What Happens to Returned Products at Amazon?

Amazon, like many other online retailers, accepts returns on many of its products. After all, having a return policy in place benefits both the company and its customers. What to do if you receive an item you do not want to keep can also be determined by reading over their return policy.

You have up to 30 days from the date you received your shipment to return an item you purchased on Amazon. There are other Amazon vendors who provide this service. But what happens to the items that do get sent back? What happens to the victims of returns on Amazon?

If you’ve ever been curious about that, then this article is for you. Let’s find out about Amazon’s returns.

What happens to returned products at Amazon?

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What Happens to Returns?

When a customer flags an item for return, there are a few options that Amazon has. They are:

Return to seller

If you select the option to send the item back to the retailer, it can go quite a distance. After leaving the Amazon distribution center, the trip could be made via vehicle, cargo ship, or airline.

For further processing, it is returned to the seller. Then, after being repackaged, it can be shipped to a new buyer with the option to return it to Amazon.

Trashing the item

Many online companies routinely dispose of unsold inventory. The item will be thrown away if it can’t be reused, repurposed, or sold. Of course, throwing away the merchandise is the simplest option, and some companies do this to safeguard their reputation.

Brands often get rid of products since they don’t want their less valuable products out there. After all, selling such things could damage their brand and drive away customers.


Sometimes, instead of turning the product into trash, Amazon gives sellers the option to go through a liquidation procedure. The store works with online auction houses to offer its surplus merchandise to resellers.

About 5 percent of the selling price can be recouped through the liquidation procedure. That’s not a lot, but it beats tossing it out. As part of this procedure, the returned items are packaged and sent to other purchasers.


Products that have been returned are inspected and placed into one of four groups. Some examples of these types are:

  1. Used – like new
  2. Used – very good
  3. Used – good
  4. Used – acceptable

The products are graded and then resold on specific Amazon sites. You can find refurbished products in the Amazon rejuvenated part, used products in the warehouse deals section, overstock items in the Amazon outlet sector, and so on. You can also sell pre-owned items in the aforementioned Amazon categories.

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What Are Some Non-Returnable Products?

While Amazon is very good about returning products, they don’t extend that to every product they sell. To make it easy for customers, we have compiled a list of items that Amazon does not return:

  • Laptops, desktops, and Kindles cannot be returned if 30 days pass after delivery
  • Products that contain flammable liquids or gasses or are otherwise deemed hazardous
  • Items without a serial number or Universal Product Code
  • Free and publicly available software packages
  • Paid memberships available online following user access
  • Prepaid cards for video games or gifts
  • Some requests for jewelry, medical supplies, and other items of personal use
  • Items for the kitchen and pantry
  • Products that are subject to unique shipping regulations
  • Possibly returnable, but not fresh, flowers, houseplants, or insects.
  • Shipped infant goods must be returned within 90 days.
  • Pieces of Artwork cannot be returned without their proper paperwork
  • Mattresses after the first one hundred days
  • Park admission tickets

Note: Products fulfilled by third-party merchants are not eligible for returns on Amazon.com. After all, it is the seller, not Amazon, who sets the terms for returns. In addition, customers are entitled to a replacement or a refund if a damaged or defective non-returnable item they purchased arrives.

What About Products That Are Too Damaged?

After these other avenues have been explored without success, Amazon will give the product to recycling and energy recovery. When feasible, they will always recycle items first. When recycling isn’t an option, such as when a product has been soiled or broken beyond repair, they will instead send it to energy recovery, where it is converted into usable energy. Environmentally and economically, energy recovery is their last option.

The procedure involves converting the garbage that can’t be recycled into something useful, like fuel or heat. Landfill gas recovery, anaerobic digestion, gasification, and combustion are all methods used for this transformation.

By educating shoppers, reselling or giving unwanted items, and limiting wasteful disposal, Amazon hopes to cut down on the number of items sent back. This is in accordance with their goal of reaching “net-zero carbon” by the year 2040, as stated in The Climate Pledge.

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A Few Words in Closing

Returning an item comes with the territory of online shopping. Customers can’t give something a try over the internet; instead, they have to order it, try it, and find out for themselves if it was worth their money. In the event it wasn’t, they will return it.

If you are starting your own online store, returns are something you must consider. It’s a significant investment, but PIRS is here to help! We offer capital to upcoming businesspeople, helping them set up shop. Our terms are fair and easy, and you should call us today if you want to know more!

Written by: Mitchell L.

I work with companies that sell products on platforms such as Amazon, Shopify, Walmart, Ebay, Etsy, etc. I understand that every business is unique and thats why I form genuine relationships with owners so I can help them reach their goals and find success through our working capital solutions.

What Does Amazon Do With Returns? FAQ's

Returned items are inspected and categorized by Amazon. Those in resellable condition may be restocked and sold as new or refurbished. Items with minor defects might be offered at a discount as “Warehouse Deals.” Unsuitable items are recycled or disposed of responsibly.

Yes, Amazon does sell returned items. Returned items that are in resellable condition may be restocked and sold as new or refurbished products. Additionally, items with minor defects or damaged packaging might be offered at a discount as “Warehouse Deals” to provide customers with the opportunity to purchase products at reduced prices.

Amazon returns typically go through a categorization process. Resellable items can be restocked and sold as new or refurbished products. Items with minor defects might be offered at a discount as “Warehouse Deals.” Unsuitable items are either recycled for parts or responsibly disposed of, aligning with Amazon’s sustainability efforts.

Yes, Amazon does inspect return packages. When customers return items, Amazon’s fulfillment centers assess the condition of the products to determine whether they can be resold as new, refurbished, or offered as discounted “Warehouse Deals.” This inspection process ensures the accuracy of product descriptions and maintains customer satisfaction.

Yes, Amazon may flag accounts for excessive returns. If a customer consistently returns a high number of items, it could lead to their account being flagged or potentially restricted from making further returns. This policy aims to maintain a fair and sustainable returns process for both customers and the company.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Owner or majority owner must be a US citizen
  • Must have US bank accounts
  • Have to be selling for at least 1 year
  • Minimum sales per month has to be $15000 USD