Problem Solved: Amazon Not So Big On Return

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What happened to Roberto Cusato's leg compression system after he gave it to UPS? Amazon doesn't have it -- and is still holding the $756 he paid for the product.

Q: I purchased a leg compression system on Amazon that ended up not being what I was expecting. I returned the item almost a month ago via UPS. Amazon has not received the item yet. An Amazon representative told me I needed to wait two more weeks and would not promise me a refund.

I am at a loss. This was an expensive item -- it cost $756 -- and I have a receipt from UPS attesting to the return with the item weight and tracking number. How can I get my money back? Should I file a chargeback with my credit card? -- Roberto Cusato, Fort Worth, Texas

A: Amazon should have received your return package and processed a refund by now.

Or should it? I checked Amazon's refund policy, and it turns out the company gives itself a lot of time to process your return.

"A refund will be provided after we process your return item at our facilities," it says. "It can take up to 30 days for us to receive and process your return. In certain circumstances, refund time frames may be longer."

Longer than 30 days? Like when?

Well, you returned your package on Dec. 13, at the height of the holiday shopping season. UPS was probably overwhelmed for the next two weeks, as was Amazon. If there's any time of the year when things slow down, it's probably around the holidays.

But you are correct to be concerned about Amazon receiving your package. We've had several recent cases in which Amazon didn't receive a returned package. (I published the latest one just a few days after your delayed return landed in my inbox.) Basically, here's the problem: Amazon sometimes loses packages. When it does, it requires that you file a claim with UPS, which is complicated and frustrating. We've even had cases where Amazon takes possession of the return package (via its Whole Foods subsidiary) and then loses it. So, yes, you're right to be worried.

I publish the names, numbers and email addresses of the Amazon executives on my consumer advocacy site, I also have a free guide to Amazon returns that you might find helpful. None of these stories will make your return go faster, but they may help you understand what's happening behind the scenes.

Since you were right up against your 30 days, I thought it might be worth checking in with Amazon. So I contacted the company on your behalf.

Amazon says there was a "required" waiting period to ensure the return was properly received but that it initiated a refund on the same day I contacted it. What an amazing coincidence!I checked back with you and you say that although the Amazon site says your refund is pending, you got your refund.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at or get help by contacting him at

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