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How to Return Amazon Items Painlessly

Amazon boxes by front door, amazon key service

Purchasing items on Amazon is about as easy as it gets, but it’s not always as simple to return Amazon orders. So, here are the best ways: whether you made an impulse buy on Prime Day or Black Friday or need to return an Amazon order without a box.

Update, 12/20/22: Checked content for accuracy, product availability, and dead links.

There are several ways to return Amazon items, including gifts, damaged items, wrong clothing sizes, accidental purchases, or something you no longer want. You can easily make Amazon returns if you don’t have a printer, and in many cases, you probably don’t even need a box or tape. Amazon allows select retail stores to do all the work for you.

How to Return an Amazon Order

An Amazon box on a wooden floor.

Amazon offers hassle-free returns on most items, but as expected, there are exceptions. As long as most things are unused and you haven’t damaged them, you’ll be fine.

However, you usually cannot return personalized items, products with safety seals, or opened hygiene products. Nor can you return digital goods like ebooks, subscriptions, or apps. And finally, most items are eligible for return within 30 days of delivery. Note: Holiday returns have a longer grace period. 

To start, open Amazon and sign in to your account. Click on Returns and Orders, then scroll through your history and find what you want to return. From here, click on Return or replace items, select a reason, choose from return or replace, then you’ll choose a refund and delivery method, and you’re all set. Well, mostly.

Amazon return options
Amazon, Cory Gunther

Now, you’ll need to tape it back up, print a label, schedule a pickup, or take the package to a nearby location and ship it off. What a hassle. Did you know Amazon offers many other options that are painlessly easy?

Depending on your address, Amazon offers several free return options. Then, if those aren’t available or you don’t want to drive to a nearby store, UPS can pick it up, but that’ll cost you. You’ll still need to complete the entire return process on Amazon’s site, then choose your return method. Again, these options vary by location.

Free, No-Box Amazon Returns at Kohl’s

Amazon returns at Kohl's
Sundry Photography/Shutterstock.com

Surprisingly, many still don’t know that you can quickly and easily return Amazon orders and items at a nearby Kohl’s department store. And, you’ll get rewarded for doing it. According to Amazon, customers can head to one of over 1,150 Kohl’s locations throughout 48 states and return items completely free, without a box.

Kohl’s will take your Amazon purchase, box it up for you, apply the label, and handle everything. It’s that simple. Most Kohl’s locations will even give you a $5 gift card to use in its store. We’ve even heard reports that users received a one-time 25% off an entire purchase coupon just for making an Amazon return through Kohl’s. Remember that your mileage may vary on the coupon, and Kohl’s excludes many popular items in its stores.

Still, driving to a nearby department store is better than finding a box, tape, and a printer and driving to your closest shipping center.

Hassle-Free Amazon Returns at The UPS Store

UPS Store Amazon Returns
Ken Wolter/Shutterstock.com

Like Kohl’s, Amazon has a partnership with The UPS Store that allows for similar hassle-free returns. You can return an Amazon order for free at over 4,800 UPS Stores nationwide, and again, you don’t need a box.

The UPS Store does say that “most items” are eligible, but depending on the size, you may have to pay for the box. As you saw in our screenshot above, Amazon has several UPS-related options available. Make sure you choose whether you want a pick-up from your home or the free unboxed option at a nearby store.

Amazon will list all your UPS Store options on the site, depending on where you live.

Whole Foods Grocery Stores

Amazon Locker at Whole Foods

Amazon owns the popular Whole Foods grocery store chain for those unaware, and select stores can even handle Amazon order returns. It sounds like only specific Whole Foods locations accept returns, but those that do can take boxed or unboxed items, even without a label.

During the return process on Amazon’s site, it’ll display all of your Whole Foods options. According to Amazon, only select stores can handle unboxed items. However, most Whole Foods now come equipped with Amazon lockers out front, some have Locker+ options, and more are coming soon.

So, if your Whole Foods location doesn’t take unboxed items, the site should give you options to throw your order in a locker for an easy, hassle-free return.

Amazon Physical Stores and Lockers

Amazon Locker

And finally, you can also return items to select physical retail stores and lockers. There are only around 50 Amazon Books or Amazon 4-Star locations in the U.S., so this option only applies to a small few.

However, Amazon lockers are popping up everywhere. You’ll find them at hotels, gas stations, grocery stores like Smiths, Vons, Whole Foods, and more, plus several other locations in most cities.

According to Amazon, customers can easily return eligible books or items to these locations. During the return process on Amazon’s website, you’ll get a code or QR code, and that’s all you need. Returns are free at AmazonFresh Pickup and Amazon Hub Locker+ locations, but you’ll need to bring the items in a box or box them yourself. Then, enter the code at the Locker, a slot will open, and toss it inside.

Keep in mind that most of the locker spots are relatively small, so if you have a bigger item, Kohl’s or The UPS Store is a better option.

Sure, some of these methods are a bit convoluted, but it’s still far better than before. Being able to submit a return, drive to a nearby location quickly, and get a refund without a printer or a box is convenient.

So, if you went a little overboard on Prime Day, bought something you don’t need, or want to return something purchased through Amazon, these are the best options.

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »