unwelcome byproduct of the holiday season is that at
least one gift among Hanukkah’s eight nights or
Christmas will be as unpopular as the name Irma in South
bound to hate something you just unwrapped. Ugly.
Misfit. Already got it.
it, however, can be a pain.
to a 2017 survey of holiday shoppers by the National
Retail Federation, almost two-thirds said they made at
least one return last holiday season.
where best to make that return?
Reports Guide released its list of retailers that have a
no-questions-asked returns policy. The consumer group
also warns of others that apply strict rules that can
make returning purchases irritating or even impossible.
big-box stores Target and Wal-Mart were not included in
the survey results.
make it easier on us, Consumer Reports suggests that
these retailers are among the best in the business for
returning gifts. (Mail order companies like L.L. Bean
and Harry & David also scored well in this
Bed Bath & Beyond. You can return the household item
in-store or by mail with no time limit (except for baby
and maternity clothes) and shipping is free. No gift
receipt? An employee can look up purchases made in the
past year. If the item can’t be found, you can get a
refund for a store credit at the item’s current price,
minus 20 percent.
Costco. No time limit on returns, except for appliances
and electronics, which must go back within 90 days. No
JCPenney. Accepts returns and exchanges without a
receipt at any time, except for appliances, furniture,
fine jewelry, and electronics. Formal dresses and
electronics require their original tags or packaging.
Kohl’s. The department store chain’s "no
questions asked, hassle-free" return policy for all
purchases has no time limit. No receipt? No problem.
Just go to a customer-service counter with the item for
an exchange or store credit equal to the lowest price
the item sold for in the past 13 weeks. If you paid with
your Kohl’s charge card, any order within the past 12
months will get a credit to your account. Items bought
with other credit cards or after the 12-month time frame
will get you a store credit or a corporate-issued
refund. One exception to returns: Premium electronics
must be returned within 30 days in original packaging,
though if purchased through Dec. 25, you have until Jan.
31, 2018, to return.
Nordstrom. The department chain has no formal return
policy so returns are handled case by case. No receipts
are required, no time limits, no original tags needed
— except for special-occasion dresses.
retailers have less liberal return policies, most often
requiring a receipt and affixing a shorter time limit,
according to Consumer Reports.
Apple Store. Apple tries to convince you that you need a
new iPhone before your current model gets out of the
box, it seems. As rapidly as a new iOS update beckons,
you have just 14 days to decide whether you’re happy
with your purchase. You must have a receipt to do an
exchange or return. And you cannot return if you didn’t
buy it directly from an Apple Store or Apple online.
Items purchased online between Nov. 15 and Dec. 25 may
be returned through Jan. 8, 2018.
Barnes & Noble. The bookseller gives you two weeks
to return items bought online or in-store if you want a
refund. But the items must be unopened, with receipt.
You pay for shipping if mailing a returned item. With a
gift receipt, you have 60 days to return for a store
credit or a B&N gift card. Purchases made Nov. 14
through Dec. 31 are refundable or exchangeable through
Jan. 31, 2018.
Best Buy. The return policy for this huge electronics
retailer says it wants to deliver the "convenience
you deserve." But how this chain defines
convenience probably isn’t how you would define the
word. Best Buy gives you a 15-day window for returning
most items. The store requires proof of purchase and has
a 15 percent restocking fee on certain items, including
drones and some digital cameras and lenses. The company
is a bit more charitable during the holiday season. Its
return policy says items bought in November and December
can be returned through Jan. 14, 2018.
Forever 21. Don’t wait until you’re 22 to decide you
don’t like that outfit. You must make your returns
within 30 days of purchase online or in-store to get an
exchange or a refund. If you return by mail, you’ll
pay for the shipping. For holiday purchases, gift items
purchased online after Nov. 13 are valid for return
through Jan. 7, 2018, or within 30 days from the
shipping date — whichever comes later. Items must be
unworn and unwashed, and have the original tags
GameStop. You have 30 days for returns but just seven
days for returns of pre-owned items. Receipts are
required. With a gift receipt, items qualify only for
exchanges or store credit.
Kmart. The chain allows 30 days for returns with a
receipt. With a gift receipt, you can only exchange or
get store credit. No refunds. Many items, including
music, movies, software, and video games, are not
eligible for return if their packages are opened. For
holiday gifts, items bought from November through Dec.
24 can be returned through Jan. 31, 2018.
Sears. Returns must be made within 30 days and with a
receipt. With a gift receipt, you get an exchange or a
gift card. Some items, including consumer electronics,
space heaters, and grills, will have a 15 percent
restocking fee if used and if they are not in their
original packaging. For holiday returns, merchandise
purchased from November through Dec. 24 can be returned
through Jan. 31, 2018.
for returning gifts
Don’t open the box. You may have to pay a restocking
fee and computer software, CDs, and DVDs generally aren’t
returnable once opened, unless they’re defective.
Keep those gift receipts and make sure you don’t toss
them out with the wrapping paper.
Check return policies and note any time limits.
Bring ID. Some chains, including Best Buy and Victoria’s
Secret, use computerized return-authorization systems to
detect abuse and make sure you aren’t a serial