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Kip Tips

11 Things You Can't Return to Amazon

Before you add any of these items to your online shopping cart, be sure you really, really want them.


You make your list and check it twice, yet someone still ends up with something they don’t want. You’re not alone. According to a 2014 survey by coupon site, 32% of people tend to return holiday gifts received from family and friends.

See Also: 9 Worst Things to Buy Online

If you’re like many online shoppers, there’s a good chance you ordered something, if not everything, from After all, the online retailer boasts 244 million active customer accounts. Thankfully, it’s usually pretty easy to send an item back for a refund or exchange.

Amazon’s standard return policy allows customers to return most items within 30 days of receipt. The return policy is more generous for holiday purchases: Items shipped by Amazon between November 1 and December 31, 2015, can be returned through January 31, 2016. Return policies for merchandise sold and shipped by third-policy sellers on Amazon can vary, so be sure to read the fine print.


Sometimes, though, there are purchases that simply can’t be sent back. If you’re thinking about buying any of these items from Amazon, you might want to check your list a third time before adding them to your online shopping cart. Alternatively, shop at retailers with the most generous return policies.

Amazon won’t accept returns of the following items: games and software downloads including apps, videos and digital music; gift cards; customized handmade products with personalized inscriptions or designs (unless there’s an error); hazardous materials including flammable liquids or gases; fresh flowers; live plants; live insects (Amazon sells everything from ladybugs to Madagascar hissing cockroaches); prepaid phone cards; prepaid game cards (for Xbox, Wii, etc.); groceries; and wine.

Amazon also has strict return policies for certain high-value items. Collectibles including coins, sports memorabilia and fine art can’t be returned if the original documentation such as appraisals and certificates of authenticity are missing. The same goes for jewelry and watches. New desktops, laptops and tablets can only be returned within 30 days if they arrived damaged, failed to start up, or are still in the original unopened box. Otherwise, there’s a restocking fee of 15% or more. The return policy for Amazon’s own Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets is more forgiving.

According to Sara Skirboll, shopping expert for RetailMeNot, Amazon’s strict return policy on computers and tablets isn’t unusual. “Many retailers have additional return requirements when it comes to electronics,” she says. “Customers should make a point to return electronic gifts first to ensure they don’t miss the deadline.”


So what can you do if an item isn’t returnable or you miss the return window? Re-gifting is one option. Another is giving the items to charity, which will allow you to get a tax break for your donation.

Yet another option to recoup some cash is selling unwanted items online. For starters, try or Several sites including and specialize in buying and selling electronics. You can get back a percentage of what you spent on gift cards by selling them on a card-swap site such as, or Popular gift cards from the likes of Walmart and Starbucks tend to fetch the most money. compares prices across multiple sites.

As for the live insects you ordered on Amazon? You’re on your own.

See Also: Worst Things to Buy on Amazon