Checking the refund policies of major U.S. stores, I discovered policies vary from store to store. Some provide full refunds within a certain number of days, while a few others can be a Christmas Scrooge and absolutely not accept product returns without a receipt. So the following is a breakdown of seven chain stores along with their return and refund policies. I also included some tips for returning items when you can’t find the original receipt.
Preparing for Refund
When you want to return an item, don’t put off doing so. You will get better results by returning items within a week or two of purchase. Your chances for refund will be much better if the product is unused and all the associated items are included, e.g., original package, instructions, and accessories.
If a store requires a receipt and you don’t have it, you will be able to return it if you have a credit or debit card receipt, or gift receipt. If don’t have one of these receipts, you can contact your credit or debit card company or bank about getting a statement of your purchases and see if they can provide you copy of your specified receipt. Often times, stores themselves can track receipts if you provide a credit or debit information.
Lastly, if your item was a gift, you still may be able to return it without the receipt if the gift tag is included with the item. All chain stores will allow you the return an item to any of its local stores even if the item was not purchased locally.
So let’s check the general refund policies of seven major stores. Each store includes a link to their official refund policies so that you can get more details.
Walmart accepts returns for up to 90 days within purchase, with a receipt. Some exceptions include electronic items like computers and camcorders. These items must be returned within 15-45 days. Prerecorded music, movies, and software products must be returned unopened.
Walmart also allows you to return merchandise without a receipt. You get the option of a cash refund (if the purchase was under $25), a shopping card for the amount of the purchase (if it was $25) or even an exchange for another product.
Walmart keeps track of customers returning more than three items without a receipt within a 45-day period. After that third item, the cash register system will automatically flag the transaction and you will have to speak to the store manager to approve your return.
Target also accepts returns and exchanges within 90 days of purchase. Products must be unused and contain all the original packaging and accessories. Items that have been opened, such as music, movies, video games, software and collectibles can only be exchanged for the same or similar item.
Target says if you don’t have a receipt, its stores “can verify purchases made on a credit or debit card, check or GiftCard using our Refund Look-up system.” Target also has a similar system for gifts you receive as part of a gift registry. Check Target”˜s return policy for more details.
Unfortunately, some Target items, including camcorders, digital cameras, portable DVD players and portable electronics, are subject to a 15% restocking fee.
All Toys”R”Us products can be returned within 90 days of purchase, except for video games, software and most electronic items. These items must be returned within 45 days of purchase. All returned items must be new or like-new, unused, and include original packaging, paper manuals and instructions, and packing slip if you look to get full credit return.
Toys”R”Us appears to have a hardline policy of not accepting returns without a receipt, gift receipt, or online packing slip.
Toys”R”Us says it will not accept some items purchased from its “pool, water slide, and large items” categories. You will contact the manufacturers of these items about returns and refunds.
Macy’s provides up to 180 days within time of purchase for returned items. It provides full refund for in-store and online purchases. However, it does have special guidelines for jewelry, floor rugs, mattresses, gourmet food, and furniture. You will need to call 1-800-BUY-MACY, for more details on these items.
Macy’s will accept items for return without receipt, if the product contains the sticker or gift card receipt, but you will only get in-store credit or exchange for the same or similar item, not a full refund. A credit or debit card receipt will also be accepted. Items purchased at any Macy’s store can be returned to any of its store locations, not just the original location.
Bed Bath & Beyond says it will accept returns and exchanges at any of their stores nationwide. You must “bring the original packing invoice and the credit card used for the purchase. Without the original packing invoice and your credit card, you may receive an exchange or merchandise credit.”
If you’re returning items to a Best Buy store, you have less time to do so compared to other stores. You only have 14 days to return computers, monitors, projector, camcorders, digital cameras, iPads, tablets and radar detectors. You only have 30 days for all other products; and 45 days for all products purchased by Reward Zone Program Premier Silver members.
Unless you’re a Premier Silver member, Best Buy also has a restocking fee of 25% for items for appliances and defective items.
Best Buy also has a list of items that are not returnable. These items include: pre-paid cards such as music, photo, video or phone cards; consumable items such as food, drink, and batteries; and items that are missing accessories, such as remote controls, cords, and cables.
Best Buy has no stated policy about returning items without a receipt. In my online research, I found that individual stores will accept returns without a receipt if the items are unused, like-new, include all the original packaging and instructions, and has the original price tag. You will probably only get in-store credit or exchange.
If you purchase a product by credit or debit card, Best Buy can locate the receipt using your card number and name.
I will also add that whenever you purchase electronic items from Best Buy, be sure to keep the receipts for needed repairs by their Geek Squad. If you don’t have a receipt, you be charged for the repair or consultation to see what is wrong with the product.
As with most other stores, Home Depot accepts unused, like-new 100% saleable condition items for up to 90 days from purchase. Damaged products must be returned within 30 days. Items can be returned to any of its nation-wide stores.
Home Depot requires a “copy of the packing slip or the customer receipt must accompany all returns.”
You can return Home Depot items without receipt, as long as you provide your date of birth, driver’s and license number. As with Walmart, your name will be entered into Home Depot’s database which means that if you returning too many items within a certain period of time, you will have to speak with the store manager.
Items returned without a receipt will only get you in-store credit or exchange of similar or same item.
I have provided information about seven nation-wide stores. Let us know about your experiences in returning items to these and other stores.
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