This is WHY I love

I needed more cables for my iPhone because I lose them. I ordered this 5 pack without fully reading the description. When it arrived today (have to love prime) I saw it was 30 pin cables.

My first thought was the seller put the wrong item in the bag. Them I checked the item ordered and saw I goofed. No problem I’ll just return it and pay the idiot tax. I figured it wouldn’t cost more than a few dollars to send back.

I start the RMA process and Amazon offers either a UPS drop-off or UPS Pickup. Either one will be $5.01. That’s ridiculous for an item that was $5.95 so I do online chat asking if I can send it back by the mail. The chat agent asks why I want to return it and I admit my mistake.

The agent does one better than I asked for and is crediting me the entire amount without returning it.

Not quite a good as an example as yours, I have a faulty product, not one ordered in error but…

Ordered two dual-band USB wifi adapters one of which won’t connect to the network. Filled out the online form yesterday morning, and today a courier will be picking up the faulty item and delivering a new one.

OK, that’s as it should be; the goods are faulty after all. But what I like is the lack of quibbling. My self-assessment is taken at face value, and I’m not asked to go through a lengthy process of “have you plugged it in properly, have you downloaded the latest drivers, what version of Windows are you running blah blah blah”.

I’ve ordered stuff from Amazon before that I ended up needing to return (wrong size of something-or-other.) They just refunded my money and sent an email saying not to bother sending it back. I guess they figured it’d be cheaper to not spend time restocking the item.

On a two occasions I’ve ordered a big batch of hard drives to build a NAS and one arrived DOA. Amazon always shipped a replacement immediately even though I let the broken one sit around for a couple weeks before getting around to sending it back.

I ordered a textbook packet that came with 2 DVD’s for a summer language course. Didn’t bother to test the second DVD, the first one worked just fine. 4 weeks later I need the second DVD for a graded homework assignment and the darn thing won’t run. Call Amazon, they ship a replacement textbook overnight and I send the old one back on their dime.

Since Amazon can track every purchase and return, I assume they allocate a certain amount to return costs per account. It also would make sense to be more flexible with people who spend a lot on Amazon and rarely return anything.
I’ve returned things twice to Amazon ever. I did not have to pay shipping.

I assume if I were a habitual returner, I would get dinged shipping costs.

Actually if you become an Amazon habitual returner, you won’t get dinged. Amazon will ban you and you won’t be able to do business with them at all anymore.

I’ve been dinged for return costs, at least one time that I can recall: bought a case for an iPod, then afterward read the reviews noting that the case blocked access to some critical things (like charging and headphones). I got it, tried it, and found the reviews to be true. Annoying as hell.

Now, I had gotten it using Prime, so didn’t pay outbound shipping. For those who’ve not been charged for return shipping, did you pay for it when you made the purchase?

More in line with the OP: I bought a case for my new Kindle. It was cheap - like 5 dollars - and the picture showed a bright purple. As in, “wow, that’s PURPLE!”. But I kinda liked that, and for 5 bucks, who cares.

Well, it arrived, and even without opening the box, I could see that it was more of a dark red / maroon color. Contacted Amazon, they said “so sorry. You can return, or we’ll refund half the cost”. Since I needed a case, I was happy with the half-off option.

When I finally opened the box, I could see why they were selling it as purple - in many lighting situations, it is a deep plum color. Still not PURPLE! like the photo, however.

They also took my side when a seller didn’t honor their bargain. I was buying a micro-SD card and the seller said “free reader!!!”, had to add the reader to the cart, then they’d deduct the cost. Well, they charged me for it, and I got no refund until I contacted Amazon.

On the other side of the coin, one time Amazon sent me a Season set of The Office that never arrived. I waited over a week after its estimated due date to report it missing. Amazon sent me a replacement. which arrived in a few days. Four months or so later, the original package shows up on my door step. Literally the day it arrived, I got a very terse e-mail form Amazon demanding I return it in 10 days or they would charge my card.

I was fine not keeping it but they made me feel like this was some elaborate scam I pulled.

I did not know that.

But what I’m guessing is that there is a middle ground between return-for-free niceness and ban-stick – not too overly return-happy but too much for Amazon to comp the return shipping fees. For this middle ground I think it makes sense for Amazon to charge the shipping on returns.

Heh. Looks like someone needs to code in a look at the dates. My bet is that the delivery service tracked the package and when it was delivered, Amazon automatically processed it. Whatever auto-process they used, probably didn’t look at dates to realize that 4-months had passed and a more apologetic note would be warranted. They really should fix that.

I ordered a moderately pricey computer monitor from Amazon, only to have it stolen out of my front yard minutes after delivery ( only time anything like that has happened ). Not only did they credit my account for the full amount after I reported it to them, they didn’t even ask for a copy of the police report.

They may be a faceless evil conglomerate destroying independent booksellers everywhere, but at their best the customer support is pretty strong.