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

Updated November 20, 2023 by Kyle

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 questions, I got answers. Let’s get right 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?

Yes, they can limit returns without a receipt and they absolutely do as part of their fraud prevention program.

Within a 1-year period they allow you to make $150 worth of returns without a receipt.

They’ll ask for your photo ID and track your returns that way.

Once you reach the $150 limit, you can’t make any more returns without a receipt until time has passed.

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.

The reason 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.”

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.

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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Would I be able to return a tablet without a receipt? Someone gave my mom one and she doesn’t want it and she doesn’t have a receipt. Also she’s pretty sure but not 100% positive that her friend got it from target so could they look it up by its serial number to find the receipt or at least to make sure it’s acually from Target and not like Walmart or something so she doesn’t accidentally take it to the wrong store? I looked it up on their website and it says it’s $119.99. I’m not sure if it matters but it wouldn’t be the exact same target location because her friend lives a few hours away.

Claudia V

Was she able to return ?


No electronics are not returnable to target without some form a payment optical. That means by card, circle rewards application or by original receipt. I know this first hand I’m an employee there.

Julie Deane

I’m wondering if I can return a used, tried but doesn’t thrill me vacuum, Shark brand. I have my receipt and it’s not even been 2 weeks?


Caveat to Target being able to look things up on your card: if you’ve used the same card to buy the same exact item more than once at different prices,they will only able to bring up the most recent purchase. Say you bought a lunchbox for $20, and then found the exact same lunchbox on sale for $15 and bought it again intending to return the $20 one. If you lost the receipt for the $20 purchase, you’re out of luck. If you have them look it up on your card, the $15 lunchbox is going to come up because it was the most recent purchase. This is how it works for any number of the same item. Say you haven’t returned the lunchboxes yet, and you find it again for $8 … , the one for $8 is now the most recent purchase, and if you’ve lost both the $20 and $15 receipts they won’t be able to “see” those on your card. The only way around this is to return all the items.. one at a time or sepesretky, doesn’t matter. Once the most recent lunchbox is scanned as being returned, the second one will be “visible” to them, and able to be returned for the “most recent” price, and so on. Then you can buy the cheap one back (if they are nice) or hopefully there’s one still in-stock.

One other thing you can do.. say you have that $20 lunchbox with no receipt, and you find it again for $8. Use a different method of payment to buy the $8, and then they can still look up the $20 on the first card without you having to jump through hoops to clear off your card.


If I have an item I’d like to return, but don’t have the receipt, and the item is $179.99+tax… would I still be able to return for store credit? or would they refuse it because of their $70.00 policy?


İ bought one item to Target with cash. Can I return without receipt?


Has anyone ever returned used baby clothes that are target brand, would they let you exchange it for something else?




I bought a board game this is not fun at all. Can I say it’s missing a piece and then exchange for unopened and then return the unopened one?


We made a split payment purchase for food and toys. At the time, the cashier assured us we could specify how much and/or which items we wanted to pay with one credit card and the rest on another credit card. We also used coupons for food items.
It didn’t work that way. The system applied more than we wanted on one card then the remainder went on our other credit card. We didn’t discover this until we got home and looked closely at the receipt. After calling the store and speaking to the LOD (lead on duty), she explained we could go back to their store for a post-void, or the nearest store for a full refund and then be recharged according to our choice of payment method in two transactions.
We didn’t bring any of the items back to the store we only needed to be recharged, but as they were half way through the returns process, the system said some of the toys were not on the receipt though they clearly were. The team member was inputting the numbers manually from the receipt so she tried repeatedly in case she was mistyping, but she did it correctly and still the system said, “Item not found.”
We ended up returning everything we could and then repurchasing everything in two transactions as intended, but in the end had paid twice for two of the toys since the system would not allow them to be returned. No one could figure out why it happened this way, and they referred us to Guest Relations.
Guest Relations figured out that the coupons that were used for our food items were amounting to the value of the two toys that were not able to be returned. So the system interpreted it as being a form of coupon fraud and wouldn’t allow us to be refunded in excess of what we paid, since it didn’t know we were just repurchasing everything anyway, but without coupons the second time around.
Still, no one understands why it just wouldn’t prevent the return of the food which were the actual items to which coupons were applied, rather than the toys which didn’t have coupons applied.
They call this a glitch, but definitely a warning to a) first, separate our purchases into two transactions rather than relying on a cashier to specify amounts on a split payment, and b) use coupons only on one receipt ensuring nothing on there will need to be returned.
The store’s AP (assent protection) department informed us that in the circumstance where an item cannot be returned due to a coupon on the purchase, Target Corporation is still reimbursed by manufacturers for the value of the coupon even if the system restricts a return as in our case.


just returned a stroller from my registry and they gave me a merchandise credit card but i can only use it in store not online. why can i not purchase something at if the card is from target. very inconvenient and not logical.

now i will take my business to Toysrus to price match the product.


In case of a registry item, the exact item number and upc number has to match what was on the registry for it to be given on a normal giftcard, otherwise the system gives you a merchandise credit for the unmatched item to use in store, hence the black merchandise cards that cannot be used outside the store. Even though it makes it more inconvenient for those returning items that aren’t exactly on the registry, it prevents loopholes from not so very honest people to keep returning items and using their registry to do so. Think of it as a few bad eggs ruined a system for everyone else, but also keeps dishonest people from ruining a business.


No makeup return…went there and it was opened and wouldn’t accept it


I’ve returned makeup probably about 5 times. Opened and used once, though. Did you use very much?


Halo! Quick question if anyone has done this. Buy a full priced item at one target and return it at a differenct target where the item is on clearance. Understand they don’t price match, but what are the odds they reshelf it at the clearance price? It’s a matter of checking the aisle to snag it up at a lower cost. Anyone done this?


Purchased a swimsuit during my lunch break at my University across town from where I live in the DFW metroplex, and paid cash for it (today). While I was in the fitting room I snapped a pic for my mom. She said we could do better, but I had already purchased it when she responded to my picture. I went home, and met her at a Target close to her house to try to find a better suit. I tried to return the suit I had purchased earlier in the day at a Target across the metroplex, and was told that since I paid cash, they could not return it before 24 hours was up at the store I was trying to return it to. I was, however, welcome to drive to the other location (over half an hour away), and return it there. I also had a full cart of items totaling more than my initial purchase. I asked if they could complete an exchange, and they said no. I also asked if they would issue me a giftcard, they said no. Funny thing is… no receipt… no problem. Receipt, tags on, NOPE. There is nowhere in the return policy that this is stated, and I read all of the signs because I was clearly shocked. Worst policy and customer service, and I was shocked it was at a Target.
Moral to the story… don’t drive away and change your mind…

Samantha Ramirez

This policy is in place at all targets because it takes the 24 hrs for the system to register your payment. It’s very tricky and I hope you weren’t rude to the guest service they were only doing their job.


I was denied an even exchange for defective old spice Fiji body spray because I didn’t have a receipt I told the the guy at TARGETS CUSTOMER SERVICES he was wrong he said he wasn’t that it’s even online and i know that’s not true but I just let it be because I’m so tried of teaching these Target employees how to do their job I mean I couldve got my way but I shouldn’t have to fight tooth and nail it just sickens me that TARGET, WALGREEN’S,CVS AND SAFEWAY ALONG WITH OTHER RETAIL STORES TREAT THEIR CUSTOMERS THIS WAY LIKE THEIVES.

Lara Scroggins

I have 2 of the video games that connect to your tv one is Atari one is Pac man never opened bought them at Christmas time and wasn’t able to give to who bought them for I still have receipt can I return for refund or store credit ?


I have a box of unopened baby wipes with gift receipt from 2 years ago can i still return ?