How to Do Amazon Returns: A Step-by-Step Guide

June 13, 2022
Written by Mark Salvania
amazon building

Amazon returns are stressful experiences for sellers everywhere. It’s bad that their customers aren’t happy with their products or services, but buyers shipping their purchases back? That’s both a PR and logistical nightmare.

If sellers get stressed out, customers do as well. Imagine buying something, only to return it because it failed to meet your expectations. If you want, you can return the purchased item/s to the seller and, in some cases, get your money back.

Sellers are more often customers, too! As a customer, you know how much of a hassle returns are. So with this in mind as a seller, you should be able to understand where your customers are coming from. Knowing how Amazon returns work can help you better assist anyone who might ask you how to do returns, should the need arise. 

Doing Amazon returns can be a hassle, but now, it doesn't have to be with this step-by-step guide. In this article, we’ll go over how to do Amazon returns and give you some tips on how to reduce them.

What Makes Items Eligible for Amazon Returns?

Before we explain how to do Amazon returns, let’s first discuss what makes an item eligible for returns in the first place.

As much as we like to think that every item is up for return, an Amazon return doesn’t work that way. Not every product can be returned to sellers, nor can you do that anytime you want to. So consider the items you bought and check if they hit these marks:

Amazon must be the party directly selling your purchased item/s

Did you know that Amazon had around 6.5 million registered third-party sellers last year? To say that it’s a big number is an understatement. While only 2.6 million of them are active, that doesn’t take away their presence on the platform.

While it’s perfectly fine to buy items from third-party sellers, whatever you purchased from them can’t be returned to Amazon. Amazon states that customers who want to return products bought from third-party sellers can only ship them back to the sellers instead. So do a double-take and check if your order was 100% fulfilled by the company.

The product page must indicate free returns

It pays to read the fine print on the instructions. If the product page of an item you’re buying says it offers free returns, you’re in luck. Not every seller offers that benefit, so use that to your advantage if you feel the need to send your purchase back. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay restocking and shipping fees.

Products should remain in their original condition

And by original condition, we mean no changes. Items should be shipped off the same way they were delivered to you. Returns should include certificates, accessories, and other relevant collaterals as well.

Items should be returned within a 30-day window

Do your purchased Amazon products have damages or defects? Are they below expectations? If you’ve experienced any of these, the good news is that you can return items to sellers. However, buyers need to do that within 30 days after receiving their item/s, as stated in Amazon’s returns policy

How to Do Amazon Returns

Buyers should follow these steps to ensure a proper and hassle-free experience when returning items. In addition, they must log on to their Amazon accounts to get things done a bit faster.

  1. Click the Returns & Order section on the Amazon website. Buyers using the Amazon Shopping mobile app should proceed to the three horizontal lines seen on the screen.
  2. Customers should be taken to a page that shows all their previous orders. Once there, they must look for and click the Return or Replace Items button. Mobile app users should find the arrow “>” button and tap the Return or Replace option.
  3. Buyers should check the boxes of the items they want to return once the next screen pops out. They must select a reply from the drop-down list under the “Why are you returning this?” question. Depending on the reason, they may have to add extra information in a text box. Once they’re done, they click the Continue button to proceed.

Note to remember: Choosing a return reason that places the responsibility on Amazon (e.g., the item received was sent by mistake) gives customers free returns. If the buyer is responsible for the error, they may pay return shipping fees.

  1. The next screen should show customers two options. They can either swap their purchased Amazon item for another or get a direct refund. Once they’ve made their choice, they can click the Continue button.
  2. Amazon will then instruct buyers to print a return label. They’ll also ask them if they want to schedule a pickup date or drop their pre-packaged return off at a UPS location.

Note to remember: UPS pickups will come without a cost if Amazon commits any errors. However, any errors on buyers' ends will have them shouldering some costs.

product returns

Reducing Amazon Returns

Not only are Amazon returns stress-inducing, but they can also harm your brand. Buyers won’t trust a business that’s notorious for having high customer returns. So with that said, how do you make returns to Amazon happen less frequently?

Protect your brand and reduce its return rates by taking cues from these tips.

Make your return process easier for buyers

Use returns to your advantage by having a hassle-free return policy. Since Amazon’s policy is customer-centric, yours should be in the same boat.

Create a clear refund and return policy that states what sellers and buyers should expect. It should give customers some leeway to let them decide whether they should keep or send their received item/s back. Cut down on vagueness and ambiguity in your returns process to prevent misunderstandings.  

Reasonable refund policies are great building blocks for great customer service. The more positive experiences they have, the more likely they trust a brand. So even if handling a return might hurt your costs, you’d have a loyal customer, at the very least. It’s still a win-win situation!

Completely detail  your product descriptions

If you have an item experiencing frequent returns, you may want to check on your listings. Revise them accordingly by inserting relevant details. For example, if you notice that most of your returns are due to customers expecting a different size for your products then it’s time to edit your descriptions or provide images with size references to make it clear. Descriptions should contain information such as (but not limited to the following):

  • Exact dimensions
  • Warranty conditions
  • FAQs + answers
  • Color and size choices

Detailed product descriptions promote transparency, earning you brownie points from customers. Of course, they reduce returns, but they also give your SEO a boost.

Add visuals

No matter how well-written your listings are, words alone won’t cut it. Buyers may return what they bought if they fail to deliver what was promised in the description. If you want to lessen that, you need to bring visuals.

Pictures and videos give customers an extra look at your product/s. Shoppers appreciate seeing close-ups of details like logos and materials. Remember to take multiple shots and angles to give people a feel for your item/s.

Conduct thorough inspections

Before you ship out orders to customers, check your products to see if they’re in good condition. Inspection is especially important for FBA sellers because buyers will care-even if you think they don’t. For example, something like a wet spot on the packaging may not seem like a big deal to you, but there’s a high chance that customers will think otherwise.


Returns are unavoidable in an e-commerce marketplace like Amazon. However, they’re not impassable walls a typical Amazon seller can’t climb over. Sellers should take what they learn about the Amazon return process and provide better customer service to their shoppers. It may be something taxing to do, but keep in mind that this is definitely something worth investing your time on!

Do you have any more questions on how to do returns on Amazon? Feel free to ask us! Our team’s experience and expertise in Amazon returns would be glad to answer them. We know how troublesome they can be since we’ve all experienced dealing with them. Just get in touch with us at [email protected], and we’ll be glad to answer them. 

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