The Walmart Return Policy Finally Explained on a Single Page

Updated November 3, 2021 by Kyle
236
comments

Have you ever tried to read and understand the Walmart return policy? If you have, you’re already aware you have to read 5 separate web pages to find all the details of how their return process works. Who’s got time for that? Not me. Why Walmart doesn’t condense it all to a single page…I have no idea. So I figured I’d take the bull by horns and do the work for you. Here’s exactly how their return policy works so you can quickly find the answers to your questions and get on with your life.

Walmart Return Policy

COVID-19 Update (10/28/21):

Walmart is once again allowing NORMAL returns of the following items in ALL states:

  1. Food
  2. Paper goods
  3. Home cleaning supplies
  4. Laundry soap
  5. Pharmacy items
  6. Health & beauty products
  7. Clothing/apparel/shoes

How Many Return Days Are Available?

90 days. For the vast majority of in-store Walmart purchases, you have 90 days to bring the item back for a full refund.

To make the process go quickly, keep the original packaging, manuals, and receipt. Your refund will be issued back to your original form of payment.

What Items Have Less than a 90-Day Return Window?

With the following items, you have less than 90 days to return it:

15 Days: Prepaid cell phones, computers, printers, digital cameras, camcorders, tablets, GPS devices, digital music players, drones, portable video players.

14 Days: Post-paid cell phones.

30 Days: Air conditioners, dehumidifiers, evaporation coolers, generators, and pressure washers.

60 Days: Prescription glasses.

1 Year: Perennial plants, shrubs, trees, and bulbs.

See Also: 9 Freaking Awesome Ways to Save Money at Walmart

Is There a Holiday Return Period Extension?

Yes.

For 2021, purchases made between November 1st and December 25th (that come with a 15 or 30 day return policy), your window for returns doesn’t start until December 26th.

All other items with a 90-day return window still have the same 90 days from date of purchase to make the return.

Can I Return Food Items In-Store?

Yes.

You can return foods items within 90 days ONLY if you have your receipt.

I was told by a Walmart manager that if you don’t have your receipt you CANNOT return food under any circumstance.

This policy applies to frozen foods as well.

Are There Any Items I Can’t Return?

Yes.

The Walmart return policy specifies that you cannot return software that was delivered by mail, as well as diabetic supplies.

Update: It also seems that mattresses, fire arms, ammo, pepper spray, prescription drugs, and gift cards are NOT returnable.

Also, alcohol and tobacco products must be returned unopened, with a receipt, to the original store only.

What’s the Walmart Return Policy Without Receipt?

Walmart Receipt

This is where their return policy gets a little bit awesome.

If you’ve lost your receipt, and who hasn’t once or twice, you can still bring the item back for a refund.

I’ve been told that they let you make 3 no-receipt refunds within a 45 day period. If you get denied, you’ll have to wait and try again in a few weeks.

Here’s the skinny on no-receipt refunds, along with your options…

Valid Government Issued ID – You gotta have one and it can’t be tampered with in any way.

Straight Exchange – Simply swap out the item.

Cash Refund – You can only get a cash refund if the value of the item(s) is less than $25. It should be noted that a cash refund is often left up to the manager’s discretion.

Gift Card – Returned item(s) must be greater than $25 to qualify for a Walmart gift card.

What States Allow Me to Return a Walmart Gift Card?

This was a surprise to me. The following states actually allow you to return a Walmart plastic gift card (or Walmart eGift card) for cash.

California – Card must have a balance of $10 or less with original balance above $10.

Colorado – $5 balance or less.

Massachusetts – $5 balance or less.

Maine – $5 balance or less.

Montana – $5 balance or less.

New Jersey – $5 balance or less.

Oregon – $5 balance or less.

Washington – $5 balance or less.

Puerto Rico – $5 balance or less.

Texas – Card must have balance of $2.50 or less with original balance above $5.

Rhode Island – $1 balance or less.

Vermont – $1 balance or less.

I’ll add new states to this list as they become available.

What About Returning Online Purchases?

Great question, glad you asked.

Here’s what you need to know about returning items bought at Walmart.com.

First off, the same return window applies to online purchases. (See above for more details on return days)

You can either return, exchange, or replace your item to your nearest Walmart or you can return it via the mail.

Keep in mind that items bought online using the “Pay with Cash” feature must be returned in-store only.

If you want to return via snail mail simply visit this page and start the return process.

Customers can complete the returns process in just two simple steps:

1. Initiate the Return: Using the Walmart App, select the Walmart transaction and item(s) to return and follow the prompts to start the return process.

2. Finish the Return at the Store: At the store, fast-track through the line via the Mobile Express Lane at the Customer Service Desk.

Scan the QR code displayed on the card reader with the Walmart app, and then hand the item to the associate.

Additionally, Walmart announced that customers returning select items will see an option in the Walmart app allowing them to instantly receive their refund without even making a trip to the store to physically return the item.

This offer will initially be available on select household items, such as shampoo and color cosmetics.

Who Pays the Return Shipping Charges?

Walmart Return

Surprisingly (in an awesome way), Walmart will pick up the shipping charges as long as the item is eligible for a return.

This makes sense for defective items, or if Walmart sends the wrong product.

They’ll even pay the shipping costs if you simply decide you don’t like the item.

I even started a chat session with Walmart to verify this information as their website does NOT make this clear.

Also, as the chat operator noted above, the item must be sold directly by Walmart and not a Marketplace seller.

Can I Return Furniture That I Already Put Together?

Did you buy a desk, dresser, or entertainment center, take it home and build it, only to realize it’s not the right size or defective in some way?

You absolutely can return it but you’ll have to disassemble it, pack it up with all the original accessories, and then take it back.

I Shattered My iPhone Screen, Can I Return It?

If you’re still within the 2 weeks, have the receipt, original box, and accessories you need to take it back to the store you purchased it at and speak with a manager.

I was told by a Walmart representative that most managers will try and work it out with you.

Can I Get a Refund on an Extended Warranty?

If you return an item to Walmart, and you bought an extended warranty for that item, you can get money back on that warranty ONLY if returned within 30 days of purchase.

They don’t process this at the store, instead you’ll get an email with instructions how to do it online.

How Do I Return a Gift Bought From Walmart?

First off, you can’t return a gift via the mail, you must bring it into a Walmart location.

If the gift was mailed to you, be sure to bring-in the packing slip or receipt to initiate the return. This is the only way you can qualify for cash back.

If you don’t have either, try to get the sender’s email address or order number.

If neither can be located, you might be stuck with store credit which is obviously better than nothing.

Can I Return Items to a Different Walmart Store?

While it seems this shouldn’t be a problem, many shoppers have had their return refused and were told to take items back to original store of purchase.

From the comments section, this happened to someone returning plants as well as a necklace.

Since the item was NOT stocked at that location they couldn’t process the return.

Keep this in mind if you regularly shop at different Walmart locations.

Also, if you try and return bakery, produce, meat, or frozen food to a Walmart location that does not have those sections your return will be denied. This is a food safety issue as the store doesn’t have any place to store the items until disposal.

Can You Return Items Bought Out of Country to a U.S. Walmart?

I’ve received different answers to this question. Some stores will take the return, some won’t.

It’s best practice to call ahead and ask your particular store if they’ll process your out of country return.

Who Pays Return Shipping If You Refuse Delivery?

If you’ve ever had something large shipped to you, you’re probably aware that it’s smart to refuse delivery if the packaging or item is damaged when it arrives.

If you do this with a Walmart delivery you may be stuck paying the return shipping fee UNLESS it’s damaged in some way.

If it’s an “over-sized item” and you refuse delivery, even though there is nothing wrong with it, you’re probably on the hook for the return shipping costs.

Conversely, I’ve been told that if you refuse delivery on smaller items Walmart will pick up the tab.

Can You Return a Mattress or Air Bed?

Mattresses bought at Walmart cannot be returned, but air beds can under certain circumstances.

If the air bed is still factory sealed, and you have your receipt, you can return it within 15 days of purchase.

Opened air beds, with a receipt, can be returned within 15 days for a Walmart gift card. If you don’t have you receipt, or it’s past 15 days, you’ll be stuck with an even exchange.

What About Returning Tropical Fish?

Being the owner of a 50 gallon fish tank, I have personal experience with this as we often buy our fish at Walmart.

Originally, tropical fish bought from Walmart came with a 90 day return policy if they were to die, but not anymore.

The new policy is only 3 days and many Walmart locations no longer sell live fish.

I called my local Walmart to verify this information and it is accurate.

By the way, at my Walmart, I only had to bring the receipt back when/if one of the fish died which made entire proposition less stinky for all involved.

Ask the Reader: What’s your personal experience with the return policy at Walmart? Am I missing any useful information? Let me know in the comments below, thanks.


By Kyle James

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

236 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Maria

Beware of split purchases. When returned with receipts and meeting all requirements, walmart will put your entire refund on a gift card. My purchase was made with partial payment on a gift card and the balance on my VISA card. Refunded all to a gift card. Not ethical

Candy R Strickland

I’m getting ready to take to kitchen appliances 1 toaster and a 1.5 quart slow cooker that was gifted to me to see if I can exchange because I do not need them I’ll let you know how it goes

Dee Battista

I tried to return unopened frozen chicken burgers without a receipt today. The person in CS said I could only exchange it even up for the same item. I pointed to the return policy on the wall, she said it doesn’t apply to food. I was so annoyed I just walked away and told her to keep it. I think she was wrong but I try not to argue with idiots and was in a hurry. Who was right?

Jason

This may be a food safety/security requirement. Even if it’s sealed an evil person could still inject something into food without it being noticeable. If there’s no receipt accompanying food item returns, it would make it much harder to catch the culprit if the food turned out to be tampered with. I actually think this is a reasonable policy and hope all retailers require a receipt for food returns.

Jason

Law enforcement catch literally thousands of people every single year because the criminals did something idiotic that easily led straight back to them. Thankfully! And I know for a fact there have been people arrested that were so stupid they tampered with food even INSIDE the store despite the blantly obvious overhead security cameras watching them! The point = don’t assume every criminal has sense enough to think through their actions.

I can’t fathom why anyone would consider it unreasonable to require a receipt for food returns. Honestly, I’ve got several beefs with how Walmart does business but returns isn’t one of them. They have a more generous and easy-going return policy than many other retailers. Lastly, although it should be apparent, I’ll point out that no retailer has any legal requirement to accept a return without a receipt. They are extending you a courtesy if/when they choose to do so.

Kat

This dont make since, they can’t resell the food item, it goes to claims, desposed of so no one getting food someone took home. Plus if they don’t have receipts they have to have ID so they are tracked more so. A cash receipt does not show who you are. Lastly, horrible as it is if an evil person wanted to tamper with food, they could do that right in store.

Jason

Still not seeing anything in the help section of Walmart.com about the Holiday Return Period Extension. Can you please provide a reference to where they state what you’ve posted here? Thanks!

1 7 8 9
28 Shares
Share17
Pin11
Tweet