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Coronavirus prompts Amazon, Apple, and more to expand return policies

Published Mar 20th, 2020 10:15PM EDT
Coronavirus Update
Image: AP Photo/Robert Bumsted

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  • Amazon, Apple, and other retailers are extending their return policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Amazon’s new return policies were first spotted in Italy, the country that has been hit the hardest by the outbreak.
  • Other retailers already announced extended return windows for various goods.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Shopping online during the coronavirus pandemic is just one of the ways technology can help during the crisis. Placing orders from your home will reduce the time you need to spend out of the house, and therefore reduce the risk of being infected with the new virus.

Amazon is a handy resource for purchasing essentials and anything else you might need, and plenty of other stores are taking orders online as well. In light of what’s going on, it looks like most businesses, Amazon included, are extending their return policy windows on account of the coronavirus.

Just because you buy stuff online, whether it’s food from restaurants or other goods, that doesn’t mean the risk of getting COVID-19 disappears. People are still involved in the delivery process, and you still have to come in contact with them directly or indirectly. But as long as you avoid each other, maintain a safe distance, and practice good hygiene, placing orders online is the way to go, whenever that’s possible.

Add to that the fact that more people will order goods online during the pandemic than usual, and it’s easy to see why deliveries could take longer. The same might go for returns.

Users in Italy, the country that’s been hit the hardest by the pandemic, report that Amazon is extending its return period to May 31st. According to SmartWorld, the new deadline also applies to goods purchased in late January, which means some buyers will have up to four months to return certain types of products. Recently, Amazon made Prime Video available free of charge in Italy during the outbreak. It’s unclear, however, if these measures will apply to other regions of the world, and you should look in your order history to see any return extensions apply.

That said, you might not find everything you’re looking to buy online from Amazon anymore. The giant retailer has been struggling to stock household essentials, as various products ran out in the early days of the COVID-19 panic. Unsurprisingly, Amazon is prioritizing the shipment of essentials, including medical and healthcare products.

Amazon isn’t the only company changing its return policies to help with the coronavirus pandemic. As The Washington Post reports, other retailers are taking similar measures:

  • Apple will accept returns for most products up to 14 days after they reopen stores
  • Gap will accept returns until July 1st for all purchases made in the last three months
  • J. Crew is extending returns to 60 days for orders placed starting May 1st
  • Macy’s is extending its return policy by 30 days
  • Sephora will accept returns within 30 days of reopening for products bought in stores during the month preceding closures. Returns for online orders are extended to 60 days

Other retailers will surely adapt their shipping and return policies in the weeks and months to come, depending on how long the pandemic lasts.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.