American Express’s Return Protection

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I’ve realized recently that the average person is not aware of the return protection you get when making a purchase using an American Express credit card. Now that I have a 7-month old I find myself talking about the latest baby purchase way more than points and miles. I do not want to scare off my new mom friends just yet! I hear way too many times that they want to return an item that their baby hates, they do not feel it is safe, or doesn’t work in the same “magical” manner another mom made it out to be! They then tell me that the item was final sale, or they threw away the box, or the 14-day return window has expired, etc.

This is when I am then able to real them into my “deal world” as I casually ask them what credit card they used to make the purchase. Many times it is with a store credit, but when it is with an American Express card I start spitting out information that is probably way too much info then they bargained for!

Of course other cards have return protection as well, but I wanted to hit on American Express’s return protection in this post. I’ll get to the other cards in another post next week.

So what exactly is this American Express return protection benefit? If within 90 days from the date of purchase a merchant will not take back an item, you can get a refund for the purchase price from American Express. This is valid for primary cardholders as well as any additional cardmembers on the account.

So what are the caveats? Like any benefit, there are some things to know:

  • The item must have been purchased entirely with an American Express card. Using a store gift card for 99% of the purchase price and only putting $1 on your Amex card, for example, will not give you this protection.
  • This is only valid for items purchased at merchants in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • You will only be reimbursed up to $300 per eligible item (excluding shipping and handing).
  • This benefit is only up to $1,000 annually per card account.
  • If your card account is past due for more then one billing cycle, or if your card is cancelled, you will not be eligible for a refund.

Are any items excluded? Yes, there are a few items where you will not receive a refund under this benefit. They include: animals and living plans; one-of-a-kind items (antiques, artwork, furs); limited edition items; going-out-of-business sale items; consumable or perishable items with limited life spans (such as perfume, light bulbs, non-rechargeable batteries); jewelry (including, but not limited to, loose gems, precious stones, metals, and pearls); watches, services and additional costs (such as installation charges, warranties, shipping, or memberships); rare and precious coins; used, altered, rebuilt and refurbished items; custom-built items, cellular phones; pagers; compact discs; digital video discs; mini discs; audiotapes; videotapes; computer software; firmware (such as console games, Nintendo, etc.); maps; books of any kind; health care items (such as blood pressure machines and diabetes equipment); formal wear; tickets of any kind; motorized vehicles (such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, or airplanes) and their parts; land and buildings; firearms; ammunition; negotiable instruments (such as promissory notes, stamps and travelers checks); cash and its equivalent; and items permanently affixed to home, office, vehicles, etc., (such as garage door openers, car alarms).

How do I file a claim? You can call 1.800.297.8019 or file a claim online. Remember, it must be within 90 days of the purchase date. Within 30 days of filing your claim, you will need to send in the original store receipt and the American Express card record of the charge. Although, Amex does not always ask for the merchants receipts. If they do not ask for the receipt and you used a gift card for part of the purchase, you should be able to get the amount put on the credit card refunded. If they do not ask for the receipt, this will also help for those returns you want to make where you misplaced the receipt.

What do I do with the item? Technically, you are to send the item to American Express within 30 days of filing the claim. You are also responsible for paying shipping costs. The item must be in “like new” condition. Reports show that Amex does not always ask for the item to be returned.

I personally have used this on a purchase I made at the Gap. The Gap has a 60 day return policy and the baby outfits I purchased no longer fit Baby T in the right season (moms, you know how this goes!). I personally did not need to submit a receipt.

Has anyone ever used this benefit? What was your experience like?

Comments

  1. This is one of the many reasons I love my Amex card. I actually used the benefit last year for something that probably should not have been covered, but I gave it a try and was surprised when they covered it. I had just purchased 2 gift cards (Lowe’s and Amazon) using my Amex card, each $50. I had foolishly left them in the island of my car, and someone broke in and stole them. I called Amex to see if there was any protection for that, and they qualified me under this program and gave me a statement credit for $100. It was less than a week from the time that I filed the claim, till I got my credit.

  2. What about if I purchase an airplane ticket and try to refund it and the airline charges me refund fees (just happened to me with EasyJet). Could I use my purchase protection to claim a refund of the refund fees?

  3. Great news!
    Last year end, I bought some Amazon gift cards and toyrus gift cards online but some purchases posted 1/1/2014 so that I did not get $25statement credit for $75 purchase. Can I return these Amazon gift cards? (I received them electronocially but did not use them yet.)

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