription. Alternatively and perhaps more sensibly, consider signing up for the DealNews Select newsletter, which drops many handpicked top offers into your inbox every weekday. You can also set up a Deal Alert for more specific deal hunting purposes and don't forget about the DealNews app for your mobile deal needs.

Niall Gosker

Niall Gosker is an Editor in Dublin, Ireland. He coordinates client content and sponsored items, and is the reigning office Mario Kart champion.
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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