Clark Howard Staff, Clark.com
Try as you might, you know at least some of the gifts you give this holiday season won’t hit the mark and the recipient will probably return them.
Maybe you’ll even be the one returning gifts that family and friends mistakenly thought would be perfect for you!
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Either way, it pays to know what the return policy is at the store where the gift was purchased. Here’s a look at some of the best in retail:
These stores have some of the best return policies in retail
Costco features a forgiving return policy. If you buy something at the warehouse club, just assume you can return it with no limit — with a few exceptions.
The exceptions include electronics (90-day window to return); diamonds; cigarettes and alcohol and other sundries. Get full details here.
They even offer to refund your membership fee in full at any time if you are dissatisfied!
Eddie Bauer is also a very generous company when it comes to returns.
As their website states, “Every item we sell will give you complete satisfaction or you may return it for a full refund.”
And if you happen to do an exchange by mail, they even offer to send the new item out to you free of shipping charges.
Harry & David
The return policy for this fancy gift-basket purveyor is delightful indeed.
“You and those who receive your gifts must be delighted, or we’ll make it right with either an appropriate replacement or refund,” their quality guarantee reads.
“Everything’s guaranteed. No cutting corners. No fudging on quality. No excuses.”
The Lands’ End return policy can be summed up in two registered trademark words: “Guaranteed. Period.®”
“If you aren’t happy with a product, return it at any time for a refund or exchange. It doesn’t get much better than this,” their website reads.
You’ll get a refund check for anything returned with a receipt that was purchased more than nine months ago. No receipt? No worries! You’ll get the item’s lowest sale price back in the form of a Lands’ End gift card.
Kohl’s prides itself on Hassle-Free Returns.
They will take back any item at any time regardless of whether you have a receipt — except for gift cards and premium electronics. In general, electronics must be returned within 30 days with original packaging and a valid receipt or account look-up.
However, the premium electronics return rule is eased this time of year. Purchases made from Nov. 1 to Dec. 25 may be returned by Jan. 31, 2018, with the same conditions as stated above.
L.L. Bean has a simple yet legendary promise to customers: “If something’s not working or fitting or standing up to its task or lasting as long as you think it should, we’ll take it back.”
But because of customer abuse, there are some circumstances under which the store will require a receipt or even decline to make return or exchange. These include:
- Items that were not purchased directly from L.L.Bean (such as items purchased at thrift stores, online sellers or garage sales)
- Items with a missing label or an item that has been defaced
- On rare occasions, based on the nature of prior transactions
- Without a receipt and a valid ID in our stores
- Items that have been soiled or contaminated, until they have been cleaned
- Items lost or damaged due to fire, flood, natural disaster, or accidents (including pet damage)
- Items returned for personal reasons unrelated to product satisfaction
- Returns on ammunition either in our stores or through the mail
Nordstrom has been well-known for its customer service.
Legend has it that a long time ago in Portland, the store took back a tire from a customer — even though Nordstrom only sold clothing and shoes, not automotive parts!
Although you probably couldn’t return a tire today, the store maintains a liberal policy, striving to do what’s best for the customer.
“We will do our best to take care of customers and deal with them fairly; we ask that our customers treat us fairly as well,” Nordstrom writes on its website. “From time to time we may not accept a return. There are no time limits for returns or exchanges.”
These words on the outdoor sports company’s website say it all:
With this online shoe seller, you have a full 356 days to return the items you buy online as long as they are unworn and in the original packaging.
Helpful tips for hassle-free returns
Of course, not every store has a return policy as generous as those mentioned above. So in order to ensure you can return an item at most retailers, be sure to follow these basic steps:
1. Don’t open the box
If you can help it, avoid opening the box, especially in the case of electronics. Still, if you have opened the item, you might be able to return it — though you should be aware the retailer may hit you with a 15% restocking fee.
2. Keep gift receipts
Make sure you hang on to gift receipts, as many retailers won’t accept the return without them. You might have to be willing to accept a gift card or even exchange in lieu of cash though, depending on the store.
3. Return merchandise in a timely manner
Check the gift receipt to make sure you get to the store in time for a refund.
4. Bring identification
Some stores have gotten to the point where they won’t return an item without an ID for tracking purposes in order to avoid theft. Be sure to bring your ID in order to get your refund.