The Walmart Return Policy Finally Explained on a Single Page

Updated November 9, 2020 by Kyle
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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 (11/09/20):

Walmart is starting to once again allow returns of the following items in most states:

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

NOTE: Returns have returned to normal except in these 2 states:

  • California
  • Illinois

Both of these states are still pausing the return of the 7 items mentioned above.

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.

Holiday Return Period Extension: For purchases made between November 1st and December 24th, 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.

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

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

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Donna

I was in Walmart two days ago and one of the store managers who was assisting with my ammo purchase recommended one brand on sale, I paid for my things at the counter by the ammo and another associate the person who works in the section came back and started to bag my purchases. The manager that assisted me initially left as the other person bagged. The guy bagging asked why did I get the metal bullets told him I couldn’t really see what it was because I was not wearing my glasses and he said that is a poor quality choice and recommended another so I got what he recommended and walked to the front of the store to return the first ones I bought. I was told I can’t return them due to federal law. Then I can’t return them because of potential tampering. Now I walked from the back of the store to the front, never leaving the store or the watchful eyes of the best surveillance system that Walmart operates. They can see who you dial on your phone or what is in your purse when you open to pay.
I feel conned and like they stole my money.
One of the manager on duty was a royal jerk about it so I plan to formally file a complaint with Cooperate Walmart tomorrow and might even file a small claims case against them because it is that serious to me.
I understand the no return due to potential tampering which is not a Federal Law as they claim but one I support. However, when could I have tampered with those bullets?
I did call back yesterday and spoke with another manager who was shocked that I never left the store and they still refused to give me my money back. He offered to have a conversation with the over all store manager who only works Mon to Fri. SO I will see what happens.
Regardless, I am done with supporting and organization with this kind of mentality.

Karen

You should have asked to speak to the manager that was helping you at the beginning of your purchase as you had not yet left the building. He would have known You situation and might have been able to assist you. Unfortunately it is a Federal law that all sales are final on ammunition.

BMYancey

I bought some clearance maternity clothes online. When I initiated a return for 2 articles that were $8.99 each, I got a pop back message from Walmart telling me “you may keep this item,” and that I would “expect to see my refund in a couple days.” How is this that I allowed to keep these 2 items and receive my money back? (Walmart return policy stated “some items are not eligible for return”. Is this why?) Thank you.

Sherrie

I purchase some cold medicine and can not find the receipt can you return to Walmart for refund or exchange.

pat

you can only return twice a year without receipt, not even exchange for different size, some items are two strikes against you right away and it goes into computer, i tried 1200 miles away, i have a habit of tossing receipts out with bags, i’ve been stuck with several items cause time the year is up it’s too late!!!

Karen

Actually it’s 3 times and should roll off after 45 days. They do have an app called savings catcher that you can scan your receipts into it saves your receipt and also comp shops for you. If it is on sale at a competitor it gives you back the difference and you can retrieve your receipt to use for your return. You must however scan your receipt within 7 days from purchase.

KAREN

I believe above all other employees at Walmart, that the customer service employees should know return policies for their store. I left there without being able to return my item  for my grandson because of the ignorant customer service representative did not even know her store policies as well as I do, the consumer. Actually I went there to exchange, not return, a gift  for my grandson. Every Walmart in the city of Montgomery to include Atlanta Highway, Chantilly, Ann Street, and Eastern Blvd. have the rudest customer service staff that I have ever come in contact with in my 62 years. And I am so sick of it that I have to finally say something.  I should not have to dread going into a Walmart because I have to deal with customer service. They should all be fired, wiped clean across the board and start all over with new hires. Respect and courtesy should be a mandatory training program.

Karen

Unfortunately exchanges without a receipt show up as returns so if you already have 3 on your id without a receipt they will still be unable to help you. They should however be polite even if they have to refuse your return.

R.S.

Hello, I have worked for Walmart almost 2 years doing returns. Let me share with you how to get the most out of your return:

Rule 1: From the beginning of Walmart’s return policy it states: “Walmart reserves the right to warn, limit or decline returns or exchanges regardless of whether the customer has a receipt.” Each store also has the right to change the return policy based on what management wants (this falls under Walmart’s right as a business to have full discretion).

Rule 2: Keep your receipt.

Rule 3: Keep your receipt.

Rule 4: It doesn’t matter if you used the product and didn’t like it, or if it’s defective, or if it had pieces missing. You can still return it based on its return period. Honestly, it doesn’t matter (just tell us the truth about if you used it or not — would you want us to put it back on the salesfloor if you did??).

Rule 5: Non-returnable items for any reason are:
All Firearms and Ammunition, and Pepper Spray
Gas Powered Mini Bikes, Go Karts, Dirt Bikes, UTVs and ATVs
Diabetic Products: Meters, Strips, Lancets, Lancet Devices and Syringes
Prescription Drugs and products containing Pseudoephedrine and Pseudotropine
Electronically fulfilled PINs or minutes for prepaid cellular devices.
Walmart plastic Gift Cards and Walmart eGift Cards are not returnable or refundable for cash except in states where required by law.
Gift Cards or Prepaid Cards in general (as financial products, once activated they must be refunded by the 3rd party company that administers them)

Rule 6: Walmarts that don’t have a fresh, bakery, meat, or frozen section CANNOT take back those items, they must go to the original store, because of food safety and handling guidelines to store the returned items until disposal.

Rule 7: Alcohol/Tobacco – unopened, unused, with receipt only, to original store only, no exceptions.

Rule 8: To those commenting about the product care plan not being refunded after 30 days, I agree, I don’t understand why, but when we return a product after 30 days of purchase date that also had a product care plan, the computer gives a pop-up message “Warranty not refundable, >30 days” and we cannot even hand key the UPC number for it. Go figure, sorry.

Rule 9: I’d you bought a product care plan, after 90 days Walmart will not refund or exchange, in store, you need to go through the 3Rd party company Soluto/Asurion who administers the plan and now is liable for the refund /exchange.

Stacet

I was told by a manager, Arlie, whom i asked to speak with when the customer service clerk insisted she had to give me a gc for my return of 2 skeins of yarn totaling less than 10.00 …The manager proceeded to tell me they never gave cash back w/o receipt and i have shopped and returned with and w/o receipts here for years and have definitely never received a gc on ANY return under 25.00. The policy is right there on the counter, and i feel this needs to be one way or the other but not pick and choose. And regarding a comment i read on here before posting…It does NOT make someone a scammer to ask that the written return policy be honored as it says up to 25.00

Jessica Hatchell

Could someone help me answer this? My boyfriend bought a tablet from Walmart and it required a PIN number on the receipt to activate it. He activated it and used it for a bit finally deciding he wanted to return it especially considering they charger they provided didn’t even fit the tablets charger port. He starts looking for the receipt and cannot find it to save his life! Uhh!

So we take it to Walmart anyways thinking it will be ok and they said that they can’t accept it without a receipt. We explain to them that we had the receipt because we were able to activate the tablet and they tell us to speak to electronics. We go back there and they originally tell us that they can’t do anything because it’s been over 15 days, which it hadn’t but we had no way to prove it without a receipt.

We refuse to leave and explain that it HAS NOT been over 15 days, we were able to activate the tablet, AND it came with the wrong charger anyways! Eventually they call someone over and he scans the tablet, checks some numbers on the box and tablet, and then tells us we can only exchange it for the exact same product and leaves. The original person we were dealing with in electronics attempts to process that in the register and after 15mins of waiting, finally admits he has no idea how to do it the way the guy told him to!

So he says screw it to something on the register and normally exchanges the product for us and give us a receipt for the exchange. My questions is, can we now take that receipt and return the new tablet?

Mr Kyle Beckstrom

Wallmart is the worst company in the entire world. Each wallmart seems to make up their own individual independent return policy. I can understand minor deviation based on interpretation. However most wallmart in Utah are far far far away from what the policy clearly states. I don’t shop at wallmart at all anymore. It boils down to customer service which is non-existent in the heart wallmart and it’s a shame because they used to take care of their customers. But somewhere they got too arrogant and the sickness spread throughout the company and this terrible mindset that the customer is always wrong is even being instilled into the new help.. I will not shop with them not in a million years.

Rhonda Harrell

I was in a hurry,,I bought a Walmart visa gift card. I didn’t know the card itself was $4.95 purchase fee,,ridiculous,,and then it was a limit no less than $25.00, no more than $500.00. I only needed to put $10.00 to use for online purchase,,only to find out that there are NO ONLINE (internet) purchases. Card has not been used,,can I get full refund of $29.94 plus my tax, of course. ?

Dee Danger

Well, I feel everyone’s pain when you actually have the receipt and merchandise, but can not get their refund. I’m in the DFW area of Texas. So believe me when I say people are making a job off of walmart returns. Because of this I’ve noticed that a walmart in a bad neighborhood will have the strictest return policies. I’ve seen Wal-Mart’s return policy change from their grand opening. What happens is they get all this data on returns and they base their policy around customer interaction. If you’re sitting for 8 hours as an employee at their return line, depending where you are, you’re going to come across many fraudulent returns. Employees talk. They also complain. So as a manager, when you get all this feedback about how you’re employee knows they most likely stole it, but couldn’t do anything because of store policy, what do you think happens? So of course that’s why we have so many different answers to the same question.

Midafa

Don’t forget 3 non receipt returns in 45 days. Per ID. So the $10 no receipt cash back is awesome because you won’t need your ID. So in theory you can do it all day long. Did you know there’s no written limit oh him much the return can be without a receipt? The stores try to bs you and claim its $25 or $50. It’s a lie. No amount is stated in their policy. So feel free to bypass the csm and ask for the store manager. They know the real police, no just the ones they teach the help to tell you. As for cash? Walmart cards or store credits can be converted easily into cash.

Ashley Jones

My dad bought a battery for my car in July, has a 5 year warranty. I went in today to have them replace it because it has tested faulty (even their machine said it was) but in order to honor the warranty I had to pay an extra $10 because he used an employee discount. I thought if something was under warranty it should be replaced at no extra charge? Would it have been the same if I had bought it on sale, or if he had bought me a shirt and I wanted to exchange it for a different size, I’d have to pay the difference for what he saved? I’m so confused by this, and even corporate couldn’t give me an answer.

Brad

I bought a bike there and after a month of consistent flat tires I determined it was a rim problem, to get it fixed or buy a new one would have been half what I paid for the bike. I took it back and the lady asked me why I was returning and I explained the many flats on the rear. She then scanned it and it said I could not return it, even though it was only 60 days past sale. Thankfully another employee stepped in and it was taken care of but be careful with bikes at certain stores. I guess it wanted a serial number, somehow they took care of it but it was annoying that just because the computer said something that employee made up her own policy apart from the standard 90 return policy.

KConnorcnmt

I just returned something to a Walmart in Clarksville Indiana and they said that Walmart’s policy is there is a annual limit to returns and whether I was okay to waste one of my returns on my item. I hardly do returns; but i was curious to read more about it and am not finding anything here. Please advise

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