9 Things You Really Can’t Return to Amazon

woman with amazon package
Photo by Hadrian / Shutterstock.com

Buying things from Amazon couldn’t be easier, but what about returning them?

The good news is that Amazon has fairly liberal return policies. In most cases, you have 30 days to return items purchased directly from Amazon, and the retailer describes its return shipping process as “easy and flexible”

But there are some things you won’t catch a break on: Certain items are “not returnable,” as Amazon puts it.

Here are several examples of purchases that you won’t be able to return to Amazon.

1. Grocery items

You can buy food through Amazon, including options from Prime Pantry and AmazonFresh. Unfortunately, these goods can’t be returned.

In some situations, though, you still might be able to get a refund or replacement. For example, Amazon says:

“If you aren’t satisfied with the condition of a grocery product that you receive from us, we’ll issue a refund up to 30 days from date of delivery.”

2. Tickets

If you bought theme park tickets through Amazon, you might’ve scored a great deal. Unfortunately, you can’t return theme park tickets to the retailer.

Consider buying tickets from a warehouse club instead, depending on the return policy. We cite Costco, for example, in “15 Stores With the Best Return Policies,” and the retailer does not list tickets among the few items that it won’t take back.

3. Gift cards

Once you buy a gift card, it’s yours. Amazon won’t take returns on them unless required by law.

So, consider buying gift cards from a warehouse club, too, if the return policy or price is better there. You will need to ask before purchasing to be sure.

Costco and Sam’s Club are among those that sell gift cards. Their selection isn’t as vast as Amazon’s, but the prices are discounted by as much as 20%, if not more.

4. Customized handmade items

You can buy an array of items handcrafted by artisans on Amazon Handmade, a section of Amazon that competes with the likes of Etsy.

In some cases, you can have a handmade item customized — engraved with an inscription or embroidered with a particular design, for example.

Sellers on Amazon Handmade are not required to accept returns or exchanges of customized items, however, unless the item arrived damaged or defective. Still, handmade items must be returned with all packaging as well as any certificates of authenticity, grading or appraisal.

“Products missing all their applicable tags are not acceptable for return,” Amazon says.

5. Most digital products

If you bought any of the following types of digital downloads, you can’t return it to Amazon unless otherwise specified:

  • Games
  • Software
  • Purchases from the Amazon Appstore
  • Purchases from the Amazon Digital Music store
  • Purchases from the Amazon Video store

6. Hazardous materials

If you’re in the market for flammable liquids or gases, keep in mind that they’re yours once you buy them. Amazon doesn’t accept returns on hazardous materials.

“Contact the manufacturer directly for service, warranty, return, and refund information,” Amazon says.

7. Live plants and insects

Fresh flowers, live indoor plants and insects can’t be returned to Amazon. However, you might be able to get a refund for those purchases.

8. Pet food

Fido’s kibble isn’t returnable either, but you might be able to get a refund for it.

9. Prepaid cards

Pay-as-you-go phone cards and game cards — such as those for World of Warcraft, Xbox 360 Live and Wii Points — are not returnable to Amazon.

Things that are returnable under limited circumstances

Some items are returnable only under more restrictive terms than most items. For example, they might have a shorter return window or the return process might require extra steps. Examples of these items include:

  • E-books from the Kindle Store: This type of digital product can be returned within seven days of purchase. For more information, visit Amazon’s Kindle books return page.
  • Collectible coins: You can return collectible coins if you contact the seller within 14 days of receipt and the return is postmarked within 30 days of receiving the item. Also, the coins must not have been damaged after receipt and must be returned in their original packaging and with any supporting documentation.
  • Jewelry, fine art and sports and entertainment collectibles: Returns of these items also will be rejected unless they are accompanied by all product packaging and any certificates of authenticity, grading or appraisal. The items must not have been damaged, and jewelry must not have been resized after receipt, either — Amazon even says to photograph the items for your records before you ship them back. Depending on an item’s value, you might also be required to use trackable shipping or insure the package. Other conditions apply, so be sure to check Amazon’s return policies page for details.

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