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Buy the Wrong Size on Black Friday? We Dug Up Return Policies for 15 Popular Retailers

Updated October 20, 2016
by Kelly Gurnett
Contributor
return policy

There’s a lot to stress over when it comes to holiday shopping.

Staying within budget, dealing with big crowds and long lines, figuring out what on earth you can get for Great Aunt Margaret, who’s regifted every single thing you’ve ever given her…

The last thing you need is the headache of dealing with complicated return policies.

But fear not. Here to ease your gift-giving (and -receiving) woes is an overview of the return policies for some of your favorite retailers.

1. Kohl’s Return Policy

In short: No time restrictions and no receipt required means Kohl’s “No Questions Asked — Hassle-Free” return policy makes them tops when it comes to customer convenience.

Item condition: Must not be used or damaged (unless items arrived damaged from an online order).

Exceptions: Gift cards may not be returned.

No receipt? No receipt is required; store associates can locate Kohl’s charge purchases up to 12 months after the purchase date, and the credit can be applied to your account.

Non-Kohl’s charge purchases, or purchases made outside the 12-month timeframe, qualify for a Kohl’s Merchandise Credit or a corporate-issued refund.

Worth noting: Did we mention the “hassle-free” part?

Read the full fine print.

2. Macy’s Return Policy

In short: You can make returns — for free — for one year after purchase.

Item condition: Must be unworn, unwashed and unaltered.

Exceptions: Special merchandise terms apply for select items. See here for further details.

No receipt? If the item was charged to your Macy’s card within the last 12 months, staff can locate the purchase for you on their system.

If you used a different form of payment, they can locate the item by scanning the price tag. If the tags are not available, they’ll issue a Macy’s Easy Exchange Gift Card for the item’s lowest selling price within the last 180 days.

Worth nothing: Macy’s “exchanges made simple” claim seems to live up to its promise. It’s not quite as impressive as Kohl’s, but it’s certainly worth making the top of the list.

Read the full fine print.

3. Walmart Return Policy

In short: Returns accepted within 90 days of purchase.

Item condition: Must be in original manufacturer’s packaging. There are exceptions and additions to condition requirements by department (see full return policy for further details).

Exceptions: Some outdoor items must be returned within 30 days. Some electronic items must be returned within 15 days. Contract cell devices must be returned within 14 days.

No receipt? You can get a cash refund for purchases under $25 or a gift card for purchases over $25. (Note: You can only make three “no receipt” returns in a 45-day period.)

Worth noting: During the holiday season, Walmart extends its return policy for “limited return/exchange” items (those that must be returned within 15 days, 30 days, etc.). For items bought from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, the limited return period doesn’t begin until Dec. 26.

Read the full fine print.

4. Target Return Policy

In short: Returns accepted within 90 days of purchase.

Item condition: Most items must be unopened and in new condition. Some items have a modified return policy noted on the receipt, in-store Target policy board, Target.com or in the item department.

Exceptions: Quite a few (see full return policy for further details).

No receipt? Target can attempt to look up your receipt if you bring the item, a government-issued photo ID (like a driver’s license) and the method of payment used to an in-store Guest Service desk within the return window allowed for that item.

Worth noting:  While their standard policy is 90 days for most products, if you’re not satisfied with any Target Owned Brand item, you can return it within one full year with a receipt for an exchange or a refund.

Read the full fine print.

5. Toys”R”Us/Babies”R”Us Return Policy

In short: Most returns accepted within 90 days of purchase.

Item condition: Must be in new or “like-new” condition and in original packaging with all paperwork and accessories included.

Exceptions: E-readers, laptops, netbooks and tablets, camcorders, cameras, digital audio players, DVD players, cell phones and video game consoles must be returned within 30 days.

Purchases made from a baby registry can be returned within a year.

No receipt? You can receive a refund by presenting one of the following in connection with your purchase: the baby registry or wish list it was purchased from; your Rewards“R”Us member number; the credit or debit card used to purchase the item; the number of the check used to purchase the item; packing slip if your order was done online.

Read the full fine print.

6. Kmart Return Policy

In short: Returns on most items are accepted within 30 days of purchase.

Item condition: Must be in original packaging with all accessories, manuals and parts included.

Exceptions: Mattresses, foundations, bed frames and headboards and footboards must be returned within seven days. Indoor upholstered furniture must be returned within seven days. No returns are allowed on customized products.

No receipt? Sorry; you’re out of luck. Refunds and exchanges will not be given without one.

Worth noting: No returns are accepted on holiday seasonal items (Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas or Halloween products) after the respective holiday. Holiday seasonal items purchased after the holiday are considered final sales.

Read the full fine print.

7. Apple Return Policy

In short: Returns are accepted within 14 calendar days of the date you purchased the item (if bought in store) or received it (if bought online).

Item condition: Depends based on item type (see full return policy for further details).

Exceptions: Not eligible for return: opened software (unless it has not yet been installed on any computer), electronic software downloads, software upgrades, Apple Store gift cards, Apple Developer Products (membership, technical support incidents, WWDC tickets), Apple Print Products

No receipt? Sorry; original receipt or gift receipt is required.

Worth noting: Different wireless carriers have different service-cancellation policies. Returning an iPhone or iPad may not automatically cancel or reset your wireless account; you are responsible for your wireless service agreement and for any applicable fees associated with it. Be sure to contact your provider for more information.

Read the full fine print.

8. Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic Return Policy

In short: Returns are accepted within 45 days of purchase at Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic.

Item condition: Must be unwashed and unworn. Swimwear must have original price tags and hygienic liner intact. Sunglasses must have tags attached and be returned with complimentary case.

Exceptions: Final sale items cannot be returned or exchanged. Online purchases marked “mail only” cannot be returned in-store.

No receipt? The refund policy does not specify what to do in this case; see “contact us” section on this page for further details.

Worth noting: Returns and exchanges of online purchases are free by mail with a prepaid return label (however, original shipping and handling charges are not refunded). Items purchased from Athleta may be returned at any time.

Read the full fine print.

9. Office Depot/OfficeMax Return Policy

In short: Returns are accepted as follows:

  • Office supplies: within 90 days of purchase
  • Ink and toner: within 30 days of purchase
  • Technology and consumer electronic products: within 14 days of purchase
  • Software/DVDs/video games: within 14 days of purchase
  • Furniture: within 14 days or purchase

Item condition: Depends based on item type (see full return policy for further details).

Exceptions: Special order/custom items and “manufacturer direct” items cannot be returned or exchanged unless they are damaged upon receipt. Pre-paid cards (i.e. gift cards and phone cards) are non-refundable.

No receipt? All returns without an original receipt require valid government-issued ID. Technology products without an original receipt are not eligible for return. Software, CDs, DVDs and video games without an original receipt are eligible for an exact-item exchange only.

All other returns without an original receipt (so long as the item is still active in the store’s system) will be refunded in the form of an Office Depot or OfficeMax merchandise card in an amount equal to the lowest retail price during the preceding 90 days. (If that amount is under $10, it will be refunded in cash.)

Worth noting: Holiday purchases (items purchased between Oct. 21 and Dec. 24) may be returned as late as Jan. 14 (or as the return policy states, whichever is later). Office Depot/OfficeMax reserves the right to request identification or deny any exchange or return.

Read the full fine print.

10. Lowe’s Return Policy

In short: Returns accepted within 90 days of purchase.

Item condition: Must include all original manufacturer’s packing materials, manuals and accessories.

Exceptions: Major appliance, outdoor power equipment and highway trailers must be returned within 30 days of purchase. Winter holiday seasonal items must be returned by Dec. 31, 2016.

No receipt? No receipt is required in most instances if you provide the MyLowe’s card or credit card you used to make the purchase. A receipt is also not needed if you provided a phone number when you made the initial purchase and paid in cash or check. (Lowe’s reserves the right to refuse or limit the number of returns permitted without valid receipts.)

Worth noting: Lowe’s reserves the right, in its discretion, to repair, replace or refund an item based on your method of payment.

Read the full fine print.

11. Home Depot Return Policy

In short: Returns accepted within 90 days of purchase on most items.

Item condition: Items must be returned with all components for a full refund.

Exceptions: Furniture, mattresses, area rugs, generators, gas-powered equipment and consumer electronics all have 30-day return policies.

No receipt? Returns are permitted without a receipt, but you must have a valid driver’s license or government-issued ID.

Worth noting: This one’s a bit tricky (lots of exceptions, etc.) and instructions depend on whether your purchase was made in store or online. See full return policy for further details.

Read the full fine print.

12. Walgreens Return Policy

In short: Returns accepted within 30 days of purchase.

Item condition: Depends based on item type (see full return policy for further details).

Exceptions: No refunds are given for sexual wellness or seasonal products. Returns of cosmetics and electronics are handled at the discretion of the store manager and are typically refunded as a store gift card.

No receipt? Check the return policy on that specific product’s page on Walgreens’ website. If it permits returns, then you may still be able to get a refund in the form of a store gift card. Ultimately, the decision to refund your money is the store manager’s to make.

Worth noting: Online orders that are eligible for return can be returned to a store within 30 days of the date of purchase on the receipt.

Satisfaction is 100% guaranteed on all Walgreens brand products, so if you are not completely satisfied — even on opened and used products — you may return the unused portion and receive a refund the full price (including shipping if purchased online).

Read the full fine print.

13. PetSmart Return Policy

In short: Returns accepted within 60 days of purchase.

Item condition: Must be in original packaging and in saleable condition.

Exceptions: You must have a valid receipt to return or exchange any of the following products that are valued at $10 or more: electronic merchandise (such as collars, fencing and training items), grooming tools, filters or pumps, pet medication or vitamins.

No receipt? Bring the item and a valid ID to any store and a merchandise return card for the most recent sale amount will be issued.

If you wish to exchange the item for another product, any remaining balance will be refunded in the original form of tender (i.e. in cash if you purchased in cash, refunded to your credit card if charged, etc.).

Worth noting: Bring a pet product from another retailer along with its original receipt into any PetSmart store, and they’ll gladly refund your purchase in the form of a merchandise return card. You can also exchange the product for a similar PetSmart product.

Read the full fine print.

14. Sears Return Policy

In short: Returns accepted within 30 days of purchase for most products.

Item condition: To avoid a 15% restocking fee on consumer electronics, patio furniture, gazebos, canopies, pergolas, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, space heaters and grills, you must return these items unused and with the original box, product packaging, accessories and parts.

Exceptions:  Christmas seasonal items (trees, decorations, etc.) cannot be returned after Dec. 25. Christmas items purchased after Dec. 25 are considered final sales.

No receipt? Sorry; no refunds or exchanges will be given without a receipt.

Read the full fine print.

15. Best Buy Return Policy

In short: Returns accepted within 15 days of purchase for most products, but My Best Buy Elite members get 30 days and Elite Plus members get 45 days.

Item condition: Does not have to be in original packaging or include all accessories; however, your refund may be reduced for any missing items.

Exceptions: Refunds on cell phones with contract are only accepted within 14 days of purchase. There is a $35 fee for returning or exchanging these items.

Most wedding registry items (did you know Best Buy had a wedding registry?) are accepted within 60 days of purchase. 

No receipt? If you don’t have your receipt, Best Buy will still issue a refund, but you must have a photo ID.

 

Read the full fine print.

Your Turn: What stores have you had a noteworthy return experience with (whether positive or negative)? Share your stories in the comments!

Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor who runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.

by Kelly Gurnett
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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