Some gifts just don’t work out. Maybe the recipient already has whatever it is, or it’s the wrong size or color, or just doesn’t appeal.
Personally, I’ve had to return two wigs in recent weeks because my daughter is trying to assemble a Comic-Con costume, and the colors just weren’t right. Thankfully, we returned them right away, so it wasn’t a big hairy deal.
At holiday time, though, with traveling and so much going on, it can be tougher to get those returns back to stores immediately. But don’t wig out. Here’s a holiday gift for you: Many stores ease their regular return policies at holiday time, giving shoppers more time to return certain items.
Here’s a guide to some major stores and the policy adjustments they make at holiday time.
Shoppers can buy practically everything on Amazon.com these days, and plenty of holiday gifts surely will come from there. Generally, items sold by Amazon have a 30-day return policy. But the policy is extended at holiday time.
Holiday rules. Purchases shipped by Amazon between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 can be returned for a full refund until Jan. 31, subject to Amazon’s regular return guidelines.
Read the rules carefully for each transaction you make. For instance, just because you complete a transaction on Amazon.com doesn’t mean you’re buying it directly from Amazon. Many third-party sellers offer items for sale on the site. They fulfill and ship their own inventory. Amazon directs shoppers making purchases from third-party sellers to read the Returns and Refunds Policy sections on sellers’ profile pages.
Tech gifts are among the most popular presents in some families, and many of them come from the Apple Online Store. But if you need to return a purchase made from the Apple Online Store, there’s an extended holiday return policy.
Holiday rules. Items purchased from the Apple Online Store that are received by the customer between Nov. 15 and Dec. 25 may be returned through Jan. 8. Purchases from the online store after Dec. 25 fall under the standard Apple return policy, which, generally, is 14 calendar days from purchase for items bought from an Apple retail store or the Apple Online Store.
Maybe your holiday purchase at Best Buy wasn’t a best buy after all. The electronics store has a holiday return policy, too.
Holiday rules. Almost all Best Buy purchases made between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 can be returned through Jan. 14, the store’s website says. This policy has some exclusions, though, and it doesn’t apply to cellphones, cellular tablets, cellular wearables, AppleCare monthly plans and major appliances.
Members of Best Buy’s My Best Buy Elite and Elite Plus programs may have longer to return some items, depending on the date of purchase, although the exclusions mentioned above still apply.
Speaking of generous return policies, Kohl’s is right up there, too. All year long, the department store generally lets shoppers return items within 180 days of purchase, as we note in “7 Retailers With Especially Generous Return Windows.” Kohl’s also is among retailers that give you rewards on every purchase.
Holiday rules. The store gives shoppers a holiday break on returns of “premium electronics” — including tablets and computers, gaming products, printers and TVs, which usually have a 30-day return window. Premium electronics bought between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25 may be returned by Jan. 31 with original packaging and a valid receipt or account look-up.
Macy’s has a pretty good return policy throughout the year: Most merchandise can be returned within 90 days of purchase.
Holiday rules. The giant department store tweaks things slightly for the holidays. Jewelry, watches, small electrics, social dresses (party and formal wear), and merchandise from Macy’s Backstage (a discount arm) purchased as early as Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 can be returned until Jan. 31. Tech accessories and Apple products bought from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31 can be returned until Jan. 8.
An exception: The regular 30-day return policy for Last Act merchandise (think clearance items) is unchanged.
Overstock.com is an expansive online retailer selling everything from artwork to area rugs, shower curtains to sofas. It, too, has an expanded return policy for the holidays.
Holiday rules. For all purchases between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, buyers have from within 30 days of delivery or by Jan. 31 to initiate a return. Returns then need to be received at the Overstock.com warehouse within 15 days of the return initiation. The company notes that items must be in their original condition for a full refund.
Office supplies may not sound like a great present, but Staples sells much more than staples. Laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, craft supplies, TVs and even toys are all for sale. And Staples gives shoppers rewards on every purchase.
Staples’ normal return policies vary, depending on the item. Some purchases (such as unopened software and office supplies) can be returned at any time.
Holiday rules. Electronics and furniture usually have a 14-day return policy, but that is eased over the holidays. Any electronic or furniture product purchased between Nov. 17 and Dec. 24 (but not after Dec. 25) may be returned until Jan. 11 — or even later, if the regular return policy allows (unopened software, for example, can be returned any time).
Electronics, toys, pet supplies — Target has it all. If a gift isn’t quite right, the store eases the rules on returns for some holiday purchases.
Usually, electronics and entertainment items get a 30-day window for a refund or exchange. Apple products (excluding mobile phones) have a 15-day window for returns.
Holiday rules. For electronics and entertainment purchases made from Nov. 1 to Dec. 25, the 30-day return period starts Dec. 26. Apple products (excluding mobile phones) also get a reprieve: The 15-day return period for purchases of Apple products from Nov. 1 through Dec. 25 also starts Dec. 26.
Making a purchase with Target RedCard credit and debit cards adds 30 days to returns of nearly all items purchased using the credit card, at any time.
For more Target tips, check out “7 Ways to Save More Money at Target.”
Walmart has a 90-day return window for most items, and it remains in force in the holiday season for those purchases.
Holiday rules. For items with 14- or 30-day return windows that are purchased between Oct. 24 and Dec. 24, Walmart starts the clock for returns on Dec. 26. The 30-day return policy generally applies to most electronics, from drones to digital-music players, TVs to tablets. The 14-day return window affects pre- and post-paid cellphones.
The holiday policy doesn’t affect Marketplace items, which are third-party seller items sold on Walmart.com. Buyers should check each Marketplace seller’s return policy.
Have you run into trouble returning holiday gifts? Tell us about it in a comment below or at Money Talks News on Facebook.