Returning items you‘ve purchased on Amazon is easy and stress-free when you know the proper process. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you through how to initiate Amazon returns, print shipping labels, select return methods, track refunds, and more.
As an experienced Amazon seller who processes returns regularly, I‘ll share insider tips to make returns a breeze. With step-by-step instructions, valuable troubleshooting advice, and examples of Amazon‘s policies in action, you‘ll be prepared to return items with confidence.
So let‘s get started and master Amazon returns without all the hassle!
Navigating Amazon‘s Return Policies Like a Pro
Before diving into the logistics of how to return Amazon purchases, it‘s helpful to understand their overall return policy framework. Here are a few key things to know:
Most New Items Can Be Returned Within 30 Days
For the majority of new, unopened items purchased on Amazon, customers have 30 days from the delivery date to initiate a return. There are some product-specific exceptions, which I‘ll cover below.
Certain Categories Have Extended Return Windows
While 30 days is the standard, some product categories have more generous return policies:
- Electronics – 90 days for return/exchange
- Jewelry – 90 days
- Amazon Devices – Varies by item (For example, Echo devices can be returned within 90 days)
So check the listing details before purchase to see if that item has a longer return window than the typical 30 days.
13.9% Return Rate Across Amazon Platform
To provide some context on scale, Amazon sees about 3 billion packages shipped worldwide per year. Of those packages, approximately 13.9% are returned on average. Clothing and shoes have the highest return rate at around 40%, while consumable items like grocery have less than 5% return rate.
Top Return Reasons
According to Returnly‘s analysis of over 1 million Amazon returns, the top reasons customers initiate returns are:
- Item defective or doesn‘t work properly (30%)
- Wrong item received (18%)
- Looks different than image or description (17%)
- Arrived too late (9%)
- Don‘t like the item after receiving it (8%)
Understanding why customers return items can help you avoid some situations as a buyer.
Step-By-Step: How To Return Amazon Purchases
Now that you know Amazon‘s return policies, let‘s walk through the mechanics of how to actually return items purchased on Amazon. I‘ll provide screenshots of the process so you know exactly what to click or tap.
Step 1: Log In to Your Amazon Account
First, you‘ll need to access your Amazon account that was used to place the order. You can log in at Amazon.com on a desktop web browser or use the Amazon mobile app.
Once logged in, you‘ll see “Returns & Orders” available in the top menu (web) or main menu (app).
Step 2: Select Your Order & Item
Under Returns & Orders, you‘ll find a list of your recent orders. Locate the order with the item(s) you want to return.
Click or tap the “Return or Replace Items” button. This will bring up a list of items ordered. Select the item(s) you wish to return.
Step 3: Choose a Return Reason
Amazon will now ask you to specify why you are returning each item. Select the best matching return reason from the drop-down menu:
- No longer needed
- Better price available
- Inaccurate website description
- Defective or doesn‘t work properly
- Wrong item sent
Choosing the appropriate return reason helps Amazon process your return smoothly.
Step 4: Pick Return or Replacement
Next, indicate whether you want a full refund or a replacement item sent to you.
If requesting a replacement, you can change product details like size or color if needed.
Step 5: Print Free Return Shipping Label
Amazon will automatically email you a return shipping label to print. Be sure to print it on a regular 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper.
Tape the printed label to your return package. This return label allows you to use any carrier and ship the return for free.
Step 6: Pack and Ship the Return
Pack up the return item securely in its original packaging if possible. Include all parts, accessories, manuals etc. that were in the original shipment.
Seal the return package, affix the shipping label, and drop off at any carrier‘s dropoff location. USPS, UPS, and FedEx are all options.
And that‘s it – Amazon will receive your packaged return and process your refund!
Weighing Different Return Methods
Rather than mailing back returns, Amazon offers a few alternative return options. Here‘s an overview of the other convenient ways to get your return items back to Amazon:
|Mail-In Returns||5-7 days||Free||Original packaging, Printed label|
|Amazon Lockers||1-2 days||Free||Amazon locker location nearby|
|Amazon Stores||Same day||Free||Nearby Amazon physical store|
|On-site Pickup||Varies – schedule||Free||Amazon picks up from your address|
I recommend using an Amazon locker if there‘s one conveniently located near you. It‘s the fastest return method with no packaging or print requirements.
Returning at an Amazon physical store also works well if you happen to be near one. Otherwise, standard mail-in returns are simple and reliable too.
Schedule free Amazon on-site pickups instead of mail when returning larger, heavier, or fragile items. This spares you the hassle of boxing it up and lugging to a carrier.
Tracking Your Amazon Returns
Once you‘ve shipped off your return, you likely want confirmation it made its way back to Amazon. Here‘s how to track returns on Amazon:
1. Go to Your Returns Center
Your Returns Center shows all your recent Amazon returns in one place. Locate it under “Returns & Orders”.
2. Locate the Tracking Number
Scroll to the item you want to track. There will be a tracking number and carrier listed.
3. Select “Track Package”
Click the “Track Package” link next to the tracking number. This will pull up detailed tracking on that shipment.
Following your return through each tracking event provides visibility into when Amazon receives it. Once delivered back to Amazon, they can issue your refund.
If your tracking shows the return delivery is delayed or requires action, contact Amazon Customer Service. They can investigate and provide guidance.
Refund Timing and Methods from Amazon
Once Amazon has received your return back at their fulfillment center, how long does it take to get your money back?
Here are the typical Amazon refund timeframes to expect:
- Original payment method: 3-5 business days after the returned item is received. This covers credit cards, debit cards, etc. used on your initial order.
Amazon Gift Card: Refund will be issued as an Amazon Gift Card balance within 1 business day after Amazon processes the return.
Replacements: Will ship immediately once Amazon has obtained the item you returned.
For most returns, the refund will go back to the original payment method used on the order. But you can request an alternate refund method such as:
- Amazon Gift Card
- Checking account deposit
- Alternate credit card
During the return process, there is an option to select your preferred refund type.
To expedite refunds, select an Amazon Gift Card balance as your return refund method. This results in fastest turnaround.
Items You Cannot Return to Amazon
While Amazon offers returns on most product categories, there are some exceptions where items are non-refundable. Here are the most common:
Once an Amazon gift card balance has been redeemed, the gift card is no longer refundable. Only unused gift card balances can be returned.
Amazon Prime Membership
Amazon Prime subscriptions cannot be cancelled for a refund. You can cancel renewal to avoid future charges.
Amazon Kindle Books
Digital Kindle books can only be refunded within 7 days of the original purchase date. Partial reads are not refundable.
Digital Music, Movies or Software
Digital media such as mp3 downloads or video purchases cannot be returned once accessed or downloaded.
Groceries and Food
For food safety standards, grocery food items or other consumables cannot be returned to Amazon after delivery.
Check Amazon‘s return policies before ordering any non-returnable items. Or consider gifting them to avoid getting stuck with no refund.
Before downloading any Kindle books or digital media, add them to your Watchlist. That way you can wait to “purchase” them right when you‘re ready to use. This gives maximum time to return if needed.
Expert Tips for Amazon Sellers Handling Returns
As an experienced Amazon seller myself, I‘ve processed thousands of returns from my customers. Here are four tips I‘ve learned for handling returns smoothly:
1. Offer Free, Easy Returns
Make returns free and flexible for customers. Paying for return shipping costs often deters buyers. Accepting returns with no questions asked increases satisfaction.
2. Quickly Process Refunds
Issue refunds immediately once tracking shows Amazon has received the customer‘s return. Don‘t wait the full processing period if possible.
3. Get Returned Inventory Back in Stock ASAP
Turn around returned items to resell them faster. Use FBA returns tools to direct shipments back to you for inspection. Restock quality returns quickly.
4. Study Return Reasons to Improve Quality
Dig into why customers are returning items. Look for product flaws or listing inaccuracies you can improve on to reduce future returns.
Following these best practices helps ensure Amazon customers have a smooth, convenient returns experience when buying your products.
Consider reselling warehouse deals – open box and customer returns. This inventory can be sold at a discount for additional revenue.
Assisting Customers with Amazon Returns
For customer service professionals assisting shoppers with Amazon returns, here is a step-by-step support guide:
1. Locate Their Order
Ask for the customer‘s order ID or pull up their account profile to view recent purchases. Verify the item eligibility to be returned based on policies.
2. Walk Through the Return Steps
Provide instructions for initiating the return in their Amazon account. Talk them through the reasons, refund, and label printing.
3. Explain Return Options
Based on item size or other factors, suggest optimal return methods. Educate on mail-in, locker, in-store, and pickup returns.
4. Help Track Status
Assist with monitoring return tracking and refund timing. Proactively notify if delays arise.
5. Troubleshoot Issues
If Amazon rejects a return or other problems occur, diagnose the reason and identify solutions to get the return accepted.
6. Provide Return Policy Clarifications
Look up product-specific return windows, restocking fees, or other policy details if a customer is unsure.
Equipping customers with education and support on returns ensures they have a smooth experience.
Canceling an Amazon Return
Sometimes buyers go through the return process but later change their mind and want to keep the item. Here‘s how to cancel an Amazon return:
Step 1: Go to Manage Returns
Under Your Returns Center, select the “Manage Returns” link to see pending returns.
Step 2: Locate the Return
Find the item you want to cancel the return for. Click the “Cancel This Return” button.
Step 3: Confirm Cancellation
A pop-up will ask you to confirm cancelling that return. Select “Yes” to verify.
The return will then be cancelled in Amazon‘s system so the item ships back to you instead of Amazon.
Step 4: Notify Carrier If Needed
If you already scheduled a pickup, contact the shipping carrier to stop the pickup since Amazon no longer expects that package.
And that‘s all it takes to cancel a return in progress if you change your mind!
Returning Amazon purchases doesn‘t need to be a headache. Now that you know the return process from start to finish, you can handle Amazon returns seamlessly.
The key is using the right return method, tracking your refunds, and understanding non-returnable items. Feel free to reach out with any other Amazon return questions!