Amazon Prime's return policy allows free returns within 30 days for most items, but holiday purchases are eligible until January 31

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Amazon is one of the most convenient sites to shop for gifts during the holiday season. The massive online retailer offers a ton of products to choose from, including tons of tech, outdoor gear, beauty and grooming products, and fashion for the entire family — it's also one of the few stores with free holiday shipping, no order minimum required. It even provides a useful indicator on whether or not your order will arrive before Christmas, specific to each item. 

But what if that Kindle e-reader or cashmere sweater doesn't work out like you planned? While some products vary based on the category and return reason, most new and unused items can be returned to Amazon within 30 days. Better still, during the holiday shopping season, you'll actually have until January 31, 2021 to make your returns. 

Below, we've answered the most common questions about Amazon's return policy — including how to make a return, what items are eligible, and when to expect your refund.

Typically, most items purchased with an Amazon Prime account have a 30-day return window. However, most items purchased between October 1 and December 31 fall within the holiday 2020 shopping season and can be returned up until January 31, 2021.

Most items delivered within the US qualify for free returns. To confirm that an item qualifies, you can look to see if it has "Free returns" listed next to the price. There are a few exceptions for things like items that weigh more than 50 pounds, fashion items purchased from The Drop, and products bought through third-party sellers. 

You can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime.

To start a return, visit the "Your Orders" page under your account. From there, select "Return or Replace items," choose your return method, print the label, and package for shipping. 

In addition to shipping your item, you can also choose the Label-Free, Box Free option and bring your unwrapped item to a dropoff location with a provided QR code. Here are your options:

  • Amazon Physical Stores: Customers can walk into one of Amazon's physical locations, like Amazon Books or Amazon 4-Star stores, show the QR code, and complete the return there, just as long as the product comes with its original box. 
  • Amazon Hub Locker and Locker+: Shoppers can use Amazon Lockers to return items in a box or shipping envelope and use the barcode or six-digit code sent after starting a return to place the item in the slot. Some Locker+ locations allow shoppers to use the free packing materials available onsite.
  • Whole Foods Market: Some Whole Foods locations have free no-box and no-label return drop off for eligible items. Some Whole Foods also offer Amazon Locker and Amazon Locker+ return options.
  • Kohl's: You can now return eligible Amazon items, without a box or label, at a Kohl's near you. With over 1,000 stores nationwide, it should be relatively easy for you to find a Kohl's and drop off your Amazon return. 

Unless they arrive damaged or defective, certain items cannot be returned. Some of these include groceries, customized or personalized products, gift cards, downloadable software, and subscription services after they've been accessed. You can find out if an item is non-returnable under the "Your Orders" page. 

You should expect it to take around 2-3 weeks total to receive your refund, including the time it takes to ship, receive, and process the return. Most refunds are fully refunded within 7 days of receiving your item, but you can read more about estimated return times here.

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