Kindle Fire vs Nook Tablet – a different angle – Amazon vs Barnes & Noble return policy

Everybody talks about various advantages or lack of in terms of hardware, software, platform, store, etc that one tablet has over the competition. We decided to try a different angle – let’s assume for whatever reason you are unhappy with either the Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet and you decided to return it. I followed the process at both the Amazon online store and Barner & Noble online store and here are my findings:

1. Amazon Store Refund Policy for Kindle Fire (and everything else)

Amazon Store has  a list of “Available Actions” right next to your order where the “Return Items” is clearly visible. Once selected, you will be taken to a 5 steps process where you’ll be able to explain the reason for the refund, add your comments, select how you want your return to be processed (refund, replacement, exchange or Amazon Gift Card)

a. Select Return Items

b. Select the reason for returning




c. Select the refund / replacement

d. Select a faster refund

You can optionally select a faster refund when the carrier receives the return package. To be honest, this is the first time I have seen a store offering a refund before they have the package in their hands.

e. Print your shipping label

The last step is when you actually print the shipping label.


2. Barnes & Noble Nook return policy

Barnes & Noble doesn’t provide an online return for their merchandise so you’ll need to call their customer service to perform the process. The number clearly listed on the website for returns is 1-800-THE-BOOK or 1-800-843-2665. I did call this number and shortly I was speaking with one of B&N customer service representatives. I explained politely why I called and that I need to return a Nook Tablet. The CSR said that there is a special department handling the Nook support and that he will forward me to them. I repeated that I do not want support, I want to return my Nook Tablet, but he mentioned that group also handle the returns. OK, 5 minutes later I was on the phone with a CSR from the Nook Support Group that offered to take me through some product support.

I explained again that I just want to return it and I was asked for the serial number. At that moment, I started to get a bit concerned at the length of the whole process and I asked the lady why she needs the serial number and shouldn’t they have it already in my account? (my Kindle Fire came pre-activated for my Amazon Account). She said she can actually retrieve it from their systems (why I was asked in the first place?). Anyway, eventually she found it.

Now, you need to know that you can return the Nook Tablet (and other Nook products) within 14 days of receipt. The CSR was confused however and she said I can’t return it because more than 14 days since my order. I was trying to argue that the policy stated 14 days since the receipt, and I pre-order the Nook Tablet quite some time before and 14 days passed between the pre-order date and the date I received it anyway. Following this policy, you can’t return a product that you pre-ordered at all.

She said she understand, but didn’t want to bulge. After more arguing, I was put on hold for about 5 minutes and she got back to me accepting my return request. She mentioned that you are responsible to pay the return shipping if you ask a refund. If you need a replacement, they’ll handle the shipping back and forth.

She also mentioned that I need to pack the charger, USB cable and the Nook Tablet itself and I’ll receive shortly my return authorization number through my e-mail. Shortly after that, the e-mail arrived and the return authorization number inside, followed a day after by an e-mail asking me to describe my customer service experience with B&N.


3. Conclusion

Product wise, I like my Nook Tablet much more than my Kindle Fire (larger memory, expansion slot, physical buttons, better Netflix streaming), but between the two experiences, it is obviously which is the one  I prefer. Amazon has a trivial returning process that literally takes 3 minutes of your time. B&N return took around 45 minutes loaded with frustration and arguments toward the CSR. I know that B&N started as brick and mortar, but in this day and age, they should really streamline their return process, it is just too damn long and frustrating.


  • Well, you could walk into a B&N store with a receipt and do a return in 3 minutes. You can never do that with Amazon. Especially since they specialize in putting bookstores out of business.

  • Anonymous

    I went to a physical B&N store, In Person, to exchange a new Nook Color and trade it in for the Nook Tablet. It only took about 35 minutes (NOT counting my driving time) and two trips. I’ve returned things to Amazon a couple of times, and my experience has been exactly like the one in this article.

  • Unless of course you don’t have a B&N around, in which case you are out of luck…

  • Unless of course you don’t have a B&N around, in which case you are out of luck…