Christmas may be the season for giving, but the months that follow see their fair share of returns. About 9% of products bought in-store get returned, and this number rises to 20% for items bought online.
The growth of online shopping has often made it impossible to examine products before buying them. That’s why you need to know the return policies available because not all return policies are created equal.
In this article, we’ll be evaluating the top retailers with the most lenient receipt requirements and remarkably generous return windows.
What is a good return policy?
Shoppers return items for a variety of reasons, including sizing issues, damage, product description mismatches, or buyer’s remorse.
Regardless of your reason for returning something, there are five key elements to a good return policy. Stores with the best return policies are those that:
- Have a long return window
- Don’t necessarily require receipts
- Offer multiple return options if you purchased items online
- Provide free shipping
- Flexible holiday return policies
So, whether you're returning your items online or in person, let’s jump into the retailers with the best return policies.
Top 25 retailers with the best return policies even after Christmas
Here are the retail stores that tick most or all of the above boxes with their return policies. The stores on this list are organized by retail category.
Clothing and department stores
Athleta is a division of Gap that specializes in creating workout gear for women. Unlike other Gap brands, it offers a give-it-a-workout guarantee. This guarantee allows you to try out the clothes and return them if you don’t like how they perform or feel. You have a return window of 60 days.
If you receive a gift and it fails to impress you, you’ll receive a gift card worth the same amount as the item purchased if you have a gift receipt. However, if you don’t have a gift receipt, you’ll get a merchandise certificate by mail worth the current selling price.
Athleta holiday return policy: Products bought in-store or online between November 1 and December 24 can be returned by January 15 (or 60 days after purchase-whichever is later). The same policy applies to online purchases returned by mail.
2. Banana Republic/GAP/Old Navy
Banana Republic, GAP, and Old Navy offer returns for new and unwashed items within 45 days. Swimsuits must have the hygienic liner as well as original tags included. Like Athleta, final sale items aren’t accepted.
Banana Republic/GAP/Old Navy holiday return policy: Items bought either online or in-store between October 24 and November 24 should be returned by January 15 (or 45 days after purchase).
At Bloomingdale’s, you have 365 days to return most items. If you don’t have a receipt, the store can credit it to your Bloomingdale’s account or grant you merchandise credit if you don’t have an account. Bloomingdale’s no-receipt policy states that you’ll get the lowest selling price in the last 180 days.
Bloomingdale’s holiday return policy: The store follows the standard return policy even during the holidays.
JCPenney updated its return policy and stated that from October 2021, items bought online and in-store will have a return window of 90 days. If you don’t have a receipt, you’ll still be eligible for an exchange through JCPenney’s merchandise return voucher for the lowest price of the item within 45 days.
Sephora brand items bought at the store can also be returned. However, JCPenney has restrictions on returns for fine jewelry, furniture, small electronics, and appliances.
JCPenney holiday return policy: The store follows its regular return policy during the holidays.
If you purchase items at Kohl’s in-store or online, you have up to 180 days to make a return. The store accepts returns with or without a receipt with a few exceptions:
Premium electronics and watches have a return window of 30 days. They should be returned with the original packaging and a valid receipt or account lookup.
Beauty purchases from Sephora or Wellness Market must be in either new or gently used condition to be eligible for returns. The return period for these products is 60 days.
If you don’t have a receipt, you can still make a return, as Kohl’s will provide a merchandise credit based on the lowest discounted 13-week sale price. It’s also worth noting that Kohl’s doesn’t process refunds for gift cards.
Kohl’s holiday return policy: Premium electronics bought between November 1 and December 25 can be returned up to January 31 provided that items are in their original packaging and you have a valid receipt or account lookup.
6. L.L. Bean
L.L. Bean lets you return items within one year of purchase, even if you’ve worn them. All returns must have proof of purchase. L.L. Bean Mastercard members get free shipping on their returns. Non-members can print out prepaid labels for $6.50 or return the items in-store. The cost of shipping returns will vary by product.
L.L. Bean holiday return policy: The one-year standard policy applies to all items.
If for any reason, you’re not satisfied with a purchase you made, Macy’s allows 90 days to make most returns. The items must come with original tags and be in salable condition. The exceptions to this policy include Last Act items, which have a 30-day return window, and Apple smartphones, which have a 14-day return period.
If you return products without a receipt, Macy’s offers store credit for the lowest selling price of that item within 180 days.
Macy’s holiday return policy: Items purchased in-store or online from October 5 can be returned up to January 31.
Nordstrom has a very liberal return policy with an unlimited return window, which it handles on a case-by-case basis. You can return items to a store or via mail, and even though it helps to have a receipt, it's not required.
The refund for returned products is either credited to your original form of payment or through Nordstrom’s Gift Card. Returns without a receipt get processed at the current price of the item or on a Nordstrom Gift Card.
Even though Nordstrom allows customers to return worn clothes and shoes, if you remove the tag on special occasion dresses, Nordstrom won’t take them back.
Nordstrom Rack’s return policy isn’t as lenient. The return window for items bought is 45 days. You have to have a receipt, and the store doesn’t take back worn items.
Nordstrom holiday return policy: Nordstrom’s return policy doesn’t change during the holidays. However, Nordstrom Rack offers an extension to its standard return policy for items bought between October 18 and December 24, which can be returned through February 7.
When you end up with products that don’t hit the mark, Target offers a 90-day return window for new and unopened items. If you have a Target Red Card, you get an extra 30 days to return items purchased. On the other hand, Target-branded items can be returned after one year.
However, some items have shorter return periods, and other products cannot be returned at Target. Electronics have a return period of 30 days, and Apple smartphones should be returned within 14 days. Software products, movies, and music can only be exchanged, while airbeds and international returns are not accepted.
If you’ve misplaced your receipt, Target will still process your return by giving you a merchandise return card. However, you cannot use this card for online purchases.
Target holiday return policy: If you buy items between October 1 and December 25, the return policy gets extended, and the return window begins December 26.
Most items purchased at Walmart have a return period of 90 days. However, there are some exceptions:
- Cell phones have a return window of 14 days
- Electronics should be returned within 30 days
- Prescription glasses, hearing aids, and contacts have a return window of 60 days
If you bought an item online, you can return it by mail or in-store. Just make sure you print out the store’s return receipt and shipping label listed on your account page. Note that items bought at the Walmart Marketplace dealers may have a different return policy because refunds depend on the particular vendor.
If you lost your receipt or you’re returning a gift, Walmart will submit your request to its refund verification process.
Walmart holiday return policy: The return window for items purchased from November 1 to December 25 will start on December 26. It’s worth noting that these terms will vary for marketplace sellers.
Electronic and game stores
11. Best Buy
Best Buy’s standard return policy is 15 days, but My Best Buy Elite and Elite Plus members get longer periods that could range from 30 to 45 days.
You’ll receive a full refund if you have a receipt. Without a receipt, you’ll be allowed to exchange your item. Items that need activation have a return window of 14 days, but Best Buy makes an exception to personalized orders and final sale merchandise. Some items will incur a $45 restocking fee or 15% of the buying price.
Best Buy holiday return policy: Items bought between October 18 and January 2 have an extended return period to January 16. However, this doesn’t apply to third-party purchases such as wearables or smartphones, as well as artificial Christmas trees and decor.
You have 30 days from the date of delivery to ask Newegg for a refund or return. However, for items sold by a third-party seller, you’ll have to check out the individual seller’s return period. Newegg will pay for the return label for items that weigh less than 50 pounds, and it doesn’t charge restocking fees.
Products under Newegg’s 45/1 return policy have a return window of 45 days or within one year from the delivery date. Items covered by Newegg’s replacement-only return policy should only be returned for a replacement.
Note that products that have exceeded the product’s lifespan due to overuse won’t be accepted. The same applies to products under the consumable product return policy.
Newegg holiday return policy: Items under Newegg’s extended holiday return policy can be returned for a refund or replacement until January 31.
Health and beauty
13. Bath and Body Works
Bath and Body Works offers full refunds on used products within 90 days if you have a receipt. If you don’t have a receipt, you’ll get a merchandise credit based on the product’s lowest selling price.
Gifts purchased online can be returned to a store for an exchange or merchandise credit. Bath and Body Works also provides one-time price adjustments from the original selling price for in-store purchases, provided you have the original receipt within 14 days after buying the item.
Bath and Body Works holiday return policy: The standard return policy of 90 days applies during the holiday season, but you can take advantage of the semi-annual sale that usually takes place on December 26.
If you buy a lipstick that fades out after just 30 minutes or an expensive skincare product that breaks out your skin, you can return these items hassle-free at Sephora within 60 days. If you don’t have a receipt, Sephora can look up your purchase using the credit card you used or your Beauty Insider Account. If they can’t find your order, you’ll receive store credit.
To return items purchased online, you can print prepaid return labels on their website to mail the return. It’s worth noting that Sephora doesn’t accept mail returns for items bought at a retail location.
Sephora holiday return policy: Items bought in Sephora stores or Instacart between October 30 and November 15 can be returned or exchanged by January 15.
Home goods and furniture
15. Bed Bath and Beyond
If you’re not completely happy with a purchase you made at Bed Bath and Beyond, you’ll get a full refund if you return the item with a receipt within 90 days. You’ll get merchandise credit if you have a gift receipt.
However, there are some exceptions for items such as smart home tech and seasonal items, which get a return window of 30 days. Electronics and air mattresses have a return period of 60 days.
If you misplace your receipt, Bed Bath and Beyond will try to find the proof of purchase if the item was bought within 365 days. If the store can’t find your transaction, you’ll still get a merchandise credit or an exchange for 20% less than the selling price. Marketplace items cannot be returned in-store, and you’ll have to contact the seller directly.
Bed Bath and Beyond holiday return policy: The standard policy applies during the holiday season. Note that seasonal items have to be returned within 30 days.
IKEA allows you to return new and unopened items within a year. On the other hand, opened items should be returned within 180 days. To make returns or exchanges, you must provide a receipt as well as a valid I.D.
However, the store doesn’t accept returns on as-is products, cut fabric, plants, or custom countertops. The store allows mattress exchanges if it’s within 90 days.
IKEA holiday return policy: The return policy remains the same even during the holidays.
Wayfair allows you to return items for a refund or store credit within 30 days. The items must be in their original form and undamaged, disassembled if that’s how they came, and in their original packaging. Shipping charges also apply.
There are some items you can’t return, such as:
- Gift cards
- Clearance items
- Assembled items
- Open-box products
- Bundled items purchased at discounted rates
Large appliances have a return window of 30 days if it has not been installed and should be returned in their original packaging. In some cases, the manufacturer’s restocking fees may apply.
Wayfair holiday return policy: Items bought between November 1 and December 31 can be returned until January 31.
18. Home Depot
Home Depot offers a 90-day return window for unopened products. Customers with a Home Depot credit card get a one-year return period. You must have a receipt to make your returns.
The exceptions to this return policy apply to area rugs as well as furniture, which must be returned within 30 days. The best part about Home Depot’s return policy is that it allows you to get a full refund or exchange for any tree, shrub, or perennial, except cut flowers, within one year.
Home Depot holiday return policy: The standard return policy applies even during the holidays.
Lowe’s provides a 90-day return policy on new and unopened merchandise. If you don’t have a receipt, Lowe’s can track your purchase using either your credit card or checking account number. If they’re unable to find your proof of purchase, you’ll receive an in-store credit worth the item’s current selling price.
Major appliances, liquid paint, and outdoor power equipment must be returned within 30 days. Similarly, TVs and electronics have to be returned looking brand new within 30 days.
Lowe’s holiday return policy: Holiday items must be returned on or before the day of the holiday. If you return holiday items after that holiday, they’re considered a final sale item and won’t be accepted. Perennials, trees, and shrubs can be returned for replacement within one year of purchase, but other plants fall under the standard policy.
Amazon and most of its sellers allow you to return items bought within 30 days of shipment. Non-returnable items include:
- Downloadable software
- Gift cards
- Some health and personal care products
- Prepaid game cards
Amazon holiday return policy: Most items bought between October 1 and December 31 can be returned until January 31.
Overstock offers a 30-day return period from the date of delivery if you’re not totally satisfied with a purchase. However, this return policy doesn’t apply to Marketplace Seller items. Some products can’t be returned, and they include:
- Open mattresses and toppers
- Personal and perishable items
- Health and beauty products
- Gift cards
Overstock holiday return policy: The store has an extended return policy period over the holidays that applies to items bought from November 1 through December 31 to be returned by January 31.
If the shoe doesn’t fit or you feel they don't look good on you, Zappos offers 365 days to return them. The shoe retailer also offers to pay for return shipping. Note that returns must be unworn and in their original packaging.
Zappos will process your return within 24 hours if you opt for the Rapid Refund option. If you received shoes as a gift, you’ll have to contact the customer loyalty team for assistance.
Zappos holiday return policy: The standard return policy applies even over the holidays.
Wholesale and warehouse
Costco provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee for all items. There’s no time limit for returning most items at Costco, and you’ll be able to get a cash or check refund.
Even though you can return anything at any time, there are a few exceptions. For instance, electronics and appliances should be returned within 90 days. State law applies when returning cigarettes and alcohol. Diamonds that are one carat or larger have to be returned with all original paperwork.
There are also limitations on car tires, batteries, and custom installed programs.
The store also accepts online returns, and you don’t need a receipt. However, if you’re returning a gift and you don’t have a receipt, you’ll need the membership number of the person who bought you the gift.
Costco holiday return policy: The regular return policy applies throughout, and the price-adjustment policy also takes place during the holidays.
Sporting and outdoor
If you’re not satisfied with an item you bought at REI, you can return it for a refund or exchange within one year. Exceptions to this policy include outdoor electronics, which must be returned within 90 days. It also offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee for its products.
REI accepts returns made by mail or in-store, provided you have the proof of purchase. It’s worth noting that you’ll cover shipping costs when mailing returns. When returning gifts, they have to be in their original packaging, and you need the receipt. Wear and tear items or those damaged by accidents or improper use can’t be accepted back.
REI holiday return policy: The standard return policy applies even during the holidays.
Items bought at Orvis come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and they offer to either repair an item or accept returns for items purchased. Orvis will not accept returns for chewed dog beds, but they offer to repair them. Similarly, they won’t accept bathing suits with the hygienic liner removed. Fly rods and wheels can only be repaired.
If you received a gift from Orvis that didn’t suit your tastes, you’ll have to fill out the Return and Exchange form. Gift returns are credited as an Orvis Gift card.
Orvis holiday return policy: The standard return policy applies during the holidays.
Understanding return policies at major stores helps you know when and how you’re able to process a return. Plus, you can take advantage of the extended return windows offered during the holiday season.
If you’re a gift-giver, include the receipt to make the returns process simpler for the recipient. And to save money on all your purchases, use CouponFollow to get the latest coupon codes and save your money.