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11 Things You Can't Return to Amazon

You made your holiday shopping list and checked it twice, yet you're still concerned that someone will get stuck with an unwanted holiday gift that you ordered on You're not alone. After free shipping, ease of returns is the most important policy shoppers look for in a retailer, according to Deloitte's 2017 Holiday Survey.

See Also: 13 Worst Things to Buy During the Holidays

If you're one of the millions of Amazon Prime members, you already have the free shipping covered. Returns are free, too, unless otherwise specified on the product detail page. Just be aware that some items can't be returned to Amazon. Ever. Before you add another gift to your online shopping cart, be sure you fully understand Amazon's return policy.

Let's start with the basics: Amazon's standard return policy allows customers to return most items that are sold and fulfilled by Amazon within 30 days of receipt for a full refund. The return policy is more generous for holiday purchases. Most items shipped by Amazon between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 can be returned through Jan. 31, 2018. Return policies for merchandise sold and shipped by third-policy sellers on can vary, so read the fine print.

Sometimes, though, there are Amazon purchases that simply can't be sent back. If you're thinking about buying any of these items from Amazon, you might want to check your list a third time before adding them to your online shopping cart. Amazon won't accept returns of the following items: downloadable or open software; online subscriptions that have been accessed; gift cards; prepaid phone cards; prepaid game cards (for World of Warcraft, Xbox, Wii, etc.); groceries (including Prime Pantry items, though refunds are possible in cases of spills or spoilage); hazardous materials including flammable liquids or gases; fresh flowers; live plants; live insects (Amazon sells everything from ladybugs to Madagascar hissing cockroaches); and wine.

See Also: Best Costco Kirkland Products for the Holidays

Amazon can be a stickler about returns of certain high-value items including jewelry, collectibles and electronics. Review the product detail page for specifics. If you're returning a gift that was purchased for you from Amazon, you'll need the 17-digit order number from the packing slip. The refund will usually be issued in the form of an gift card.

So what can you do if an item isn't returnable or you miss the return window? Re-gifting is one option. Another is giving the items to charity, which could allow you to get a tax break for your donation. Amazon also operates a trade-in program that lets you sell back eligible items including videogames, Kindles and books. Shipping is free, and you'll be paid with an gift card. Of course, if you prefer to receive cash for your items try selling them on or Sites such as and specialize in buying used electronics. Card-swap sites such as and buy unwanted gift cards.

As for the live insects you can't return to Amazon? Sorry, you're on your own.

See Also: 17 Surprising Perks of Amazon Prime


Copyright 2017 The Kiplinger Washington Editors

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