Amazon Extended Holiday Return Policy 2021: How Sellers Should Prepare

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The 2021 Amazon Extended Holiday Returns Policy allows customers to decide whether or not to return a product.

This means that from October 1st, 2021 until January 31st 2022, Amazon sellers have to accept returns for any products they sell.

This is applicable to products bought until the 31st of December, 2021

In anticipation of early Christmas shopping, this policy extends the standard 30 days return deadline temporarily. It can vary depending on the product category. FBA and FBM orders need to abide by this new policy. You can check the return deadlines for each category via the Returns Help page.

Make sure to update the Returns, warranties and refunds section of your Detailed Seller Information page to let customers know of the extended Christmas return policy.

Prime Day 2021

Amazon’s annual Prime Day allows Prime members to shop tech, fashion, outdoor gear, beauty and grooming, and household essentials. 

This year, the event ran through June 21 to 22. Therefore, any items that were purchased during this period, are not eligible for this extended holiday return policy.

Amazon Prime’s Return Policy

While the standard return window is 30 days, most items bought between October 1st and December 31st can be returned up until January 31, 2022.

Visit this page to learn more.

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Amazon Prime Free Returns

Most items delivered within the US qualify for free returns.

To check if an item qualifies, check if there is “Free returns” listed next to the price of the product.

Some exceptions include items weighing 50 pounds or more, fashion products bought from The Drop, and items purchased through third-party sellers. 

Returning Items on Amazon

Go to the “Your Orders” page under your account.

Choose “Return or Replace items,” select your method of return, print the label, and package the item for shipping.

There is also an option for  the Label-Free, Box Free option where you bring your unwrapped item to a dropoff point with a provided QR code. 

Items Not Eligible for Return

With the exception of damaged or defective items, some items cannot be returned.

Some of these items are groceries, customized or personalized products, gift cards, downloadable software, and subscription services after they’ve been accessed.

To check if an item is non-returnable, you can visit the “Your Orders” page. 

When can I receive my refund?

It can take around 2-3 weeks total to receive your refund. This includes the time it takes to ship, receive, and process the return.

Most of the time, purchases are fully refunded within 7 days of receipt.

Read about estimated return times here.

Concerns On the Extended Holiday Return Policy 

With the return window extended to four months for the holiday season instead of the standard 30 days, some sellers are not happy.

This has become a topic of controversy with some users even creating memes to voice their discontent with the new policy.

However, the Amazon 2021 Extended Christmas Returns Policy won’t necessarily mean that there will be an increase in returns and there is no real expectation that sellers will be flooded with more returns that usual when January arrives.

Extending returns has actually made customers more confident to buy products rather than be more inclined to return them.

This might even be an encouragement for customers to buy more instead of return because of how generous Amazon’s return policies are. What this Christmas policy does is acknowledge and encourage customers to do early Christmas shopping.

Encouraging this early shopping can even help alleviate some of the workload and other pressures associated with Q4 logistics of couriers. Because of the global pandemic and the subsequent rise in online shopping activity, the operating capacity of these couriers has been at maximum for the past six months.

Utilize the Amazon Seller Return Policy

In the case of unfair, extreme losses, sellers can charge restocking fees for damaged returns either by the customer or in shipping.

To review all information on charging a restocking fee, visit here.

It is also worth noting that customers have 90 days to give feedback on an item they have purchased.

This means reviews left on a returned product beyond the 90 day window won’t show up on a merchant’s Amazon seller detail page.

Final Thoughts

Because Amazons returns and refund policies are subject to change during the holidays, the Amazon Extended Holiday Return Policy 2021 is not all that surprising.

There are, however, a few ways sellers can prepare and protect themselves against returns that may be unjust or unfair:

  • Sellers should educate themselves on the Amazon Seller Return Policy so that they know their rights and the risks involved.
  • Assuming they meet the criteria, sellers can charge a restocking fee in order to keep customers accountable.
  • If you’re currently FBM, be sure you handle return requests like a champ, optimize your listings to ensure customers know exactly what they’re getting

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