Target Return Policy: Smart Tips That Even Target Won’t Tell You

Updated April 30, 2024 by Kyle James

The Target return policy has some interesting twists to it that are worth your attention, especially if you shop there regularly. Do you need a receipt? Should you ever return products at Target you bought online via the mail? Are there any exceptions to their policy? You got MANY questions, so I went out and talked to Target associates and even an assistant manager and got answers for ya. Let’s get to it…

Target Return Policy: Smart Tips and Brilliant Hacks to Make It Work For You

How Many Days Does the Target Return Policy Allow?

90 days.

Target’s baseline return policy allows you to return unopened items within 90 days of original purchase date.

Is a Receipt Absolutely Necessary?

Nope, a receipt at Target is not a requirement for a return.

They can actually look up your order if you made the purchase via the Target REDcard, Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Discover, personal check, or Target Gift Card (you gotta still have the gift card).

See Also: All the Stores That Allow You to Return Items Without a Receipt

Does Target Offer an Extended Holiday Return Policy?


For all purchases made between October 6th – December 25th the return period will start on December 26th.

This means you basically have 90 days from December 26th to make your return.

This essentially gives you until March 26th to make your return.

The exceptions to this are electronics (must be returned by January 26th), Apple products (must be returned by January 9th), and mobile phones (must be returned by January 8th).

Can They Limit No-Receipt Returns?


Target can limit returns without a receipt and they ABSOLUTELY WILL as part of their fraud prevention program.

Specifically, I had an assistant manger tell me that within a 1-year calendar period they allow you to make $100 worth of returns without a receipt (this used to be $150).

They’ll ask for your photo ID and track your returns that way, so it’s basically $100 per ID.

Once you reach the $100 limit, you CANNOT make any more returns without a receipt until time has passed.


From MJ in the comments section, “If you’re returning a few things at a time, the system places the limit, which may allow higher at that moment. Employees have alerted me to this, not really able to explain it, but encouraging me to try adding another item to my return. Earlier this year, I was able to return about $140 in total. That’s it till 2024.”

See Also: Target Drive-Up Returns Service: Is It Worth the Hassle?

What Happens If I Paid With Cash and Lost My Receipt?

In most cases, you’re only out-of-luck if you make a purchase at Target with cash AND you lose your receipt.

BUT…if you sign up for the free Target Circle Rewards program they can look up your order, even when you pay with cash.

Thanks to commenter Casey, “If you are a member, (which is free) and you input your phone number or scan your barcode for every purchase, you will never have to worry about a lost receipt again.

Every purchase is saved. It’s the best, and I wish every store would do this! As an added bonus, you also get money back on every purchase by being a member, so it’s really a win win!”

Thanks Casey, that’s a GREAT tip.

Can I Immediately Get a Cash Refund on a Cash Purchase?

No, you actually have to wait 24 hours to get cash back from the original store of purchase.

Or an even exchange. Or a gift card.

I was told by an employee that this is because it takes 24 hours for your purchase to register in Target’s system.

But…you can drive to a different Target location immediately and get a cash return.

Thanks Jamie for the heads up on this.

I think she summed it up best when she said “Moral to the story… don’t drive away and change your mind.”

Can I Return Items and Rebuy Them If They Go On Sale?


This question comes from Bridget in the comments section.

She overbought some stuff and went to return them at Target (unopened and with her receipt) but then wanted to rebuy a few of the items as they were now on clearance.

One Target location let her do it no problem, and another REFUSED her “re-purchase” and told her she would have to come back the next day to buy the items if they were still available.

The 2nd store is TOTALLY in the wrong as this is essentially a price adjustment which Target encourages.

Bridget thought maybe the employees wanted first dibs on the items by not allowing the re-purchase.

In any case, Bridget did nothing wrong and the store should have let her rebuy the items on the spot.

Are There Any Exceptions to the 90 Days?

Yes, as a matter of fact there are…

1. Opened music, movies, video games and software – You CAN’T return these items but you can exchange them for the same title within 90 days.

2. Opened airbeds – No dice, you’re stuck with it unless you want to exchange it for the same, or similar, bed.

3. Electronics and entertainment items – You have 30 days, not 90, to make a full return or exchange.

4. Drones – You only have 14 days to get your drone out of the sky and return it to Target for an exchange or refund.

5. Gasoline powered stuff – You can return it “in-store only” within 90 days but you gotta take all the gas out of it first or they won’t take it back.

Also, it’s worth noting that NO international returns or exchanges of any kind will be accepted.

Can Alcohol be Returned to Target?


This is not a Target policy but rather a state law.

In other words, some states let you return alcohol and some don’t.

Here is a good list of Alcohol Return Laws by State so you can check what your state allows.

What About Returning Food?

Target Food Return Policy

I wasn’t sure about this so I started a live chat session and asked.

I was told YES, you can return food, opened or unopened, within 90 days of purchase with your receipt.

I originally asked about protein powder that was opened and the chat rep said “Yes”.

I then asked about all other food items and was told those are returnable as well.

So knowing this you are apparently free to try grocery items at Target and return them if you don’t like them.

See Also: When Does Target Restock Stuff? Here’s How It ALL Works

What About Returning Target Owned Brands?

Target owned brands, there are over 40 of them, are returnable within an astounding 1 year of the purchase date.

It doesn’t matter if the item is opened or used, Target will take back their exclusive brands.

This return policy is especially impressive when talking about their kids and baby clothing line, Cat & Jack’s, as they’ll take back clothing that’s been worn and abused for up to 365 days. 

Try to keep your receipt because it will make your return much easier.

Here are all the Target brands that are eligible for the 1 year return window:

Target Brands

What About Opened or Damaged Items?

Not a problem….usually.

If the product is still eligible for a return, you can bring it back to Target for an exchange or refund in most cases.

Target does reserve the right the deny or refuse a refund on opened items.

They don’t say specifically what circumstances would trigger this, but I’m guessing it would have to do with excessive returns or fraud by the customer.

See Also: Confused by the Walmart Return Policy? I Finally Explain It So It Makes Sense

Can You Return Clearance Items to Target?

Target Clearance Sticker

Yes, you can return clearance items to Target.

The only thing you can’t do with a clearance item is get a price adjustment if the price of the item dropped even further.

See Also: 7 Target Clearance Tips That’ll Save you BIG Money

How Do You Get a Longer Return Window at Target?

Would you be stoked to get a return window of 120 days rather than the standard 90 days?

If so, you should consider applying for the Target REDcard (debit or credit card) as it comes with an extra 30 day return window.

Target Return Policy “Insider Hacks”…

What would this article be without a few smart hacks to maximize your Target “return experience”.

1. Purchases on

Don’t return items you bought online via snail mail.

Instead, just take the product back to your local Target and get ‘er done in a few minutes with no hassles.

Otherwise, you’re going to have pay return shipping fees unless the reason for the return was an error by Target.

2. Want to Return Beauty Products to Target?

Not a problem, you can even return makeup that’s been opened and used within 90 days of purchase.

3. Gift Registry Items.

Items from gift registries (like baby & wedding) can be returned within an astounding 1 year.

The year starts from the date of the event, not the date of purchase.

Don’t have the receipt? No worries.

Just print out the “Gifts Purchased” list from your online registry and it’ll work just like a receipt.

Ask the Reader: Have you ever had an issue with return policy at Target? If so, what was it and how did it pan out?

By Kyle James


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Do I have to give the associate my ID if I don’t want them to hold it because of fraudulent incidents can I just hold my ID and let them scan it because truthfully some people are devious and untrustworthy I can’t put nothing past nobody so what is the big issue about me holding my ID instead of letting somebody get my ID and walk off with it and then come back

Franklin Theelen

I bought a clearance item (tv) that doesn’t work. Can I ask for an exchange tv?

Last edited 11 months ago by Franklin Theelen
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