What Does “Return by Date” Mean on Amazon?

When you’re returning your Amazon order, there are a few things you need to know. For example, what does the phrase “Return by Date” truly mean? Is there any leeway on this date given by Amazon? Keep reading, as we’ll explain all below!

What Does “Return by Date” Mean on Amazon?

When you’re returning an item, you are given a “Return by Date”. This date is the last date that Amazon expects to have your returned item — so you need to send the item to Amazon before this date hits. Your package should at least be postmarked by the date.

Keep reading to learn more about what to do when you are returning orders to Amazon!

Amazon Return Policy

First, let’s discuss Amazon’s Return Policy. You can return any item that you have ordered up to 30 days after receipt of shipment. If you’d like to return your item, you can do this in the “Your Orders” section of your Amazon account.

Amazon has made it very simple for you to return any items that you’ve realized you do not want. Amazon also gives you multiple options to choose from when deciding to return your item, and you’ll always receive at least one free way to return your order.

You can return your items by:

  • Mailing a package
  • Using an Amazon Locker
  • Using a scanned QR code to drop your package off at certain locations (such as Kohls)

These are the best ways to return any Amazon orders you have. You just have to first start by signaling to Amazon that you’d like to return your items, which you can do on the “Your Orders” page of your Amazon account!

Once you do this, Amazon will give you a “Return by Date”. This date is the date that Amazon would like to have your returned item, at the very least. You can obviously send your package beforehand.

Once you have this “Return by Date” and Amazon has allowed you to return your item or order, you can then work to find the best way to get these returnable items to Amazon.

Will Amazon Accept a Return After the Return Date?

It depends on how long after they receive your return. You should always try your hardest to get your return to Amazon before this “Return by Date” that you’re given — or on this date, at the very latest.

However, sometimes Amazon does offer some exceptions. For example, if your return package is postmarked before or on the “Return by Date”, they’ll likely still accept your returnable item once it gets to them.

Amazon seems to especially understand this is you’re shipping your item, as they know that mail delays can often happen, especially during busy times of the year. So, you should always ensure that your package is postmarked before the “Return by Date”, at the very least!

How Strict Are Amazon With Return Dates?

On average, Amazon will work with you when you’re returning items, as long as you do try your best to get the package to them on time. As we mentioned above, try to at least have your package postmarked by the “Return by Date” they give you.

Once the package gets back to Amazon, they’ll be able to see that you mailed it on or before the final return date. Past customers have revealed that, in this situation, Amazon will be quite flexible and will still accept your return, even though it’s technically late.

How Long After the Return Date Will I Get a Refund From Amazon? 

This depends on a lot of different factors. For example, when Amazon actually gets your return package, how long it actually takes to process your return, and what bank the refund is being sent to will always impact how long it takes for you to actually receive your refund.

Often, you can expect to receive your refund anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the “Return by Date” as long as you’ve returned your Amazon order on time. Unfortunately, it could take one to two weeks. However, if you still haven’t received your refund after 30 days, definitely get in contact with Amazon Support to see what the issue is.


The “Return by Date” Amazon gives you is the final date that Amazon expects to receive your returnable item. This means that they should have the item on or before this date. However, they also may accept return packages that are postmarked before or on this date, as well.