Amazon reduces return times from 30 to 14 days on electronics products: when and why

Amazon he decided to review your returns policy and reduces the return period for many consumer electronics items, such as computers, video games and cameras. From March 25, 2024 articles in some categories may be returned within 14 days of purchase and no longer after 30 days. This was made known by the e-commerce giant itself Jeff Bezos based in Seattle, in an official statement sent to German users, but the news also concerns us in Italy. Among the possible reasons that led to this decision could be the high costs of managing returns and the environmental impact of the latter.

What changes with Amazon’s new return policies

The e-commerce giant, in the official note it released, specified that it had planned things in such a way as to allow users to get used to the changes implemented. In fact, the communication states that in the period between March 25th and April 25th it will still be possible to continue requesting a 30-day return. These requests will be evaluated by Amazon and possibly approved and refunded based on its return and refund policy. However, since April 26, 2024 customers will no longer be able to request a return 30 days from the delivery date and the 14 day return will become mandatory for all products affected by this policy. For transparency, however, the return period for each product will be explicitly indicated on the purchase page, under the product price.

Which products do the new return rules apply to?

Between categories affected by the news there are several that are particularly close to the hearts of technology enthusiasts, including cameras, electronics, stationery and office products, computer, wireless devices, video games, music And videos/DVDs. This new policy applies to products marketed by third-party sellersregardless of the distribution channel, while for products a Amazon brand (including refurbished ones Amazon Renewed) the return period remains 30 days.


Because Amazon cut the return period for electronics in half

Amazon has not provided an official explanation on the because it decided to change the return policy. We can, however, try to make some hypotheses on the matter.

A first motivation could be that of counteract so-called “tactical” returns, perpetrated by all those who want to try devices of various kinds at no cost. The mechanism with which they act is simple: they purchase a device, try it and then return it shortly before the return period expires, simultaneously requesting a refund. Shortening return times would certainly give less margin to those who wanted to use a product without actually paying for it.

Another reason could concern thenegative impact this has on company profits. According to an article that appeared on Fortunesin fact, only in 2022 returns cost retailers an estimated $816 billion in lost profits due to lost sales and shipping costs associated with returns.

Even from an ecological point of view, returns have a considerable cost. According to some estimates, in 2022 the processes necessary to manage returns produced approximately 24 million tons of CO emissions2. Not to mention the fact that many of the returns ultimately end their lives in landfills, further increasing the environmental cost of this phenomenon which, according to the technological platform Optoroin 2022 led to landfills approximately 9.5 billion kg of waste.

Shortening the return window from 30 to 14 days could therefore represent an attempt by Amazon to address all the problems we have just listed. If this move does not reduce the phenomenon of “wild returns”, the possibility of other actions aimed at containing the problem cannot be ruled out, including a stop to free returns (which at the moment seems to be an unlikely hypothesis anyway).