How to Return Merchandise Without a Receipt

Dan Price Updated 23-10-2019

You’ve bought something in a shop, only to get home and realize that the item isn’t right for you, after all.


So, you go rummaging through your bags, pockets, and purse to try and find your receipt. But disaster strikes—you can’t find it! Do you have any hope of getting a refund?

It depends on the store and the reason for your return. Let’s take a closer look.

What Does the Law Say?

In almost all countries, retailers are under no obligation to issue a refund simply because you don’t like the color or the way it looks, regardless of whether you have the receipt.

It is a different story for defective goods. In the United States, all states have “Implied Warranty” laws. Implied Warranty is a guarantee that the purchase will work for its intended purpose. If you’ve bought defective products and don’t have the receipt, you can exercise your right to Implied Warranty with a credit card statement. In the UK, even the say-so of a store salesperson is legally sufficient.

But what happens if you simply don’t want the purchase and don’t have the receipt? Retailers are free to set their own rules. They can vary from a full refund to store credit to no rebate at all. Let’s take a look at the returns policy of seven major US retailers.


Macy’s Returns Policy

macy's return policy without receipt

Macy’s provides refunds for up to 90 days after the date of purchase. It offers a full refund for in-store and online purchases. However, it does have special guidelines for jewelry, floor rugs, mattresses, gourmet food, and furniture.

But can you return something to Macy’s without a receipt?

The answer is yes. Macy’s return policy says it will accept returns without a receipt if the product still has the store’s sticker, or you have a gift card receipt. However, you will only get an in-store credit; you will not get a full refund.


Items purchased at any Macy’s store can be returned to any of its store locations, not just the original location.

Walmart Returns Policy

walmart returns without receipt

Given the large variety of goods that Walmart sells, its refund policy is complicated. In simple terms, Walmart will accept non-receipted returns for a full refund in the US, providing certain conditions are met:

  • You can supply a valid government ID.
  • You have not claimed more than three non-receipted returns in the previous six months.
  • The return date is within 90 days of purchase.
  • The value of the item is less than $25.

If the value of the product is more than $25, Walmart will only issue a store gift card.


There are different rules for firearms, pharmacy products, food, gift cards, and hazardous materials.

Target Returns Policy

target returns no receipt

Target has a generous returns policy, even if you no longer have the receipt.

Firstly, before you head back to the store, remember that if you have a Target account, you can access all your receipts via the online portal. Just print the receipt for the item you want to return, and you won’t have any issues.


However, even if you don’t have an account, Target is still open to issuing full cash refunds. Here’s what the company says in its returns policy:

“We can attempt to look up the receipt for store and purchases in-store. Bring the item and the method of payment used to Guest Services within the return window allowed for that item.”

The return window is 90 days for most items.

Best Buy Returns Policy

bestbuy returns no receipt

Best Buy’s policy is much vaguer for anyone who’s trying to return an item without a receipt. The official policy says, “Reimbursements on returns lacking proof of purchase may be denied or limited, and state sales tax and fees will not be reimbursed.” In practice, it is down to the manager of each induvial store to make the decision. At best, it you can probably only hope to receive a gift card.

Also, be aware that Best Buy’s returns window is much shorter than many stores. Phones, tablets, and wearables need to be returned within 14 days. All other items are 15 days. Elite members get 30 days for non-mobile purchases.

Home Depot Returns Policy

home depot returns no receipt

Almost all items you buy from Home Depot can be returned to the store within 90 days of purchase. Exceptions apply to big-ticket appliances, gift cards, generators, flowers, installation services, and product samples.

Home Depot does accept returns without a receipt as long as you bought the item using a credit card or debit card. The company will find the record of sales in its systems. If you are returning an item to Home Depot without a receipt, you will also need to provide a government ID.

Bed Bath and Beyond Returns Policy

bed bath beyond returns no receipt

If you’ve been doing some interior design and bought unwanted merchandise from Bed Bath and Beyond, you might be able to get a partial refund, even if you don’t have your receipt.

If you made your purchase in the last year, the company could help as long as you have one of the following things:

  • Credit or debit card statement showing the purchase.
  • A merchandise credit number.
  • A gift card number.
  • Your order number.
  • A registry number.
  • Your checking account number.

Bed Bath and Beyond will not refund opened items without a receipt. For unopened items without a receipt, you will get the sales price minus 20 percent in the form of store credit.

Walgreens Returns Policy

walgreens return without receipt

Walgreens has a stricter returns policy than some stores. You only have 30 days to return your item. If you do not have a receipt, the company will only refund you the amount of the lowest advertised price in any of its stores nationwide.

So, for example, if you bought a bottle of shampoo for $10, but a store on the other side of the country is running a special offer of three for the price of one, you would only get $3.33 returned. The refund is issued as a store credit.

It will not refund prescription medication or contact lenses.

Other Tips to Return Merchandise Without a Receipt

As our study shows, most large retail chains are reasonably flexible about refunding purchases without a receipt. You might have more difficulty with small local retailers who don’t have the same amount of infrastructure.

In those cases, there are a few things you can try:

  • Provide as much evidence of your purchase as possible.
  • Claim that the item was a gift.
  • Show a history of loyalty to the store.
  • Wait until busy periods where returns are more common such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

If you’d like to learn more about various companies’ returns policies, check out our other articles on how to request a refund on Facebook and how to return an item on eBay How to Return an Item on eBay If you need to return an item on eBay, keep reading. Here's the full eBay refund process explained. Read More .

Related topics: Buying Tips, Online Shopping, Save Money.

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  1. Kim G
    August 17, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    My daughter recently tried to return a Keurig she purchased for college at Target. Because she used cash and didn’t have a receipt, Target only offered her $22 in store credit for the unopened, unused $70 Keurig. This was ONE day after she bought it (we had to return it bc the dorm didn’t allow). According to Target, they are only allowed to give the lowest selling price if there’s no receipt with a cash purchase. Not sure where they’re selling a Keurig for $22, but I’d love to find out.🙄😡...anyway, buyers beware. This policy is Target friendly, not customer friendly.

  2. Steven
    September 26, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    Home depot does not return items without a receipt now this is very confusing and very disappointed in home depot

  3. Jason
    December 15, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    Everything is absolutely correct with these return policies. However, one more important piece of information needs to be presented to other readers and that is "STORE MANAGER RESERVES THE RIGHT TO REFUSE ANY RETURN." The best way to avoid this obstacle is to contact customer service or corporate and have them speak on your behalf prior to making your rerurn

  4. Meow me
    August 11, 2016 at 8:45 am

    At bed bath and beyond where I have shopped for 20 years and spent thousands I was told by a manager who has worked there 2 years maybe that I had too many returns and too many returns with no receipt. He insulted me in front of the sales associate and other people standing there. He said I can't just buy things and then return them when there's nothing wrong with them and I don't want them. I pointed out that most of the things I had returned had something wrong. And I did have a receipt. He just kept repeating himself at which point I told him to please stop repeating yourself I'm going to make a complaint about you. My return was processed and the sales associate was very rude to me after that. I called bed and bath one 800-number customer service she apologized for me being treated way that badly asked for the name of the manager and said his boss will be talking to him about treating me this way. I feel like I don't want to shop there anymore and that was one of my favorite stores now I'm going to have to drive to the other bed and baths in my area which are much farther away overall I will not shop there is much unless the higher up company management does something to apologize to me for this terrible treatment of a long time customer.

  5. jeffb
    July 26, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Hello. Regarding Home Depot and the customer trying to return Bosch blades.. You usually do not get 'flagged' until after 3 returns...but I also think they have a policy when it comes to certainq saw blades....they are one of the most stolen items at home depot and although I worked there only for a short time in the warehouse, I think they also flag items like power tool batteries, blades and other small, expensive items....this is what most thieves steal, because they are expensive and can easily conceal. So the person above lost out because of rampant thieves and the type of product -unfortunately:-(

  6. Stephanie
    May 22, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    I can tell you that The Home Depot does not allow returns on items for which you do not have a receipt. Someone brought me two packs of Bosch blades to use on my Dremel oscillating tool. Of course, Bosch blades do not work on Dremel so I brought the unopened package back to the HD to exchange for the correct blades. Keep in mind that I have been renovating an abandoned house since October of 2015 and have spent THOUSANDS in the HD. The clerk asked for my DL. She typed in my number, and my refund was declined. She tried it three more times with the same result. She gave me a number to call when I got home. I called the number and reached a third party vendor, The Retail Equation. Turns out, they track non-receipt returns. It was my first, but I am now in their database. Not cool. If you try to return an item without a receipt and they ask for your license do not give it to them or risk being put in their database. I wish I had a Lowe’s closer to my house so I could give them my business.

  7. Kane
    March 25, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    Great information! Thanks

  8. dixie
    January 17, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Thank you the info was very helpful.

  9. Fdklsajsd
    January 18, 2011 at 5:55 am

    Under $250 without manager approval/scrutiny (sometimes they check for less, but never an issue). 3 returns or 1 large return and your account is suspended. Suspended simply means that a manager will have to approve (he checks what items you have been returning). Home Depot is at least a 6 month period before you can return. Most managers will approve more than 3 returns without a receipt, especially if you're bad at saving receipts and you buy a lot of stuff from there.

    • Anonymous
      January 29, 2015 at 3:59 am

      What store are u talking about

  10. ODGlenchez
    January 3, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    I specifically asked and was told by a Home Depot employee that I did not have to have the receipt to return fluorescent light bulbs. We were having a black-light party and returned them the next day no questions asked.