Lowe’s Return Policy: Cut Through the Crap…It’s Getting Worse

Updated June 13, 2024 by Kyle James
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On the surface, the Lowe’s return policy seems pretty straight forward. But once you dig into it a little bit you realize it has some nuances to it that are worth knowing, especially if you shop at Lowe’s regularly. I originally wrote this article back in 2017, and unfortunately their policy has gotten much worse in recent years, especially with how they handle no-receipt returns and major appliance returns. Let’s break it all down.

Lowe's Return Policy: Make It Work For You (and Rock Your Next DIY Project)

How Many Return Days Does Lowe’s Give You?

90 days.

The Lowe’s return policy stipulates that you have 90 days to return items to their store.

What is the Return Policy on Major Appliances?

48 HOURS.

You only have 48 HOURS from time of delivery or pickup to return major appliances.

(NOTE: This is new as of early 2023, it used to be 30 days on appliances.)

The MAJOR exception to this is appliances returned in original, unopened, undamaged, and factory-sealed packaging, they still have 30 days.

So this got me wondering what qualifies as “Factory-Sealed Packaging” on a refrigerator that they take out of the box BEFORE they wheel it into your kitchen.

So I called Lowe’s and was told the following, “If you did not receive the refrigerator in a box, then you are not required to return it in a box. Do not worry about that. This only affects customers who throw the packaging away.”

Let me know in the comments if you’ve had a different experience on this new twist in their return policy.

See Also: Lowe’s Credit Card: Insider Tips to To Make It Work For You

Do You Need Your Receipt to Make a Return?

Yes.

This is where their return policy started changing FOR THE WORSE in mid-2023.

In the past, if you didn’t have your receipt, Lowe’s would attempt to use your credit card, MyLowe’s card, or phone number to find your order details and issue store credit.

Those days appear to be LONG GONE as I’ve personally had them refuse my return twice when I didn’t have my receipt and they couldn’t find my order.

The last time I tried this type of return they would NOT even attempt to look up my order and I was told that their return policy regarding no-receipt returns is changing and rolling out to all stores by early-2024.

I was told that they were getting hit hard by scammers trying to return stolen merchandise, or used products well past 90 days, and they have changed their return policy because of this.

It’s too bad that a small percentage of returners have ruined their once useful policy for the rest of us.

Note: As of January 2024, from talking to many Lowe’s shoppers, this new policy is still being rolled out nationwide and some stores still have the old return policy posted but are adhering to the “new” policy and not allowing ANY returns without a receipt.

Let me know in the comments if your local Lowe’s is adhering to the old or new policy regarding this issue.

HACK ALERT

When checking out, always opt to get a printed receipt and one sent to your email. Then create a “Lowe’s” folder in your email account and drag all your receipts into it so you can quickly retrieve a receipt when you need it.

See Also: Home Depot Return Policy: It’s Now Clearly Better Than Lowe’s

What If You Paid with Cash or a Check?

You will DEFINETELY need your receipt to get a refund or exchange if you use cash or a personal check.

The days of Lowe’s looking up your purchase with your phone number, or Lowe’s account, are long gone it appears.

Obviously this only applies to in-store purchases.

Are There Other Exceptions to the 90 Days?

Yes, there are exceptions and here they are…

Winter/Holiday Seasonal Items – Must be returned by December 31st of the same holiday season.

Outdoor Power Equipment – 30 days.

Trailers – 30 days.

Plants – 365 days. More on this below.

FYI: You can only return trailers to a Lowe’s store in the same state that you bought it.

Can I Return Used Outdoor Power Equipment?

If you bought a lawn mower, chain saw, weed eater, blower, pretty much anything that takes gasoline, I was told by a manager that you can return it within 30 days.

But you MUST drain all the gas from it before you bring it back and you MUST have the receipt.

What About Online Purchases?

The same 90-day return policy exists on purchases made via Lowes.com.

Most items bought online come with a prepaid shipping label which is WAY cool.

Just repackage the item with the original box, manual, and parts and send it back at no charge.

Or even easier, return the item to your local Lowe’s store if you have one in your area.

Unfortunately, when you return an item via the mail you’re out the original shipping charges (if any).

See Also: Lowe’s Employee Discount: What Is It? How Do I Get It?

Can You Return Items Bought In-Store via the Mail?

If taking items back to the store is not convenient, you can indeed return items via mail.

Because you won’t have a prepaid shipping label, you’ll have to call Lowe’s directly at 1-800-445-6937 to initiate the return process.

What About Defects That Happen After 90 Days?

You just might be eligible for some relief if your product/appliance has a manufacturer defect after your 90 day return window expires.

Just call Lowe’s at 1-888-77-LOWES to schedule a factory-certified service appointment.

If the repair is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty you won’t be charged a cent.

What’s the Return Policy on Plants?

1 year from date of purchase.

This 1-year “plant guarantee” does not include annuals or clearance plants.

Just bring the dead plant back along with your receipt and you’ll get your money back.

If you still have the plant’s original container bring that back too, it will make the return process much easier.

PRO TIP

When buying plants from Lowe’s, keep your receipt in a save place. When buying indoor plants, my favorite tip is to put it in a Ziploc bag and tape it to the bottom of the container so you’ll never lose it.

Gift Cards…Can You Return Them?

The only way you can return a lost or stolen gift card is by presenting the original receipt.

Once presented, Lowe’s will reissue a new gift card for the remaining balance.

See Also: Cabela’s Return Policy: Easy Ways to Make It Work For You

4 Lowe’s Return Policy Insider Hacks…

Here are some insider tips and hacks to make their return policy work best for you.

1. Major Appliances.

Always inspect them closely upon delivery. You have 3 days from date of delivery to call Lowe’s at 1-800-445-6937 to report any damage or missing parts.

2. Return Item When Competitor has Lower Price?

If you notice that a local competitor like Home Depot or Ace Hardware has the item you bought at a lower price, you can get a price-match without returning the item. Just bring in proof of the lower price and you’ll get cash back for the difference PLUS an extra 10%.

3. Double Dip Your Savings with Store Credit (Not a Return)

Shop online at Lowe’s.com, but first use my favorite cashback site TopCashBack as they’ll give you 5% back on your Lowe’s online purchase.

When you’re checking out online, choose “store pickup” then stop by your local Lowe’s and pick-up your order.

Next, walk around the store for a few minutes, then return to the customer service desk and ask for “store credit” as you changed your mind on the purchase.

Result? You’ll still score the 5% cashback and have store credit to use on your next purchase. Rinse and repeat.

4. Lowe’s vs. The Home Depot

Whose return policy is better?

From talking to store employees, it seems to come down to individual store managers and how they handle returns.

Some managers (at both retailers) are very willing to bend over backwards to keep the customer happy and accept a return on darn near any product, regardless of age or condition.

The takeaway here is to get familiar with both retailers in your area and figure out which store is more lenient on returns (ESPECIALLY RETURNS WITHOUT A RECEIPT) and take your business there.

5. Pay Attention When They Scan Your Stuff

When you’re checking out and have multiple items that are only slightly different (color, size, etc) make sure they scan each item individually.

If they try and take a shortcut and scan the same item repeatedly, thinking they’re all the same, it will be VERY difficult to try and return any of the items as the SKU won’t be on your receipt.

Ask the Reader: Do you have any tips to make the Lowe’s return policy even more useful? Let me know in the comments section below.


By Kyle James

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Whitney H

It’s not as of 2023, this was going on in the summer of 2022. I can’t speak for all Lowe’s and how they are run, but typically sales specialists let them know right off the bat “3 day return period” on appliances.

If you can swing getting a Lowe’s credit card, it’s a better deal in the long run since you’ll get the item at 20% off or no interest for 6 months, plus a 30 day extended return period, especially if you were going to pay it out right anyway.

Get the 20%, pay it off on your card, build your credit, or take advantage of the 6 month no interest and especially a 30 day return period.

Even better, sign up for an MVP account (it’s free, it’s like using a kroger plus card. You’ll automatically get $20 off $100 on your next purchase (more money off on your appliance). PLUS all of what you spend goes toward points for Lowe’s gift cards you can use at another time for home projects.

Learn it before you reject it. There are advantages, you just have to be savvy.

Matt

ABSOLUTELY BULLSHIT,
I had my son grab nails for roofing contractor doing my roof, of course he grabbed coils of framing nails instead. The worst part is he rushed through the checkout not entering a phone number, what 19 year old wants scam likely calls. So I went to return and they said no receipt no return. Place is a joke I am out roughly 900 dollars 7 boxes of metabo brand framing nails and 2 rolls of Grace water shield. Metabo only sold at that retailer. Disgusting how I was treated, treated me as a thief, Lesson learned never trust corporations not out for consumer

Dana

Same, i bought the wrong wire for my husband at 200$ a roll. I don’t recall ever being asked for a phone number the 100s of times I’ve checked out. Anyhow paid cash, tried to exchange or return and was treated as if I stole it !

Chuck

The policy is ridiculous and as many of you mentioned if Lowes cannot stand by the products they sell for more than 48 we should not be shopping there.

I am in a dire situation right now. Bought a side-by-side refrigerator 3 weeks ago and still does not work after two visits from technicians, in which parts and the motherboard were replaced.

The thing freezes everything on the fresh food side. The wife and I have a need to keep some medicine refrigerated, and we cannot. I had to ask my neighbor to help us out but letting us use their fridge for the meds. 48 hours for a refrigerator?

Following delivery and installation, the Lowes people asked us to wait for 24 hours until the fridge temperature stabilized.

After that time, when we called Lowes to report that the fresh food side was freezing everything, including the meds, the support person had us disconnect/reconnect the appliance and do the same useless stuff they typically ask you to do. Of course, he also told us to wait for the 24-hour “temperature stabilization” period.

Conclusion: By now, the 48-hour return period was gone. IMO The period should reset if the customer reports to them that they have sold a defective product.

Today I had the second visit from the GE technician. He stated that the appliance could not be repaired and that I had to call GE customer service to see what they were going to do about it.

Oh, I cannot call right away, though. I have to wait 24 hours. Three weeks with an appliance that does not work, and who knows how much longer I have to go without a fridge. 48-hour return policy? Never again Lowes.

Moe

What is the return policy for cut wire? Husband needed wire that ran from meter to service electric Vic. Clerk at Lowes cut him the wire for a disconnect. They are saying they cannot return because it was cut. This is within 14 days if purchase

JB Chadwick

It doesn’t matter what their policy is – there are thousands of people complaining that their individual stores and corporate change the rules as they see fit.

I personally know 5 different people who took appliances back within the 48 hour return period. All of these were returned due to damage present when they opened the box.

Suddenly they were all told the return policy is 24 hours so no return. When they complained to corporate, they were told someone would call them back.

They did – but they called back 2 or 3 days later and said “Oh, so sorry. You’ve now had the appliance over 48 hours. No return.” This crap has got to be illegal.

Sharon Jepson

I ordered a refrigerator by online through my relatively local Lowes. I live way out in the country.I ordered the fridge in January 2023. I had to reschedule delivery first because I had to go into the hospital for emergency surgery but upon returning home and have a plumbing issue they found toxic black mold in our home.

We were displaced for well over 6 months and still things are not as normal as they had to replace 3 full rooms of drywall and flooring. I kept rescheduling the fridge hoping it would go in but it was not possible. Finally Lowes told me they could not hold the fridge any longer and I understood as things were still not normal as yet at our home.

I asked Lowes if they could deliver it and put it in the garage and then come back for an install and they told me they cannot do that. I told them to put it back on the floor since I would be be unable to take it before they told me they would have to put it back on the floor.

Now I never had this refrigerator in my possession. It was a new refrigerator and I paid over $1,750 for it.

Now they refuse to give me my money back. The give me a gift card/store credit and I do not want a gift card. I was promised by Lowes that they would refund my account but they put this on a gift card and I do not want a gift card. I called their corporate office who promised me a check and this is now Thanksgiving of 2023.

Well past the time they put it back on the floor in July. They refuse to give me my money back from a fridge I have never had or seen. So I refuse to let this go. How does someone get their money back from an item the store manager cancelled and I was unable to take and all I want is my money back.

This will be going on for a year they have had my money. I am on Social Security and this is wrong to do to an elderly person. I need that money just to go on right now but Lowes refuses to return my money and will do nothing other than this gift card. Or should I say in store credit. I want my money back on an item I have never had.

Why will they not give my money back and who do I see in order to get my money back. This has taught me to never order anything from Lowes again and never order online again. I am in a wheel chair and I cannot go to their store for anything and would not buy from them again for anything.

This is financial exploitation of the elderly and they should be in trouble for what they are doing. This is just wrong in every sense of the word. Is Lowes so stupid they think that screwing people out of money will drum up business for them? I am sad and disappointed that Lowes has gone to this extreme in order to keep someone’s money.

Right now I need that money to lie off of and it is Christmas time. My house was upside down for almost 8 months while dealing with toxic black mold .Now I have to deal with Lowes and this should not be happening.

All I have is an ion store credit so I would advise no one to ever order from Lowes because you will not get your money back. I call this theft and it is theft and nothing else.

Brian Smith

Small claims court. Lowe’s rep will call you to settle before they pay for an attorney to deal with issue. You talk too much. More you say the more they can say against you.

Be as brief and to the point as a lawyer. Get medical records off line. Get names of people you spoke with.

Get them to email you the promise for gift card. Lawyers hate to see things in email because you can use that against them. Phone calls don’t mean anything unless recorded. Get moving.

nan

Write your state Attorney General’s Office and tell them your situation. They will write a legal opinion and hopefully get you restitution and your money back.

Patsy Jones

Check with your bank/credit card company. They may be able to help you.

Heather

Be very careful ordering online with Lowe’s too. They don’t make it clear whether or not the item in your cart is a special order. You only find out when you go to return it and get charged a 20% restocking fee.

DANA

If you paid with a visa credit karma card how long does it take for the money be back on the card

Tony B

I just returned 2 sheets of lattice, no receipt. The lady was kind enough to look up my purchase from their store 2 days prior. I purchased it on a gift card, so I would have been po’ed if I couldn’t get my money back. use your phone number from now on. The ladies said with a phone number and no receipt you can return items. Thanks for the great information.

Darla W

When I first moved into my House six months ago, I excitedly bought three Fanimation Aire Drop ceiling fans from Lowe’s. Now that I’m getting ready to install them, I see that I bought bronze, but would rather have the silver.

While I was at Lowe’s for some other reason, I asked the service desk if I could bring in the other ones and exchange them for silver. Both products are still current, active products being sold in their store.

All our unopened in the original box with all of the hardware and documentation They said I could not return them because it had been more than 90 days since I purchased them. I said I didn’t want to return, rather exchange.

They said “we don’t do exchanges or returns After 90 days “. This is the same store that will give you one year to return a Dead plant.

What is going on? I Like Lowe’s better than Home Depot until now. I feel like they don’t care about my loyalty at all, So I guess I don’t need to be loyal to them anymore. What a bummer.

Theresa

I work at Lowe’s and we have the new return policy posted and follow it to the T, no exceptions. For online returns, there is no putting it on a “store card” as all returns go back to the form of purchase, no cash or store card unless that’s what you used for the original purchase.

In our Red Vest system there are no overrides by managers, all items will require a receipt or as mentioned above, the form of purchase.

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