Amazon FBA Customer Return Rules

Amazon 3rd party sellers should be fully aware of Amazon’s customer return rules.  As a seller on the Amazon marketplace you agree to follow these rules.  Amazon will change/update the return policy from time to time.  The following information was last updated on 7/21/19.

How Much Product Gets Returned to Amazon?

We estimate that $32 Billion of product get returned to Amazon 3rd party sellers as a customer return each year.  This estimate is calculated as 20% of the $160 Billion sold on Amazon by 3rd party sellers per year.  The return rate will vary greatly from product category to product category.

If Amazon customer returns are killing your profits, allow Back-Track to help you reNEW or rePAIR your returns and reCOVER your profits.

Amazon Customer Return Rules

Amazon’s standard return policy allows products to be returned within 30 days of receipt of shipment in most cases.  This includes items shipped from Amazon warehouses and from Amazon 3rd party seller warehouses.  This policy also covers both Amazon Prime and non-Amazon Prime orders.

There are many exceptions to Amazon’s return policy for the following items: Baby Items, Clothing and Accessories, Collectibles, Collectible Coins, Computers and Electronics, Digital Products, Fine Art, Gift Cards, Handmade at Amazon and Customizable Products, Hazardous Materials, Jewelry and Watches, Live Plants or Insects, Pet Food, Pre-Paid Phone or Game Cards, Software and Video Games, Televisions, Tickets.  Please refer to Amazon return exception page for more details on these items.

How Long Does a Buyer Have to Return an Item?

The standard time a buyer has to return an item is 30 days from the time they receive the item.  3rd party sellers must offer a minimum of 30 day returns for their items as well.  3rd party sellers have the option to offer a longer period of time if they wish.

Amazon uses an extended return policy rule during the holiday shopping season.  This is to allow for early “gift buying” and time for the recipient of the gift to inspect the item before decided if they wish to return it.  Read more about Amazon’s holiday return policy here.

Amazon Renewed

Amazon Renewed items are backed by Amazon Renewed Guarantee policy and are eligible for a replacement or refund within 90 days of receiving the product if the product does not work as advertised.  Renewed items can be returned within 90 days and qualify for free return shipping.  Find out more about the Amazon Renewed Program here.

Amazon Warehouse

Amazon Warehouse is a program for used or open box items sold across the Amazon marketplace.  Standard Amazon Warehouse items come with the standard 30 day return policy.  Certified Refurbished items sold through Amazon Warehouse come with a 90 day return policy.  Find out more about the Amazon Warehouse Program here.

Amazon 3rd Party Seller Return Policy

Amazon 3rd party sellers must offer a minimum of 30 days to return items purchased on the Amazon marketplace.  Amazon encourages sellers to consider extending this return window longer when possible.

Amazon 3rd party sellers must provide one of the following:

  1. A return address within the United States
  2. A prepaid return label
  3. A full refund without requesting the item be returned

Products that are eligible for Amazon Prime and sold by 3rd party sellers, will follow the same Amazon Prime return rules.

From our experience inspecting and reNEWing Amazon customer returns, we estimate that 80% of Amazon customer returns are not “defective”.

Does Amazon Pay for Return Shipping?

In many cases the return shipping will be pre-paid by Amazon for the customer return.  During the request to return process the customer will select a reason for their return and the reason they choose will determine if the return shipping is free (free to them) or not.

In general, if the reason for the customer return is due to an Amazon error, seller error, a defective product or misadvertised, the return shipping will be prepaid and Amazon or the 3rd party seller will pay the return shipping cost.

If the reason for the customer return is due to the customer changing their mind or ordering by mistake, then Amazon may require the customer to pay the return shipping cost.

Amazon has over 70 customer return reason codes and these codes determine who is at “fault” and therefore who will pay the return shipping label cost.  You can see the long list of Amazon return reason codes here.

How Quick Does the Customer Get a Refund?

Amazon has a very customer friendly return policy.  In many cases the customer will get a “Rapid Refund” the moment they ship the item.  Amazon receives notification once the shipping label they provided the customer is scanned as received and their system will refund the customer immediately.

Amazon deducts the money from the seller account even faster.  Amazon deducts the money from the seller account moments after the customer submits a request for refund.  Before the item is shipped, before the item is returned and before the item is inspected.

For most items, the customer will have 30 days to ship the item once they begin a request for return and the item must be received by Amazon within 45 days.

Sometimes a customer requests a return but never sends the item.  In this case Amazon will recharge the customer for the original purchase and reimburse the seller for the sale.  This will happen automatically after 45 days if the item is not returned.

Can a Customer Return Opened Items to Amazon?

Yes, items that are opened can be returned to Amazon.  There are a few exceptions where the item must not be opened to receive approval to return the item.

Do you Need Original Packaging to Return to Amazon?

Most items don’t require the original packaging to be returned to Amazon for customer returns.  However, there are some exceptions such as: fine art, customizable products, coins, jewelry and watches and sports collectibles are some examples where the original packaging is required.

Does Amazon Have a Limit on Customer Returns?

Amazon does not have a specific limit on the number of returns a customer can do.  However, in recent years Amazon has begun to better track customer behavior and has banned some customers viewed as “abusing the customer return policy” from buying or returning items on Amazon.

Amazon Holiday Return Policy

To help protect customers who order gifts during the holiday season but will not open the package until the gift is received, Amazon offers an extended holiday return policy.

Amazon’s standard return policy is 30 days.  During the holiday shopping period, items shipped between November 1 and December 31 will have until January 31 to return the item.  This allows for the 30 day return window to start after the gift has been received.

This is why Amazon sellers have re-coined January as “Returnuary“.


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