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Kip Tips

12 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 made your list and checked it twice, yet you're still concerned that someone will get stuck with an unwanted gift. You’re not alone. According to Deloitte's 2016 Holiday Survey, 48% of all shoppers say that ease of returns is the second-most important policy they look for in a retailer, after free shipping. And among online shoppers specifically, an overwhelming 82% expect there to be no charge to make returns.

See Also: 9 Money-Saving Hacks for Amazon Shoppers

If you’re one of those people shopping for gifts online, there’s a good chance you ordered something, if not everything, from Thankfully, it’s usually pretty easy to send an item back for a refund or exchange. And, yes, some of those returns are free (but be sure to check the Product Detail page to see if the item qualifies).

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, 2016, can be returned through January 31, 2017. 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 12 items: games and software downloads including apps, videos and digital music; gift cards; groceries (including Amazon Fresh and Prime Pantry items, though refunds are possible in cases of spills or spoilage); customized handmade products with personalized inscriptions or designs (unless there’s an error or damage); 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.); theme park tickets; 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 packaging and 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.

See Also: 15 Things You Should Never Buy During the Holidays


According to Sara Skirboll, shopping expert for, 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 could 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: 5 Surprising Perks of Amazon Prime