If only everyone could receive perfect holiday gifts that they didn't already own (and that the giver got a great deal on). But that's wishful thinking. When you're getting ready to return gifts — maybe while After Christmas sales are in full swing — it's important to familiarize yourself with a store's return policy to make the process as easy as possible.
Read on for the essential info on holiday returns, from the fine print to look for to the specific policies you can expect from retailers.
What to Look for in a Return Policy
Not all return policies are equal. Here are the questions you should ask to identify those that stand out.
How Much Time Do You Have for Holiday Returns?
Yes, you're on the clock. You can't just sit on an item for six months, then walk into a store and expect to get your money back. Retailers will commonly give you at least 30 days to make a return, and some are more generous. (Of course, the more time you have, the better.) Certain stores give you 60 or even 90 days, but there's usually a cutoff for getting cash back — and you may have to settle for a gift card.
Also, as shown below, some stores expand their return policies during the holiday season. So check for specific return dates for purchases made in November and December. Apple, for example, typically gives you 14 days for returns. For items ordered online and received between November 10 and December 25, though, the return deadline is January 8, 2021.
Is a Receipt Required for Christmas Returns?
Hopefully, any Christmas delivery you got came with a receipt — that'll help! If you don't have your receipt handy, you may still be able to return an item in exchange for store credit. But some retailers will reject your return altogether.
What Items Can't Be Returned or Exchanged?
The list varies by retailer, but super-exclusive items, used items, and final sale products probably won't make the cut. So it's best to read the fine print or ask to confirm the return policy before you attempt a return.
SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Buying Guide
Will You Need to Provide Identification?
Some retailers request a valid form of ID when you make a return. Why so? (Hint: It has nothing to do with who you are.) Those who shoplift will be less inclined to return an item for cash if their name is attached to the transaction. Plus, an ID requirement helps retailers track irregular return patterns.
49 Stores' Holiday Return Policies for 2020
|Store||Holiday Return Policy||Notes|
|6pm||Purchases made on or after 3/1/2020 can be returned within 60 days||See details here|
|Adorama||Deadline is 2/1/21 for purchases made from 11/2-12/25/20||See details here|
|Amazon||Deadline is 1/31/21 for most purchases shipped from 10/1-12/31/20||See details here|
|Apple||Deadline is 1/8/21 for purchases received from 11/10-12/25/20||See details here|
|Bath & Body Works||"Return anything, anytime for any reason"||See details here|
|Best Buy||Deadline is 1/16/21 for most items purchased from 10/13/20-1/2/21||See details here|
|Bloomingdale's||Return within 365 days of purchase||See details here|
|Coach||Deadline is 1/24/21 for purchases made from 10/17-12/24/20||See details here|
|Cole Haan||Deadline is 1/6/21 for purchases made from 10/26-12/20/20||See details here|
|Columbia||Deadline is 90 days from date of purchase||See details here|
|Converse||Purchases made from 11/1/20-1/4/21 can be returned within 60 days online or within 45 days in-store||See details here|
|Crate & Barrel||Standard policy applies; time frame varies by item type||See details here|
|Duluth Trading||Return within one year of purchase||See details here|
|Finish Line||Deadline is 2/16/21 for purchases made from 11/16/20-1/1/21||See details here|
|Foot Locker||Return within 45 days of shipment date||See details here|
|GameStop||Deadline is 1/15/21 for purchases made from 11/1-12/24/20||See details here|
|JBL||Deadline is 1/31/21 for purchases made from 11/3-12/31/20||See details here|
|Jomashop||Deadline is 1/15/21 for purchases made from 11/4-12/15/20||See details here|
|Jos. A. Bank||Return within 90 days of purchase||See details here|
|Kohl's||Deadline is 1/31/21 for premium electronics purchased from 11/1-12/25/20||See details here|
|L.L.Bean||Return within one year of purchase||See details here|
|Macy's||Deadline is 1/31/21 for select purchases made through 12/31/20||See details here|
|Madewell||Deadline is 1/10/21 for purchases made from 10/23-12/10/20||See details here|
|Marshalls||Deadline is 1/24/21 for purchases made from 10/11-12/24/20||See details here|
|Microsoft||Deadline is 1/31/21 for purchases made from 10/1-12/31/20||See details here|
|Mikasa||Return within 90 days of purchase||See details here|
|ModCloth||Return by 1/31/21 for refund plus $5 bonus or 2/28/21 for exchange, for purchases made from 11/1-12/31/20||See details here|
|Neiman Marcus||Deadline is 1/31/21 for purchases made from 11/1-12/25/20||See details here|
|Nike||Most purchases can be returned within 60 days||See details here|
|Nordstrom||Returns eligible on a case-by-case basis||See details here|
|Origins||Standard policy applies||See details here|
|Overstock.com||Deadline is 1/31/21 for purchases made from 11/1-12/31/20||See details here|
|Petco||Return within 60 days of purchase or initial shipment date||See details here|
|PUMA||Deadline is 2/28/21 for purchases made from 11/25-12/25/20||See details here|
|Ralph Lauren||Deadline is 1/31/21 for purchases made from 10/22-12/31/20||See details here|
|shopDisney||Deadline is 1/18/21 for purchases made from 11/7-12/18/20||See details here|
|Sierra||Deadline is 1/24/21 for purchases made from 10/11-12/24/20||See details here|
|Staples||Deadline is 1/25/21 for delivery purchases made from 11/9-12/24/20||Applies to electronic and furniture products|
|Target||Select purchases made from 10/1-12/25/20 have 15 or 30 days to be returned||Refund period starts on 12/26/20|
|The Children's Place||Deadline is 1/16/21 for purchases made from 11/1-11/30/20||See details here|
|Tory Burch||Deadline is 1/8/21 for purchases made in November 2020||See details here|
|Ugg||Deadline is 1/31/21 for purchases made on or after 11/15/20||See details here|
|Under Armour||Items can be returned within 60 days of purchase||See details here|
|Vera Bradley||Purchases made from 10/4-12/1/20 can be returned through 1/31/21||See details here|
|Walmart||Deadline is 1/8/21, 1/24/21, or 2/23/21 for purchases made from 10/16-12/25/20||Marketplace items and postpaid wireless phones are excluded|
|West Elm||Deadline is 1/31/21 for purchases made from 10/15-12/26/20||See details here|
|Williams-Sonoma||Deadline is 1/31/21 for purchases made from 10/15-12/26/20||See details here|
|Yankee Candle||Standard policy applies||See details here|
|Zales||Deadline is 1/24/21 for purchases made from 10/16-12/24/20||See details here|
Readers, how often do you return holiday gifts? Let us know in the comments below!