Big stores considering whether you should just keep the stuff you want to return, for free

here’s how it works for me @joey_bladb

  1. log into the amazon site, navigate to the return page, screencap the QR code
  2. drive the bare item over to UPS Store
  3. have them scan my QR code screencap and hand them the item
  4. profit

I save the shipping box until I’m sure the thing works.

If Amazon is too hard for you you can always get everything you need right down the street.

In my case most of the stuff I get from Amazon can’t be had right down the street but even if they could most of my stores are are least 2 gallons of gas away.

I can get screws for a project the same day or at least overnight. Driving to the store is so 2 years ago.

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Maybe they meant items that are “shipped” by third party sellers, as opposed to items “sold” by third party sellers?

For example, here is a Lenovo power adapter (I need a new one) that is sold by a whole slew of different sellers on Amazon (none of them is

The third party sellers Derrick Inc, Park Computer, Zion Options, Best Price Power Adapter, Notebook Parts Outlet, and RePower Electronics all use Amazon’s fulfillment service, so it shows that it’s “shipped by” Amazon and will say “free returns” on the product page.

If, however, you order that item from LPI, Austin Power, AuMarco, or VT Netware, they will ship it directly to you (it won’t ship from an Amazon warehouse), and returns are subject to the individual seller’s policy (and responsiveness).


I only buy items that look like this. I’ll buy from anyone as long as it says ships from Amazon and eligible for returns.

It’s not hidden either.


Those conveniences are appreciated. Amazon once sent me a Yankees mug rather than the Mets mug that I ordered. They told me to keep the Yankees mug free of charge. Okay. No problem. Another time, a tool adapter arrived too late for the urgent task that required its use. Same ending: Keep it. That was ~8 months ago. All good… right? Read on.

Amazon has a “try on” policy. I despise flimsy running/gym slacks. So, I ordered four slacks; four different makers to see who I’d stick with for any future needs. Three of the four truly sucked and I could tell right off that they wouldn’t last. I chose Whole Foods for my return drop-off. Only two of the three made it back to Amazon. How nice. Before that, I had returned a nice pair of cargo shorts (too small) for a replacement. Dropoff site was UPS. The shorts never made it back to Amazon. I don’t know if these items were filched at the drop-offs, at the Amazon warehouse, or if I got stiffed by a third-party seller. From then on, I’ve taken photos of all return items while they’re sitting there at the drop-off. (Not a definitive solution, but I figure it gets any thieving drop-off clerks second thoughts.) And I also always ask for receipts.


I feel that Walmart’s website is even worse about this…

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Occasionally I’ve had them threaten to cancel the refund, because they ostensibly never got the return. This is after handing it to someone at Whole Foods (which then triggers an email saying they got my return) or dropping it in the drop slot at the Amazon… store? Center? Staffed locker? Whatever-it-is (which also triggers an email).

It always gets sorted out but clearly there are gaps in their tracking.


On Walmart’s site or app I just use the filter option and choose only Walmart as the retailer. The eliminates all the third party sellers.


Yeah, I’ve figured that out – I might’ve clarified that someone else in the house will exclaim, “I found it! Walmart has it”
Then I’ll ask, “are you sure it’s Walmart?”
“Yes it’s on their website”
“But it might not be Walmart”
“It says walmart dot com”
Etc. etc.

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As with @tcg550, returning via Amazon could not be easier. (Sometimes, you need to specify the “correct” reason for returning the item, however.) And more than a few times, they tell me to keep the item I’m attempting to return (a $30 item and a $90 item).

I was recently provided a shipping label, allegedly from the 3rd party seller, with a fake address. That one I managed to get refunded.

Another 3rd party item was a total fraud, couldn’t get a return label and the seller refuses to allow me to make a claim - all because my lazy USPS carrier failed to scan the damned thing when it showed up. Three months later, this ripoff item is still listed as “delivery pending” in my orders queue.

Obviously, as other people’s experiences have been stated in this thread, YMMV.


Presumably the staff at UPS chuck the current stack of returns into a single box and slap a label on it for Nearest Amazon Warehouse. Just dropped off a wrongly-bought SD card this weekend, instead of adding to the waste stream with more packaging.

I’d be surprised if UPS didn’t have some standard box for this, in fact, and some bulk-rate contract with AMZN.

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All these companies have customer scoring systems. We all know that you can see your Uber rating as a number from 1 to 5, but Amazon must have metrics that are a lot more detailed than that. I’m sure someone there is modeling giving different return options to different customer sets depending on the item and a lot of metrics on the individual.

That has happened to me a couple of times with Amazon already. I bought a gas can, and it came dented, and they told me to keep it. I had never put gas in it, but obviously they didn’t want to take the chance of shipping a can that might have gas residues in it.


I drove 1 1/4 hours this afternoon to run an errand, and then drove in a different direction to a different destination another 1 1/4 hours afterward. I couldn’t even tell you how many county lines I crossed, mostly on main roads.

And yet, in all that driving, I did not pass a single grocery or drug store.

Not every place in the country has easy access to stuff.


In the uk, we just take it to the post office, most places still sort of have a post office, in that, corner shops have over taken post offices, and have a counter where you can just drop of mail, or pay money into any bank account, from a big bank, buy stamps like its the 1900’s or drop of parcels. Or pick them up, if they are signed for and you where out.

But you can also drop stuff off at petrol stations, corner shops that dont have post offices and super markets, depending who you have order from. With a 1/4 mile of my house there is 10 diffrent drop off places, to return stuff and two sets of amazon lockers, and i live on the edge of small uk town, where its farms on the other side of the railway track at the bottom of my road.


This happened to me with amazon once. I ordered like 75 bucks worth of cat food and sent it to the wrong address (was trying to go to my parents in iowa and I accidentally sent it to myself in California). It was my own fault that I clicked the wrong address at check out. When I tried to return it they gave me a refund and said to just keep it. I gave it to a neighbor who has a cat. They were happy about it. Ha.


That was the point I was making and one of the reasons I love Amazon and with gas prices even if I pay a couple bucks extra for same day delivery it’s still cheaper than driving for most things.

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Yeah this happened to me last year with a carbon steel frying pan. I just wish I’d ended up liking the pan instead of hating it.


I don’t really know how else you expect to sell clothes if you don’t have that option. When Lands End was physically in the Sears store my wife would order pretty regularly from them. Then she’d do her returns in the physical store. Now you have to pay return shipping, and now she rarely orders from them.

Newegg has entered the chat…

Honestly if my options are physical store, Amazon, or a rando on a seller site (like Etsy) - that’s literally the order I’ll take them in for the ease of returns. Physical stores are usually pretty up front about policies, Amazon isn’t bad but I still have to put in a bit of work to get it back to them, and 3rd party sellers are always a mixed bag.

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What?? Free of charge? Uh uh. Nope. As a Mets fan (actually a Red Sox fan), I would smash that Yankees mug into a million different pieces and then demand to send it back. You’d have to pay me a lot to keep a Yankees mug in my house!

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