Every Major Store's Holiday Return Policy for 2022

Many retailers are offering extended periods for returns, but be sure to read the fine print, as some products won't be eligible.
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Woman looking unhappy about holiday gift.

If you wind up with gifts you need to return after Christmas or another winter holiday, it pays to be aware of store return policies. While retailers are often generous with holiday returns, some are implementing stricter return policies and dialing back on free returns.

That means making returns this year could be more of a headache — and more of an expense — than usual. If you want hassle-free holiday returns, pay close attention to each retailer's holiday return policy, and be careful not to make mistakes that might leave you stuck with an unwanted gift.

Here's everything you need to know about making holiday returns in 2022.

What You Need to Know About Holiday Returns in 2022

How to Return Holiday Gifts

While every store has its own return policy, typically the process is pretty similar wherever you go. If someone bought the item at a physical retailer, take it back to the customer service counter and present your receipt to process a return or exchange. Often you'll have to show a photo ID, as well.

SEE ALSO: Christmas Shipping Deadlines for 2022: Get Gifts by Christmas!

If someone bought the item online, contact the retailer with an order number to request a return — they'll usually provide you with shipping instructions and a label to return it. While the retailer may cover the return shipping, know that some stores only process a return at your cost. You can usually return an item for cash, store credit, or exchange it for another size or color.

Some retailers provide even more return options. For example, Walmart offers curbside returns, so you don't need to go into the store. And Walmart+ customers can get returns picked up from their doorstep. Amazon, meanwhile, allows you to take returns to your local Kohl's store, so you don't have to worry about packing or shipping.

But this "simple" process has a lot of potential caveats, and you should read the fine print of a store's return policy before trying to return any holiday gifts. You also need to be aware that a store's return policy may not apply to third-party merchants who sell through the site. Because of that, you may need to dig for additional return information for Walmart Marketplace sellers or Amazon third-party sellers, for example.

You'll need to know the following information before initiating a return:

  • How long you have to return an item
  • How and where to return it
  • What proof of purchase is required
  • What the return will cost you (if anything)
  • Whether the item is returnable at all

For holiday returns, the process can be even more complicated. That's because retailers often have extended return windows for items bought during a particular time frame — and the purchase windows and return deadlines vary from retailer to retailer.

If you need to make a return this holiday season, we've got you covered. Let's take a look at the typical return rules.

How Long Do You Have to Make Returns?

Return policies often let you bring in items for a refund or exchange within 14 to 30 days of purchase, with some retailers offering up to a year to return your items. Expect the average exchange window to be 30 to 90 days after purchase.

Holiday return policies often provide longer windows to return gifts, but not all items are eligible.

But many major retailers offer a more generous return window during the holidays, frequently allowing customers to return holiday purchases well into January. For example, Walmart's holiday return policy allows items purchased as early as October 1 to be returned as late as January 31. And many major retailers have similar policies.

Some product categories can have shorter return windows, so it's important to read the fine print. Electronics often have less time for returns, and mobile phones usually have short 2-week windows.

In the end, don't count on a lengthy return window. If you want to return a gift, do it as quickly as you can.

Do You Need a Receipt to Make a Return?

While you don't always need a receipt to make a return, having a standard one or a gift receipt will make the process a lot easier. Without that proof of purchase, you may only be able to get store credit or an exchange rather than a refund. Sometimes retailers are able to look up purchases based on the card used to pay for the item, or the order number for online orders. But the easiest way to get a refund is to have the receipt.

SEE ALSO: What to Expect From After Christmas Sales in 2022

If you've received a gift you don't want, it's worth asking for the receipt. (And if you're giving a gift, it's polite to include a gift receipt, just in case!)

Are There Items You Can't Return?

If an item is clearly used, you probably can't return it unless it's defective in some way. Sometimes even opening the box or removing the tags on a product is enough to make an item unreturnable — or at least make the return process more complicated.

Yet some retailers are quite generous about the items they'll accept. For example, Costco's return policy includes a 100% satisfaction guarantee on most items, and Costco customer service will even help you get warranty service or technical support on items that don't have that guarantee. But many retailers won't accept used items and may charge restocking fees for open-box products. If you want an easy holiday return, don't open the box, remove the tags, or use the item before returning it.

Also, don't expect to be able to return certain items. These include gift cards, custom or personalized items, seasonal products, perishable goods, and final sale items. If you're buying gifts, take a look at the store's return policy to be sure your gift recipient can return or exchange it if they want to do so.

Does Returning Items Cost Anything?

Returning items may come at a cost, but not always. If you're returning an item by shipping it back to the retailer, you may be responsible for shipping costs, which are typically deducted from your refund. You also probably won't be getting the original shipping charges refunded either, unless the retailer made a mistake. If it's a retailer with a local store, however, you can often avoid shipping fees by returning the item in-store instead of shipping it back.

Be prepared to pay for shipping when returning items by mail; retailers usually deduct those charges from your refund.

Some products may have a restocking fee you need to pay when you return them. While the items that incur restocking fees vary by retailer, it's common for high-end tech products — particularly smartphones — and open-box products to have them. When restocking fees apply, they're typically 15% of the purchase price, though they can vary. So check the fine print to see if restocking fees will apply to your return and how much they'll cost.

Top Tips for Easy Holiday Returns

You really only need to remember two things when you want to make your holiday returns hassle-free:

  • Don't open the box or remove the tags
  • Keep the receipt (or gift receipt)

You still have to read the return policy and follow any return procedures and deadlines the retailer has, but if you stick to these two rules, then most returns should be pretty straightforward. And even if you did open the box or you lost the receipt, you can probably still make a return — it's just likely to be a bit more difficult.

Holiday Return Policies for 2022

Need details on a specific store's holiday return policy? Check out our list of return policies for Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and other major retailers below. Just remember to always examine the fine print, because the standard return policy usually doesn't apply to all products or product categories.

Store Holiday Return Deadlines
6pm 30 days from purchase
Adorama Purchases from 10/19 to 12/25 can be returned until 2/1; otherwise 30 days from purchase
Amazon Purchases from 10/11 to 12/25 can be returned until 1/31; otherwise 30 days from purchase
Apple Purchases received from 11/4 to 12/25 can be returned until 1/8; otherwise 14 days from purchase. Items purchased through carrier financing must be returned within 14 days.
Bath & Body Works Unlimited — return at any time
Bed Bath & Beyond 90 days from purchase
Best Buy Purchases from 10/24 to 12/31 can be returned until 1/14; otherwise 15 days from purchase. Activatable devices must be returned within 14 days.
Bloomingdale's 90 days from purchase
Coach Purchases from 10/1 to 12/18 can be returned until 1/16; otherwise 30 days from purchase
Columbia Purchases from 10/19 to 12/1 can be returned until 1/31; otherwise 60 days from purchase
Converse Online purchases from 11/1 to 1/31 can be returned within 60 days online or 45 days to a store
Costco Unlimited — return most items at any time. 90 days from purchase for electronics. Mobile phone return windows vary by carrier.
Crate & Barrel 90 days from purchase for most items; 30 days from purchase for furniture and rugs
Duluth Trading One year from purchase. Defective items may be returned beyond the return window, with receipt.
Finish Line 45 days from purchase
Foot Locker 45 days from purchase
GameStop 15 days from purchase for new items; seven days from purchase for used items
Home Depot 90 days from purchase
J.Crew Purchases from 10/12 to 12/9 can be returned until 1/9; otherwise 30 days from purchase
JBL Purchases made from 11/15 to 12/31 can be returned until 1/31; otherwise 30 days from purchase
Jos. A. Bank 90 days from purchase
Kohl's 180 days from purchase for most items; premium electronics, watches, and Sephora at Kohl's items purchased after 11/1 can be returned until 1/31
L.L.Bean One year from purchase
Lowe's 90 days from purchase
Macy's Purchases from 10/3 to 11/3 can be returned until 1/31; otherwise 90 days from purchase
Madewell Purchases from 11/3 to 12/9 can be returned until 1/9; otherwise 30 days from purchase
Marshalls Purchases from 10/9 to 12/24 can be returned until 1/25 for in-store orders or until 2/3 for online orders; otherwise 30 days from purchase for in-store orders or 40 days from purchase for online orders
Microsoft Purchases from 10/3 to 12/31 can be returned until 1/31; otherwise 30 days from purchase. Eligible Surface devices can be returned within 60 days.
Mikasa 90 days from purchase for most items; 30 days from purchase for final sale or clearance items
Neiman Marcus Purchases from 11/1 to 12/16 can be returned until 1/15; otherwise 30 days from purchase
Nike 60 days from purchase. If items are unworn and unwashed, they can be returned after 60 days.
Nordstrom All returns are considered on a case-by-case basis
Nordstrom Rack Purchases from 10/3 to 12/24 can be returned until 1/15; otherwise 45 days from purchase
Office Depot and OfficeMax Purchases from 10/1 to 12/24 can be returned until 1/14; otherwise return window varies from 14 days to 90 days, depending on product
Origins 60 days from purchase
Overstock.com Purchases from 11/1 to 12/31 can be returned until 1/31; otherwise 30 days from purchase
Petco 30 days from shipment
PetSmart 60 days from purchase
PUMA Purchases from 11/1 to 12/25 can be returned until 2/8; otherwise 45 days from purchase
Ralph Lauren Purchases from 10/18 to 12/23 can be returned until 1/31; otherwise 30 days from shipment
Sam's Club Unlimited — return most items at any time. 90 days from purchase for electronics; 14 days from purchase for mobile phones.
shopDisney 30 days from shipment
Sierra Purchases from 10/9 to 12/24 can be returned until 1/25 for in-store orders or until 2/3 for online orders; otherwise 30 days from purchase for in-store orders or 40 days from purchase for online orders
Staples 14 days from purchase for most items; office supplies can be returned at any time
Target 90 days for most items; electronics purchased from 10/6 to 12/25 can be returned until 1/24; Apple products purchased from 10/6 to 12/25 can be returned until 1/9; mobile phones purchased from 10/6 to 12/25 can be returned until 1/8. RedCard members get an additional 30-day return window for most items.
The Children's Place Purchases from 11/1 to 11/30 can be returned until 1/15; otherwise 45 days from purchase
Tory Burch 30 days from receipt of item
Ugg Purchases from 10/15 to 1/1 can be returned until 1/31; otherwise 30 days from purchase
Under Armour Purchases from 11/1 to 12/24 have a 90-day return window; otherwise 60 days from purchase
Vera Bradley Purchases from 10/1 to 12/1 can be returned until 1/31; otherwise 60 days from purchase
Walmart Purchases from 10/1 to 12/31 can be returned until 1/31; otherwise 90 days from purchase
West Elm Purchases from 10/15 to 12/24 can be returned until 1/31; otherwise 30 days from receipt of item
Williams-Sonoma Purchases from 11/1 to 12/24 can be returned until 1/31; otherwise 30 days from purchase
Yankee Candle Unlimited — return at any time
Zales Purchases from 10/20 to 12/24 can be returned until 1/24; otherwise 30 days from purchase

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Elizabeth Harper
Contributing Writer

Originally working in IT, Elizabeth now writes on tech, gaming, and general consumer issues. Her articles have appeared in USA Today, Time, AOL, PriceGrabber, and more. She has been one of DealNews' most regular contributors since 2013, researching everything from vacuums to renters insurance to help consumers.
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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