A Curious Loophole To Get a Kindle Free for 1 Year


I recently discovered an interesting loophole in Amazonland that seemingly lets you use a Kindle for a year and then return it for a full refund.

I don’t know if I experienced a random occurrence, a weird glitch, or if it’s just Amazon employing an unusual sales strategy. Given Amazon’s history, I tend to suspect that it’s the latter. I’m hoping others with experience returning Kindles can chime in in the comments section below so we can find out if this is a standard policy or if it’s just a glitch.

This is what happened: Back when Amazon first announced the Kindle Fire HDX, I ordered one to review. But time got away from me and after a month had passed it seemed rather pointless to write a review after so many others had already been posted. So I decided to return the HDX since I have no use for another tablet. That’s when I encountered the oddity.

From my experience, Amazon usually gives you a couple weeks to get an item to UPS that you are returning. But when I went to return my Kindle Fire HDX, I found that Amazon is allowing 11 full months to ship it back.

I received the HDX on October 14th, 2013. I did the return authorization on November 13th. The paperwork says the item must be returned by October 13th, 2014.

I know UPS can be slow sometimes, but that’s a crazy long return window, don’t you think? The Pony Express could get it done in that time.

At first I was sure the return date was an error. But the more I think about it the more I’m not so sure. Knowing Amazon, I suspect they could very well be doing it on purpose.

Maybe they think that by giving an inordinate amount of time to return a Kindle, it will give potential returners/customers more time to change their mind, or flat-out forget about it.

Well, I’m going to call Amazon’s bluff. Even though I don’t use the device hardly ever, I plan to wait until October to send it back to see what happens. I’m sure Amazon will honor the return since the paperwork has the date on it, but it sure seems like an odd way to do business. Anyone can get a return authorization and then keep using the Kindle for a year and then return it for a full refund about the time the next model comes out.

Amazon is known for having a generous and easy return policy. When it comes to Kindles, you have 30 days from delivery to return it for a full refund, unless it was purchased during the holiday period between the beginning of November and the end of December, then you have all the way until the end of January to return it. But giving a full 11 months to ship a Kindle back? That’s a little hard to believe.

So the question remains: is it a glitch or the standard Kindle return policy?

3 Responses to “A Curious Loophole To Get a Kindle Free for 1 Year”

  1. That is really interesting…
    I’d definitely be betting on the fact that Amazon just hopes that some customers will end up keeping the device.
    They didn’t refund you money yet, did they?

    If so, it’s a remarkably genius strategy that costs them very little and has great potential benefits. And yes, that’s plural – you are not only buying into their hardware, but also their app store and their ebook store.

    Think about it – if you have a device like a phone, computer, or tablet for a full year, you’re going to want to make it your own. Soon you’ll have pictures on there, apps you bought, personalized settings and options, etc. Some people flat out would not know how to transfer content so they’d want to keep the device so they don’t lose anything. A larger percentage I bet would just not want to deal with the hassle of transferring everything, setting up a different device, and risk losing some things in the process regardless (i.e. local app settings, saved games, etc.) so they very well may just end up keeping the device after a year. And of course this is not even mentioning the people who may forget about returning it.

    Even if they returned it, maybe they made a purchase in the app store beforehand – this is a partial success for sure. And whether the device is returned immediately or 12 months later, it’s still just another open-box item for Amazon.

  2. Amazon is becoming truly diabolical LOL