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Stores With the Best and Worst Return Policies

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The thought behind a gift counts. But you should also think about buying gifts at stores with generous return policies to make it easier for your friends and family to take back the items they don’t want. Who has time to research store return policies, though?

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Don’t worry: GOBankingRates has done the research for you. We looked at 69 of the top U.S. retailers to find out which ones have the best and worst return policies, evaluating them on the time allotted to return items for a full refund, whether a refund is given in the form of original payment, whether an item can be returned without a receipt, and whether free shipping is available for online returns. The stores on GOBankingRates’ list are organized by retail category.

So, if you’re trying to figure out where to do your shopping (or returning), find out which retailers are the worst and best for return policies.

Last updated: Sept. 13, 2021

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Big-Box Retailers

If you’re planning to do your shopping at a big-box retailer, the good news is that the two biggest players in this retail sector — Walmart and Target — have generous return policies. In fact, Walmart’s return policy is better than many on this list.

Related: The Worst Things To Buy at Walmart and Target

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1. Walmart

  • Days to return for a full refund: 90
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes

Check Out: The Effects of Coronavirus Panic-Buying

Kit LEONG / Shutterstock.com

2. Target

  • Days to return for a full refund: 90
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes

Read: 16 Ways To Save Money on Food Now That Prices Are Rising

rblfmr / Shutterstock.com

3. K-Mart

  • Days to return for a full refund45 for Shop Your Way members; 30 for non-members
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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4. Big Lots

  • Days to return for a full refund30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: No

Spending: The 6 Best Store Credit Cards Worth a Spot in Your Wallet

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5. Sears

  • Days to return for a full refund45 for Shop Your Way members; 30 non-members
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returnsNo

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Clothing and Department Stores

Department stores tend to have better return policies than clothing-only stores. The return policy at Macy’s is one of the better ones. However, the most generous policy is at Nordstrom, which doesn’t place a time limit on returns and doesn’t require a receipt for returns.

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1. Nordstrom

  • Days to return for a full refundNo time limit
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
Miosotis_Jade / Shutterstock.com

2. Bloomingdale’s

  • Days to return for a full refund365
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returnsYes
Helioscribe / Shutterstock.com

3. L.L. Bean

  • Days to return for a full refund365, except for defective items, which will be considered for returns beyond a year
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, if other evidence of purchase can be found
  • Free shipping for online returns: No

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4. Macy’s

  • Days to return for a full refund90
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes

Find out: 19 Things You Can Negotiate

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5. Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic/Athleta

  • Days to return for a full refund45
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes
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6. Neiman Marcus

  • Days to return for a full refund30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes, within 15 days
rblfmr / Shutterstock.com

7. J.C. Penney

  • Days to return for a full refundNo time limit
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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8. Kohl’s

  • Days to return for a full refund180, except for premium electronics
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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9. Zara

  • Days to return for a full refund30
  • Returns accepted without a receiptNo — Even exchanges only
  • Free shipping for online returnsYes
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10. Victoria’s Secret

  • Days to return for a full refund: 90
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes

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11. Abercrombie & Fitch

  • Days to return for a full refund: 60
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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12. Anthropologie

  • Days to return for a full refund: 60
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only as an exchange
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
rblfmr / Shutterstock.com

13. Express

  • Days to return for a full refund: 60
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Even exchange only
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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14. Lane Bryant

  • Days to return for a full refund: 45
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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15. Burlington

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: N/A
JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com

16. Marshalls

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30 for store purchases, 40 for online purchases
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
Helen89 / Shutterstock.com

17. TJ Maxx

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30 for store purchases, 40 for online purchases
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: No

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18. H&M

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: In-store exchange only
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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19. Dillard’s

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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20. Dollar General

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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21. Forever 21

  • Days to return for a full refund: 60
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

22. Ross Stores

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit and you must show ID
  • Free shipping for online returns: N/A
MontenegroStock / Shutterstock.com

23. Saks Fifth Avenue

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com

24. Dollar Tree

  • Days to return for a full refund: Does not offer refunds
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: N/A

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Electronics and Game Stores

Unfortunately, electronics and game stores have some of the worst return policies. In fact, Apple has the shortest return policy of any retailer on this list — only 14 days.

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1. Newegg

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: Only on items eligible for replacement. Otherwise, a restocking fee of 15%-30% applies.
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

2. Apple

  • Days to return for a full refund: 14
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes
rblfmr / Shutterstock.com

3. GameStop

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30, except for pre-owned items, which get seven days
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes
Juan Llauro / Shutterstock.com

4. Best Buy

  • Days to return for a full refund: 15
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes

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Health and Beauty Stores

Among health and beauty stores, MAC Cosmetics and Bath & Body Works have the best return policies.

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1. MAC Cosmetics

  • Days to return for a full refund: No time limit
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes
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2. Bath & Body Works

  • Days to return for a full refund: No time limit
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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3. Ulta

  • Days to return for a full refund: 60
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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4. Morphe

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30 days after stores reopen from COVID-19 closures for store purchases; 60 days from shipping date for online orders
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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5. Sephora

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: Only if return is due to Sephora’s error
MeinaLiao / Shutterstock.com

Home Goods and Furniture Stores

Some home good stores offer only 30 days to return items, and several don’t allow returns without a receipt. Only one retailer offers free shipping on returns.

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1. Bed Bath & Beyond

  • Days to return for a full refund: 90
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit; some form of proof of purchase is required
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes
Dmitry Sedakov / Shutterstock.com

2. Ikea

  • Days to return for a full refund: 365
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: No

Live Music: How Much Money Did the Music Industry Lose in 2020?

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3. Wayfair

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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4. The Container Store

  • Days to return for a full refund: 120
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: N/A
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5. Pier 1 Imports

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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6. HomeGoods

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
Roman Tiraspolsky / Shutterstock.com

7. Crate & Barrel

  • Days to return for a full refund: 90
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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8. Pottery Barn

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: Depends on reason for return
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9. Williams-Sonoma

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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Home Improvement Stores

Fortunately for DIYers, the two biggest home improvement stores — Home Depot and Lowe’s — offer relatively generous return policies. But be careful: One only offers store credit for returns without a receipt.

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1. Lowe’s

  • Days to return for a full refund: 90, except for major appliances, outdoor power equipment, liquid paint, highway trailers and TVs and electronics
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit if purchase can’t be verified
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes
KenWiedemann / Getty Images

2. The Home Depot

  • Days to return for a full refund: 180
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, within 30 days if purchase can be located in system
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes
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3. Sherwin-Williams

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Proof of purchase required
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

4. Menards

  • Days to return for a full refund: 90
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but you must print a receipt for check or credit card purchases using the return receipt kiosk in stores or show ID
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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5. Ace Hardware

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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Office, School and Art Supply Stores

“I want a stapler for Christmas,” said no one ever. But if you have a friend or family member who needs office supplies or kids who love arts and crafts, the stores that sell these items have consumer-friendly return policies. The best, by far, is at Staples — which allows returns at any time for a full refund or store credit if you don’t have a receipt.

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1. Staples

  • Days to return for a full refund: No time limit, except for electronics and furniture, which get 14 days, and unopened software, which gets 30 days
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

2. Joann Fabric and Craft Stores

  • Days to return for a full refund: No time limit
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com

3. Michaels

  • Days to return for a full refund: 180
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes
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4. Hobby Lobby

  • Days to return for a full refund: 90
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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Online Retailers

Amazon has one of the best store credit cards, which you might want to consider if you frequently shop on the site.

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1. Amazon

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: No, but Amazon will automatically return up to $20 for return postage if return postage exceeds $20
Il.studio / Shutterstock.com

2. Overstock

  • Days to return for a full refund: 30
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: Only for defective item or Overstock error
WebSubstance / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Pet Stores

Don’t forget Fido or Fluffy. You’ll likely find what you need for your animal friends at Petco and PetSmart. But do these two popular pet stores have the return policies you need, too? Turns out, their return policies are essentially identical.

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1. PetSmart

  • Days to return for a full refund: 60
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
Roman Tiraspolsky / Shutterstock.com

2. Petco

  • Days to return for a full refund: 60
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
SrdjanPav / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Shoe Stores

Shoes can be a tricky gift to buy. Even if you know the recipient’s shoe size, there’s no guarantee that the fit will be right. Fortunately, online shoe retailer Zappos provides free shipping and ample time to make returns for a refund — 365 days. However, other retailers aren’t quite so generous.

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1. Zappos

  • Days to return for a full refund: 365
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes
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2. DSW

  • Days to return for a full refund: 60, or for store credit thereafter
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
DisobeyArt / Shutterstock.com

3. Foot Locker

  • Days to return for a full refund: 45, or 30 days after stores reopen following COVID-19 closings, whichever is later
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
tjhunt / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Sporting Goods and Recreational Stores

If you’re shopping for sports fans or outdoor enthusiasts, one retailer stands out for its return policy: Big 5 Sporting Goods. You can return store purchases for a full refund at any time if you have a receipt and for store credit without a receipt. The one drawback is that it doesn’t offer free shipping for returns.

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1. Big 5 Sporting Goods

  • Days to return for a full refund: No time limit for store purchases; 90 days for online purchases
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
joshuaraineyphotography / iStock.com

2. Recreational Equipment Inc.

  • Days to return for a full refund: 365; 90 days for outdoor electronics
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: No, unless you’re a REI member
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

4. Cabela’s/Bass Pro Shops

  • Days to return for a full refund: 60; fee charged on refunded returns
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes, but only for store credit
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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Wholesale and Warehouse Stores

In addition to low prices, these stores make it easy to return items if you’re not satisfied with them. Of these retailers, Costco offers the most generous return policy.

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1. Costco

  • Days to return for a full refund: No time limit, except for electronics, which get 90 days
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: Yes
Richard Bradford / Shutterstock.com

2. Sam’s Club

  • Days to return for a full refund: No time limit, except for contact lenses, which get 30 days
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
George Sheldon / Shutterstock.com

3. BJs Wholesale Club

  • Days to return for a full refund: 365, except for major appliances (30 days after delivery); TVs, home theater displays, laptops, tablets (14 days after receipt); and computers and electronics (90 days)
  • Returns accepted without a receipt: Yes
  • Free shipping for online returns: No
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        Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.