Returning a Gift? Know These Return Policy Changes

Updated August 10, 2020 by Kyle
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Online shopping is awesome. Free shipping, coupon codes, price comparison tools…all designed to help you score a great deal. But what happens if you need to return something, or get an item as a gift that you have no use for? This is when things can get a little dicey and often inconvenient. Or worse yet, cost you more to return than the item is worth. Fortunately, more and more online stores are now offering free returns. Here are some stores doing just that, along with some significant return policy changes that you need to be aware of.

Amazon Box

The Online Retailers That Now Offer Free Returns

A growing trend in 2015 was the number of online stores that offered free returns via mail on unwanted items. No doubt a very handy convenience, and money-saver, for savvy online shoppers. Here are the most note-worthy online retailers that now offer free returns on your Internet purchase:

  • Amazon.com – Only on specific fashion items only.
  • Athleta
  • Banana Republic
  • Bloomindales
  • Eddie Bauer
  • Gap
  • Kate Spade
  • Macy’s
  • Nordstrom
  • Old Navy
  • Online Shoes.com – Free exchanges.
  • PayPal Shopping
  • Saks 5th Ave
  • Shoes.com – Free exchanges.
  • Target
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Zappos

Be-aware of Return Policies Changes

According to Consumer World.org, 2015 saw the institution of some significant return policies changes at specific store that shoppers should be aware of. Here are a few of them:

  • Costco: Costco is known for their very liberal return policy, but it just got a little more stringent. You now cannot return car tires, batteries, or custom orders.
  • Target: Target increased their return policy to 1-year on any of their 32 in-house, exclusive brands.
  • Sears: Sears dumped their 30/60/90 day return policy. Now almost all items need to be returned within 30 days of purchase.

Unusual Return Policies Changes to be Aware Of

Consumer World also broke down some of the more “out-of-the-box” return policies that shoppers should be aware of. Knowledge is power, so be sure you keep these in mind.

  • Best Buy: Elite members now get either 30 or 45 days to return items depending on your “Elite” level at Best Buy.
  • Bloomingdales: To prevent “Ward-robing”, Bloomingdales requires “B-Tags” to stay on clothing items if you want to return them.
  • Express: Also to prevent “Ward-robing”, Express stores require items with “Do Not Remove” tags to remain on for a return.
  • Target REDcard: If you have a Target REDcard, you now get an extra 30 days to return items bought with the card.
  • Toys R Us: Apparently Toys R Us has a “secret” holiday return policy that you won’t find posted in their stores. From ConsumerWorld, “Secret policy: most items bought from September 1 onward can be returned until January 23, except November 1 onward for video game hardware, cameras, music players, etc. Netbooks, eReaders, etc. bought November 1 onward can be returned until January 9.”
  • Walmart: If you’re trying to return an item to Walmart without a receipt, you need to know your options. You can either get a cash refund for purchases under $25, a gift card if over $25, or an even exchange. Keep in mind that you can only make THREE “No Receipt” exchanges in a 45-day period. To prevent shoppers from abusing this policy, they track this data internally in their computer system.

Happy savings and hopefully, easy returns!


By Kyle James

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