15 Stores With the Best Return Policies

Woman holding a bag labeled "refund"
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Even the most thoughtful holiday gift-giver can’t get it right all the time. To ensure your loved ones are able to exchange that too-small sweater or return the extra toaster, consider shopping at one of these 15 stores.

1. Lands’ End

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The Lands’ End return policy is short and sweet. If you aren’t happy with a product, return it at any time for a refund or exchange.

However, it pays to read the fine print:

Refund requests received within 90 days of purchase will be issued to the original form of payment when available. Refunds processed beyond 90 days, along with those lacking proof of purchase from Lands’ End, will be issued via Lands’ End Merchandise Credit.

2. Ikea

IKEA
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Thanks to its “No-Nonsense — 365 Days to Change Your Mind” policy, Ikea is one of the best stores to make returns. As the policy name suggests, shoppers get one year (365 days) to make a return for a full refund. The only catch is you need to have a receipt. If you don’t, the store will attempt to locate your purchase in its system. Should that fail, you’ll get a merchandise credit equal to the lowest selling price of the item from the previous 365 days.

If you’re shopping at Ikea, here are some more tips: “6 Ways to Save More at Ikea.”

3. Bath & Body Works

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If you’re looking for something sweetly scented as a holiday gift, Bath & Body Works may be the place to go. If the scent you selected from the vast selection isn’t just what they wanted, the store has a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Return an item for any reason with a receipt for a full refund. No receipt? Your refund will be the lowest selling price of the item. Merchandise credit will be offered for items returned with a gift receipt.

4. REI

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For the sportsman or woman in your life, try holiday shopping at REI. A mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, the store also has a liberal return policy. You can return or exchange anything from the store within one year. The only exceptions are outdoor electronics, which must be brought back within 90 days. Just be aware that REI won’t take returns on items for normal wear and tear or damage caused by accidents or improper use.

However, keep your receipts or make purchases through an REI member number. Because if the store can’t locate proof of your purchase, you may be out of luck.

5. Costco

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Selling everything from cucumbers to caskets, Costco says it stands behind its products 100 percent. You can get a full refund on anything. The only caveat is that some types of items must be returned within 90 days of purchase to get a full refund. These include televisions, projectors, computers, cameras, camcorders, touchscreen tablets, iPod/MP3 players and cellphones. Diamonds larger than 1.00 carat and items with a limited lifespan are subject to special terms. Cigarettes and alcohol also may not be returned where prohibited by law.

Love shopping at Costco? Be sure to check out “8 Ways to Squeeze the Most From Your Costco Membership.”

6. Zappos

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You don’t need to worry about buying the wrong shoes online if you make your purchase from Zappos. The shoe retailer gives you 365 days to return unused products and will pay for the return shipping. That means if those strappy heels don’t look quite as cute on you as they did on the model, you can send them right back. Just don’t wear them to the party first; returns must be unworn and in the original packaging.

7. Athleta

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A division of Gap, Athleta specializes in workout gear for women. However, while other Gap brands will only take back unwashed or unworn items, Athleta lets you return anything for any reason thanks to its Give-It-a-Workout Guarantee. They will even pay for the return shipping and the cost to ship out an exchange.

Are you starting to stress out about the hard-to-buy-for people on your holiday list? Check out “The 14 Best Gift Cards to Give for the Holidays.”

8. Nordstrom

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Among department stores, Nordstrom used to be the gold standard for return policies. Once upon a time, you could return anything in practically any condition for any reason. However, they made some changes that have some customers wishing for the good old days. Today, Nordstrom simply says:

We handle returns on a case-by-case basis with the ultimate objective of making our customers happy.

Still, Nordstrom’s return policy remains one of the best around, and there is no time limit on returns or exchanges — although the store notes that “from time to time we may not accept a return.”

Also, you can still return items without a receipt. In those cases, the store will try to find the purchase in their computer system. If it can’t, customers get the current sale price back on a Nordstrom gift card. All gift returns are issued on a gift card as well. Special-occasion dresses are an exception to the store’s liberal return policy and must be returned unworn and with tags attached. The store reserves the right to refuse other returns as well.

9. L.L. Bean

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L.L. Bean is another retailer that had a legendary return policy. It would take back any item it made and in any condition. Finally worn through the soles of the boots you bought 10 years ago? No problem. L.L. Bean would take them back.

The L.L. Bean return policy still says it will take back any item that doesn’t live up to customer expectations within one year of purchase. The retailer adds:

“After one year, we will consider any items for return that are defective due to materials or craftsmanship.”

10. Macy’s

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While we’re on the theme of stores updating their return policies, let’s turn our attention to Macy’s. This department store was one of the places with few limits on returns and exchanges. Like other stores, it decided its policy was being abused, so it made changes. The updated policy is still among the best in the business, even if it’s only a shadow of its former self.

The new Macy’s return policy gives you 180 days to make a return. That excludes some categories of items that must be returned within 30 days or, in the case of Apple smartphones, 14 days. Some items purchased from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 of this year can be returned until Jan. 31, 2019. If you don’t have a receipt, you can still make a return in most categories, but you’ll get a store credit for the item’s lowest selling price in the previous 180 days.

11. Kohl’s

Kohl's store
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Hassle-free returns are the name of the game at Kohl’s. However, the rules can be a bit more complicated than the name implies.

For example, an in-store purchase with an original receipt receives a refund or an even exchange. If you don’t have a receipt — and the store can’t find one — you may get a merchandise credit based on a discounted lowest 13-week sale price of the item.

12. Bloomingdale’s

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Bloomingdale’s is another department store with an accommodating return policy. For most items, you have 365 days to make a return. If you don’t have a receipt and the store can’t look up the purchase on your Bloomingdale’s account, you’ll receive the item’s lowest selling price from the past 180 days.

Some categories have special restrictions as well.

13. Target

Target
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The Target return policy can’t match some of the others on this list, but it’s not bad for a big-box chain. Its actual return policy varies depending on what you purchase and its condition:

  • Target-brand items can be returned with a receipt within one year for a refund or exchange.
  • Other items that are unopened and in new condition can be returned within 90 days for a refund or exchange.
  • Electronics must be returned within 30 days. (For electronics purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25, the 30-day refund period starts on Dec. 26.)
  • Music, movies, video games and software that have been opened cannot be returned but may be exchanged.
  • Open or defective collectible items cannot be returned.
  • Returns and exchanges without a receipt may be limited.

If you need more time, you could always make purchases with your Target REDcard, which gives you an extra 30 days to make a return.

14. JC Penney

JCPenney
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Like Target, JC Penney has a return policy that varies significantly based on what you’ve purchased and whether you have a receipt. Here are the highlights of their refund policy:

  • Most items with a receipt can be returned for a full refund or exchange. Returns made with a gift receipt will receive a JC Penney gift card.
  • Electronics must be returned with a receipt within 48 hours of delivery and jewelry must be returned with a receipt within 60 days.
  • Other items can be returned without a receipt, but the refund with be issued as a JC Penney gift card in the amount of the lowest selling price in the last 45 days. A photo ID is required for all returns made without a receipt.
  • Heavy or bulky items (think furniture) that must be returned via truck are subject to restocking fees.

15. Bed Bath & Beyond

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Bed Bath & Beyond promises easy returns. If you have a receipt, you’re in luck. You can take back your unwanted doodad, with few exceptions, for a full refund within one year. If you have a gift receipt, you’ll get a merchandise credit. If you don’t have a receipt, things get a little trickier. If it was purchased within the last 365 days, Bed Bath & Beyond will try to find a record of the transaction. If they can’t, you get an exchange or merchandise credit for the current selling price minus 20 percent.

What are the best, and worst, return experiences you’ve had? Tell us about it below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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