Advertisement
Smart Buying

16 Things You Can't Return to Amazon

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

If you're one of the 112 million members of Amazon Prime, you already have free shipping covered. Returns are free, too, unless otherwise specified on the product detail page. Now, you can even return unwanted purchases to your local Kohl's department store instead of through the mail. Just be aware that some items can't be returned to Amazon -- no way, never. 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. Free returns extend to non-digital products ordered via Alexa voice shopping; accidental digital purchases via Alexa can be refunded within seven days by contacting customer service. Return policies for merchandise sold and shipped by third-policy sellers on Amazon.com can vary, so read the seller's fine print.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Some products, though, simply can't be sent back to Amazon. Take a look.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
  • customized/handmade products (unless there is damage, defect or error, such as misspellings)
  • digital music downloaded from the Amazon Digital Music store
  • fresh flowers (but may be refundable)
  • gift cards
  • groceries (including AmazonFresh and Prime Pantry items, though refunds or replacements 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 (but may be refundable)
  • pet food (but may be refundable)
  • prepaid game cards (for World of Warcraft, Xbox 360 Live, Wii Points, etc.)
  • prepaid phone cards
  • products missing the serial code or universal product code (UPC)
  • 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 or replaceable)

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 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 might 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 yourself 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.

Advertisement

Most Popular

12 Tax Deadlines for July 15 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)
tax deadline

12 Tax Deadlines for July 15 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)

Between due dates for IRA or HSA contributions, paying estimated taxes and other deadlines, there's more to do by July 15 than just filing your federa…
July 10, 2020
65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On
stocks

65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On

These 65 Dividend Aristocrats are an elite group of dividend stocks that have reliably increased their annual payouts every year for at least a quarte…
July 8, 2020
Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2020 Tax Year
tax law

Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2020 Tax Year

Americans are facing a long list of tax changes for the 2020 tax year...and it's never too early to start thinking about next year's return.
June 22, 2020

Recommended

Sales Tax Holidays in 2020
state tax

Sales Tax Holidays in 2020

Sixteen states are having sales tax holidays this year. If you plan your shopping around these tax-free periods, you can save big on back-to-school cl…
July 1, 2020
13 Luxury Goods That Are Cheaper at Costco
spending

13 Luxury Goods That Are Cheaper at Costco

You could be missing out on huge savings: Costco sells a limited selection of luxury goods at discounted prices, both in-store and online.
June 27, 2020
COVID-19: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance to Change Our Spending Habits
spending

COVID-19: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance to Change Our Spending Habits

The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything, including how we spend money. Are you spending less right now? Many people are. Here’s how to make th…
June 17, 2020
24 Best Travel Websites to Save You Money
Travel

24 Best Travel Websites to Save You Money

Traveling is fun and you can do it without breaking the bank — you just have to know where to go online first.
June 12, 2020