10 Big Changes and Quirks in Store Return Policies

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Return windows are narrowing at some big retailers, and others have special policies for the holidays.

Most retailers’ return policies have remained about the same this holiday season as they were last year. But notable changes have occurred at some retailers.

Some major retailers have shortened their return windows. Additionally, a few retailers have made their general return policies more lenient, and many are also offering extended return windows for the holiday shopping season.

These are among the findings of Consumer World’s latest annual return policy survey, released Thursday.

The following five retailers are among those that Consumer World found have made their policies stricter:

  • Costco: Return period for major appliances reduced from open-ended to 90 days.
  • Macy’s: Return policy reduced from open-ended to one year.
  • Target: Return period added for drones (14 days).
  • Toys R Us: Return period added for drones (30 days).
  • Walmart: Return period added for drones (15 days).

The survey found the following five retailers have return policies specifically for holiday purchases:

  • Best Buy: The return deadline is Jan. 15 for most purchases made from Oct. 30 until Dec. 31, although “elite” members may get more time.
  • Kohl’s: The return deadline is Jan. 31, 2017, for premium electronics purchased from Nov. 1 to Dec. 25 of this year. The department store chain defines “premium electronics” as products by certain manufacturers, which are listed on Kohl’s “Exclusions” page.
  • Marshalls: The return deadline is Jan. 23 for purchases made from Oct. 16 until Dec. 24.
  • T.J. Maxx: The return deadline is Jan. 23 for purchases made from Oct. 16 until Dec. 24.
  • Toys R Us: This retailer has a “secret holiday policy,” Consumer World reports: Most items bought from Sept. 1 onward can be returned until Jan. 28. On the other hand, video game hardware, cameras, music players, netbooks and e-readers must have been purchased no later than Nov. 1 to qualify for a return until Jan. 28.

Have you had any difficulties returning holiday purchases in the past? Let us know below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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