Got a Gift to Take Back? Return Policies for Top Retailers

By Kara Reinhardt, Cheapism.com

Unfortunately even the best of intentions can breed unwanted gifts: the sweater that clings too tightly, the DVD you already own, the jewelry that's someone else's style. The National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will return $62.7 billion worth of holiday merchandise this year. Unsatisfied gift recipients will find some retailers more generous than others. Many issue refunds only in the original method of payment, for example, so a gift receipt often entitles the bearer to an exchange or store credit rather than cash back. Most retailers also leave recipients on the hook for return shipping, but companies with an offline presence usually take back online purchases at their brick-and-mortar stores.

Read what's in between the lines.

Related: Which shipping carrier is the cheapest: FedEx, UPS or USPS?

Cheapism has rounded up the store return policies for nearly two dozen of the nation's largest retailers. Companies including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Sears, Target, and Walmart have extended their regular return windows into January to give recipients time to return holiday gifts. Other retailers are lenient enough year-round that they don't need to make exceptions around the holidays. Bath & Body Works, JC Penney, Kohl's, L.L. Bean, and Macy's allow returns anytime. The policies go on for pages and include caveats for certain items, so click through to consult the fine print or contact customer service.

Retailer

Return Window

Return Policy for Gifts

Free Return Shipping

Amazon

30 days; extended to Jan. 31 for items shipped from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31

Gift card

For eligible baby items, shoes, clothing, accessories, jewelry, and watches

Barnes & Noble

14 days; extended to Jan. 31 for items purchased from Nov. 14 to Dec. 31

Gift card with gift receipt

No; most online purchases can be returned to a store

Bath & Body Works

Anytime

Exchange or merchandise credit for purchase price with gift receipt or current selling price without

No; gifts must be returned to a store

Best Buy

30 days; extended to Jan. 24 for gifts purchased from Nov. 4 to Dec. 24

Exchange or refund to original method of payment with receipt or packing slip

No; online purchases can be returned to a store

Cabela's

60-90 days, depending on the item

Exchange or gift certificate

No; online purchases can be returned to a store

Foot Locker

90 days for full refund, 365 days for gift card

Exchange or gift card with receipt or invoice

For exchanges within 30 days; online purchases can be returned to a store

GameStop

7-30 days, depending on the item

Gift card or exchange with gift receipt; unopened items only

No; online purchases can be returned to a store

Gap

45 days

Gift card or exchange with invoice

With available prepaid UPS return label; online purchases can also be returned to a store

Home Depot

30-90 days, depending on the item

Gift card

No; online purchases can be returned to a store

JC Penney

Anytime

Exchange or gift card for purchase price with gift receipt, current price without

No; online purchases can be returned to a store

Kmart

30-90 days, depending on the item

Exchange or refund to original method of payment

No; online purchases can be returned to a store

Kohl's

Anytime

Merchandise credit, even exchange, or corporate-issued refund check with gift receipt; without receipt, credit is based on lowest 13-week sale price

No; online purchases can be returned to a store

L.L. Bean

Anytime

Gift card or exchange

For L.L. Bean Visa card holders only; online purchases can be returned to a store

Lowe's

30-90 days, depending on the item

Gift card with gift receipt or packing slip

No; online purchases can be returned to a store

Macy's

Anytime

Store credit or refund to your Macy's card

For exchanges only; online purchases can be returned to a store

Overstock

30 days; extended to Jan. 31 for items purchased from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31

Refund only to original method of payment

No

Sears

30-90 days; extended to Jan. 24 for items purchased from Nov. 12 to Dec. 24 (unless standard return period ends later)

Exchange or refund to original method of payment with proof of purchase

No; online purchases can be returned to a store

Target

30-90 days; 30-day window starts Dec. 26 for items purchased from Nov. 1 to Dec. 25

Gift card with gift receipt or packing slip

No; most online purchases can be returned to a store

Toys R Us

45-90 days, depending on the item

Merchandise credit with gift receipt or online packing slip if returned to store; refund to original method of payment if returned by mail

No; online purchases can be returned to a store

Victoria's Secret

90+ days

Gift card or exchange with invoice or receipt

No; online purchases can be returned to a store with original invoice

Walmart

15-90 days; begins Dec. 26 for items purchased from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24

Gift card or exchange in-store; cash refund up to $25

No; online purchases can be returned to a store

Zappos

365 days

Exchange or refund to original method of payment

Yes


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