(Updated 10/04/19) Have you ever tried to read and understand the return policy at Walmart? If you have, you’re already aware you have to read 5 separate web pages to find all the details of how their return process works. Who’s got time for that? Not me. Why Walmart doesn’t condense it all to a single page…I have no idea. So I figured I’d take the bull by horns and do the work for you. Here’s exactly how the Walmart return policy works so you can quickly find the answers to your questions and get on with your life.
How Many Return Days Are Available?
90 days. For the vast majority of in-store Walmart purchases, you have 90 days to bring the item back for a full refund.
To make the process go quickly, keep the original packaging, manuals, and receipt. Your refund will be issued back to your original form of payment.
What Items Have Less than a 90-Day Return Window?
With the following items, you have less than 90 days to return it:
15 Days: Prepaid cell phones, computers, printers, digital cameras, camcorders, tablets, GPS devices, digital music players, drones, portable video players.
14 Days: Post-paid cell phones.
30 Days: Air conditioners, dehumidifiers, evaporation coolers, generators, and pressure washers.
60 Days: Prescription glasses.
1 Year: Perennial plants, shrubs, trees, and bulbs.
Holiday Return Period Extension: For purchases made between November 1st and December 24th, with a 15 or 30 day return policy, your window for returns doesn’t start until December 26th.
All other items with a 90 day return window still have the same 90 days from date of purchase to make the return.
Are There Any Items I Can’t Return?
The Walmart return policy specifies that you cannot return software that was delivered by mail, as well as diabetic supplies.
What If I Lost My Receipt?
This is where their return policy gets a little bit awesome.
If you’ve lost your receipt, and who hasn’t once or twice, you can still bring the item back for a refund.
Here’s the skinny and your options…
Valid Government Issued ID – You gotta have one and it can’t be tampered with in any way.
Straight Exchange – Simply swap out the item.
Cash Refund – You can only get a cash refund if the value of the item(s) is less than $25. It should be noted that a cash refund is often left up to the manager’s discretion.
Gift Card – Returned item(s) must be greater than $25 to qualify for a Walmart gift card.
What States Allow Me to Return a Walmart Gift Card?
This was a surprise to me. The following states allow you to return a Walmart plastic gift card (or Walmart eGift card) for cash.
California – Card must have a balance of $10 or less with original balance above $10.
Colorado – $5 balance or less.
Massachusetts – $5 balance or less.
Maine – $5 balance or less.
Montana – $5 balance or less.
New Jersey – $5 balance or less.
Oregon – $5 balance or less.
Washington – $5 balance or less.
Puerto Rico – $5 balance or less.
Texas – Card must have balance of $2.50 or less with original balance above $5.
Rhode Island – $1 balance or less.
Vermont – $1 balance or less.
I’ll add new states to this list as they become available.
What About Returning Online Purchases?
Great question, glad you asked.
Here’s what you need to know about returning items bought at Walmart.com.
First off, the same return window applies to online purchases. (See above for more details on return days)
You can either return, exchange, or replace your item to your nearest Walmart or you can return it via mail.
Keep in mind that items bought online using the “Pay with Cash” feature must be returned in-store only.
If you want to return via snail mail simply visit this page and start the return process.
New info as of 11/2017: Customers can complete the returns process in just two simple steps:
Initiate the Return: Using the Walmart App, select the Walmart transaction and item(s) to return and follow the prompts to start the return process.
Finish the Return at the Store: At the store, fast-track through the line via the Mobile Express Lane at the Customer Service Desk.
Scan the QR code displayed on the card reader with the Walmart app, and then hand the item to the associate.
Additionally, Walmart announced that customers returning select items will see an option in the Walmart app allowing them to instantly receive their refund without even making a trip to the store to physically return the item.
This offer will initially be available on select household items, such as shampoo and color cosmetics.
Who Pays the Return Shipping Charges?
Surprisingly (in an awesome way), Walmart will pick up the shipping charges as long as the item is eligible for a return.
This makes sense for defective items, or if Walmart sends the wrong product.
They’ll even pay the shipping costs if you simply decide you don’t like the item.
I even started a chat session with Walmart to verify this information as their website does NOT make this clear.
Also, as the chat operator noted above, the item must be sold directly by Walmart and not a Marketplace seller.
How Do I Return a Gift Bought From Walmart?
First off, you can’t return a gift via the mail, you must bring it into a Walmart location.
If the gift was mailed to you, be sure to bring-in the packing slip or receipt to initiate the return. This is the only way you can qualify for cash back.
If you don’t have either, try to get the sender’s email address or order number.
If neither can be located, you might be stuck with store credit which is obviously better than nothing.
What About Returning Tropical Fish?
Being the owner of a 50 gallon fish tank, I have personal experience with this one.
Tropical fish bought from Walmart come with a 90 day return policy if they were to die.
At my Walmart, I only had to bring the receipt back in when one of them died. Basically you’re just leasing the fish in your tank and it serves as an inexpensive way to get your tank started.
Check with your local store to make sure they have the same fish return policy.
Ask the Reader: What’s your personal experience with the Walmart return policy? Am I missing any useful information? Let me know in the comments below, thanks.
By Kyle James