- Getty/Contributor/Boston Globe
- Returns for most items purchased on Amazon aren’t free.
- Amazon will deduct the price of shipping if customers use the provided shipping label. Otherwise, customers can ship items back on their own dime.
- Amazon will foot the bill only if the cause for return is its own fault, like if an item was broken during its shipment.
- All items purchased using Alexa come with free returns, however.
Sure, you can return the items you bought to Amazon. But it’ll cost ya.
Returns for most items purchased on Amazon aren’t free, contrary to what some shoppers believe. As customers go through the returns process on Amazon’s website, the company clearly explains that it will deduct the price of shipping if customers use the provided shipping label.
Alternatively, customers can ship items back to Amazon on their own dime.
Either way, discretionary returns for most items are not free. Amazon will foot the bill only if the cause for return is its own fault, like if an item was broken during shipment – and not if a customer has simply changed their mind.
As for how much Amazon will charge to return the item, the page for returns on Amazon explains it like this:
“The return shipping estimates are based on standard shipping costs. When the return is not the result of our error, estimated return shipping costs will be shown in this summary as charges or deductions from your refund.”
Items can be grouped together in shipments as appropriate, even if they were not purchased together.
“Alexa, give me free returns”
There is a way to get out of paying for shipping, however. Amazon offers free returns in some categories, such as clothing, jewelry, and accessories nearly across the board.
But Amazon also offers free returns for all items ordered through its Alexa voice-shopping platform. According to the Amazon help page, the return shipping charge will be levied as normal, but it will be refunded within seven days of the refund for the return.
That makes sense, as it removes a worry for customers that they might accidentally order something while using the platform and not realize it until it arrives.
Voice shopping has been growing, but at a slower pace than predicted. Amazon said voice shopping with Alexa tripled over the holiday season when compared with last year, however.
So, if you’re ordering something that you think you might want to return, make sure you ask Alexa for it in order to qualify for a free return.
Returns are a weaker area for Amazon, as most customers would rather just return the item to a store, according to a survey by UPS, putting it at a disadvantage to incumbents with thousands or hundreds of big-box stores.
It’s likely Amazon realizes this limitation. It’s investing heavily in other ways to make returns cheaper for them and easier for consumers, including returning them to Amazon pickup locations or some Kohl’s department-store locations through an expanding partnership. These two drop-off options are always free.