Here's Why Target's Return Policy May Surprise You

It all comes down to what you're returning.
Target retail store with sign.

Maybe that new pair of pants you bought is less comfortable than when you tried them on at the store, or maybe you got two of the same gift for your birthday and need to figure out how to return one. For any shopping experience, Target aims to make the process as easy as possible, even if things didn't go quite right for you. Maybe you're reading this because you're wondering about Target's electronics return policy or are asking yourself when does Target's holiday return policy start? Whether you're here to confirm if Target's kids' clothes return policy is really as good as everyone claims or you just need to check out the Target TV return policy, you'll find everything you need to qualify for a refund or exchange.

Target is one of the largest American-owned private employers in the country, and its history goes back over a century to its origins as Goodfellow Dry Goods in 1902. Operating nearly 2,000 stores throughout the United States, its focus is on maintaining an inventory of trending, quality merchandise at lower prices. Because of this, Target makes it a point of standing behind its products and has a generous return policy to match.

Surprisingly, the Target return policy has made waves in media for being possibly too lax, encouraging some shoppers to take advantage of it. The Cat and Jack return policy Target offers is of particular interest to parents hoping to make the most of clothing budgets for their children, but some customers argue that Target goes too far in accommodating shoppers who are treating their products like a loan instead of a purchase.

While we certainly cannot recommend that you utilize the Target return policy for clothes that have merely been outgrown, Target has already considered the possibility that there is nothing actually wrong with items customers are returning and has chosen to maintain a lenient stance. Regardless of what side of the argument you come down on, there are some rules to keep in mind if you need to return an item you purchased to Target.

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What is Target's Return Policy?

To put it simply, the return policy Target offers is governed by one main rule with some notable exceptions. If your item is new and unopened, it can be returned within 90 days to receive a refund or exchange. If you're shopping online, the return window begins once any part of your order has shipped or has been made available for pickup. If your item has a modified return policy, you can find that information on the receipt, packing slip, item description, or listed within Target's return policy.

If your item is opened, damaged, or you do not have a receipt, you may not be eligible for a refund or exchange. If your purchase was made through a Target Plus Partner, the policy is largely the same, but some items may have a shorter return window, as noted on the item. When in doubt, consult the Target return policy online here.

What Qualifies For Target Returns?

Target's return policy with a receipt follows the information above. However, the Target makeup return policy may be surprising to customers as most beauty items can be returned, even if opened, within 90 days with your receipt. Target has a few of these exceptions, as noted further below.

What Doesn't Qualify For Target Returns?

Target's return policy without a receipt may not apply or may be limited. Target is also unable to return items issued via a third-party delivery service, such as Shipt, Instacart, DoorDash, or Uber Eats. Additionally, the following items cannot be returned at all:

  • Trading cards and trading card accessories (such as Pokemon)
  • Open or defective collectibles (such as special edition Barbie dolls)
  • Personalized items and digital downloads
  • Opened/unsealed breast pumps
  • Specialty gift cards, pre-paid gift cards and Target GiftCards

Furthermore, some items are only eligible for exchange, such as music, movies, video games, and software, which can only be exchanged for the same title (though the Target return policy for video games does allow for the same or different gaming platform) and airbeds, which must be exchanged for a similar item. Mobile phones purchased with a carrier contract may be subject to early termination fees, and phones may be subject to a restocking fee if opened.

The Target return policy for electronics and entertainment items is also subject to a shorter return window of 30 days, excluding Apple products, which must be returned or exchanged within 15 days. Mobile phones purchased in-store or online via pickup must be returned or exchanged within 14 days.

Target delivery packages.

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

If you're worried about the Target return policy with no receipt in-hand, fear not. If you made your purchase using a debit or credit card, Target can attempt to look up your receipt. Also, if you purchased your item(s) while logged into your Target account either online or during store checkout, the record of your order will be available, and you will be able to produce a return barcode. You will also be able to find this information if you used a card associated with your account. To get your barcode:

  1. Access your Target account using the app or website.
  2. At the top of the page, select In-Store in the toggle to view your store purchases.
  3. Locate your item under Orders or Purchases.
  4. In the app, select the return option. On the web, the return barcode will appear on the page.
  5. Present your barcode to a member of Guest Services.

To instead return your items online, you will need to do the following:

  1. Access your account and locate your order.
  2. Choose "Return" to return to the store or by mail or "Fix an issue" to get help with missing or damaged items.
  3. Follow all prompts to complete your request or access your return barcode.
  4. If mail-in is required, you will receive a free return mailing label and instructions by email and on your order details page. Note that you will need to include the original item, packaging, and all accessories.
  5. You may receive your refund after you drop your package off at UPS but before Target receives the item. If Target inspects your item and determines it is ineligible for return, it will charge you for the refund amount, so be sure to present all information during the return process and include all of what you purchased when you drop it off.

If you purchased an item via cash and you don't have the original receipt or return barcode, you may get a merchandise return card for your refund. A merchandise return card is non-transferrable and only usable within Target stores. Even if you prefer to pay with cash, it's best to sign up for a Target account so that you can track in-store purchases via your phone number if necessary as you may not qualify for the Target return policy without a receipt.

Can you buy something with a credit card and return it for cash?

In most cases, your refund will automatically return to whatever the original form of payment was. Cash refunds will only be available to customers who paid using cash or check.

Do you need your credit card to return an item at Target?

To return an item purchased from a Target store, you will require a valid receipt or a return barcode. If you used a credit or debit card to make your purchase, the store can attempt to look up your receipt. Refunds are typically returned via the original payment method, so you should bring your card with you to ensure that there are no issues returning your item.

What is Target's Return Window?

Still wondering how long is Target's return policy? For most items, Target returns operate within a 90-day window, and exceptions are noted. RedCard users get an additional 30 days added to their return window, so it may be worth signing up if you shop at Target often. There are some notable extensions on this policy, including the registry gift system, which allows users up to one year after their event date to return most new, unopened items, including items sold via the Target Plus Partner program. Some people also refer to the Target Cat and Jack return policy because of how well-documented it is that Target will take back children's clothing from this brand, but Target extends its return policy for all of its brands for up to one year.

When you consider that Target has around 50 of these brands that offer products ranging from apparel to home goods to pet supplies, you can see that the Target return policy after 90 days can be quite generous. Shop Target food brands like Good and Gather, Market Pantry, or Favorite Day or cleaning supplies from Everspring or upandup, and you could be securing your return window all year long on most purchases, so it's worth getting to know some of these brands.

If you're wondering about Target's holiday return policy, 2023 saw an extension on electronic and entertainment items purchased between October 1st and December 24th with a return window beginning on December 26th. This meant that non-Apple products could be returned all the way up to January 24th while Apple products could be returned up to January 9th. Gifts could also be returned with a gift receipt or a packing slip, and a refund could be issued in the form of a Target GiftCard. Given how early the holidays continue to start, we anticipate a similar return window for the 2024 holiday season.

How Long Do Returns Take To Process?

Once approved, it will take up to two days to return payment to a Target RedCard, up to five days for a third-party credit or debit card, and seven to ten days when returned to the Online Return Center. Refunds in cash, a Target GiftCard, or a merchandise return card should be immediate or the same day in the case of a Target eGiftCard.

Are There Any Special Considerations That I Should Know Of?

As mentioned above, Target stands behind its own brands, so if you purchase a Target Owned Brand item, you can return it within one year with a receipt for an exchange or refund. Also, Target RedCard debit or credit card holders will receive an additional 30 days on returns if they use their RedCard to make the purchase. Similarly, any item paid for via an EBT card must be returned within 90 days, as is required by the SNAP program. Optical, Pharmacy, Starbucks, and Target Tech items must be returned or exchanged at these specific areas. Finally, items from limited-time-only collections or purchased during the holidays may have modified return policies.

Target shopping cart.

Additional Target Tips

Target's online return policy is far less daunting than many other stores, and beyond a few notable exceptions, it mostly sticks to the rule of maintaining a record of your purchase and returning it new and unopened within 90 days. If you still feel that you may require more time, consider reviewing the Target Red Card return policy in detail as it extends returns an additional 30 days in most instances.

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Keira Wagner

Keira is an editor and content jockey in Las Vegas, NV. She handles all the content leftovers like a hungry dog parked under the Thanksgiving table and is the most likely to have someone hold her hostage on a plane.
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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