A Buyer's Guide to Extended Holiday Returns for Christmas 2011

By , dealnews Senior Feature Writer

Making gift returns after the holidays can be a stressful task, since you're receiving an item that could have been purchased several weeks earlier. Fortunately, a handful of merchants have relaxed their return policies for the holidays, giving consumers until January to make any returns, or up to 30 additional days. Below we've got a cheat sheet of stores that are and aren't offering extended return periods.

Holiday Return Policies 2011

Return Policy
Restocking Fee
Non-Refundable Items
Return Shipping
Items shipped by Amazon between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 may be returned until Jan. 31 for a full refund (subject to return guidelines).
Up to 20% from Authorized Sellers (unless the item is damaged or the return is the result of an Amazon error)
Varies. Grocery products and personal care items can't be returned; however, Amazon will issue a full refund for damaged products sold by Amazon.
Paid by customer (unless the return is the result of an Amazon error)
Items bought between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 that normally have a return window of less than 90 days, can be returned within that time frame beginning on Dec. 26.
Varies by department. Walmart's No Receipt Policy requires items be returned in-store only, for a cash refund (for items under $25), a gift card (for items over $25), or an even exchange. If the customer has returned more than three items without a receipt within a 45-day period, a Walmart manager must approve the return.
Paid by customer (unless the return is a result of a Walmart error, in which case Walmart will also refund any applicable gift-wrapping charges)
Purchases made from Nov. 13 through Dec. 10 will have an extended return period of up to 120 days from the date of purchase. Fine Jewelry, consumer electronics, mattresses, and other categories will have an extended return period of 30 or 60 days.
15% for certain oversized or opened items and special orders cancelled after 24 hours of purchase
Items without a receipt or email confirmation, and customized jewelry. Restrictions apply to certain opened or used items.
Paid by customer (unless the return is the result of a Sears error)
Items purchased between Nov. 13 and Dec. 24 may be returned through Jan. 24. Reward Zone Premier Silver members will still receive their extended 45-day return policy on all items. Premier Silver members qualify for an extended return policy until Feb. 7.
25% on special order products
Digital content, consumables, items damaged by the customer, and opened, non-defective computer software, movies, music, and video games
Paid by consumer (unless the return is the result of a Best Buy error)
Any item can be returned at any time, but the sooner the better.
Paid by customer (unless the item is defective, damaged, or recalled, or the result of a Kohl's error)
90 days for most purchases; 45 days for electronics, computer hardware, netbooks, and cameras. Must have an in-store receipt from Target's online return center to return an item purchased online to a store.
Some opened items, including music, movies, video games, software, and collectibles; gift cards, e-gift cards, prepaid music, game, and phone cards. Other restrictions may apply.
Paid by customer (unless the return is the result of a Target error, in which case Target will also refund applicable gift-wrapping charges)
90 days for most products in unused, like-new condition; 30 days for furniture, air conditioners, and generators
Major appliances, plants, and live goods including flowers, holiday trees, wreaths, and garland
Paid by customer
30 days for most products including jewelry, sterling silver flatware, bridesmaid dresses, rugs, and lamps; 60 days for mattresses; 90 days for tempur-pedic mattresses; 3 days for other furniture
10% on furniture
Jewelry and watches if altered; food and gourmet gifts
Paid by customer
90 days for most items; 30 days for outdoor power equipment and major appliances including refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers
Paid by customer (unless the item is flawed or the return is the result of a Lowe's error)
90 days for televisions, projectors, computers, cameras, camcorders, iPod/ MP3 players, and cellular phones; all other items unlimited.
Paid by customer
90 days of purchase via mail or in-store; 45 days for video games accessories, computer software, DVDs, and other consumer electronics
Select pools, water slides, and large-item categories cannot be returned
Paid by customer
Items purchased between Nov. 21 and Dec. 31 may be returned through Jan. 31. (Excludes Marketplace Sellers)
Paid by customer (unless the return is the result of a Buy.com error)
HDTVs and major appliances may only be returned by refusing delivery. Otherwise, all returns must go through the manufacturer. All other items may be returned within 5 days of the delivery date.
10% on all items
HDTVs and major appliances
Paid by customer
14 days from delivery date
Opened software, music, movies, video games, and video game consoles
Paid by customer (unless the return is the result of an Electronics Expo error)
Unopened purchases made between Oct. 9 and Dec. 24 may be returned through Jan. 15.
All opened items
Paid by customer
Orders placed between Nov. 15 and Dec. 24 can be returned through Jan. 31.
Special or customized orders
Paid by ICE.com
90 days of purchase for most items; 60 days for jewelry, small electrics, and electronics; 30 days for eyewear
Furniture, Made-to-Measure window coverings, perishable foods
Paid by customer
60 days of original purchase
Monogrammed/personalized items, lingerie, and vintage items
Paid by J.Crew
Items purchased between Oct. 29 and Dec. 25 may be returned through Jan. 9. iPhone purchases must be returned within 30 days of shipment.
Opened memory, software, and gift cards
Paid by Apple
14 days from shipment
Fees are based on MacMall's discretion if packages are opened or show signs of wear.
Consumable items (film, tapes, CDs, DVDs)
Paid by customer

Lead photo credit: MarloByDesign

An avid gadget lover, Louis Ramirez has covered technology for Gizmodo, CNET, Laptop, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @LouisRamirez. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.

DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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