Shopping on Amazon can sometimes end up a poor experience.
An item may arrive broken, missing a part, or even be the completely wrong item.
Sometimes it’s impossible to know anything is wrong with your order until you open the box and look at it.
If something is wrong, then you may wonder if you can even return the item to Amazon because you opened the box.
Here’s what you need to know about Amazon’s return policy and whether you can return an opened box.
Can You Return Opened Items To Amazon?
Yes, you can return an opened item to Amazon as long as it falls within their return policy.
There are two major stipulations that your order has to meet to be eligible as a return.
The first is that you need to return the item within 30 days.
If you wait too long, then you may not be able to return the item to Amazon.
The second stipulation is that the item has to come from Amazon.
It can’t be from a third-party seller.
This can be difficult to tell, at first, since Amazon is a huge marketplace of third-party sellers.
Chances are you bought the item from a third party.
That said, you can tell on the receipt in the box whether the product is from Amazon or another seller.
If it’s from Amazon, then you can return it even if it’s opened.
If it’s from a third-party seller, then you’ll need to contact that seller.
The seller might accept the return or they may not.
The good news is that, as long as your item passes these two stipulations, you can send your opened item back to Amazon.
How Do You Send Returns To Amazon?
Taking returns to a store is easy.
You just need to bring the item with your receipt back to the store that you bought it from.
Sending returns to Amazon is a little more difficult.
Luckily, there are two ways that you can do it.
The fastest way is with a label-free and box-free return.
In this instance, you’ll need to go to your Orders section and find the item that you want to return.
When you click return, you’ll see an option for a label-free and box-free return.
If you choose this method, then you’ll receive a QR code.
You’ll need to print out the QR code and take the item that you want to return with you to a drop-off location.
Amazon will list possible drop-off locations for you.
Take the item and QR code there and an assistant will take care of the rest when you arrive.
If you want to return an item the traditional way with a box, then the process is a bit longer.
Here are the steps you should follow to return an item with a box to Amazon.
1. Find The Item In Your Account
To start the process, you’ll need to select the item first to generate a return label.
You can do this by going to the Orders section of your Amazon account.
Navigate until you find the right item.
Then click the Return or Replace Items option.
2. Give A Reason For The Return
When you choose the item that you want to return, you’ll receive a prompt to give a reason.
This is where you tell Amazon what went wrong with the order or the item.
It may be that the item came broken or was missing parts.
You may have received the incorrect item completely.
Giving this information to Amazon helps them analyze the data and improve.
It also helps you receive a refund since Amazon is able to see that product arrived broken or missing parts.
3. Select Return Processing
The next thing you’ll need to tell Amazon is how you want your return processed.
You have two choices.
You can either receive a refund or a replacement.
Accidents happen, so if you choose a replacement, then there’s a good chance that the second item will arrive without any problems.
However, if you notice that the reviews are poor for the item or the experience was just too frustrating for you, then you can always choose to get a refund instead and buy the item elsewhere.
Optionally, you might also see an option to submit a return request to an Amazon Seller.
If that’s the case, then the item you bought came from a third-party seller.
This means that the seller has to approve the return before you can send it out.
If they don’t approve, then you’re stuck with the item.
If they do, then you’re able to proceed with the rest of the steps to return the item.
It can sometimes take sellers up to two business days to review the return.
If it takes longer, then Amazon encourages you to use their A-to-Z Guarantee claim.
4. Select Return Method
At this point, you’ll need to tell Amazon which return method you want to use.
You can either ship the item back in a box or ship it without a box.
If you choose without a box, then you’ll receive a QR code and instructions on where to take it.
If you choose to return it with a box, then you have a few more steps to follow.
5. Print Label And Return Authorization
Amazon will give you two things that you need to print.
The label and return authorization will tell both the carrier and Amazon where to take the box and where to put it in the warehouse.
Keep in mind that you’ll need return authorizations for each item that you’re returning.
For example, if you received multiple items from different orders, and you want to return them all, then each time will need its own label and return authorization.
You shouldn’t pack everything in the same box either.
Each needs its own box with the label fixed to it.
If the items are all part of the same order, then you can use the same label and return authorization for the single box.
You can place all those items in that single box.
6. Fix And Package Return
Place the label on the box and prepare it for shipping.
You should receive some information about how to package your item for a return.
It usually asks you to use some sort of packing supply to protect it.
For example, it may ask that you use styrofoam or cardboard paper to stuff it and protect the item.
When the item is secure, then you can seal the box.
You’ll want to double-check that the label is on the box and the information is clear.
7. Send Out The Box
Any carrier will pick up the box since Amazon gives free returns.
It’s part of the label.
If you happen to have an order that isn’t a free return, however, then you’ll need to pay to have it shipped back to Amazon.
Depending on the size of the box, you can either have the USPS pick it up or take it to any other carrier.
UPS and FedEx are both great options that will take your return back to Amazon.
8. Check Status
The final step to completing your return is to check its status.
Amazon lets you track your return or refund status.
To see the status, you’ll need to go to the Return/Refunds Status page.
You can find it in the Orders section part of your Amazon account.
Keep in mind that it will take a few days for your box to arrive at Amazon.
They’ll need to process it, and then they can give you a replacement.
If you’re asking for a refund, then they’ll either automatically send it to you or wait until your item arrives.
Once they have the item, then you’ll receive a refund.
What Is The A-To-Z Guarantee?
If you’re dealing with a third-party seller and you need to return an item, then you may wonder what the A-to-Z Guarantee is.
You need to qualify for the A-to-Z Guarantee.
It isn’t something that everyone receives.
You can submit an A-to-Z Guarantee claim if the third-party seller either refused to give you a refund or they never responded to your request for a return.
The A-to-Z Guarantee covers both the condition of the item that you bought and the delivery.
If you find that you received a broken item or it wasn’t delivered within the time they estimated, then you might qualify for the A-to-Z Guarantee.
Keep in mind that you should only make an A-to-Z Guarantee claim if you’re unable to solve the dispute with the seller.
Here are the qualifications that Amazon lists to determine whether the A-to-Z Guarantee fits your case:
- Item hasn’t arrived three days after the expected arrival date
- Item hasn’t arrived despite the tracking saying it delivered
- Damaged item
- Defective item
- Materially different item
- You canceled the order
Based on your circumstances, you may qualify for certain protections and refunds.
For example, if the item arrived damaged, defective, or was materially different, then you get a refund on the product, shipping, and you get free shipping on your return.
If there was any other reason for the dispute, then you receive a refund for the purchase of the item and shipping costs.
However, you do not receive a free return.
You’ll need to pay the shipping costs associated with returning the item to Amazon.
Finally, if there was any other reason for the dispute and the item was clothing, jewelry, watches, or shoes, then you get a refund on the product and shipping costs.
Amazon will also give you free shipping on your return as long as you still qualify for their standard free return policies.
This usually means that you return it within 30 days.
How Long Do You Have Until You Can File An A-To-Z Guarantee Claim?
If a seller is taking some time to get back to you, then you may wonder how long you have until you’re no longer eligible to fill out a claim for A-to-Z Guarantee.
The good news is that you have some time.
You have until 90 days from the estimated delivery date to file a claim.
This isn’t when you receive your item.
Rather, it’s the estimated or expected delivery date that you see in your tracking information.
It’s a good idea to get the process going as soon as you can, however.
Amazon might ask you to try and reach out to the seller a few times first.
That could easily add a week or two to the process.
If they don’t respond, then you should fill out a claim as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that, depending on what the item is or the circumstances that prompted your need for a return, you also have a limited amount of time to qualify for free returns.
Amazon lets you wait up to 30 days from the expected delivery date to file a return to get free shipping on it.
As such, if you wait until 45 days or even 60 days after the date, then you may still be able to make an A-to-Z Guarantee claim, but you might need to pay for shipping the return.
If the expected delivery date gives you a range of dates instead of a specific date, then it’s the latest date that Amazon uses.
As an example, if your expected delivery is between June 4th and June 7th, then Amazon will consider June 7th the expected date.
As such, you have 90 days after June 7th to file an A-to-Z Guarantee claim.
What Happens If You Send The Wrong Item To Amazon?
If you handle a lot of Amazon boxes, then there’s a chance that you might have packed the wrong item for return.
If you realize this too late and the box is already on the way to Amazon, then you may be unsure of what to do or what happens next.
Once the return reaches Amazon, they’ll open it up and inspect the item that you returned.
If they find an incorrect item in the box, then you won’t receive a refund.
They only pay refunds when they get the item back.
The only exception is if you received the wrong item in the first place and you’re shipping that incorrect item back to them.
In most cases, they’ll take the incorrect item and donate it.
It’s difficult for them to return the item since the process is so fast.
To increase your chances of having the item returned to you, you’ll need to contact customer service as soon as possible.
You can inform them of the details about the package.
If you manage to alert them before the box reaches the warehouse, then they can keep an eye out for it.
However, it costs money to spend that amount of time looking for a specific box.
In most cases, Amazon won’t bother.
You’ll be stuck without a refund until you send them the correct item.
You’ll also likely lose the item that you put in the box as well.
When shipping a return to Amazon, make sure that only the item you want to return is in there.
How Long Does It Take For Amazon To Process A Return?
Amazon doesn’t process refunds until they have their item back.
That means you may not get your refund for a long time.
It can take up to 25 days for a return to make it back to the appropriate warehouse.
That’s because the box goes through a long chain of logistics to get there.
The local carrier has to take the box to a national carrier.
The national carrier then needs to take it to a local carrier.
The local carrier then takes the box to the appropriate Amazon warehouse.
If the warehouse it needs to go to is across the country, then it has a long distance to travel.
Air travel may not be possible for it.
That means it has to travel by ground, which is slow.
Once the item arrives at the warehouse, it has to go through processing.
Workers will inspect the item to ensure it’s the right one and determine whether the reason for the return matches what they see.
Once they accept the return, they’ll put in a refund order.
It can take two to three business days for Amazon’s refund orders to go out.
Then it can take three to five business days for the money to actually land in your bank or credit card account.
In total, you can expect a few weeks to a month to receive your refund from Amazon.
Amazon is aware that not all its products are going to arrive safely.
That’s why they have a return policy that often lets its customers return items for free.
If you’re struggling with a third-party seller, then you should consider filling out an A-to-Z Guarantee claim.