The Walmart Return Policy Finally Explained on a Single Page

Updated August 4, 2020 by Kyle
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Have you ever tried to read and understand the return policy at Walmart? 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 (7/24/20):

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

  • Food
  • Paper goods
  • Home cleaning supplies
  • Laundry soap
  • Pharmacy items
  • Health & beauty products
  • Clothing/apparel/shoes

Returns on certain items (clothing) will continue to be temporarily paused in these states:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Washington D.C.
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming

Any item that was purchased between April 20 – June 15, and was temporarily not allowed to be returned, can now be returned all the way up to September 15th.

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: 11 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 If I Lost My 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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Teresa

You left out info on returning clearance items with the yellow tag…….I have had some stores tell me that the policy is NO returns on clearance items of any kind. Yet other stores will return them without batting an eye!!! The return policy should be the same NATIONWIDE. But what is it on clearance items?
Actually in a store right now wondering, before I buy.

Jessica Robinson

Hello, Im Jessica R.
I really do appreciate all hard work and research. Not sure if you know this part or just forgot to write it. Also, it could be different in different states. However, here in Ocala, Fl., Walmart only allows you to return items without a reciept 3 times a year for returns over $20, if its under $20 I believe they allow a few more times than 3. Never could get a definite answer from anyone at Walmart. I do that I had to return things under $20 without reciept and im pretty sure it was like 6 different times.

Star

Would I be able to return or even just exchange my steam cleaner vacuum? We bought it maybe a year ago, but we have lost the box and receipt and now it has stopped working, would Walmart let us return or exchange this item?

pam

The Walmart store at 133rd and State Line in KC MO will only allow two returns without a receipt—any return made after that will not be allowed. They have said that was Walmart’s policy, manager or not!

Chris

I bought a rug cleaner about 2 weeks ago. I have the receipt. It is defective. The water leaks all over the rug. I did not keep the box like an idiot. Can i still bring it back since it is defective and i have had it less then 2 weeks and i so have the receipt.

Mel

I just did an online return because I realized that the shirt I bought was a “Big Mens” size. I answered one question of why I was returning (I don’t want it anymore) and it said “Your all set. You can keep this item.” It didn’t say to bring it into the store. I’m a bit surprised. I guess because it’s a small item that was on sale, they don’t want it back. The refund is pending, but I’ll see if it goes through in a few days.

Emo

Hi Kyle, my wife and I actually ran into an interesting issue. I wasn’t able to find any literature on it but I did get about 8 people to confirm via chat, phone and in-store. When dealing with exchanges, Walmart cannot honor a sale price when the item is no longer on sale. This is a bit insane to me and everyone I’ve mentioned it to.

We bought a laptop on Cyber Monday and key parts of it broke 12/18. When we tried to exchange it out we were told we needed to pay the difference of what the current price is. This again, is insane. Thinking of something that has a one day sale, should anything happen after you receive it, you are SOL. This was purchased on Walmart.com and was directly through them, not market place.

CS on the phone said it was out of stock, but I told them I could clearly purchase the item online at that moment since I was looking right at it on their site. They said since the item and price it was listed at wasn’t showing anymore, it was considered as out of stock. So the item+$ = 1 inventory unit. Sadly this has steered us away from ever considering Walmart as an option for anything regardless of how good a deal is. We were able to get a full refund by returning it but now that the season deals are nearing end if not already over, we are out of luck on getting a solid deal on a laptop at the moment.

You would think you could get a straight exchange for a defective unit but doesn’t seem to be the case here. Would love to know if anyone has experienced or found a solid way around what seems to be a policy that I can’t find anywhere. I interpret contracts and Rules Tariffs for a living, this one is a bit lost on me.

DanB

Hi Emo. A few days ago, I posted my story about trying to exchange a defective item that was originally purchased on sale, at a Walmart store in Canada. It was a long post but in a nutshell, the C/S Manager told me the same as you were told, I refused to accept it, and then I escalated to the store manager and was told “No problem. Staff was wrong”. Had my exchange processed right then and there.

I did note in my post that Walmart.com’s Help page states conflicting or ambiguous things – both “purchase it [again] after returning the original” and “exchange”. Here in Canada, our .ca website, receipts, and posted-in-store policy make no mention of that, simply “Exchange or refund” (implied: your choice, exceptions notwithstanding).

It would be nice to see clarification from Walmart’s head office.
I think I will do just that, at least from Walmart Canada.

Tommy

Hi im trying to find out if i get a swimsuit from walmart online can i return it ether online or in the store

Annoyed anonymous

I just returned an item to the store and asked for store credit bu gift card bc i was turning around to buy something else and was denied. I then asked for cash and was again denied. I was told its the policy and there is nothing other than the original card that can be used. I figured the lady just disnt wamt to do her job

Rickey

How long does it take for them to run return your money on debit card after a return, it’s been 3-5 business days and I still don’t have my money.

KIRA

Keep in mind that makeup must be exchanged for items within that same department, atleast in Wisconsin.

Sandra Vidrine

Bought a digital converter box on February 28 and tried to return it today March 1i bc I couldn’t use it. My son in law was sick and couldn’t come until yesterday. Spent $40.00 and can’t use it. Wal mart in Ville Platte Louisiana refused to take it back. They could have given be a gift card. But instead I’ll take my shopping elsewhere.

Daylonsha rivers

Can you return air beds if they are opened

DanB

One important thing this article does not address is EXCHANGES for defective items within Walmart’s stated Returns window. Four reasons I mention this: – 1) your article talks about REFUNDS only; – 2) Walmart’s Returns Policy doesn’t adequately make a distinction between returns and exchanges, or adequately explain how defective-item exchanges are processed; – 3) Walmart’s Returns Policy, as stated on the back of the receipt (or online or in print, at the store) and what Walmart’s in-store C/S reps tells customers is policy are not necessarily the same thing! – 4) the C/S Manager that I spoke with the other day at a local store (Walmart Canada) told me that exchanges are considered returns-and-rebuys. Therefore, she explained, if the item was originally purchased when it was on sale, the amount credited for the return may be less than the current selling price, and in such cases, the customer has to pay the difference. Again, nowhere (in Canada, at least) was this stated in print; I see in Walmart.com’s Help section, the ‘Returns, Replacements and Refunds’ document does say “If the store carries the item you can purchase it after returning the original” while elsewhere in same uses word “exchange”). As absurd and abhorrent as this policy sounded to me, if she was stating it truthfully & accurately, then customers need to know about it — and if she was wrong about it, then one has to question her training and instruction and whether other C/S reps & Managers chain wide are similarly in the habit of misrepresenting the defective-item exchange procedure to customers. My story is as follows. It’s long, and absurd. Having been directed to be the product manufacturer, I tried to exchange a defective video game controller but encountered all kinds of unnecessary roadblocks from my local Walmart’s C/S desk staff. 15 minutes of well-reasoned and always-polite arguing from me got me /nowhere/. I had to escalate 2 (or was it 3?) times to get a satisfactory result. Upon arrival at the C/S desk, the first issue I encountered was that the C/S rep was adamant that my 2 months-old controller only had a 14-day returns window, per their Returns Policy, due to it being “a video game”. Having verified online beforehand, I insisted that it had a 90-day returns window — per its product page on Walmart’s website (.ca as I’m in Canada). “That’s the website. Our store policy isn’t necessarily the same”, she said. [quote from website: “Our return policy is the same for both online and in store purchases with just a few minor differences”, and those differences being commencement of returns window, alcohol returns, returns from third party sellers, etc). “Can you please check the SKU in the computer and confirm that that’s accurate?”, I asked, as she hadn’t scanned my item and therefore had no actual product information to refer to in front of her. No. “That information isn’t available to us.” I pulled up Walmart.ca on my phone and showed her the differences in product-page-specific return policy between video games consoles (PS4 = 14 days) and my controller (90 days). I then read the Return Policy as stated on the back of my cash register receipt and noted each exception, stressing that it stated 14 days was for “video game consoles and video game handhelds” and that “and accessories” was never mentioned. “A controller is handheld”, she said. “A video game handheld refers to a portable gaming console, like a GameBoy or Nintendo (2/3)DS.” Wikipedia will back me up, but in her mind, I was wrong. I asked if there was anyone else we could get input from. She called the C/S Manager over. Went through the same thing. “It states many things, but does it say ‘video game accessories’ anywhere?”, I asked. “No”, she admitted. I then asked her to read out loud the sign that was mounted behind the C/S desk, as it stated, in large print: “We will happily Exchange or Refund merchandise […] within 90 days of purchase, with a receipt*.” “See the asterisk? That means there are exceptions”, she said. I nodded in acknowledgement and replied: “Yes, and the exceptions are all stated in the Policy so that ‘differences of opinion’ between customer and staff are avoided. C/S Manager: “Not true. Not all the exceptions are written”. That somehow led her into suggesting I go back to the original Walmart location I’d purchased from because the manager there “might” be able to make an exception for me. Of course, that prompted me to remark: “So are you saying that if I’d originally bought it at this location, you’d have the authority to make the same exception?” (Aside, I should note in reference to some previously made comments in this thread that my item was a popular and regularly stocked item, available at all Walmarts). Nothing in print says that returns or exchanges must be made at the original location, so of course I’m going to come to my local store rather the far away one that I happened to originally purchase an item at, and as such, why should I accept different treatment? She was adamant that this was another unwritten rule. Eventually, she gave in. “I am making an exception for you today,” she announced. She began processing my product exchange. Or rather, as it turns out, my product return-and-rebuy. The cost difference was significant ($74 today vs $40 on sale), and a definite deal breaker! Regarding the difference between my item’s original sale price and the current higher price that she wanted to now charge me, she pointed to their ‘Ad Match’/price protection policy, and said my Return (‘Exchange’, I insisted) was “outside of the [price protection’s] allowable timeframe”. Unbelievable! Price protection is there to protect customers from prices DROPPING after their purchase, not increasing, so, I outright rejected that answer. I tried to reframe it in simpler terms: if a customer bought a bag of cookies last week on sale, but opened them today and found them to be in-date but stale, surely they would not be asked to pay the difference on a straight exchange, nor would they accept it if they were asked. And they must encounter similar returns day in, day out. “You’re right”, she said. But that was easily explained: “Within 7 days of purchase, we don’t ask for the customer for the difference in price”. Again, she was unable to show me where that’s stated in the Returns Policy — and trust me, I made her look for it! She was surprised not to be able to find it. Strangely, I wasn’t. I explained that it is already covered in the ‘Exchange’ part of the “Exchange or Refund within 90 days of purchase” statement. Even so, she wasn’t interested in accepting that or admitting to it. While talking, she scanned my item and then asked for my debit card so she could refund me the $40+tax I’d paid. I stopped her. “So you DON’T want me to process a return today?”, she asked incredulously. “Correct. But I DO want you to process AN EXCHANGE and I DO not expect it to cost me anything.” Her reply: “I cannot… Read more »

Ashly

Hey there! Thanks for all the useful, easily found, tight knitted info! The one thing I am searching for is not on here. Boo. Do you know by chance, since it seems like everywhere (even Wal-Mart now) is selling sexual health items (ie. Vibrators), if Wal-Mart does have returns or exchanges for things like this? Was just curious. Thanks again!

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