Skip to main content

SPY Guide: Retailers With The Best Return Policies

* Shop with confidence this holiday season
* Many retailers have temporary return policies for the holiday
* Find out which top retailers have the most lenient policies for holidays and beyond

With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, it’s a good idea to check the return policies before purchasing a gift–whether it be for yourself or someone else on your list. As if it weren’t confusing enough, many retailers implement seasonal and temporary return policies for the holiday season.

Read ahead for a roundup of a few popular retailers that offer trustworthy return policies for stress-free shopping and gift-giving. In other words — buy the gifts now and know that your intended recipient will have more than enough time to make a return of exchange… not that they’ll need to.



Time frame: none

Nordstrom handles returns and exchanges on a “case by case basis,” and they do not have a time limit or require a receipt. The high-end department store is well-known for lax policy, and if you want to return something, they’ll most likely refund you whether the purchase was made online or in store. You are also allowed to return merchandise purchased online in-store, rather than having to deal with the hassle of shipping it back to the warehouse.

See Nordstrom's Best Holiday Gifts for 2017


Time frame: none, with a few exceptions

Bed Bath and Beyond offers “easy returns,” for most merchandise, and you can return in-store or send back via their Returns Processing Center.

Related Stories

They don’t require a receipt for purchases made within 365 days, but if they can’t find the record of purchase, you’ll only receive a merchandise credit with the current selling price of the item, minus 20%.


* Merchandise received from a Truck Delivery (large/oversized items for which delivery must be scheduled) cannot be returned in store.

* Monogrammed, personalized, custom-made or special order items cannot be exchanged or returned with the exception of a manufacturer defect.

* Merchandise returned using a Gift Receipt will either be exchanged or refunded in the form of a merchandise credit for the amount paid.


Time frame: none, with a few exceptions

Kohls also has a lenient return policy, and they don’t require a receipt in must cases. Kohls boasts a lengthy time limit of 16 months after the purchase date. The one exception to this generous return policy applies to “premium electronics,” like laptops, smart home devices, and televisions. If you choose to return by mail or make a purchase online, Kohls will not refund the shipping cost.

Holiday Return Policy: Premium electronics purchased from November 1 – December 25, 2017 may be returned by January 31, 2018 with original packaging and a valid receipt or account look-up.


Time frame: 365 days. Items must be unworn and shipped with original tags and/or packaging.

The online retailer offer shoppers a super easy way to return items through their online return portal. As a bonus, they also offer free returns and don’t charge restocking fees.

Simply fill out your information on their returns page, and they’ll send you a free return label to use. The only downside here is that you can’t return items in person, as they’re an online-only vendor, so you’ll have to package and drop off your return on your own.

Zappos Holiday Gift Ideas For the Whole Family


Time frame: none

Unlike other activewear brands, Athleta has a “give-it-a-workout guarantee,” meaning that you can actually return worn merchandise (yes, even if you wore an item to your sweaty spinning session) with no fuss or hassle.

Returns and exchanges are also free, and they’ll send you a pre-paid shipping label to use, or you can return it in any of their store locations.




Time limit: 180 days after purchase.

Items being returned must be in their original condition. Shipping fees are non-refundable.

Special Holiday Return Policies:

* Apple Smart phones must be returned within 14 days of purchase; all other Apple products must be returned within 30 days of purchase.

* Apple merchandise purchased in-store may only be returned at Macy’s stores that carry Apple products

* Area rugs purchased between November 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017 are eligible for an extended return time frame of January 31, 2018.

* Cosmetics and fragrances can be returned at any time within 180 days after purchase in new or gently used condition with proof of purchase. Without a receipt, you have 180 days to exchange for store credit.

* Bridge and Fine Jewelry, watches, tech watches, and tech accessories purchased between November 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017 are eligible for an extended return time frame of January 31, 2018.


Time frame: 30 days

Amazon gives you 30 days to return a new, unopened item if it’s fulfilled by Amazon. However, if the item was sold/shipped by a third part vendor, return policies will vary.

Another perk with Amazon Returns is their “Instant Refund” option. In some cases, you may be offered an “Instant refund” option to allow you to use your refund without waiting for your return to process. You’ll still have to return the item within 30 days, but at least you won’t have to wait around for the refunded amount to hit your bank account.

Holiday return policy:

* If you your purchase was made between November 1st and December 31st, it can be returned until January 31st.

Amazon 12 Days of Deals


Time frame: 28 days

While their return window is relatively short compared to other retailers, ASOS allows you to return anything (including underwear and swimsuits) for a full refund. It’s also an easy process, as each order comes with a pre-paid return shipping label in the package, eliminating the need to reach out to customer service.

The only downside to their policy is that they don’t offer exchanges. If you simply want to exchange for a different size or another item, you’ll have to return and re-purchase unless you’re a U.K. customer.

Holiday return policy:

* Orders placed from November 1 2017 -December 24 2017 can be returned up until 31 January 2018 .


Time frame: 90 days

Target allows refunds on items purchased within the 90-day period on most unused and unopened merchandise. If you don’t have a receipt, gift receipt, or the original method of payment, you’ll most likely only be able to received store credit for the current selling price of the item. As an incentive, Target offers Target REDcard debit and credit card holders an additional 30 days to make their returns.


* All electronics and entertainment items must be returned within 30 days for a refund or exchange. For these items purchased between 11/1 – 12/25, the 30-day refund period will start on 12/26.

* Open music, movies, video games and software cannot be returned, but may be exchanged at the store for the same title, for the same or different gaming platform.


* You can return a gift to a Target store using the gift receipt you’ll receive a refund in the form of a Target merchandise return card.

* A return using a gift receipt can’t be processed the same day the gift was purchased. You’ll need to wait until the next day to return the gift.