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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I unwittingly over-bought holiday items at Target during November and December. The week after Christmas, I returned unused items with the tags on and receipts. I wanted to repurchase some of them and store them for next year, as they had gone on clearance. One store let me do this, and even complimented me on the deals I was getting. Another Target would not and was rude about it. The store that said no told me I could come back the next day and re-purchase them if they were available. Seems like a scam to let the employees have the chance to buy these items at a discount. Why else would they refuse to let me repurchase them while they were sitting right in front of me?

I See You

It’s funny that you’re the one pulling the scam and you want to turn it around on employees. Way to go, Karen.


In a way aren’t you being Karen, the idea is a price adjustment.


Exactly ” I see you ” is being a total Karen… she must work at target, lol!


They probably wouldn’t let you bc it’s a store policy. No need to assume that’s a scam. The other store employees probably weren’t being sticklers on a rule


This thread is old, but I had to comment in your defense. There is nothing unethical about returning unused items, for whatever reason, it’s no one’s business. The policy allows it. And there is nothing unethical about buying the same items at the discount that every customer is entitled to. That someone would get defensive on the side of a corporation like that one commenter did is ridiculous. Sell high, buy low anyone??? But I forgot…we live in a society of “rules for thee and not for me”. Smh

Kerri Lee

My fiancé bought me a kitchen aid mixer for my birthday on February 15th and he opened the box, but Target didn’t have the Colbalt blue one I wanted(you had to order it). Do you think they will do an exchange or refund on an opened KitchenAid Mixer?


The 24 hours thing is totally false. If you purchase something you can return it for your money back immediately, but it MUST be at the same store you just bought it at. You can’t return at a different store until 24, hours has passed, unless you get lucky and get a person that doesn’t know what they are doing. Then they will return it because if does still show up and is returnable, only thing is…if you return at a different store in the first 24 hours, the reciept would not show you returned it in their system yet….so that’s why they don’t do that because people who steal will steal multiple and go location to location on the same reciept. And it won’t show as returned at all. Unless returned at the of store. Which is why you cannot return at a different location within the first 24hours.


I had a problem. Bought baby items at one target. Some too small. Went to a different target to return same day so I could buy larger sizes. Said could not return on my charge card at this different store for 24 hours. Would have to drive all the way back to original store for same day return. Interesting as that is opposite of what you said was cash return policy.


The $150 is a lie. It’s actually $75.


I also think the $75 is a lie. I’m pretty sure my husband didn’t return $75 worth of stuff on his ID, but they said he maxed out. I’d like to see a list of those items.

Last edited 3 years ago by Nan

How about keeping your original receipt or form of payment, so you don’t have to do store credit. This would be the only reason why you’ve maxed out. The target app saves your receipts.
The only reason people do store credit is because the item is over the return policy date.

Good Vibes

I’m sure in your perfect world you have never lost a receipt or God forbid forget to scan your target app barcode. For shame!

Good Vibes

Just yesterday I had to return something without the receipt that was only like eight bucks but the customer service woman at the desk was explaining that I could return with my ID as long as I haven’t gone over $100 in a rolling year. Maybe it varies from location to location but at my target it’s $100 a year.


A few years back, it was $75 per calendar year limit. It’s now $100. However, 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.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but a year goes by in a blink & that stack of returns is still sitting there, untouched, so I’m super grateful for this grace from my beloved Target! We all F up sometimes & it’s nice to get a break. But I only ever return stuff that I know is still actively sold by the stores. And I’m always SUPER NICE to the staff, no matter how they may behave. I’ve worked customer service & retail (& restaurants, & managing people & & &…) so I know what a tough job it is at egregiously low pay.


I purchased a dyson vacuum cleaner during black Friday and gave as a gift to my daughter for Christmas she did not use it until Jan 18, after holidays, when she got it assembled and warranty registered. She only used a couple of times and it did not work right, called dyson, they said she could take back to target, she took back to target, and it was March 11, they said her cut off date was March 2, but she did not receive this until Christmas but because I bought as a gift during black Friday week, this does not make sense, she just wanted to ex change is this right?


I received a roomba as a gift and tried to exchange within the return window, but without a receipt. I wanted to exchange it because it stopped working. They wouldn’t let me return it as they said it was over the amount allowed. This was recently so I think I’m going to try again and insist on speaking with a manager to see if I can get any further.

Cindy long

I got the wrong laptop charger for my daughter who is at college and now she’s back and it won’t fit and they won’t return it because it’s 45 days and they said the charger is considered electronics

Sean J Ressegger

Another dyson question I just bought a new dyson so like 600 and paid cash, I and I can’t find the recite and my wife says that I got the wrong model. The model I was supposed to get is very simaler same line I will they allow an exchange


Here’s a very helpful update that could be added to this already awesome article; with the addition of Target Circle, cash purchases *can* be looked up! 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!

kathy hall

so glad I found your article. I didn’t realize this was like Lands End. I really dislike places where you have to pay to ship it back.
Thanks again.

Carl Heller

I have problems returning constantly at target. They are always telling me my business is not wanted at target, and told to shop at Walmart or a different target store. I’m told I need original receipt, can’t use gift receipt and cant use circle app, or a card look up. I must have original receipt. Also I constantly catch team members lowering the value of my items when I make a return. & when I make a fuss or complain about the illegal business practices they are choosing to do my stealing my return value and not giving me back what I paid, they call the police and make up claims that I’m trespassing on their private property. By they will let teenagers sell chocolate bars out front for $5 a each. Which are sold in store for less than $1. I claim discrimination and I’m told by police that if I come back I’ll be arrested. ….. What a trip, I’m an ex employee too so I know they are full of shittttt


The target policy for returns on their merchandise is 90 for in store returns anything after the 90 days you have to return online. The target system only gives a 90 day limit on all qualifying returns and 30 days for electronics.
also anything from Apple or made by apple only have 14 days from the date of purchase just like best buy.


Umm are you a professional returner? You rat yourself out for being a scumbag and want sympathy? Hahaha loser. Then you try and get people to hate kids selling stuff for a good cause? Wow you are the type of person that should be arrested for pulling your shenanigans, ya bum


I ordered GTA 5 will they send another copy to me or will I have to do any steps if I request another one


What about an 8 x 10 area rug purchased online?


I had lost the receipt and it was 72 dollars . I always use my number r I had purchased pants before Xmas the cashier said she couldn’t take it back no receipt I said I used my number the cashier asked the security guard he says nope the number is only for deals I’m like are you kidding me! I d I mt do returns at target noway did it reach 150! I could exchange a sweater sweatpants and kids jacket told my friend to use her ID I’m like whattt oh th r brands u bought cannot be returned wo a receipt I’m like whatt?? And today I bought English muffins bagels was charged 2xs for the bagels I bring it t I the cashiers attention and she gives me a merchandise credit I say I would of out it back on my card or took the cash sorry it didn’t give me the option I’m like wow! Mind you I spend a small fortune at target too!
Someone did have my license for months and n d I got it back but that was over the summertime d I’m wondering if they were doing returns with my license?,


Can I return something I purchased at one Target to another store and receive a credit on my credit card?