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15 Things You Actually Can't Return to Amazon

Don't add these items to your Amazon.com shopping cart unless you're absolutely sure you want them.

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You made your holiday shopping list and checked it twice, yet you're still concerned that someone will get stuck with an unwanted holiday gift that you ordered on Amazon.com. You're not alone. Six in 10 holiday shoppers consider ease of returns a decisive factor when selecting a retailer, according to Deloitte's 2018 Holiday Retail Survey.

See Also: 10 Worst Things to Buy on Amazon

If you're one of the 100 million members of Amazon Prime, you already have the free shipping covered. Returns are free, too, unless otherwise specified on the product detail page. Just be aware that some items can't be returned to Amazon. Ever. Before you add another gift to your online shopping cart, be sure you fully understand Amazon's return policy.

Let's start with the basics: Amazon's standard return policy allows customers to return most items that are sold and fulfilled by Amazon within 30 days of receipt for a full refund. The return policy is more generous for holiday purchases. Most items shipped by Amazon between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 can be returned through Jan. 31 of the following year. Return policies for merchandise sold and shipped by third-policy sellers on Amazon.com can vary, so read the fine print.

Sometimes, though, there are Amazon 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.

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Amazon won't accept returns of the following items:

  • custom, handmade products (unless there is damage, defect or error, such as misspellings)
  • digital music downloaded from the Amazon Digital Music store
  • fresh flowers
  • gift cards
  • groceries (including AmazonFresh and Prime Pantry items, though refunds are possible in cases of spills or spoilage)
  • hazardous materials including flammable liquids or gases
  • live insects (Amazon sells everything from ladybugs to Madagascar hissing cockroaches)
  • live plants
  • pet food (but may be refundable)
  • prepaid game cards (for World of Warcraft, Xbox 360 Live, Wii Points, etc.)
  • prepaid phone cards
  • software and game downloads, as well as other digital purchases from the Amazon Appstore
  • theme park tickets
  • videos downloaded from the Amazon Video store
  • wine (but may be refundable)

See Also: 14 Best Costco Kirkland Products for the Holidays

Amazon can be a stickler about returns of certain high-value items including jewelry, collectibles and electronics. Review the product detail page for specifics. If you're returning a gift that was purchased for you from Amazon, you'll need the 17-digit order number from the packing slip. The refund will usually be issued in the form of an Amazon.com gift card.

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 charitable donation. Amazon also operates a trade-in program that lets you sell back eligible items including videogames, Kindles and books. Shipping is free, and you'll be paid with an Amazon.com gift card. Of course, if you prefer to receive cash for your items try selling them on Craigslist.org or Ebay.com. Sites such as Gazelle.com and NextWorth.com specialize in buying used electronics. Card-swap sites such as Cardpool.com and GiftCards.com buy unwanted gift cards.

As for the live insects you can't return to Amazon? Sorry, you're on your own.

See Also: 23 Surprising Perks of Your Amazon Prime Membership