Store-by-Store Return Policy for Holiday Shoppers

By Lyneka Little

Dec 26, 2012 10:45am

The holiday season is coming to an end and many Americans are left with gifts that may be too big, too small, broken or just not the right selection.

According to the National Retail Federation,  consumers were expected to spend $586.1 billion on holiday shopping, up 4.1 percent from 2011.   Now shoppers and gift recipients may have products that need to be returned to the store and rapidly aging receipts.

Before you stand in a long in-store line, we compiled a list of return policies for major stores. Here are the return policies at some of your favorite stores:

Amazon.com
Items shipped by Amazon.com between November 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012, may be returned until January 31, 2013, for a full refund, subject to Amazon’s other return guidelines, which are listed on the Website.

Best Buy
Gift purchases made between November 4, 2012, and December 24, 2012, can be returned through January 24, 2013.

Kohl’s
Kohl’s has a hassle-free return policy, which allows customers to return any item at any time. Customers with a receipt are offered full refund and exchanges. Customers with a gift receipt are offered an even exchange or merchandise credit. Customers without a receipt will get a merchandise credit good toward anything in the store. Or, if a customer paid with a Kohl’s Charge or other credit card, Kohl’s can look up the purchase and give a refund or even exchange.

Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club will refund purchases in full with a receipt. Customers without a receipt will be refunded the latest selling price of an item on a shopping card. Electronics such as Televisions, computers, projectors, digital music players, cameras and camcorders must be returned within 90 days of the original purchase and with a receipt. Cell phones must be returned within 30 days of the original purchase and with a receipt.

Target
Target requires a receipt for all returns and exchanges and most returns must be made within 90 days. Any exceptions are clearly noted on store shelves and printed on the front of  receipts. Target also has a receipt look up for items purchased using a credit, debit, check or GiftCard. Items from the Neiman Marcus and Target collaboration must be returned by Jan. 5, 2013.

Walmart
For items that typically have limited returns or exchanges, such as TVs, cameras, computers, DVD and music players, if purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24, the limited 15-30 day return period will begin Dec. 26. For most items, Walmart accept returns within 90 days after purchase. Walmart gives customers the option of a cash refund (if the purchase was under $25), a shopping card for the amount of the purchase (if it was over $25), a credit to the customer’s credit card (only with receipt) or an even exchange for the product. Walmart will follow any manufacturer’s warranties.

Here are some tips from “Good Morning America” on making returns:

1. Expect a 15-day return window on electronics from the time of purchase, so if you want to return something, get back to the store as soon as possible.
A notable exception is Walmart, which adjusted its return policy temporarily for the holiday season: “For these items purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24, the limited return period will begin Dec. 26. This includes items such as TVs, cameras, computers, DVD and music players that can have a 15-30 day return period.”
2. While time is of the essence, returning a gift the day after Christmas insures a long wait at the store’s customer service desk. Staggering that return could be the best course of action, but since Dec. 26 falls on a weekday this year, many people will be working. Your best bet might be to wait until Thursday or Friday this week.
3. It’s highly likely store clerks will ask to see your identification when you make returns. Don’t be offended. For many stores it’s become their new policy to try and prevent fraud and the return of stolen merchandise using counterfeit or forged receipts.

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