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    Found a loophole in Amazon's return system

    Not that I'm promoting cheating the system, but I just found a little loophole in the Amazon return system that could easily be exploited.

    For the 4th quarter, Amazon purchases were on the 5% cashback bonus list for Discover.

    I just went to return an item, assuming the purchase price would be credited back to our Discover card and I'd lose the 5% we earned on that purchase. But Amazon gives you the choice of the credit going back on your credit card OR going into your Amazon account as a gift card. I chose the gift card. That means the purchase will still be on our Discover charge and we'll still get the 5% cashback even though we returned the item.

    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

    #2
    One of our credit cards is the amazon prime visa. That gives you 5% cash back all the time for anything you buy from either Whole Foods or Amazon. It's been a great card for us to have!

    Comment


      #3
      I've come across other examples of this over the years.
      A lot of systems aren't designed to handle returns if they are giving out rewards or points up front.
      Either that, or they figure it just isn't worth worrying about because incidents of people exploiting it are so low.

      Brian

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by HundredK View Post
        One of our credit cards is the amazon prime visa. That gives you 5% cash back all the time for anything you buy from either Whole Foods or Amazon. It's been a great card for us to have!
        Sure, but if you return an item, they take back the 5%.

        In this example, I returned the item but still got the 5% back.
        Steve

        * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
        * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
        * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by disneysteve View Post

          Sure, but if you return an item, they take back the 5%.

          In this example, I returned the item but still got the 5% back.
          Not if you choose to get the refund via amazon credit. Same deal as what you describe. It's just an all year long benefit.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by HundredK View Post

            Not if you choose to get the refund via amazon credit. Same deal as what you describe. It's just an all year long benefit.
            True. Good deal, although I certainly wouldn't abuse it.
            Steve

            * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
            * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
            * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by disneysteve View Post

              True. Good deal, although I certainly wouldn't abuse it.
              Agreed. Wouldn't be worth abusing it. Plus, it all works out about the same anyway, because when you use that gift card, you aren't getting another 5% back.

              Comment


                #8
                Another quirk of Amazon's return system is that occasionally it'll tell us not to mail the return item back. It just credits the refund immediately, and you still end up with the item. DW had that happen recently with some socks we ordered for DS1 ($14 value). They were too small for him, so she did the return process, and was told to keep them. It caught us off guard & we thought it was a mistake at first, but hey.... Free socks! So now DS2 got extra socks.

                I'm not entirely certain about what leads them to say "keep it." I assumed it would be for small items not worth the required postage, but perhaps also clothing items like socks (and maybe underwear?) that would be undesirable as resell items... I dunno.
                "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by kork13 View Post
                  Another quirk of Amazon's return system is that occasionally it'll tell us not to mail the return item back.
                  So true! I just bought a thunderbolt cable and after it arrived, needed to return it to get a longer length. Amazon was like, naw, you go ahead and keep it and we'll give you the refund. I suspect it boils down to cost... is it worth actually paying shipping to get the item returned? With socks and cables, I bet their cost on those things is pennies. Not worth it. I wouldn't be surprised if their algorithms have limits as to how often they tell you to keep an item though.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by HundredK View Post

                    Agreed. Wouldn't be worth abusing it. Plus, it all works out about the same anyway, because when you use that gift card, you aren't getting another 5% back.
                    That's true also. Good point. I guess it isn't really a loophole after all.
                    Steve

                    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by HundredK View Post

                      Agreed. Wouldn't be worth abusing it. Plus, it all works out about the same anyway, because when you use that gift card, you aren't getting another 5% back.
                      Originally posted by disneysteve View Post

                      That's true also. Good point. I guess it isn't really a loophole after all.
                      However, this 5% back on Amazon purchases only lasts through the new year.... So if you don't end up using the credits until later, it still provides an extra benefit. We've done similar, using our Discover card for the 5% back in spite of having a sizeable amount of Amazon credits (gifts, survey rewards, return balance, etc.) -- we can get 5% back now, AND effectively free items later.
                      "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by kork13 View Post
                        Another quirk of Amazon's return system is that occasionally it'll tell us not to mail the return item back. It just credits the refund immediately, and you still end up with the item.
                        This isn't unique to Amazon. I've had it happen with various online orders. I'm sure the cost of processing the return just isn't worth it to them sometimes.

                        I wonder if this is part of what prompted the development of the system Amazon uses now where you can take returns to Kohl's or Whole Foods. That way, they can gather a bunch of items together and ship them back all at once which is probably more efficient and more economical on their end than paying to ship a bunch of individual items. They don't really even need to "ship" as they probably just have one of their own drivers pick everything up but if you or I sent it back they'd have to cover postage.
                        Steve

                        * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                        * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                        * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by disneysteve View Post

                          That's true also. Good point. I guess it isn't really a loophole after all.
                          But you got the 5%, which is a short term offer. You don't get the 1% later, so you gain an extra 4%.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Something I have done in the past is to buy a large ($500+) Amazon gift card using the Discover 5% back offer, load it to my own account, and --poof-- I've got the 5% benefit throughout the year. This obviously works with any discounted gift cards (Target's promo, hotel or restaurant promos, etc.), but good to remember. Then I use the Discover rewards to get discounted gift cards for other places -- stores/restaurants that we frequent. So we win a bit on both sides.
                            "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

                            Comment


                              #15
                              You're obviously to blame for Amazon's stock drop on Thursday!

                              Comment

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