Whether you’re a customer buying from third-party sellers on Facebook Market or dedicated online retailers like Amazon & eBay, you want to be guaranteed that what you’re buying is actually what you’re getting.
Imagine unboxing your latest online shopping purchase only to discover that it isn’t new and has instead been used before. That would be okay as long as you were aware of the condition it was in before you pressed “add to cart.”
Amazon is an online retailer that tries its best to minimize waste. But does Amazon resell returned items as new? Keep reading to find out the fate of your online returns.
- Where Do Returned Amazon Products End Up?
- What’s Amazon’s Policy for Online Returns?
- 8 Steps to Make an Amazon Return
- Does Amazon Resell Returned Items as New?
- Wrapping Up
Where Do Returned Amazon Products End Up?
Returned products go to Amazon’s fulfillment centers before finding their way to Amazon warehouses.
Notably, some returned items are only slightly used and still in reasonable condition. If that’s the case, then they get included within Amazon’s warehousing system.
This practice extends the lifespan of such products and contributes to the diverse inventory available on the platform.
It may be obvious, but more online purchases get returned more often compared to those made at physical stores. With 1.6 million products sold a day – the amount of daily Amazon returns is unbelievable.
Due to the sheer volume of returns, there are different avenues for managing returned products:
1. Amazon Warehouse
Amazon Warehouse is the place where you can find great deals on a variety of products, including those that might have minor damage or be pre-owned.
If you decide to purchase something labeled as “Used” or “Open Box” from the warehouses, rest assured that you have a 30-day window for returns.
Understanding the condition of the product you’re considering is key. Amazon takes the time to thoroughly inspect all its products before they’re offered for sale. They provide additional details that give you a clearer picture of the item’s specific condition.
Here is how products are categorized on Amazon Warehouse:
Items in this category undergo careful inspection by either Amazon or a trusted supplier. These items look and perform nearly as well as new ones. While there might have been some repackaging, and certain accessories could be different, a replacement or refund within 90 days is guaranteed if any issues arise.
Used – Like New
Amazon returns in this group work exceptionally well and are almost indistinguishable from how they were in their brand-new condition. While they may not come in their original packaging, any packaging discrepancies are highlighted, and all essential components are included.
Used – Very Good & Used – Good
Items in this classification operate just fine, but they may exhibit minor signs of wear, such as small scratches or marks. The packaging might show slight damage, and there’s a possibility that some accessories might be broken too. However, Amazon will inform customers of any of this.
Used – Acceptable
In this category, items still work effectively, even if they show very noticeable wear and tear, such as scratches or dents. This is the last (and worst) category. The packaging will be slightly ruined, and in extreme cases, there may be some missing parts, add-ons, manuals, or tools.
2. Direct Liquidation
In certain cases, the inventory is grouped and packed onto liquidation pallets within storerooms.
These pallets are then sold to a liquidation company at a reduced cost. Liquidation marketplaces subsequently list these products on their own websites for resale.
The liquidation process serves as a great solution for Amazon and its sellers – that is if they want to recover some value from returned or surplus inventory.
By selling to e-commerce liquidation websites, Amazon can recover a (small) portion of the initial sale price, mitigating potential losses from unsold or returned items that cannot be marketed as new.
Plus, the liquidation process contributes to a more circular economy by extending the lifecycle of products that would have otherwise been discarded.
Through partnerships with marketplaces, these items are bundled into liquidation pallets of eligible overstock, creating an opportunity for resellers to acquire them through an auction. During the auction, resellers can bid on various pallets.
Each pallet is coupled with a note that outlines the contents and gives those bidding an idea of what could be inside. This system introduces an element of surprise, as the exact condition of the products remains uncertain until the pallet is unboxed.
However, pallet buyers should know that anything purchased from the Amazon Bulk Liquidations Store (Amazon’s resell website) is not eligible to be returned.
The “Return to Seller” option involves a return journey for the item, potentially spanning long distances and multiple modes of transportation such as plane, truck, or cargo ship.
Once the returned item reaches the original seller, it undergoes a series of steps aimed at preparing it for potential resale.
This could include:
- Quality assurance checks.
Depending on the item’s condition, it might go to a different warehouse for sorting, repackaging, and, if necessary, repairs.
This careful process ensures that the returned product is restored to a satisfactory state (not brand new condition) before being reintroduced to the market.
4. Throwing Items Away
Amazon tries its best to minimize waste and maximize value from its inventory. However, product disposal remains an option for items that cannot be sold, donated, or recycled.
Disposal typically occurs when an item’s condition or marketability falls below certain thresholds.
This only happens when all other options are exhausted, such as when online retailers like Amazon or e-commerce sellers have to deal with unsold or non-recyclable items.
5. Grade and Resell
Much like the other options above, the “Fulfillment by Amazon Grade and Resell” approach involves a systematic evaluation and categorization of returned merchandise based on its condition.
This way, Amazon also provides customers with lower budgets while informing them about the items’ true condition.
Once graded, these items are made available for resale on specific sections of Amazon’s platform catering to different types of products.
- Amazon Renewed caters to refurbished items;
- Warehouse Deals presents opportunities for used goods (as stated above);
- Amazon Outlet targets overstocked items and unsold products;
- Woot offers a platform for various discounted products.
What’s Amazon’s Policy for Online Returns?
Unfortunately for Amazon customers, they don’t have a “return-all” policy. Amazon returns depend on what you bought, who you bought it from, and why you want to return it.
However, for most items on Amazon, you have a 30-day window to decide if you don’t want something or to figure out if it’s defective.
On that note, if an item is defective, you can still get a full refund; otherwise, the only way to get all your money back is if the item is unused.
As we said, customers can’t return everything they buy. These listed items are a hard no when it comes to Amazon returns:
- Products marked as hazardous materials
- Items using flammable liquids or gases
- Electronics such as laptops, desktops, and Kindles
- Downloadable software
- Open software
- Online subscriptions, once activated
- Gift cards (except when required by law)
- Prepaid game cards (like World of Warcraft, Xbox 360 Live, Wii Points)
- Amazon Bulk Liquidations Store buys
- Items without a visible serial number or UPC
- Amazon Fresh and Grocery Products
- Items with special shipping rules
- Live insects
- Some jewelry and health/personal care orders
- Customized products
Still waiting for your refund to come into your account? Don’t panic. Sometimes it takes up to 10 business days for the money to reflect.
Amazon allows international returns as long as it’s returned within a specific time frame.
They understand that shipping something back to them can take time, which is why after customers have submitted their return, they allow 25 days for the item to get back to them.
Amazon provides several methods for returning items from an international location:
- UPS Drop-off: If you’re shipping from Amazon.com to Canada, you may have the choice to return your purchase using a prepaid UPS drop-off label.
- DHL Express Drop-off: Drop-off services are available at select locations for your convenience.
- DHL Express Pickup: In certain countries, consumers can arrange for pickup services at a location, time, and place that suits them.
- Return Label at Your Expense: For some product returns, you can use your own return label, with shipping costs covered up to $25 for return postage upon receipt of the item, based on the country.
Amazon Returns of Gifts
Often, gift receivers are left feeling disappointed due to the wrong size, wrong color, or just the completely wrong thing.
If you’ve received a gift and require an exchange or replacement, you have to return the gift and then create an entirely new order. If you happen to be the customer who gave the gift, you can initiate a replacement request within the “Your Orders” tab.
To return a gift, you will need your order number, which can easily be found on your packing slip or on the digital gift receipt you were emailed.
Let’s talk specifics:
- Instant refunds are not available for gift recipients.
- If you’re the recipient, your refund will be processed as an Amazon.com Gift Card once your return has been received. The refunded amount will then be added to the gift card balance of the Amazon account used for the return.
- For gift givers, refunds can be credited to your gift card balance or the initial payment method.
- All refunds adhere to the specified refund policies and timelines detailed in the Amazon “Refunds” section.
- Refunds for gift items valued above $2000 can only be processed to the original payment method – no gift cards allowed.
Return Shipping Costs & Tracking
When it comes to selecting your return’s shipping method, remember that return fees are calculated based on your choice and your location, of course.
Free returns are available for delivery addresses within the 50 United States (U.S.), and APO/FPO addresses using a U.S. zip code.
If you opt for a paid shipping method, please note that Amazon deducts return shipping costs and restocking fees from their refunded amount.
Alternatively, should you decide to handle the shipping yourself, you’ll be responsible for the carrier’s fees and shipping costs when sending out the return.
Customers have a range of options for returning items:
- Choose drop-off services at conveniently located spots.
- Opt for pickup services for added convenience.
- Consider Heavy-Bulky return options, expertly managed by a dedicated carrier team.
- Make use of Locker, Locker+, and Amazon Hub Counter locations for streamlined returns of smaller packages.
- Hassle-free and label-free returns by utilizing scanned QR codes at designated return locations.
To track your return, just go to “Your Orders” and choose “View Return/Refund Status” next to the order. This lets customers keep an eye on their return’s progress right up until it lands at its final destination.
Incorrect Product Returns
If you want to change a return request or decide not to return an item anymore, you can cancel the return process.
Here’s how you can cancel a return:
- Go to Your Orders.
- Find the return you want to cancel and click on “Return and Refund Status” next to the return authorization.
- Choose “Cancel this return.”
- A confirmation box will pop up; click “Cancel this return” again.
- After canceling, you can start a new return if needed.
Sometimes, you return the wrong item without noticing. In this case, Amazon holds you responsible. Therefore, when sending back merchandise, make sure it’s the correct and complete item, as you’ll only get a refund if the right item is returned.
If you accidentally send the wrong item to Amazon, please contact their customer service team. You need to contact them ASAP, as Amazon usually donates these to charitable organizations or recycles items sent by mistake.
Therefore, they can’t guarantee that they will return the wrong item, and they don’t offer compensation for mistakes.
8 Steps to Make an Amazon Return
Here’s what you need to know in regard to making your Amazon return:
- Visit the “Your Orders” section to view your recent purchases. If you’re returning a gift, access the “Return a Gift” option.
- Identify the specific order you wish to return and click on the “Return or Replace Items” button.
- Choose the item you intend to return and then select a reason from the dropdown menu provided in the “Reason for return” section.
- Determine how you’d like to proceed with the return. If applicable, you can opt for a refund or a replacement. In the case of items purchased from an Amazon seller, you’ll encounter the “Submit return request” option. Keep in mind that return requests for items from third-party sellers are reviewed by the seller before a refund or replacement is granted.
- Choose your preferred method for returning the item.
- Generate and print the return label along with the return authorization.
- Attach the return label and package the items securely for return.
- Wait for your return to be registered by Amazon and give it time for the money to be refunded.
Does Amazon Resell Returned Items as New?
Amazon doesn’t resell returned items as new. Returned merchandise, even those in a slightly used condition, are not listed and sold as new products.
Amazon takes great care to ensure transparency and accuracy in its product listings, and this includes providing accurate information about the condition of items being sold.
Any items that are still in good condition may be inspected & refurbished based on their condition.
These items might then be listed under appropriate categories, such as “Amazon Renewed” for refurbished products or other used product categories. This practice ensures that customers are aware of the condition of the items they are purchasing and can make informed decisions.
While Amazon does upcycle returns in its fulfillment center or takes a damaged product to its warehouses and tries to return it to its original form, it will always state the actual condition to the customer.