Everything You Need to Know About Amazon Return Policy

Amazon's return policy.
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No matter which side of the Amazon platform you work on (seller or buyer), there will be bumps in the road. One of the bumps is when you have to return a purchase (or manage one that has been returned to you). Amazon has provided the option for buyers to return what they have bought, but there are rules. Returns can be managed in your seller central profile, and getting the handle on it won't be that hard. This article is about Amazon's Return Policy for Sellers. So if you have a shop on the platform, your answers are probably here.

What is Amazon’s Return Policy? 

Amazon doesn’t have an issue with returning items. Products shipped from Amazon (including Amazon warehouse) can be returned, but some exceptions exist. 

Items shipped from Amazon.com, including Amazon Warehouse, can be returned within 30 days of delivery, with some exceptions. Some products can’t be returned (or can only be returned to their third-party seller). The list includes

  • Computer laptops, desktops, and Kindles more than 30 days after delivery
  • Items classified as hazardous materials or that use flammable liquids or gases 
  • Products missing the serial number or UPC
  • Downloadable software products
  • Online subscriptions after they have been accessed
  • Gift cards (except as required by law)
  • Prepaid game cards (World of Warcraft, Xbox 360 Live, Wii Points, etc.)
  • Some jewelry orders
  • Some health and personal care orders
  • Grocery products
  • Open software
  • Items with special shipping restrictions
  • Live insects

All Amazon products have 30-day return windows, except some special ones that are listed by Amazon to be refunded or replaced. It might be good for you to know that some seller returns policies may differ from Amazon’s.

Know More: How to Answer Questions on Amazon as a Seller?

How Does Amazon Return Policy Work? 

The policy you read before is eligible for both Prime and non-Prime users. All returnable items (weighing under 50 pounds and sold by Amazon) can be returned for free and for any reason. Generally, the return center sets the rules and regulations for returns (which might change over time).

Some products can be returned on Amazon but some not.

When Can Customers Return Products? 

If the product is new and unused, you can return it for any reason. However not all purchases are this easy to return, and Amazon’s Return Policy is not the same for every item on the site. Some third-party sellers have their own policies (from 7 to 30 days) that you must pay attention to. Also, some sellers are required to contact the manufacturer directly. 

Also, here are a few valuable tips about AmazonReturn Policy:

  • Wedding registry gifts have a 180-day return policy from the delivery date
  • Baby registry gifts have a relatively long (365 return days) for most items purchased from your registry
  • Books in their original condition, unopened CDs, DVDs, Software, Video games, etc., downloadable software titles, and items from Amazon’s electronics store can be returned and fully refunded within 30 days (if they have a third party seller)
  • Computers and Cell phones bought from third-party sellers can only be returned within 30 days after delivery.
  • Amazon-branded gadgets such as Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, Amazon Fire TV devices, and Echo devices (purchased from Amazon.com) can be returned within 30 days of receipt of shipment (if they are in their original condition).

What Happens to the Returned Products on Amazon?

Amazon’s returns department aims to make sure no product is wasted or tossed away without reason. A returned product that comes to Amazon is put through a detailed inspection process. If it meets the standards and has kept its original condition, it will be tagged as “new” and will be re-listed for sale. Most returned purchases pass the test and become available for reselling. But if they don’t, they will be further inspected and may be sold as “used” through the Amazon warehouse. They can also get returned to the supplier or donated to a charity.

It might be interesting to know that in 2021, European customers bought over 14 million products, and 13 million were donated to charities (appliances, tech products, and clothing).

How to Find & Check Return Policy on Amazon? 

Reading Amazon Return Policy doesn’t need an account. Just go to Amazon help and customer services. Scroll down the page, and on the right, you will see “Returns and Refunds” in the list. Everything you need to know about returning the product will be there (including costs, policies, gift returns, etc.). Every order you place on Amazon will have a history. With the ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), a unique code assigned to every purchase, you can download the history report and see shipment, return, and refund activity in a simple CSV format (suited to Excel).

Read More: What is Amazon ASIN Number?

How to Change Return Policy on Amazon?

It depends on what kind of seller you are on the platform. If you are working with FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon), you won’t have any autonomy in changing the Amazon Return Policy for Sellers. Amazon will handle fulfillment and customer service on your behalf and will operate by its return policy. Most of the time, customers can request returns within 30 days of receiving their order (this has some exceptions where Amazon decides to extend the return window based on the product). But FBM sellers can slightly deviate from the Amazon third-party seller return policy. To get to your return settings and customize them:

  • Login to your Seller Central home page
  • Hover over settings and select “Return Settings.”
  • You see a page where you can authorize or decline any customer return request.
  • Also, things like label type, shipping center, and your own return instructions are there for you to customize

Remember that many eCommerce experts do not recommend changing your return settings frequently. It is best to match the said Amazon policy as closely as possible (or even exceed) so that the customers won’t get confused and make mistakes when returning products to you. 

How do Customer Returns Affect Your Business? 

It’s obvious that high return rates negatively affect your business. Amazon is very customer-centric and cares a lot about what its customers like and what makes them uncomfortable. When you get too many returns in your seller account, Amazon considers something is wrong in there. Whether you may be writing unmatched product descriptions, you have lousy shipping, or your customer service is not satisfying for the buyer. Having more return rates than usual (usually 10%) may cause your listing to get suspended and your account to get banned from selling that ASIN again. It is essential to focus on quality offerings with clear and accurate definitions of your product. Keep your return rate low by providing your customers with what they really need.

What should you expect in 2024?

Starting June 1, 2024, Amazon will set a returns processing fee for high-return rate products. This will be executed for all categories, excluding apparel and shoes. The product return rate will be the percent of the shipped units in a given month (returned by customers over that month and the next two). For example, for units shipped in August, the return rate will be the percentage of those units returned over August, September, and October,

The platform also promised a weekly updated FBA returns dashboard, for every user. This way each seller can review their return rates. This update will be executed at the beginning of May.

Final Thoughts 

Amazon is committed to reducing returned items by informing customers and helping them make more accurate shopping decisions. The platform also encourages them to resell or donate the products if possible (and by doing that, help reduce the disposal level). Amazon is committed to the Climate Pledge to be net-zero carbon by 2040. Although returning is not a challenge, as a customer, you can help the platform achieve this goal by carefully reading your purchase and making informed shopping decisions. If you are a seller, the best you can do to help reduce returns is to make fully detailed product descriptions so that the buyer knows exactly what they are ordering.


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