We’ve all been on the fence about a purchase, or perhaps made a few buying mistakes. Maybe we impulsively picked up that chunky sweater or decided to go for the new flat-screen, but once we get home from the store we start to question its necessity (never mind the online purchase that arrives at your doorstep with a sinking sense of regret).
Returns are a hassle in general, but it’s always good to know which retailers try to make it as painless as possible for the customer. Here are a few well-known stores with five-star return policies — and a handful you may want to avoid if you find yourself back on the oh-so-familiar, “should I or shouldn’t I?” fence. Of course, just because a store doesn’t have a stellar return policy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shop there. Instead you can plan your purchases ahead of time with a shopping list or check for the latest coupons to make sure that sense of guilt or regret doesn’t come creeping up.
Where to Go for the Best Return Policy
1st Place: Nordstrom
Photo by Goran Bogicevic
The Nordstrom return policy was designed with the customer in mind. There’s no specific policy, no timeframe for bringing an item back — the stores just do their best to be reasonable and fair, and take on a case-by-case basis.
2nd Place: Bed Bath & Beyond
Photo by marekuliasz
This home goods retailer makes returns easy-peasy, whether you grabbed your purchase online or in-store. There’s no return time limit, and if you bought by way of their website or catalogue, they’ll also cover shipping costs to send the goods back.
If you’re shopping for home appliances or decor at Bed Bath & Beyond, try doing your research beforehand to make sure you come home with the best product for your needs. A Bed Bath & Beyond coupon code helps, too!
3rd Place: Walmart
Photo by Clemens v. Vogelsang on Flickr (Creative Commons)
With a receipt, you can take all Walmart purchases back within 90 days. Without a receipt, you have 45 days to nab that refund in cash (for items under $25), store credit (for items over $25) or exchange. In addition, there’s a generous cap on the “no receipt” policy: You can return purchases without that slip up to three times in 45 days.
Adding a few Walmart coupons to your wallet or purse before you shop can help you stay on track — and feel less guilty about grabbing something extra.
4th Place: Costco
Photo by a katz
Costco has no timeframe cap in its returns — with the exception of electronics, which you can still return within 90 days of purchase. Employees would love if you brought a receipt for quicker refunds, but it’s not necessary. They will look up a purchase by way of your membership to ensure you get your money back.
Sometimes it helps to know what items have the best prices at which stores, and our guide to the best buys at Costco will help you complete your shopping trip with confidence!
5th Place: Target
Photo by ValeStock
You get 90 days at Target, as long as you bring your receipt with you. For all Target brands, like Archer Farms or Champion, you get a full year to bring an item back. In addition, if you’re a REDcard customer, you can add an additional 30 days to each of those return windows.
Grab a Target promo code or two and save on your essentials — and maybe a few treats, too — without the guilt!
Honorable mentions (1+ year time limits):
Stores with a Not-So-Great Return Policy
5th Place: Kmart
Photo by Ben Harding
The retailer’s policy isn’t loose like other competitors like Walmart and Target. You have 30 days from the time of purchase to make any returns — and they don’t tend to extend that timeline during the holidays like other stores. If you grab a gift receipt, you only can only exchange or nab store credit.
If you’re an avid Kmart shopper, you can keep yourself on track (and away from those impulse buys!) by collecting Kmart coupons for the items you need.
4th Place: Sears
Photo by Canadapanda
Sears has a pretty short return window: 30 days from the time of purchase, and you must have a receipt or other proof of purchase with you. Gift receipts will only result in a gift card for store credit, so be wise when you buy.
It can be easy to get lost in Sears — they have everything! Luckily, you can save with Sears coupon codes for everything from clothing to home appliances and more.
3rd Place: Forever 21
Photo by March Marcho
This clothing giant for young women does not make returns easy. You can only take items back within 21 days of purchase, and then only for exchanges or store credit. So if you buy from Forever 21, make sure you’re certain of your choices.
If you’re certain Forever 21 has the fashion for you, make your clothing purchases go even further with Forever 21 promo codes!
2nd Place: Barnes & Noble
Photo by ValeStock
The last of the remaining book giants has a strict two-week return policy. Items should be brought back in their original condition or packaging and have a receipt to go along with ‘em. If you’re giving something as a gift, that gift receipt will only allow for store credit, so make sure the recipient is a bookworm or entertainment-lover.
Some of us could spend hours in Barnes & Noble perusing the titles, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Whether you’re a bookworm yourself or know someone who is, Barnes & Noble promo codes will help you bring home every book on your list of must-reads.
1st Place: Lululemon
Photo by Rob Crandall
Don’t wait if you don’t want that athletic tank! With Lululemon, you only have 14 days from purchase to return in store, or 14 days from the time of delivery to get the package back to the retailer. On top of that, you must have a receipt.
Sometimes athletic fashion can help get us motivated, and Lululemon is home to dozens of fab and fun athletic tops, bottoms, and accessories. Get more bang for your buck (and fired up for that workout) with Lululemon promo codes!
Honorable mentions (15 days or less time limits):