Amazon banning shoppers who return items too often

Don't go crazy with free returns.

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
Expertise Abrar has spent her career at CNET analyzing tech trends while also writing news, reviews and commentaries across mobile, streaming and online culture. Credentials
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Abrar Al-Heeti
2 min read
Amazon boxes

Shoppers have taken to social media to share their experiences of being kicked off Amazon.  

Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Amazon's flexible return policy may not be as risk free as you think.

The company bans shoppers for violations, which include returning items too often, according to The Wall Street Journal. Some users aren't told what they did wrong. 

Amazon boasts free and easy returns for many of its items, which has pushed many brick-and-mortar stores to offer the same policies as they struggle to compete with the e-commerce giant. But it turns out Amazon's return policies may come at a price. 

Watch this: There's actually a return limit for Amazon

Dozens of people have taken to Twitter and Facebook to complain about Amazon closing their accounts without warning or an explanation, according to the Journal. 

Paul Fidalgo wrote about being "exiled" from Amazon for "excessive returns." Other people noted they had also been banned from the site for similar reasons.

One customer tweeted a screenshot of an email from Amazon asking her to explain why she returned her orders.

Shoppers have for years complained about being banned from Amazon. One customer told the Guardian in 2016 that he was kicked off Amazon after sending back 37 of 343 purchases. And last month, Amazon Prime members took to social media to share that their accounts had been closed without explanation, with some threatening a class-action lawsuit against the company. 

Amazon's return policy doesn't tell customers that returning too many items can get them kicked out, but its conditions of use say the company reserves the right to terminate accounts at its discretion. 

"We want everyone to be able to use Amazon, but there are rare occasions where someone abuses our service over an extended period of time," an Amazon representative said. "We never take these decisions lightly, but with over 300 million customers around the world, we take action when appropriate to protect the experience for all our customers. If a customer believes we've made an error, we encourage them to contact us directly so we can review their account and take appropriate action."

First published May 22 at 3:34 p.m. PT
Update, 5:38 p.m.: Adds comment from Amazon.

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