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Amazon charged me again after I returned my surge protector to Whole Foods

After Andrew Bottorff returns his surge protector to Amazon through a Whole Foods store, Amazon tries to charge him again. How can he get his money back?

I bought an Eaton surge protector on Amazon recently. It was not suitable for my use, so I returned it to Amazon via the Amazon return counter at Whole Foods two days after receiving it.

They scanned my return barcode at the counter. However, the return center does not provide printed receipts. An email receipt usually shows shortly after your return, but by the next morning, it had not arrived. So I returned to the counter the next day. The attendant remembered me and said the Amazon system "sometimes shuts down in the middle of the transaction" and that is what happened to my return.

The representative wrote an email gave us a copy, and sent another notification to Amazon with an updated label.

Amazon refunded my money as a gift card, not to my credit card, as I requested. A few weeks later I got an email telling me Amazon would charge my card if I didn't send the item back. Then Amazon charged my card.

Can you help me get my money back?

Andrew Bottorff, Lake Dallas, Texas

Amazon shouldn't have charged you for the surge protector again. Instead, it should have worked with you and Whole Foods to determine how your return got lost.

That said, there are a few things that don't make sense in your case. Why would Amazon give you a gift card if it didn't have your return? And why would it then try to charge your card again?

It looks as if the answer is in a glitch with Amazon's return system. If you don't get some kind of return receipt -- or some evidence that you gave Amazon your package -- that should be a red flag. If an employee tells you the system sometimes shuts down, that's another red flag. Maybe you should be returning your products the old-fashioned way -- by mailing them back to Amazon.

First things first. I publish the names, numbers, and emails of Amazon's customer service executives on my consumer advocacy site, I reviewed your paper trail and noticed you hadn't appealed to one of the higher-ups. I also have some helpful tips on how to return a product in this free guide.

How do you avoid a problem like this? If you're going to return something through Whole Foods, make sure you collect evidence of the return. The Amazon system generates an email the moment the package is in the system, so wait for the email before leaving. Also, take pictures of the box, the inside of the box, and even the associate helping you. All of those things could be important if your return gets lost.

As it turns out, this was not a problem with the Amazon return system. An Amazon spokeswoman said something may have gone awry during the return shipping process. The box Amazon received was damaged, and it’s possible the surge protector fell out during transit with the carrier.

If you had a photo of the box with the surge protector inside it, that might have helped Amazon decide this case in your favor. Instead, it assumed that you sent it an empty box and kept the surge protector.

I contacted Amazon on your behalf, and it refunded the charge.

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

© 2023 Christopher Elliott


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