If you end up shopping a little too much during Amazon’s two-day Prime Day sale – or frankly any day – there are many ways to return purchases that aren't quite what you expected.
The too-big shoes, the too-small bathing suit and the new curtains that clash with the couch, for instance. Plus, all the impulse buys you change your mind about.
Prime Day kicked off at 3 a.m. EDT Monday, and the 48-hour sale ended 2:59 a.m. EDT Wednesday. Amazon started its annual summer sale in 2015 as a way to reward members of its Prime subscription program. The event was held every year in July until 2020 when it was delayed to October because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If your Prime Day purchases don't live up to expectations, don't worry, the return process is simple. Amazon says all return-eligible items weighing under 50 pounds have at least one free return option, but some exclusions apply. Returns generally need to be completed 30 days after purchase.
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I skip time spent boxing up the unwanted item and head to Kohl’s with most of my Amazon returns. It's my favorite return option because it saves time and money, plus helps me avoid the dreaded task of firing up the printer and breaking out the shipping tape.
You can also save time hunting for the right-size box, by bringing boxless returns to the UPS Store, Whole Foods Market locations, or other Amazon-owned stores. But there's an extra incentive to completing a return at Kohl's – coupons.
With most of my Amazon returns, Kohl's has handed me a 25%-off coupon to use within seven days in stores. But on two visits last week, I got $5 in coveted Kohl's Cash with each return.
My mistake of forgetting one of my Amazon returns turned into a sweet score since Kohl's Cash can be used on toys, electronics and other items normally excluded from coupons.
Kohl's Cash is a coupon currency that the department store chain doles out on select purchases, usually with its Kohl's Rewards loyalty program. It usually can be redeemed in stores and on Kohl's app and website, but the Amazon return offers are in-store only.
Pro return tip: Kohl's rolled out Amazon returns to stores nationwide in July 2019 to drive customer traffic. The retailer would not comment on how it determines what perks Amazon shoppers get, but on Reddit, shoppers and employees have talked about how the coupons can vary and that some stores even give $10 Kohl's Cash for Amazon returns.
The Amazon returns area at my local store generally has fast-moving lines. If the line is long and you have lots of returns, consider doing some and then rejoining the line to be kind to fellow Amazon returners.
Also be aware that if you have one return or a dozen, you'll typically get just one Kohl's coupon.
Some stores accept Amazon returns at customer service, and others have separate designated areas for returns.
In both scenarios, there are signs directing Amazon customers where to go, but most are in the back of the store.
Pro return tip: Be prepared and logged into your Amazon account. I take screenshots of the QR codes I get from Amazon and pull them up on my phone or flag the emails in my inbox to make them easier to find in a pinch.
The partnership helped Kohl's get 2 million new customers last year, Kohl's CEO Michelle Gass said at a June 15 retail summit.
UPS Store, Whole Foods also accept Amazon returns
Kohl's more than 1,100 stores are not the only place to bring your Amazon returns, and depending on the day, Kohl's won't always be a return option.
Box-free returns are also accepted at 4,800 UPS Store locations, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star, Fresh Grocery and Whole Foods Market stores. Amazon offers free returns at more than 18,000 locations around the U.S.
"We want customers to be happy with their purchases. In fact, we offer free technical support and ‘how-to’ advice on millions of items to help customers should they want to first try and keep their item," Amazon said in a statement to USA TODAY. "However when returning is the best option, we make that as hassle free as possible."
Here's how each option works:
Amazon physical retail locations: Bring return items and show the QR code received after starting a return online to Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star, Amazon Fresh grocery stores and Amazon Go stores.
Amazon Hub Locker and Hub Locker+ locations: To return to a Locker, customers bring their items in a box or shipping envelope with a printed label attached and use the barcode or six-digit code sent after starting a return to place the item in the assigned locker. At Locker+ locations, customers can pre-pack their return, using free materials on site or can return without a box or label.
Whole Foods Market: Amazon started accepting box-free and label-free returns in 2020 at locations nationwide. Bring the item and QR code generated after creating a return to the customer service desk. An employee will scan the code and take the item. Stores also have Amazon Hub Lockers, though some require a box.
UPS: Customers can either drop off items using a prepaid mailing label at close to 20,000 UPS Access Point locations nationwide or can bring them without a box or label to nearly 5,000 UPS Store locations for free by using the QR code generated when starting a return. Amazon said customers can also arrange a “no-cost pickup from their home or office via a UPS driver.” However, depending on the reason you are returning an item, you could be charged for the pickup costs.
Pro return tip: You can find return options in Amazon’s Online Return Center at Amazon.com/returns. The locations vary by day. And don't forget you have only 30 days to make returns for most Amazon purchases. One exception is holiday shopping season where Amazon offers an extended return period.
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How to do box-free Amazon returns at Kohl’s, Whole Foods, UPS
Here’s the five-step process for stores that accept box-free returns:
Begin your return with Amazon’s Online Return Center at Amazon.com/returns and select the purchase that needs to be returned. Or on the app, go to "Your Orders" to select the order with the unwanted item.
Select a drop-off option from locations near you, which can vary depending on the day. (There’s also the option to change location from what is automatically selected.)
Amazon will email you a QR code, or you can take a screenshot on your phone.
Bring the items you’re returning to a participating store and show the QR code on your smartphone. Stores with box-free returns will pack, label and ship your return for free.
After you bring the return in, you can track your refund status in "Your Orders" on Amazon.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Amazon returns: Kohl's, UPS Store, Whole Foods accept Prime Day orders