Holiday Return Policy Guide
When the holidays have come to a close and you have a pile of gifts that just didn’t work, the last thing you want to do is schlep to the store only to find out you can’t make a return. There’s nothing more annoying than waiting in the long returns and exchanges line at the department store or boutique. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be as painful as it seems and you’ll still be able to return your item to get something that you’ll really want to use. If you don’t feel like reading through the fine print on the gift receipt or website, you’re in luck. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you with this list of popular retailers and their holiday return policies. With some, you’ll have to return as soon as possible (like within a week or two), but for others you have a bit more time to figure out if you want to keep the item or exchange it for something else. We even included whether you can return the item for a refund or gift card, or exchange it for something else in store. Plus, there are guidelines on if there are any exceptions to the policy—for instance, if you can still bring it back to the store if you’ve opened the packaging, or if it was personalized with your initials. Take a look at the list on the next pages and write down some notes so you don’t have to stress.
Time limit: Items shipped between November 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016, may be returned until January 31, 2017, for a full refund.
Fees: Customers can self-return, meaning they foot the bill for the cost of shipping the product back to Amazon, or they can use a prepaid method from the Online Returns Center, you'll receive a return label and the shipping fee will be deducted from your refund (fees depend on the type of product).
Exceptions: Items returned after January 31, 2017 are eligible to receive a portion of the item’s purchase price.
Time limit: Items purchased at the Apple Online Store between November 1, 2016 and December 25, 2016, may be returned through January 8, 2017.
Fees: Apple returns are free and will allow customers to either schedule a shipping pickup time or drop off the package at any of the carrier’s locations.
Exceptions: Apple will not accept returns on products such as installed software, gift cards, print products, tech support, and software downloads or upgrades.
Bath and Body Works
Time limit: If you are not satisfied with your purchase, Bath and Body Works will accept returns for refund, exchange, or store credit at any time.
Fees: Shoppers foot the bill on the shipping cost of returns, but online purchases can also be brought back to stores.
Exceptions: Without a receipt, an exchange or merchandise credit will be issued based on the lowest selling price of the item. Items returned using gift receipts are also eligible for exchange or merchandise credit. Gift cards cannot be returned or redeemed for cash unless the total gift card balance is $10 or less.
Barnes and Noble
Time limit: Most items purchased in stores and online between November 17, 2016 and December 31, 2016 can be returned or exchanged until January 31, 2017 when accompanied by a receipt or gift receipt.
Fees: Shoppers foot the bill for return shipping costs, but most online purchases can be brought back to stores.
Exceptions: Barnes & Noble does not accept returns for NOOK Books, magazines, downloadable PDFs for SparkNotes products, gift cards, and shrink-wrapped items that have been opened.
Bed Bath and Beyond
Time limit: Almost every purchase made throughout November and December can be returned through January 15, 2015.
Fees: Shoppers foot the bill on the shipping cost of returns, but most online purchases can be brought back to stores.
Exceptions: Items purchased with a third-party contract (like Mobile Phone carrier contracts and DirecTV) and Geek Squad Protection service plans cannot be returned. A 15 percent restocking fee applies to opened notebook computers, projectors, camcorders, digital cameras, radar detectors, GPS navigation and in-car video systems. A 25 percent restocking fee applies on special order products, like appliances.
Time limit: Most returns are accepted at any time.
Fees: The store's website offers free shipping on return items, as long as you're willing to drop off the package at your local UPS. Shoppers can also return items to the retail stores.
Exceptions: Dresses without their original B-tag (a round, plastic tag affixed to the dress at checkout) will not be accepted for return. If the shopper and retailer cannot locate a receipt, a gift card will be issued for the current selling value of the merchandise. Timeline restrictions may apply to furniture purchases.
Time limit: Any new product purchased between October 5, 2014 and December 24, 2014 may be returned with a receipt before January 15, 2015.
Fees: Shoppers foot the bill on return shipping costs, but certain online purchases can be brought back to stores.
Exceptions: Products must be in the original packaging and include any manuals, cables, and accessories in sellable condition. Pre-owned products, liked used game systems, must be returned within seven days to receive a refund, or within 30 days for an exchange. Customers with a gift receipt will only receive an exchange or a gift card of equal value.
Time limit: Items are eligible for return or exchange for up to 45 days after the initial purchase.
Fees: All shipping on returns is free, and most items purchased online can also be returned in stores.
Exceptions: Swimwear must have tags and lining intact to be returned. Any item marked "final sale" may not be returned or exchanged.
Time limit: Home Depot accepts returns within 90 days of purchase for a full refund.
Fees: There are no return fees, but customers must drop off the package at a UPS location themselves. Initial shipping fees of products from online purchases are also eligible for refund.
Exceptions: Alaska, Hawaii, and non-UPS returns must be returned in person at a retail location. Products with flammable liquids or gases must be returned in stores for safety reasons.
Time limit: Many items can be returned for refund or exchange within 60 days, though some exclusions—like furniture and custom orders—apply.
Fees: Shoppers pay for return shipping fees, but online purchases may be returned in stores.
Exceptions: Without a receipt, shoppers are eligible for a refund or exchange based on the item’s lowest selling price within the last 45 days. Customers with a gift receipt will receive an exchange or refund in the form of a gift card.
Time limit: With the original receipt, unworn, unwashed items purchased in retail stores are eligible for a full refund or exchange within 30 days of purchase. Phone and Internet orders, excluding fine jewelry, shipped to a U.S. address may be returned by mail or to any retail store in the United States for a full refund or exchange within 60 days of original purchase.
Fees: When returning by mail, customers can use J.Crew’s flex label for $5, which will be deducted from the refund. Alternatively, customers can pay for their own shipping costs.
Exceptions: Monogrammed, personalized, or final sale items cannot be returned or exchanged.
Time limit: Most items are accepted for return within 90 days.
Fees: Most shipping charges can be refunded, but online purchases can also be returned in-store.
Exceptions: Bed frames must be returned within seven days and jewelry and select electronics within 30. Proof of purchase (a receipt or email confirmation) is required for every return and exchange.
Time limit: Most products are accepted for a return or exchange with no time limit. If customers don’t have a receipt, Macy’s will honor the lowest selling price of the item in the previous 180 days.
Fees: Items bought online can be returned in a Macy’s store. Most items can also be shipped back at no charge.
Exceptions: Some items, such as furniture and mattresses, have time limits on exchanges.
Time limit: All purchases made between November 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 are eligible for return within 30 days of delivery or by January 31, 2015 (whichever date is later). Returns must arrive at the Overstock warehouse within 15 days of return initiation. Items returned after 30 days may be eligible for a partial refund.
Fees: There are no fees for returning an item to Overstock.
Exceptions: Some items, including perfume and worn swimsuits, cannot be returned.
Time limit: Items may be returned up to 60 days after originally purchased. After that, a gift card will be issued for the most recent sale amount of the item. Items without a valid receipt will also receive a gift card for the most recent sale amount.
Fees: Customers are responsible for all shipping charges.
Exceptions: Exchanges are not available by mail.
Time limit: When you return a purchase to Sephora.com by mail within 60 days, a full refund will be issued. Items returned after 60 days and items received as a gift, are eligible for store credit. Items may also be returned to Sephora stores. If you’ve misplaced your shipping label, you can download a new one here.
Fees: Return shipping and handling is free when you use the label included in your order.
Exceptions: Items returned after 90 days, cannot be returned by mail.
Time limit: All holiday purchases made between November 1 and December 31, 2014 can be returned until January 31, 2015. Refunds without a receipt will receive store credit for the lowest selling price of the item.
Fees: Shoppers foot the bill on the shipping cost of returns, but most online purchases can also be brought back to stores.
Exceptions: Certain items, like mouth guards and customized products, cannot be returned.
Time limit: Most returns can be made within 90 days of purchase. If you used a REDcard to pay, you'll receive an extra 30-day return window for nearly all products.
Fees: There is no charge to return in-store or online. Some shipping charges may also be eligible for refund, depending on the reason for the return.
Exceptions: Electronics must be returned within 30 days. Contracted cell phones have a 14-day window. Opened music, DVDs, software, and videogames cannot be returned.
Toys "R" Us
Time limit: Through January 22, returns accompanied by a receipt or online packing slip will be accepted, regardless of whether or not the item was purchased within the customary 90-day window for returns.
Fees: Return shipping is free.
Exceptions: Computer hardware must be returned within 15 days and many other electronics (like DVD players, videogame hardware, and cameras) within 30.
Time limit: Items purchased between November 1, 2014 and December 24, 2014 that have a normal return policy of 14, 15, or 30 days (see the chart here) can be returned within 14,15, or 30 days of December 26, 2014. Items that have the usual 90-day return window must be still be returned within 90 days of purchase.
Fees: There is no charge to return an item to Walmart by mail, and online purchases may also be returned in-store.
Exceptions: Without a receipt, Walmart will give you the option of cash or store credit on returns under $25. Items that cost more than $25 are eligible for an exchange or a gift card. You can make up to three returns without a receipt in a 45-day period.
Time limit: Returns accompanied by a receipt will be refunded in the original form of payment within 30 days.
Fees: If a return must be done by mail, shoppers foot the bill on the return shipping costs.
Exceptions: Returns on used, monogrammed, personalized, special-order items, custom upholstery, or items shipped direct from the vendor will not be accepted. Sale merchandise (ending in ".99") purchased online or through the catalog cannot be returned at stores and must be shipped back for an exchange, credit or refund to be granted.
Time limit: Purchases can be returned for a full year.
Fees: Return shipping is free.
Exceptions: As long as items are new and in the original packaging, there are no exceptions.