American Eagle Return Policy: It’s NOT As Cool As Their Clothing

Updated April 30, 2024 by Kyle James

As a coupon nerd whose been adding new coupon codes to my American Eagle page literally since 2004, I’m quite familiar with how AE operates. So I figured it was time to breakdown how the American Eagle return policy works as it’s not as cool as their clothes, especially with their return shipping fees. As with any policy, there are nuisances that need to be examined and questions that need answered, many of which are not to be found on their website. I hope this information makes your next AE return a breeze.

American Eagle Return Policy: It's Not As Cool As Their Clothing

How Many Return Days Does American Eagle Allow?

Amazingly, American Eagle Outfitters has NO time frame on returns.

I asked a AE chat rep if this was due to COVID-19 and was told that they have never had a time frame on returns.

Can Clothing Be Worn or Washed?


Items must NOT be worn or laundered if you want to return them.

This doesn’t mean you can’t try the item on at home and wear it around a little bit…just don’t take the tags off and wear it to work or to the bar (for example).

Also See: 15 Slick Hacks to Save Big at American Eagle (Like Really Big)

What If I Lost My Receipt?

You’re not completely screwed if you loose your American Eagle receipt.

They’ll still let you do an even exchange or get store credit.

Keep in mind they’ll take more than just a receipt as proof of purchase. These things also work: Invoice, order confirmation page, order details page, and order emails.

Do Items Need Tags On Them?

If you take the tags off, but don’t wear the item, you can still return it.

But if you take the tags off, throw them away, then try to make the return (even if you didn’t wear it) you might run into issues.

What If Items Have Never Been Worn But Tag Has Been Removed?

I asked the chat rep this exact question and was told, “It will be up to the manager’s discretion”.

So your best bet is to keep the tag attached if you can.

What Price Will Be Refunded to Me?

Example: If I’m returning something that is unworn, but over a year old, you might be wondering what price will be refunded to you.

I asked AE this question specifically and was told “The price you purchased it at”.

Apparently, this is even the case if the item is not stocked any more.

I’m curious to hear from my readers on this one as it seems too good-to-be-true.

Usually you’re stuck with the lowest selling price of the item in the past year or 6 months.

Thanks to AE employee Emely for verifying this information in the comments. She stipulated that you must have your receipt in order to get back what you paid to your credit or debit card.

She also said that the one exception is if the item is under $10, they give that back in cash “no matter what”.

See Also: Get the American Eagle Student Discount and Save 20% Off Your Order

Can I Return Online Purchases In-Store?

Yes, and this is highly recommend.

Just bring in your order confirmation email or online invoice as proof of your purchase.

They also ask you to bring in the original credit card used to make your purchase.

What About Online Returns?

Easy peasy.

AE has set up an online portal to guide you through the return process.

When returning online purchases, AE asks you to reuse the original packaging if possible.

Here is the link to visit to get to the portal and start your online return.

Who Pays the Return Shipping Costs?

AE Returns

This is where their return policy is definitely NOT as cool as their clothing.

After doing some digging around on the AE website it appears only some items qualify for free returns.

From the screenshot above, those items include bras, swimwear, Apartment items, Tailgate Items, and 3rd party shoes.

Otherwise, it looks like a $5 fee will be deducted from your refund to cover shipping costs which SUCKS.


Not all hope is lost as I have a tip you can use to AVOID the $5 return shipping fee. My hack involves the AE credit card. If you use it on your purchase, you get FREE return shipping on everything. While I’m not a big fan of store credit cards, this is a nice little perk, especially if you find yourself making a lot returns via the mail due to not living close to an American Eagle store. My wife and I actually just opened an AE credit card when doing some Christmas shopping for our kids, and the gal DID NOT mention this perk so I don’t think many shoppers are aware of it, until now that is.

How Long Will It Take For My Return to Post?

Whether your return was to a debit card or credit card, the average wait time is 5-7 business days for it to post to your account.

Any Exceptions to Their Return Policy?

From my research, there only seems to be 1 exception and here it is…

– Swimsuit or Bikini Bottom – If the hygiene liner is removed you CANNOT return the item.

Can I Return Clearance Items?


You can return both sale items and clearance items with NO problems.

Can I Return Damaged Items?

Yes, you can absolutely return stuff that arrives damaged.

Just bring it back to any store.

American Eagle Outfitters ask you to call them at 1 (888) 232-4535 if you have any specific questions about a damaged item you received.

Does AE Track How Many Returns I Make?


It’s almost certain they are tracking your returns, especially those you make without a receipt for store credit.

So don’t abuse their lenient policy or it will surely get dialed back.

Is the Aerie Return Policy Different?


The return policy for Aerie products is identical to the regular AE policy.

Can I Return My “AE Live” Order?


Orders purchased via the AE Live app can absolutely be returned.

You can return items to your nearest AE location or via the online portal described above.

Ask the Reader: What’s been your experience with the return policy at American Eagle? Good, bad, or ugly?

By Kyle James


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For the return, yea you get the price you paid back no matter how long it’s been only if you have the receipt or if it can still be found under your rewards.

Also for the return we are also pretty strict about how you get your money back. We need to see your proof of purchase as the way you paid is how you get the money back, unless it’s less than >$10 you can get that back in cash no matter what. You paid with a debit card number #### then it goes back on that card or goes to store credit.


False information. 14 day return policy.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nunya