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The Great Return Policy Round Up

Picture it: It’s mid-November and you are a Smart Sally. Your Christmas shopping is nearly finished! You’ve ordered gifts online, you’ve bought gifts in stores, you’ve meticulously saved all your gift receipts in case something doesn’t fit or you’ve plain missed the mark, and you’ve even visualized your gift wrap color scheme. Smart Sally! Come December 24 you will be cool as a cucumber, no last minute jaunts to the mall for you!

But wait! Come December 26, your gift recipients may be plum out of luck if the return policy on their gift is good for only 30 days and that sweater you picked out just doesn’t fit…

Yikes! What’s a careful present planning gift-giving girl to do? Especially when gift returns can sometimes be the best part of the post-Christmas season? Let’s not leave our gift list hanging!

After the jump, I’ve compiled the return policies of 21 of our favorite national retailers. This was entirely fascinating to put together, I hope it is just as helpful to you!

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  • Bath & Body Works 1 of 21
    Bath & Body Works
    Bath & Body Works is known for its very liberal return policy. Just bring it in. Used or not, receipt or not, no matter how long it's been, for a refund. Purchases can only be returned in store.
  • Lands’ End 2 of 21
    Lands' End
    Be warned in advance that you must pay your own return shipping (at a flat rate of $6.95) if you are returning for cash instead of exchange (though you can now return Lands' End purchases to your nearest Sears store).
  • Ann Taylor 3 of 21
    Ann Taylor
    Ann Taylor has a standard 60-day return policy, store credit only if no receipt is present.
  • Best Buy 4 of 21
    Best Buy
    Between November 13 and January 4, Best Buy is offering free return shipping for online orders and no restocking fees for in-store returns.
  • Cabela’s 5 of 21
    Cabela's
    Cabela's provides a generous 90-day return window, store credit only without a receipt. If you receive a gift by mail from Cabela's and have no nearby stores, you can print a return label from the website and mail it to the customer service address.
  • Coldwater Creek 6 of 21
    Coldwater Creek
    Coldwater Creek lets you return items whenever you get around to it, no deadlines!
  • Costco 7 of 21
    Costco
    Costco reigns supreme in the returns department with an extremely lax 365 day deadline. That's a whole year! You can also refund your membership fees if you are dissatisfied, and online order returns include a refund on your shipping and handling.
  • Endless.com 8 of 21
    Endless.com
    This online-only store offers free shipping on returns up to a full year after purchase. Sounds like a safe bet to me!
  • Forever 21 9 of 21
    Forever 21
    As one of my favorite retailers, I am quite intimate with this bizarre return policy. You have 21 days after point of purchase to return an item for in-store credit only. Tags must be attached. Receipt must be present. All accessories and jewelry are final sale. 21 days is just long enough to realize you don't want it and then forget to get around to it, is what I've found (luckily most items don't cost over $21).
  • H&M 10 of 21
    H&M
    At H&M you have 30 days to complete a return in-store. At this time you still can't make online purchases in the U.S. through H&M (what gives, H&M!) and items returned without a receipt will land you some in-store credit, with the exception of final sale items.
  • Kmart 11 of 21
    Kmart
    With an original receipt or email confirmation of order you can get a return or exchange within 90 days of purchase. They're hard and fast on this over at Kmart. No receipt? No luck.
  • Kohl’s 12 of 21
    Kohl's
    No receipt? No sweat. Kohl's offers a cash refund (or credit) (or exchange) no matter when you return. Thanks, Kohl's!
  • L.L. Bean 13 of 21
    L.L. Bean
    There's no return deadline on items ordered from L.L. Bean. Just print out the form from the website and send that sucker back for a full refund in the manner of your choosing.
  • Macy’s 14 of 21
    Macy's
    Macy's has adopted the Nordstrom method of returns and has a program that identifies items sold in their stores, thus rendering the receipt unnecessary. You have 180 days to make a return for store credit or exchange. (Although the deadline for jewelry items is considerably shorter, at 30 days.)
  • Nordstrom 15 of 21
    Nordstrom
    Nordstrom will accept any and all returns for any and all reason at basically any and all time (even shoes worn more than once before showing their cheapness by scuffing horrifically). Receipt usually unnecessary.
  • Sears 16 of 21
    Sears
    Return the item in its original packaging, with receipt or email confirmation, within 90 days of purchase. No tossing Sears boxes, you got that? Items purchased online can be returned in-store.
  • Toys R Us 17 of 21
    Toys R Us
    Be warned, if you receive a gift from Toys R Us or its sister site Babies R Us and intend to return it via mail: your only option is to refund original form of payment, which means you'll be out a gift and they'll totally know you took it back. Take it to the store if you want to exchange.
  • Victoria’s Secret 18 of 21
    Victoria's Secret
    It's no secret that you get 90 days to return an item to your local Victoria's Secret before you are limited to in-store credit only (was that cheesy?).
  • Walmart 19 of 21
    Walmart
    90 days gets you unlimited returns with a receipt, with some exceptions for electronics and other regulated items. Online purchases can be returned in-store.
  • Zappos 20 of 21
    Zappos
    Oh Zappos my love! Free shipping both ways and full refund (or exchange) within 365 days of purchase.
  • Zara 21 of 21
    Zara
    In stores you get 30 days to make a return, period. You must have both copies of your receipt if you want a refund of the original form of payment, otherwise it is store credit alone for you. This goes for both in-store and online (hooray Zara is online!) purchases.

 

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