Holiday gifting: Retailers with the best and worst return policies
‘Tis the season of gift receipts.
It happens every year and, in fact, a whopping 77 percent of consumers anticipate they’ll have to make returns after Christmas this year, according to a study from commerce resource Oracle Retail.
With this statistic in mind, you might want to consider which retailers will give you an easy time when returning an unwanted gift versus the ones that will be more difficult.
FOX Business searched through the return policies of several popular retailers to help you figure out if you’ll need to head back to the mall or post office on Dec. 26 or if you’ll be able to make a return at your leisure.
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Retailers with no time limits
The following retailers are often considered the best by shoppers because they allow returns whenever needed, even if you’ve lost your receipt. Though, some exceptions may apply depending on the item.
Costco, Staples and MAC Cosmetics are a few of the most generous since free shipping for online purchases is included. Likewise, Costco, Nordstrom and Sam’s Club will give you your money back instead of store credit.
- Bath & Body Works
- Big 5 Sporting Goods
- J.C. Penney
- Joann Fabric and Craft Stores
- MAC Cosmetics
- Sam’s Club
Retailers with 365-day return policies
The following retailers will give you a whole year to figure out if your Christmas gift is right for you, but not all policies are absolute. Exceptions for certain products exist at BJ's Wholesale Club and Recreational Equipment Inc.
Receipts are required for returns at Ikea and Recreational Equipment Inc. (though REI members can usually bypass this). Bloomingdale’s will apply store credit for items that are returned without a receipt.
Bloomingdale’s and Zappos offer free shipping while L.L. Bean will consider extensions beyond 365 days for defective items.
- BJs Wholesale Club
- L.L. Bean
- Recreational Equipment Inc.
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Retailers with 180-day return policies
The following retailers will allow you to take half a year to decide on a return, no receipt required, though some exceptions do apply. Bed Bath & Beyond and Michaels offer store credit for returns, and the former also asks for some form of proof of purchase. Both provide free shipping for online orders.
Kohl’s keeps the holidays in mind and offers return extensions for items purchased on select dates.
- Bed Bath & Beyond
Retailers with 90-day return policies
The following retailers let you have three months with an item before you return it to a store. Nearly all of them allow you to make a return without a receipt except for Crate & Barrel and Menards, which asks customers to re-print a receipt at a kiosk if it’s misplaced. The rest will offer store credit, except for Macy’s, Home Depot and Walmart, which are the few that’ll give you your money back.
Lowe’s, Macy’s and Walmart provide free shipping for online returns, though Lowe’s makes exceptions for major appliances, power tools, paint and trailers. Macy’s and Walmart offer holiday extensions for select items.
- Cabela’s Bass Pro
- Crate & Barrel
- Hobby Lobby
- Home Depot
- Victoria’s Secret
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Retailers with 60-day return policies
The following retailers let you take two months to decide on a gift return. Each will let you return an item without a receipt as well for store credit except for Anthropologie, which only accepts exchanges under this circumstance.
Dick’s Sporting Goods will also allow this, though an employee may ask for ID. The company also offers free shipping for online orders. DSW is another generous destination that’ll allow you to return an item after 60 days for store credit.
- Abercrombie & Fitch
- Dick’s Sporting Goods
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Retailers with 45-day return policies
The following retailers will allow you to return an item within a month and a half. Foot Locker and Kmart require a receipt to honor a refund, though the latter gives a little more wiggle room for holiday extensions on select items purchased within a specific timeframe. Lane Bryant and Pier 1 Imports accept returns even if you don’t have a receipt for store credit.
Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy are the friendliest for returns with its cash refund (regardless of receipt), free shipping and holiday extension offerings.
- Banana Republic
- Foot Locker
- Lane Bryant
- Old Navy
- Pier 1 Imports
Retailers with 30-day return policies
A 30-day return policy is pretty standard in the world of retail, so customers get a month to decide if they like an item enough to keep it. Oftentimes, these policies are no-frills, but there are a few retailers that offer a friendlier return policy than others.
Burlington, HomeGoods, Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Zara will accept returns without a receipt for store credit while H&M does the same with a required exchange. Jet, Neiman Marcus, Ross Stores (ID may be required) and Sherwin-Williams will refund money for returns brought in within a month of purchase.
GameStop, Jet, Sephora and Zara offer free shipping for online orders. Neiman Marcus does as well, but only within the first 15 days of the purchase date.
For gifts that were purchased early in the season, holiday extensions apply at Amazon, H&M, Neiman Marcus, Newegg, Sears and TJ Maxx. Holiday extensions are also available at Marshalls along with a 10-day extension for online orders. A restocking fee is charged for items returned to Newegg.
- Ace Hardware
- Big Lots
- Dollar General
- Forever 21
- Neiman Marcus
- Pottery Barn
- Ross Stores
- Saks Fifth Avenue
- TJ Maxx
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Retailers with less than 14-day policies
The following retailers urge shoppers to make returns as soon as possible with 14-day policies that leave little wiggle room. If you’re not in love with your gift, its best to take it back the moment you realize how you feel.
- Barnes & Noble