Guitar Center Return Policy: Here’s Everything You Gotta Know To Make a Return

Updated November 22, 2023 by Kyle James
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A few years ago, I really got into playing the guitar and would browse through guitar tutorial videos on YouTube for hours every week. Unfortunately the town I live in does not have a Guitar Center and I had to settle for a local music store, which I was happy to support, but had a very limited supply of guitars. They also had a terrible return policy which included a tiny 7-day return window. While the Guitar Center return policy has a much longer return window, they also have a long list of items that can’t be returned. So I went out and looked at every aspect of their return policy and came up with this article which will hopefully answer all of your questions and make your next return really easy.

Guitar Center Return Policy: Here's Everything You Gotta Know To Make a Return

How Many Days Do I Get to Try Out Stuff at Home?

45 days.

Guitar Center gives you 45 days to return items, both in-store and online.

Products must be in what they consider new and salable condition so be REALLY easy on that guitar while you test it out.

Can I Make a Return Without My Receipt?


Bring in your photo I.D. to the store and they can take care of the return for you.

They may want the I.D. to verify your identity and track your returns.

I’ve also been told some Guitar Center location WON’T ask for it.

But you CAN for sure return stuff without the receipt.

See Also: All the Stores That Let You Make Returns Without a Receipt

What’s the Policy on Returning Gear That I Bought Used?

The same 45-day policy.

Whether you buy used or new you have the same policy restrictions.

Most used guitars come with a disclaimer telling you about any imperfections, scratches, or cracks.

Be sure you pay attention to any issues with the guitar (before you buy) so you don’t run into any hassles when you try to make a return and they dispute the condition of the instrument.

Are There Any Exceptions to the 45 Days?

Yes, there are 2 major exceptions to the 45-day policy and here they are…

14 Days

You have 14 days to return the following:

– DJ Equipment

– Recording Devices

– Lighting/Fog Machines

– Rack Signal Processors

– Workstation Keyboards

3 Days

You have 3 days to return the following:

– Vintage Instruments – Better test them out quickly to make sure you’re happy with them because you’re out-of-luck after 3 days.

Anything That Can’t Be Returned?

Yes, quite a few things actually…

  • Clearance items
  • Stuff Marked as Non-Returnable
  • Discontinued items
  • Apple hardware
  • Computers
  • Software (opened)
  • Electronic software downloads
  • Books
  • CDs and Videos
  • Vinyl records
  • Turntable cartridges
  • In-Ear Buds
  • Earplugs and In-Ear monitor
  • Fog fluid, harmonicas
  • Cleaning products
  • Demo Gear
  • Special and Custom orders

I’ll keep this list updated if new products are added in the future.

Can I Return or Exchange a “Clearance” Guitar?


Whether you buy the guitar (or other gear) from the clearance department, or at regular price, you still get a 45 day return window.

What If the Instrument Breaks After 45 Days?

You would have to deal with the manufacturer directly.

The only exception to this is if you bought the pro coverage through Guitar Center in which case you would be protected.

How Do I Make an Online Return?

The most important thing to note is that you need a Return Authorization Code to make an online return.

To make it happen, you’ll need to call Guitar Center at 1-866-498-7882 or email them at [email protected].

You can also return an in-store purchase via the mail if it’s more convenient.

They ask that you call them at the number above and they’ll set you up with a return authorization and return mailing address.

See Also: 8 MUST Knows About the Best Buy Return Policy

Who Pays the Return Shipping Charges?

Unfortunately, you pay them.

For this reason, it’s always smart to try and make the return in-store and avoid these charges.

Here’s a full breakdown of their return handling charges.

Just bring in your email order confirmation or packing slip and that will work as your receipt.

Will I Ever Get Hit With a Restocking Fee?


You’ll be hit with a flat 10% restocking fee on Apple products if the box has been opened.

For this reason, you should buy Apple items from the Apple Store as their return policy is much more lenient.

You also stand a good chance of being hit with a restocking fee if your return something without the original box or packaging.

Will I Get Cash Back If I Made the Original Purchase With Cash?

If the return is for $250 or less you’ll get cash back.

If the cash purchase is over $250 you’ll have to settle for a check or Visa debit card.

Can Their Policy Be Abused?


Guitar Center keeps a close eye on your returns, especially those without a receipt.

They reserve the right to deny your return if they feel you’re making excessive returns or returning items that are NOT in new condition.

Does the Guitar Center Have an Extended Holiday Return Policy?

Yes, and it’s actually quite lenient.

They give you, or gift recipients, either 45 days -OR- until January 31, 2022 to make the return.

This policy does not include items that are non-returnable OR fall under the 3 and 14 day return policy.

See Also: All 37 Popular Stores That Offer Extended Holiday Returns

Ask the Reader: Have you ever had to make a return at Guitar Center? Was it an easy dealio or something else?

By Kyle James

Photo credit to Philip Pessar.


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