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Why Amazon Is Making Me Return Items to Get Prime Day Deals

Commentary: A policy change could speed this up and save a lot of waste.

Mike Sorrentino Senior Editor
Mike Sorrentino is a Senior Editor for Mobile, covering phones, texting apps and smartwatches -- obsessing about how we can make the most of them. Mike also keeps an eye out on the movie and toy industry, and outside of work enjoys biking and pizza making.
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Mike Sorrentino
3 min read
Amazon box with Prime Day tape

Amazon's Prime Day deals are quite wide ranging: Whether it's cheap phones, appliances, movies or clothing, there's a decent possibility that some item you recently purchased now costs less money. That's what I noticed when two pairs of Levi's jeans that I purchased earlier this month happened to get a deep discount on Tuesday, now selling for $20 less than when I purchased them. When I shop at other stores, a quick visit to customer service will normally nab me that discount post-purchase as long as I'm within a return window. Amazon doesn't make it that easy, however.

Now I'm quite slow at trying on clothing that I purchase, and I very much take advantage of Amazon's Prime Try Before You Buy program in order to further extend my return window in case I need to make an exchange. Buying clothes online often means that an item might not feel right once you are actually able to put it on. And between me procrastinating on trying on the clothes and the suspicion that they might get a Prime Day discount, I left them unopened until this week, just in case.

So on Tuesday, when I saw that each item was now $20 off, I wanted to get a price adjustment. Unfortunately, Amazon does not offer such a policy. This is in contrast to stores and online retailers that do offer this option. For instance Best Buy and Target both will adjust your price and refund the cost difference as long as you request it during your return window. But in this case, the only way to get the Prime Day discount on these jeans is to return the items and order them again at the lower price.

Amazon's Found Better Price policy.

Amazon does not let you request a price adjustment after a purchase.

Screenshot of Amazon/Mike Sorrentino/CNET

Even though I do appreciate Amazon's liberal return policy, this feels like a waste on multiple levels. In addition to having the hassle and waste of additional packaging, returned items often end up creating trash in the event a retailer decides that the item cannot be sold again. 

I've reached out to Amazon regarding the lack of a price adjustment policy to find out if there are any available options for buyers that are in a similar situation. The best solution to avoid all that shipping hassle and waste would be for Amazon to consider a price adjustment policy that it credits back to a customer's original form of payment. However, should Amazon not want to have such a policy, perhaps another option could be a Prime Day-themed ability to get the difference toward store credit -- which would likely spur a customer's interest toward buying another item. Amazon sort of does this with its partnership with Kohl's: When you return your Amazon order at a Kohl's location, you get a $5 coupon toward anything at the brick-and-mortar store.

For now, in any case, I've already set up my return for the clothing. And perhaps will instead just go buy a new pair of jeans at a store in hopes of creating a little less waste.