I Just Discovered a Better, Faster Way to Return Purchases to Amazon

published Dec 19, 2019
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Credit: Sarah Crowley/Apartment Therapy

Shopping on Amazon is convenient—maybe too convenient at times. But returning things I bought online? That’s never been easy for me.

Even if it doesn’t actually take that long to do, the mental load of having to process my return online, print a shipping label, package up my item and then take it to the post office means that every return becomes a clutter-y “to-do” that sits around my house for longer than I care to admit.

The last time I mustered up the energy to do my Amazon returns, however, I had a very pleasant surprise. When I went into my account online and clicked through the returns prompts, I was told I didn’t need to package up my items, but rather only needed to take the products—without a box or packaging—to a UPS store and have the cashier scan the QR code that would be sent to my phone. Whaaaat?

Credit: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

I’d amassed a small pile of items due to my procrastination so you can imagine my relief at only having to toss them in a shopping bag. No printing labels. No finding boxes. No taping them up! Amazing.

It’s all part of the new label-free and package-free returns program the online retailer launched in July of this year. Not every purchase you make on Amazon is eligible for drop-off returns, but if yours is, you’ll see the no-box drop off listed in your return options.

Here’s what to do: Head to Amazon’s Online Return Center, click “Start a return in your orders,” then scroll to find the item you’d like to return, and click “Return or replace items.”

Credit: Kohl's/Amazon

After you progress through the returns options, Amazon will ask you how you want to mail your return back. If your purchase is eligible for a no-box drop off, you’ll be able to select a drop-off location—it’s not just UPS stores, but Kohl’s stores, Amazon physical stores and some Whole Foods Markets. Amazon will then email you a QR code that you can show at the drop-off location to have your un-boxed item packed and shipped for you, without having to track down a printer or packing tape.

And I’m happy to say: I’ve done it, and the whole process worked as promised. Sure enough, all I had to do at the UPS store was hand my items over and show the cashier my QR code. And I’m no longer using my entryway to stash boxes “just in case” I have returns to make down the road.