Amazon returns are causing problems you can’t imagine

Brian Adam

We all buy online at Amazon and surely, on some occasion, we have processed a return. But what we do not imagine are the consequences and effects of doing so. These go beyond the obvious and become a big problem that generates a shock wave too problematic for us not to comment on. What is behind Amazon returns?


have you ever considered what does it mean that you return a product to Amazon? Whether it is an item that you have purchased from an external seller or if you have purchased it in the online store’s own warehouse, the repercussions of this action are high. These consequences are so high that, at times, you may have been surprised to discover that Amazon would refund your purchase money and let you keep the product you did not want. It happens very often!

extremely high costs

For many sellers or even in the case of Amazon itself, managing a return means paying costs that become excessive. Although there are situations in which the client has to bear part of the expenses, as is usually the case in most online stores, It’s not always like that on Amazon.. Therefore, if you manage a free return, the online store has to pay the cost of processing the return, the courier and delivery service and then all the cost of working with the returned product. Because do not think that when you return a product, the item is received and left in a warehouse without carrying out any management. Instead, it has to go through a lengthy process until it is decided whether it can be put back up for sale, refurbished, or even returned to the factory.

Therefore, as we told you, it is not uncommon Amazon telling you that it prefers you to keep the product and that, anyway, you get your money back. In this way, a series of costs are removed from processes that may not be profitable for you, at least if the item is not priced too high.

returns increase

In the year 2022, sellers in the United States will suffered $816 billion in lost sales. The figure is exaggeratedly high, but it is even more worrying if one takes into account that, compared to 2020, it was double the amount. The forecast is that, if everything remains the same, the problem of returns will continue to increase, which will end up making Amazon have to set firmer limits.

And the problem is not only economic, but also environmental. Statistics indicate that, during 2022, 24 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions were generated due to Amazon returns on US soil alone. You imagine the volume of pollution it is generating just this online store? In a world trying to combat the effects of climate change and waste, it is a major problem.

This is what happens when you return something

Let’s say that you have placed an order from Amazon and that part of it does not convince you. You have bought, for example, two t-shirts. And one of them doesn’t fit you well, because you already know that, with sizes, you never know. So you start with the return. The courier company collects the package and takes it to one of the return warehouses. According to statistics, in a product of 50 dollars, the seller already suffers the loss of 66% of the value. At the same time, delivery trucks pollute and the packaging also becomes waste that will be more or less problematic depending on how it is recycled.

At the same time, there is a lot of manual work to manage the return. You have to open the returned package, see what is inside, check that it is in good condition and that no irregularities have occurred, make a final decision on the refund and then, as we said, see what is done with the product. For a return from which absolutely nothing has been earned, it is too much work and investment.

If the product in question was defective, the store will have to return it to the manufacturer to fix what happens and it can be sold again. This, in the case of an electronic device, can become really problematic, since many repairs are more expensive than the base cost itself of the product. In other words, what would happen, quite possibly, is that this item would end up in the trash. And that would mean one thing: more waste.

The end of free returns

We have talked about this before and it is something that is being seen in the league. The paradise of free returns is obviously ending soon. And maybe it’s the best for everyone. Because customers find this option very comfortable, but as always, there are those who abuse the system too much and, in the end, it ends up breaking. Surely you have heard on more than one occasion the cases of people who return for return or who use it for a few days before returning it later to recover their money after that brief use. For Amazon, putting control over these cases is very complicated. For this reason, it is most likely that we are seeing, on the horizon, the end of a type of service whose days are numbered.