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Avoid the post office with these Amazon return options

If you spend a lot of time purchasing things off Amazon, you know that, inevitably, you’ll have to make a return. It happens. Ordering items online shouldn’t be a hassle to return, and Amazon has made it easy for its customers to do so without ever walking into a post office.

Time is money, as they say, and no one wants to spend time waiting in a long line at the post office. If you live near a Kohl’s, Whole Foods Market, or UPS Store, it’s a breeze to return unwanted items. You don’t need the original box, you don’t have to repackage it, and you don’t need to print out any special labels.

amazon facility
Frederic Legrand COMEO/Shutterstock

First things first

When you have an item to return, the first thing to do is go to Amazon’s Online Return Center. Click the Return Items button, and select the item you want to send back. Amazon will ask you how you’d like to mail your return. There, you should see a number of options, including The UPS Store, Amazon, Whole Foods Market, UPS Drop-Off Points, Amazon Locker, and UPS pickup.

Now, not every item is eligible for a return from one of these locations, so this must be your first step before visiting any of the above locations. When filling out your return form, Amazon will give you the option to drop it off if your purchase qualifies. If not, you won’t see it listed on the form.

A few things to know

Before you decide, there are a few things to know that can impact the time and money you spend on a return:

  • Kohl’s: No box is required, no label is required, no extra shipping cost.
  • Whole Foods Market: No box is required, no label is required, no extra shipping cost.
  • Amazon: No box is required, no label is required, no extra shipping cost.
  • The UPS Store: No box required, no label required, shipping costs may apply.
  • UPS Pickup: Box required, no label required; extra shipping costs apply, making this the most expensive option.
  • UPS Drop-Off Points: Box and label required, extra shipping costs may apply.
  • Amazon Locker: Box and label required, extra shipping costs may apply.

This may impact how and when you choose to return your item.

amazon iPhone app

How do you return items?

After selecting your location, if you wish to return your item to Kohl’s, Whole Foods, UPS, or an Amazon store, select the store as your location. If you don’t see your preferred store as an option, your item or delivery ZIP code may not be eligible for return. If eligible, Amazon will email you a QR code, so bring the items you’re returning and show the QR code on your smartphone (or printout) to a Kohl’s associate. That’s it. They will pack, label, and ship your return for free.

The odds are in your favor that you live near one of these stores, so returning your item within their 30-day window should be a breeze. Just make sure you have a mask, walk in, and they will do the legwork for you. Make sure you ask for a receipt just in case.

According to Amazon, “once the item is received at our fulfillment center, it takes two business days for the refund to be processed and three to five business days for the refund amount to show up in your account.” There are some items that come from the grocery (including Amazon Fresh items), wine, Amazon photos, and a few other places that are not returnable to Amazon but may be refunded or replaced.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon will ban shoppers from using their site for returning too many items (sometimes without you even being notified). It doesn’t happen often but it does happen. Keep that in mind as you go about your purchases and returns. If you have questions or concerns, contact Amazon customer service for more information.

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