What Does Amazon Do With Returns? (All You Need to Know)

What Does Amazon Do With Returns

Amazon is a popular e-commerce platform that offers customers a hassle-free return policy. But have you ever wondered what happens to the returned products? In this blog post, we’ll delve into the details of Amazon’s return policy and explore what they do with returned items. From restocking to liquidation, we’ll cover all you need to know about Amazon’s return process.

What Is Amazon’s Return Process?

Amazon has a customer-friendly return policy that allows you to return items for various reasons such as receiving a defective item, receiving the wrong item, or simply changing your mind about the purchase.

When you want to return a product, you do so through your Amazon account or by contacting customer service. Once you initiate the return process, Amazon will provide instructions on where to send the item. As a rule, returns are shipped back to the original warehouse that shipped the item or a fulfillment center.

Once Amazon receives the returned item, they will inspect it and determine if it’s eligible for a refund or exchange. If the return is approved, Amazon will issue you a refund or exchange your item for another one.

What Does Amazon Do With Returns?

When products are returned to Amazon, they’re first categorized. Depending on the category, Amazon will decide what to do with the returned item. Generally, there are three categories of returned items:

  • Restockable: These items can be resold and placed back in stock. Amazon will inspect these items, and if they meet the criteria, they will be added back to their inventory. Amazon may also offer these items at a discounted price.
  • Liquidation: These are items that are no longer in like-new or gently used condition, but may still have some value. They’re usually sold in bulk to third-party liquidation companies.
  • Non-Restockable: These are items that are damaged, defective, or no longer functional, and cannot be resold. Non-restockable items are either disposed of or recycled, depending on their condition and materials.

Amazon determines whether a returned item is restockable, liquidation, or non-restockable based on its condition, age, and value. For example, an item that has been used for several months and has visible signs of wear and tear may be considered liquidation, while an item that is brand new but missing its original packaging may be considered restockable.

Why Does Liquidate Returned Products?

Liquidating returned products is a great way for Amazon to make money from items that would otherwise go to waste. Instead of throwing away returned items, they can sell these items to third-party liquidation companies at a discounted price. This allows Amazon to recoup some of its losses from the product’s return and helps the liquidation companies make a profit by reselling the items to their customers.

Another reason why Amazon liquidates returned products is to avoid wasting space and money on unsellable inventory.  If a returned item is no longer in like-new or gently used condition, keeping it in storage would be a huge expense for Amazon. Liquidating the item is a much more cost-effective solution.

Lastly, liquidating items also helps to reduce waste and promote sustainability. Using this approach means less waste going to landfills and more items being reused or recycled.

What Kind Of Returned Items Are Available on Amazon?

When browsing through Amazon Warehouse, you’ll find a variety of products that have been returned. These products are divided into five product conditions:

  • Renewed: This refers to items that are in their original packaging and have not been used or opened. All original parts and accessories should be present and in new condition.
  • Used – Like New: This refers to items that have been opened or used but are in nearly perfect condition with no visible signs of wear or damage. The original packaging may not be present or may show signs of wear, but all original parts and accessories should be present and in like-new condition.
  • Used – Very Good: This refers to items that have been used but are still in good condition. There may be some minor signs of wear or damage, such as scratches or scuffs, but the item is still fully functional. If there are any missing accessories, they will be listed in the product descriptions.
  • Used – Good: This category includes items that have been returned with more significant signs of wear and tear, but are still in functional condition. Some parts, such as accessories, manuals, or tools, might be missing.
  • Used – Acceptable: This category includes items that have been returned with significant signs of wear and tear, and may have some functional issues. There may be significant signs of wear, damage, or missing parts. The original packaging may not be present or may be heavily damaged. 

Amazon uses a variety of methods to sort returned items into these categories, including visual inspection by trained technicians, automated testing, and customer feedback. Once sorted, the items are then either resold or disposed of, depending on their category and condition.

Is Buying Returned Items on Amazon a Good Idea?

Buying returned items on Amazon can be a good idea depending on your needs and preferences. 

One advantage of buying returned items is that they are often available at a discounted price compared to brand new items. This can be a great way to save money if you are looking for a specific product but don’t want to pay full price or wait for a sale. Additionally, buying returned items is an environmentally friendly way to shop since it reduces the amount of waste that would otherwise end up in landfills.

However, returned items may not always be in perfect condition. They may have minor cosmetic defects or missing accessories that can affect their overall value. Plus, some items may have functional issues that can make them difficult to use. So, if you are looking for a product that is in perfect condition, it might be best to purchase a brand new item instead.

Overall, buying returned items on Amazon can be a good idea if you are willing to accept some minor imperfections and are looking for a good deal. However, it’s important to carefully read the product description and inspect the item upon arrival to ensure it meets your expectations.


There are three main ways that Amazon deals with returns: resale, liquidation, and disposal. Depending  on the category and condition of an item, Amazon will decide which method to use. Resale is often the most sustainable option, as it allows both Amazon and customers to save money while reducing waste. Liquidation is another option, which involves selling returned items in bulk quantities at a reduced price. Disposal, meanwhile, is usuallt the last resots and it used for items that are too damaged or defective to sell. 


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