Here's Why Sam's Club's Return Policy May Surprise You in 2024

The warehouse club is known for having a generous policy with few exceptions.
Sam's Club storefront is shown in daylight.

Sam's Club is a heavy hitter in the world of warehouse clubs, with many shoppers falling on either Team Sam's Club or Team Costco. Each club has its strengths that shoppers should weigh when determining which warehouse club membership to buy. One benefit to look into is the return policy for each one, as that can make the decision a lot easier.

We've broken down the Sam's Club return policy to help you decide if a membership is worth your hard-earned cash. Check out our guide, then learn more about the return policies of top retailers here.

What Makes Sam's Club's Return Policy Surprising?

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Sam's Club return policy is the fact that most items can be returned with no time limit. And for the items that do have a time limit, it's far more generous than what many other retailers are offering.

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Sam's Club Return Policy FAQs

What Is Sam's Club's Return Policy?

Sam's Club has a generous return policy, with most items qualifying for returns at any time if you're unsatisfied. While some exceptions exist, this is the general policy, so unless you have a product falling into a very specific category, it's likely that you can return it whenever you want.

Note that you need to be a current member in order to return something. And when you do, you'll receive a refund or a replacement unless it's one of the exceptions noted below.

What Qualifies for Sam's Club Returns?

If you need to return a purchase to Sam's Club, know the site states that "most items" can be returned at any time. Specific categories that have limited time frames for returns include the following:

  • Electronics
  • Major appliances
  • Commercial heavy equipment
  • Motorsports items
  • Cell phones (prepaid, post paid, and no contract)

If your purchase doesn't fall within one of these categories, you may still be able to return it. You'll simply need to check with the club you bought it from for the following categories:

  • Beer, wine, and spirits
  • Automotive tires and batteries
  • Cigarettes and tobacco
  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing aids

What Doesn't Qualify for Sam's Club Returns?

Items in only a handful of categories can't be returned to Sam's Club once purchased. These include the following:

  • Gift cards
  • Prepaid cards
  • Tickets
  • Custom-made items, such as personalized gifts and photos
  • Prescriptions
  • Purchases made through the Sam's Club Wholesale Trading Program

I Don't Have My Receipt, Can I Still Return the Purchase?

To make your return process easier, it's best if you do have your original receipt or printed order. However, if you don't have either of those available, Sam's Club's site notes they will do their best to process your return without it.

What Is Sam's Club's Return Window?

The return window at Sam's Club depends on the category of the item you're trying to return. For most items, you can return them at any time.

As for the exceptions? For electronics and major appliances, the return window is within 90 days of purchase. If you're returning commercial heavy equipment or motorsports items, you must do so within 30 days of purchase. And if you want to return any type of cell phone, whether it's prepaid, postpaid, or no contract, you have 14 days from purchase to make your returns.

How Do Holiday Shopping Returns Differ From Regular Returns?

Sam's Club isn't one of the retailers that implements special holiday return policies to accommodate the long shopping period for the winter holidays in November and December. Since the warehouse club already has a pretty generous return policy, it doesn't have to extend it at all to allow customers more time to make returns after the gift-giving season is over. However, because a receipt can make returns easier, it's a good idea to hold on to your receipts for any gifts you purchase, in case your recipients want to return the items.

More Info on Sam's Club Shopping

What Time Does Sam's Club Open?

Sam's Club's opening time may vary by location, so it's worth finding your nearest Sam's Club and checking hours before making any plans to shop. For the most part, Sam's Club stores open at 10 am and close at 8 pm local time Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, clubs open at 9 am local time and close at 8 pm. And on Sundays, clubs open at 10 am and close at 6 pm local time.

If you have a Sam's Club Plus membership, you can take advantage of early hours. That's 8 am to 10 am Monday through Friday, and 8 am to 9 am on Saturdays. On Sundays, clubs have normal hours only.

Do you have questions about hours for specific departments? You can find those hour under the club information for your chosen club on the website. Other available info includes phone numbers for the overall club, plus pharmacy, optical, and hearing aid center numbers.

How to Save the Most at Sam's Club

Sam's Club already has a ton of great deals, but if you're looking to save even more, make sure you shop their Instant Savings. Even if you don't see anything you want to purchase, it's still worth looking at these deals before planning a shopping trip. Instant Savings occur approximately every month, so keep that in mind to stay aware of the latest bargains.

SEE ALSO: Here's Why Walmart's Return Policy May Surprise You

The great thing about the Instant Savings is that they encompass many different categories. For instance, you could find deals on electronics like iPads, Bluetooth speakers, and TVs; groceries, including spices, canned goods, candies, and beverages; and supplements, health and personal care items, power tools, baby items, small kitchen appliances, and more. At least a few home items are usually on sale, as well, along with seasonal goods.

Another way to save more at Sam's Club is to upgrade to a Plus membership. While it's more than twice the price of the basic tier — $110 per year vs. $50 per year — it can pay off in more ways, like letting you earn Sam's Cash. You can earn 2% Sam's Cash on in-club purchases worth up to $500 a year. Then you can use your earnings on purchases in-club and online — you can even use them to pay your membership fees. Aside from shopping in-club to earn Sam's Cash, you can also take advantage of Bonus Offers. You'll need to link a card to your account, then find and activate offers for your favorite restaurants, shops, streaming services, and more.

If you want to up your earning game, consider applying for the Sam's Club Mastercard. It could reward you with 5% back on gas, 3% on Sam's Club purchases for Plus members, 3% on dining, and 1% on everything else.

How Does Shopping Compare Online vs. In-Store?

Shopping online and in-store at Sam's Club is pretty comparable for the most part. The same deals are typically available either way, but for some items you may have to shop them online because the items are not available in-club.

For instance, some electronics may only be available for purchase online, whereas some foods may only be available in-store (like chocolate, because shipping could result in the product melting). Other items may be available both online and in-club, but the prices may be slightly higher online to accommodate shipping fees.

Interested in getting the best of both worlds? In some cases you can shop online and take advantage of free curbside pickup, which is a perk for Plus members. Look for the "pickup" option when shopping for items online, and choose that on the product page when preparing to add them to your cart.

What Else Should I Consider When Shopping at Sam's Club?

Sam's Club offers a ton of deals, which can be overwhelming when you're trying to sift through and find the best ones. Fortunately, if you sign up for the DealNews Select newsletter, you'll get the very best Sam's Club offers delivered right to your inbox. While you're at it, download the DealNews app to tailor your preferences to the categories and stores that are most interesting to you, to find the best deals at any time.

Julie Ramhold
Senior Staff Writer/Consumer Analyst

Julie's work has been featured on CNBC, GoBankingRates, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, Money, The New York Times, Real Simple, US News, WaPo, WSJ, Yahoo!, and more. She's extolled the virtues of DealNews in interviews with Cheddar TV, GMA, various podcasts, and affiliates across the United States, plus one in Canada.

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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