Stores With the Best and Worst Return Policies

Stores With the Best and Worst Return Policies
The thought behind the gift is important. But you should also consider buying gifts at stores with generous return policies to make it easier for your friends and family to take back items they don’t want. Who has time to research in-store return policies?
Don’t worry: GOBankingRates has done the research for you. We looked at 69 of the best US retailers to find out which ones have the best and worst return policies, rating them in time to return items for a full refund, whether a refund is given in the form of original payment, whether the product can be returned without a receipt, and whether Free shipping is available for returns online. The stores on the GOBankingRates list are organized by retail category.
big retailers
If you plan to do your shopping at a high-volume retailer, the good news is that the two biggest players in the retail sector — Walmart and Target — have generous return policies. In fact, Walmart’s return policy is better than many on this list.
1. Walmart
Return days for a full refund: 90
Accept returns without receipt: Yes
Online free return shipping: Yes
2. Objective
Return days for a full refund: 90
Returns accepted without receipt: Yes, but for store credit only
Online free return shipping: Yes
3. K-Mart
Return days for a full refund: 45 for Shop Your Way members; 30 for non-members
Returns accepted without receipt: No
Online free return shipping: No
4. Big Lots
Return days for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without receipt: No
Online free return shipping: No
5. Sears
Return days for a full refund: 45 for Shop Your Way members; 30 non-members
Returns accepted without receipt: No
Online free return shipping: No
Clothing and department stores
Department stores tend to have better return policies than only clothing stores. Macy’s return policy is one of the best. However, the most generous policy is at Nordstrom, which does not put a time limit on returns and does not require a receipt for returns.
1. Nordstrom
Return days for a full refund: No time limit
Accept returns without receipt: Yes
Online free return shipping: No
2. Bloomingdale’s
Return days for a full refund: 365
Returns accepted without receipt: Yes, but for store credit only
Online free return shipping: Yes
3. L.L. Bean
Return days for full refund: 365, excluding defective items, which will be considered for return after a year
Accept returns without receipt: Yes, if other proof of purchase can be found
Online free return shipping: No
4. Mecy’s
Return days for a full refund: 90
Accept returns without receipt: Yes
Online free return shipping: Yes
5. Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic/Athleta
Days to return for a full refund: 45
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
Free shipping for online returns: Yes
6. Neiman Marcus
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
Free shipping for online returns: Yes, within 15 days
7. J.C. Penney
Days to return for a full refund: No time limit
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: No
8. Kohl’s
Days to return for a full refund: 180, except for premium electronics
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
Free shipping for online returns: No
9. Zara
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: No — Even exchanges only
Free shipping for online returns: Yes
10. Victoria’s Secret
Days to return for a full refund: 90
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: Yes
11. Abercrombie & Fitch
Days to return for a full refund: 60
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: No
12. Anthropologie
Days to return for a full refund: 60
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only as an exchange
Free shipping for online returns: No
13. Express
Days to return for a full refund: 60
Returns accepted without a receipt: Even exchange only
Free shipping for online returns: No
14. Lane Bryant
Days to return for a full refund: 45
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: No
15. Burlington
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: N/A
16. Marshalls
Days to return for a full refund: 30 for store purchases, 40 for online purchases
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: No
17. TJ Maxx
Days to return for a full refund: 30 for store purchases, 40 for online purchases
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: No
18. H&M
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: In-store exchange only
Free shipping for online returns: No
19. Dillard’s
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: No
20. Dollar General
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: No
21. Forever 21
Days to return for a full refund: 60
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: No
22. Ross Stores
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit and you must show ID
Free shipping for online returns: N/A
23. Saks Fifth Avenue
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: No
24. Dollar Tree
Days to return for a full refund: Does not offer refunds
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: N/A
Electronics and Game Stores
Unfortunately, electronics and game stores have some of the worst return policies. In fact, Apple has the shortest return policy of any retailer on this list — only 14 days.
1. Newegg
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
Free shipping for online returns: Only on items eligible for replacement. Otherwise, a restocking fee of 15%-30% applies.
2. Apple
Days to return for a full refund: 14
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
Free shipping for online returns: Yes
3. GameStop
Days to return for a full refund: 30, except for pre-owned items, which get seven days
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: Yes
4. Best Buy
Days to return for a full refund: 15
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
Free shipping for online returns: Yes
Health and Beauty Stores
Among health and beauty stores, MAC Cosmetics and Bath & Body Works have the best return policies.
1. MAC Cosmetics
Days to return for a full refund: No time limit
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: Yes
2. Bath & Body Works
Days to return for a full refund: No time limit
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: No

3. Ulta
Days to return for a full refund: 60
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: No
4. Morphe
Days to return for a full refund: 30 days after stores reopen from COVID-19 closures for store purchases; 60 days from shipping date for online orders
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: No
5. Sephora
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: Only if return is due to Sephora’s error
Home Goods and Furniture Stores
Some home good stores offer only 30 days to return items, and several don’t allow returns without a receipt. Only one retailer offers free shipping on returns.
1. Bed Bath & Beyond
Days to return for a full refund: 90
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit; some form of proof of purchase is required
Free shipping for online returns: Yes
2. Ikea
Days to return for a full refund: 365
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: No
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3. Wayfair
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
Free shipping for online returns: No
4. The Container Store
Days to return for a full refund: 120
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: N/A
5. Pier 1 Imports
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
Free shipping for online returns: No
6. HomeGoods
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: No
7. Crate & Barrel
Days to return for a full refund: 90
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: No
8. Pottery Barn
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: Depends on reason for return
9. Williams-Sonoma
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: No
Home Improvement Stores
Fortunately for DIYers, the two biggest home improvement stores — Home Depot and Lowe’s — offer relatively generous return policies. But be careful: One only offers store credit for returns without a receipt.
1. Lowe’s
Days to return for a full refund: 90, except for major appliances, outdoor power equipment, liquid paint, highway trailers and TVs and electronics
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit if purchase can’t be verified
Free shipping for online returns: Yes
2. The Home Depot
Days to return for a full refund: 180
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, within 30 days if purchase can be located in system
Free shipping for online returns: Yes
3. Sherwin-Williams
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: Proof of purchase required
Free shipping for online returns: No
4. Menards
Days to return for a full refund: 90
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but you must print a receipt for check or credit card purchases using the return receipt kiosk in stores or show ID
Free shipping for online returns: No
5. Ace Hardware
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: No
Office, School and Art Supply Stores
“I want a stapler for Christmas,” said no one ever. But if you have a friend or family member who needs office supplies or kids who love arts and crafts, the stores that sell these items have consumer-friendly return policies. The best, by far, is at Staples — which allows returns at any time for a full refund or store credit if you don’t have a receipt.
1. Staples
Days to return for a full refund: No time limit, except for electronics and furniture, which get 14 days, and unopened software, which gets 30 days
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: Yes
2. Joann Fabric and Craft Stores
Days to return for a full refund: No time limit
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: No
3. Michaels
Days to return for a full refund: 180
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: Yes
4. Hobby Lobby
Days to return for a full refund: 90
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: No
Online Retailers
Amazon has one of the best store credit cards, which you might want to consider if you frequently shop on the site.
1. Amazon
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
Free shipping for online returns: No, but Amazon will automatically return up to $20 for return postage if return postage exceeds $20
2. Overstock
Days to return for a full refund: 30
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
Free shipping for online returns: Only for defective item or Overstock error
Pet Stores
Don’t forget Fido or Fluffy. You’ll likely find what you need for your animal friends at Petco and PetSmart. But do these two popular pet stores have the return policies you need, too? Turns out, their return policies are essentially identical.
1. PetSmart
Days to return for a full refund: 60
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: No
2. Petco
Days to return for a full refund: 60
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: No
Shoe Stores
Shoes can be a tricky gift to buy. Even if you know the recipient’s shoe size, there’s no guarantee that the fit will be right. Fortunately, online shoe retailer Zappos provides free shipping and ample time to make returns for a refund — 365 days. However, other retailers aren’t quite so generous.
1. Zappos
Days to return for a full refund: 365
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
Free shipping for online returns: Yes
2. DSW
Days to return for a full refund: 60, or for store credit thereafter
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: No
3. Foot Locker
Days to return for a full refund: 45, or 30 days after stores reopen following COVID-19 closings, whichever is later
Returns accepted without a receipt: No
Free shipping for online returns: No
Sporting Goods and Recreational Stores
If you’re shopping for sports fans or outdoor enthusiasts, one retailer stands out for its return policy: Big 5 Sporting Goods. You can return store purchases for a full refund at any time if you have a receipt and for store credit without a receipt. The one drawback is that it doesn’t offer free shipping for returns.
1. Big 5 Sporting Goods
Days to return for a full refund: No time limit for store purchases; 90 days for online purchases
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: No
2. Recreational Equipment Inc.
Days to return for a full refund: 365; 90 days for outdoor electronics
Returns accepted without a receipt: No, unless you’re a REI member
Free shipping for online returns: No
4. Cabela’s/Bass Pro Shops
Days to return for a full refund: 60; fee charged on refunded returns
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
Free shipping for online returns: No
Wholesale and Warehouse Stores
In addition to low prices, these stores make it easy to return items if you’re not satisfied with them. Of these retailers, Costco offers the most generous return policy.
1. Costco
Days to return for a full refund: No time limit, except for electronics, which get 90 days
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
Free shipping for online returns: Yes
2. Sam’s Club
Days to return for a full refund: No time limit, except for contact lenses, which get 30 days
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
Free shipping for online returns: No
3. BJs Wholesale Club
Days to return for a full refund: 365, except for major appliances (30 days after delivery); TVs, home theater displays, laptops, tablets (14 days after receipt); and computers and electronics (90 days)
Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
Free shipping for online returns: No