Home » Shopping » What Does Amazon Do With Returns?

What Does Amazon Do With Returns?

What Does Amazon Do With Returns

Have you ever purchased something from Amazon that you aren’t happy with

This is a common issue with shopping online, especially if you are buying clothes or shoes. Fortunately, the company boasts a generous returns policy to make it easy to resolve this issue. All you have to do is send back the unwanted item to receive a refund or exchange. Once the product is received at a warehouse, your refund or exchange will be processed. 

But, have you ever wondered, ‘what does Amazon do with returns?’ Well, let’s find out…

What Happens To Returns?

Amazon is one of the biggest online retailers in the world. The company ships millions of products to customers around the globe each week. Customers can purchase the products of their choice while at home or on the move. Thousands of these are also returned to the company every week.

The company has several methods of dealing with products that have been returned. In some cases, these are sent back to warehouses and are available for purchase once again. However, the majority of these items are sold in bulk to companies such as Direct Liquidation

How the Returns Process Works?

Amazon features a global store return policy as well as a dedicated returns center. Under the terms of the policy, customers can send back unwanted products within thirty days of shipment receipt. It is important to follow the set protocol. It can take up to 25 days for the item to reach the fulfillment center and be processed.

Then an extra few business days to issue a refund.

Fulfillment by Amazon Grade and Resell

Products that are returned to a fulfillment center are inspected and sorted into four categories. These categories are:

  • Used-like new
  • Used-very good
  • Used-good
  • Used acceptable

Once they have been graded, they are resold on different sections of the company’s website. These include Woot, warehouse deals for used goods, Amazon renewed for refurbished items, and Amazon outlets for overstock items. Third-party sellers also have the option of selling used products on these sites. 

Where Unwanted Products Go?

All unwanted items are processed at one of the company’s fulfillment centers. Depending on the type and condition, it can go to one of several places. Let’s take a closer look at where your unwanted orders may end up. 

Where Unwanted Products Go

Amazon Warehouse 

Many products are sent back in perfect or only slightly used condition. This is often because the customer ordered the wrong model or clothing size. Those that are in good condition are usually added to the Amazon Warehouse section of the company’s website.

This is a section of the company’s website where customers can purchase discounted goods. These products are grouped by category to make them easy to find. The original price is displayed alongside the discounted price to show the savings. 

You can return the return!

Smart shoppers can often save at least 25% on the original retail price by purchasing through Amazon Warehouse. It is possible to choose the condition of the product as well as several other factors. You can also return these items if you find that they don’t meet your expectations. 

Liquidation companies

Most unwanted Amazon products are placed on pallets and sold in bulk to certain liquidation companies. Liquidators can purchase one or more of these pallets for a relatively low price. These companies then resell the products on their websites.

Many of these companies purchase pallets from a range of different retailers. This includes Home Depot, Lowe’s, and TargetReselling unwanted products to liquidation companies helps Amazon mitigate losses to a certain extent. However, having to do this still eats into the company’s profit margin. 

The liquidation process

Around 5% of the sale price is recovered when products are sold to liquidation companies. Once they are placed on pallets, they are auctioned through liquidation marketplaces. The pallet can contain a collection of similar items, or products that are selected at random. 

Liquidation companies can purchase these pallets at a low cost. However, there is a certain amount of risk involved. It is impossible to inspect the exact condition and type of products until the pallet is purchased and opened.

Donating to charities…

Purchasing products in this way can also result in a certain amount of waste. There are likely to be certain items that the liquidation company is unable to resell. Those will ultimately end up in a landfill or be donated to various charities. 


In some cases, products may be donated to local charities. Medicines and other items that cannot be resold may be donated and directed to homeless shelters and youth organizations. Other items will be used or resold for a profit by the charities. 

The FDA donations program was established in 2019. This initiative allows sellers to offer eligible returns and overstock items to charitable organizations. A non-profit network has been established to help make this process quick and easy.


Energy recovery

Products that cannot be recycled or reused may be sent for energy recovery. These are usually severely damaged or are considered to be unhygienic. The only real option is to convert these unwanted items into usable energy sources such as heat and fuel. 

Items that are marked for energy recovery have to be stored and collected separately. Depending on the type of product, one of several different conversion methods can be used. These include landfill gas recovery, combustion, anaerobic digestion, gasification, and pluralization. 


Third-party sellers may choose to receive their unwanted products so that they can resell them. Although the seller will make a loss on these items, the cost is mitigated to a certain extent. However, these often travel long distances, which can take their toll on the environment.

After leaving the warehouse, these products may be sent back to the seller by airplane, cargo ship, or truck. They often have to be sorted and repackaged before being sent. The seller will also have to inspect these items and may need to repackage them once again.


If returned products cannot be resold, they have to be disposed of another way. Amazon works hard to find environmentally-friendly ways of handling them. However, if they cannot be resold, donated, or converted into energy, it usually ends up in the trash.

Certain brands insist that their products are trashed instead of being resold. This is because they want the exclusivity of their products to be preserved. Reselling them at a lower price damages the value and can lead to a loss of customer loyalty. 

Encouraging eco-friendliness!

Amazon runs a series of programs to help dispose of certain products in more ethical ways. This includes encouraging customers to send unwanted electronic devices to certified recyclers. Customers can also trade in these items for gift cards. 

Products That Cannot Be Returned

The Company’s returns policy covers a wide range of different products. While this policy is generous, certain items cannot be sent back. This means that you will have to find another way to get rid of these items if you don’t want them.

The types of ineligible products include:

  • Gift cards
  • Software downloads
  • Open software
  • Prepaid game cards
  • Live insects
  • Products missing the UPC or serial number 
  • Products with shipping restrictions
  • Grocery products
  • Products that expire quickly
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Hazardous materials
  • Online subscriptions
  • Certain types of jewelry
  • Some personal care and health products
  • Items fulfilled by third-party sellers

The Cost Of Sending Back Unwanted Products

Before you send back an unwanted item, it is important to find out if you will be charged. If the product was sold and dispatched by Amazon, you will need to pay the shipping cost when sending it back. However, this cost will be refunded after the item is inspected and accepted.

However, certain products are not eligible for free returns. These include made-on-demand products and perishable items. If you want to send back one of these, the shipping cost will be deducted from your refund. 

The Cost Of Sending Back Unwanted Products

You cover your shipping!

The amount that is deducted will depend on the size of the item and the number of items you return. Understandably, the shipping costs are sure to be higher for large packages than for small packages. If the shipping costs are high, it may be best to hold onto the unwanted item and resell it yourself. 

More Essential Info About Amazon!

If you’re looking for a side hustle, then learn more about How To Buy Amazon Returns, or perhaps Does Kohls Take Amazon Returns, or for the best deals, check out Does Amazon Do Price Adjustments, and Can You Hide Orders On Amazon, for your more discreet purchases.

If you’re wondering about your payment options, take a look at Can You Split Payments On Amazon, as well as Does Amazon Take Apple PayDoes Amazon Accept PayPal, and Does Amazon Accept Afterpay if you’re on a budget, and the Amazon Order Cancellation Policy is good to know about for future reference.

Did you recently have a birthday and receive a voucher? Then you’ll probably be wondering Where Can I Use My Amazon Gift Card, as well as Where Is The Claim Code On An Amazon Gift Card, but if you’re looking for the perfect gift, check out Does Walmart Sell Amazon Gifts Cards in 2023?

Final Thoughts

Online purchases are returned more frequently than products bought from physical stores. Unless they are returned in perfect condition, they are unlikely to be resold on the Amazon website. Instead, they are sold at a discounted rate on Amazon Warehouse or to liquidation companies.

If the product is in very bad condition, it is likely to be liquidated. Purchasing products that you don’t really need and then returning them ultimately results in waste. It is best to consider whether or not you really need an item and will use it before making a purchase.

Enjoy your online shopping on Amazon!

5/5 - (47 votes)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top