We all know it’s the thought that counts, but sometimes a gift just misses the mark. Maybe it’s a shirt you like that doesn’t fit or an art piece that you’ll never display, but every so often it makes sense to return a present. To help you navigate the holidays, we compiled everything you need to know about returning gifts at major retailers this season.
While every store has a slightly different return policy, there are some general guidelines you can follow to make the process easier.
If you get something that you know you aren’t going to use, don’t open the box after receiving it. If you do open something, like a pair of shoes, try to return the gift in its original packaging. This will make it easier for the store to process the return, and it will also increase the chances of the item being accepted for a return or exchange.
Save the gift receipt. If the person who gave you the gift included a receipt, hang onto it—it will make the return process much easier. If the gift was purchased from a store that offers a gift receipt, it may not have the original price listed, but it will still be useful for making a return or exchange.
Be polite and respectful. When returning a gift, it’s important to remember that the person who gave it to you was probably trying to do something nice for you. If you don’t want to hurt the feelings of the person who gave you the gift, or if you simply don’t want to deal with the hassle of returning it, consider exchanging the gift for something else. Many stores offer exchanges, and this can be a good way to get something that you actually want or need.
Most stores below have holiday refund extensions that allow for more flexibility when returning gifts during the holidays. While the exact dates will vary by the store, many gifts purchased between late October and late December are eligible for returns through the end of January.
That means if someone bought you a gift in mid-October, you can still return it after Christmas, even if it technically falls out of their standard return window. Extended return policies are listed below.
Every store handles returns a little differently. Here’s how some of the major retailers do it.
Amazon’s return policy varies depending on the item being returned and the reason for the return. In general, most items can be returned within 30 days of purchase. However, some items may have different return policies, such as those that are personalized or made to order.
Amazon has a page dedicated to gift returns, so it’s easy to figure out the return policy of your item even if you were not the one who purchased it. To return a gift, go to Amazon’s Returns Center and enter the order number of your gift found on the receipt.
If you don’t have the order number or tracking number, you will need to contact the gift giver for that information. Some Amazon items may not be eligible for return at all, such as perishable items or digital downloads. You must also make sure that the item is in its original condition or you may receive a partial refund.
If you are returning a gift, you will receive your refund as an Amazon gift card.
Extended holiday return period: Most of the items purchased between October 11 and December 25, 2022, can be returned until January 31, 2023.
Most gifts from Macy’s can be returned in stores and by mail within 90 days of purchase. Your item must be in its original condition and have its original tags. New or gently used cosmetics and fragrance products are also eligible for returns.
If a gift was purchased in a store, it must be returned to a store and cannot be returned by mail. However, gifts purchased online can be returned to a store or by mail. You will need the original receipt, the credit card used to purchase the item, or a shipping confirmation email to return an item in a store.
To return a gift from Macy’s in the mail, visit their Returns page. You will need an order number from a gift receipt and a zip code to process the return. When that information is imputed, you will get a printable packing slip and you can box and ship the gift yourself.
If you are returning a gift, you will receive your refund in the form of store credit.
Extended holiday return period: Purchases made between October 3, 2022, and November 3, 2022, will be accepted for an extended return period until January 31, 2023.
Target’s return policy is similar to Macy’s in that most items can be returned or exchanged within 90 days of purchase. Some Target-owned brands are eligible for returns up to a year after purchase. Items must be in their original condition, and some items cannot be returned, like digital downloads and gift cards.
Gifts from Target can be returned in stores or by mail. To return in a store, you will need a gift receipt or the original packing slip. You will also need a gift receipt or packing slip to return a gift by mail, but you will need to speak with Target.com Guests Services at 1-800-591-3869 to process the return.
If you are returning a gift, you will receive your refund in the form of a Target gift card.
Extended holiday return period: Electronic and entertainment items purchased between October 6, 2022, and December 25, 2022, will begin their return period on December 26, 2022. Remaining items have the regular 90-day return policy.
If you received a gift from Walmart, you can return or exchange it within 90 days of purchase. Most items are eligible for returns, with a few exceptions. Many electronics must be returned within 30 days of purchase, and phones must be returned within 14 days of purchase.
You can return gifts from Walmart in stores or through the mail. If you have a gift receipt, you can get your refund as a gift card or choose to have it credited to the sender’s method of payment. If you don’t have a gift receipt, you will receive your refund as a gift card.
Extended holiday return period: Most items purchased between October 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022, are returnable until January 31, 2023.
Gifts from Home Depot can be returned in stores, and some eligible items may be returned through the mail. Items must be in their original condition and ideally unopened.
With a gift receipt, you can get a full refund in cash or via store credit. Without a receipt, you may still be able to get store credit for the lowest advertised price of the product.
Kohl’s has one of the easiest return policies of all the stores on this list. Most gifts from Kohl’s can be returned within 180 days of purchase. Exceptions include premium electronics, which have a 30-day return window, and beauty purchases, which have a 60-day return window.
Items must be new or gently used to process a return unless the item was damaged when you received it. You can return gifts from Kohl’s in stores or through the mail. You do not need a gift receipt to return gifts to Kohl’s, but you will need to print a return form if you are mailing the item. Items purchased in a store need to be returned in a store.
If you are returning a gift to Kohl’s, you will get a refund in the form of store credit.
Lowe’s return policy allows for most new, unused items to be returned within 90 days of purchase. Major appliances, including refrigerators, washers, and dryers, can only be returned within 48 hours of purchase. Other exceptions include TVs and electronics, outdoor power equipment, and some other products that must be returned within 30 days of purchase.
Eligible merchandise can be returned in a store or through the mail. If you have a gift receipt, you can get your refund via cash or a Lowe’s gift card. Without a receipt, it is up to the discretion of the store to issue store credit or deny the return.
Nordstrom is well known for its generous return policy. There are no time limits for Nostroms returns, which means, yes, you can return an item ten days or ten years after purchase.
While Nordstrom asks that you don’t abuse their system, they will generally accept anything as a return and don’t have any explicit exceptions. Employees do reserve the right to deny a return, although items in new or gently used condition shouldn’t be an issue.
Returns are processed in the original form of payment unless you are returning a gift or do not have a receipt. In these cases, you will get your refund in the form of a gift card.
Barnes & Noble’s return policy is one of the stricter ones on this list. Items must be returned within 30 days of purchase and must be in their original condition. Sealed and wrapped products must be unopened.
You can return items from Barnes & Noble in stores or through the mail, but you will need the original shipping label to mail a return. You will also be required to pay for shipping.
If you return an item with a gift receipt, you will get your refund in the form of a gift card. You will not be able to return an item without a receipt or proof of purchase.
Like other stores that offer refunds on electronics, Apple has a short 14-day return window. Only items purchased directly from Apple can be returned to Apple and all items must be in their original packaging.
Some items are ineligible for returns, including opened software, software downloads, gift cards, and Apple Developer products. Items can be returned in stores or through the mail.
If you are returning a gift, you can use Apple’s Gift Returns page to look up your product. You will get your refund in the form of a gift card.
Extended holiday return period: Purchases made between November 4, 2022, and December 25, 2022, may be returned through January 8, 2023.
Most gifts from Best Buy must be returned within 15 days of purchase. Several items are excluded from the return policy, including opened SIM cards, digital content, and plumbing items. Items are expected to be returned in like-new condition.
Items can be returned in stores or through the mail. However, if you return a gift by mail, the original purchaser will be notified and will get the refund. If you return a gift in a store, you will receive store credit.
Extended holiday return period: Purchases made Oct. 24, 2022, through Dec. 31, 2022, have an extended return period through Jan. 14, 2023.
Most items can be returned to Sephora within 60 days of purchase. Items must be in new or gently used condition. Sephora does not exclude any specific items, but used items may or may not qualify for a return based on the condition of the product.
Items can be returned in stores or through the mail. If you are returning a gift and you don’t want to refund to go to the original buyer, you must call 1-877-SEPHORA to set up the gift return under your account. You will receive your refund in the form of online store credit.
Extended holiday return period: Purchases made on or after October 28, 2022, through and including December 2, 2022, can be returned or exchanged on or before January 31, 2023.
Ulta’s return policy requires that items be returned within 90 days of purchase. Used items are available to return, but products must be gently used and returned with all components.
Gifts can be returned in stores or through the mail. With a gift receipt, you will receive your return as store credit. You may be able to get a refund without a receipt, but it will be up to the discretion of the store. Ulta does not have an extended holiday return period, but returns may be accepted outside of the 90-day window.
Navigating return policies can feel like a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be. Here is everything you need to know about how to return a gift through the country’s major retailers.