Guide to Returning Gifts: Retailers With the Best and Worst Return Policies

Home DepotMost items are eligible for returns for up to 90 days after purchase. They must be new and unopened, and as long as you have proof of purchase, you can get a refund by the original payment method, in cash, or as store credit. If you don’t have a receipt, try to make the return within 30 days and the company may be able to find your purchase in its system if you used a debit or credit card for the transaction. You’ll need to show ID to return items without a receipt.

If you use The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card, The Home Depot Commercial Revolving Charge, or The Home Depot Commercial Account, you have a full 365 days to make a return, and your purchase will be stored in the system for a year in case you lose your receipt.

Some items have shorter return windows. You get only 30 days to return area rugs, furniture, gas-powered equipment, and consumer electronics. And if your order arrives damaged or defective, you’ve got a very short window of 48 hours to report it, so always inspect your products as soon as you get them.

JCPenneyIf you have a receipt, the company accepts returns and exchanges for up to 90 days—prior to October 2021, there was no time limit for returns. If that has passed or you don’t have a receipt, JCPenney will allow you to exchange the item or get a refund as store credit for the lowest price the item was in the previous 45 days, and you’ll need to show ID in lieu of a receipt. If you have a gift receipt, you can exchange an item or get a gift card at the receipt price.

For the holidays, anything purchased on or after Oct. 15 can be returned through Jan. 15, 2023, with an original or gift receipt. And even if you lose the receipt, you may still qualify for partial store credit.

Kohl’sThe return policy at Kohl’s gives shoppers up to 180 days for returns of most purchases. No receipt? The store can look up previous purchases. For the holidays, just note that premium electronics must be returned within 30 days in original packaging, though if purchased Nov. 1 through Dec. 25, you have until Jan. 31, 2023, to return them.

L.L.BeanUntil 2018, the company used to allow customers to exchange or return an item even years after purchasing it. Customers now have one year after, accompanied by proof of purchase. Returning items by mail will cost you $6.50 per package unless you used Bean Bucks or an L.L.Bean credit card for the purchase. In those cases, mail-in returns are free.

If you need to make a return after a year, L.L.Bean will work with you to reach a fair solution if a product was defective in any way. For returned gifts, you’ll get a merchandise credit if you don’t want to make an exchange. Items purchased before Feb. 9, 2018, are grandfathered in and can still be returned anytime.

Lands’ EndThe retailer’s return policy is flexible. For returns made within 90 days of purchase, a full refund will be issued by the original payment method. If you return something by mail, Land’s End will now deduct $6.95 from your refund credit for using the Easy Return Label. If you want to return something without proof of purchase or after the 90-day window, Land’s End will issue a merchandise credit. Anything that’s been personalized or purchased as a final sale can’t be returned.

Lowe’sMost items can be returned up to 90 days after purchase. As long as you have proof of purchase, Lowe’s will refund in cash, by the original payment method, or as store credit. If you lose your receipt, the store may have a record of the purchase in its system with the original credit card, checking account number, MyLowe’s card, or phone number. if no record of a purchase can be found, Lowe’s may still be able to provide in-store credit for the current selling price. You’ll need to show ID for returns without proof of purchase.

Some items can only be returned within 30 days and must be in “like new” condition. This includes TVs, major appliances, liquid paint, and outdoor power equipment. If you receive an item that’s damaged or defective, you have only three days to contact the company to document it.

And if you have a Lowe’s Commercial Account (LCA), Lowe’s Business Advantage (LBA), Lowe’s Advantage Card (LAC) or Lowe’s Business Rewards (LBR), the company gives you a full 365 days to make a return.

Macy’sYou have 90 days to return most items purchased at Macy’s. It’s free to return a purchase whether in-store or by mail, and while you can return online orders in stores, in-store purchases can only be returned to stores and not via mail. Shipping costs for purchases are nonrefundable, and items must be new, unused, and with original tags. Some items have shorter return windows, such as Apple products, which can only be returned within 14 days.

For the holidays, anything purchased on or after Oct. 3 can be returned up until Jan. 31. This is one week earlier than last year.

NordstromThere’s no formal return policy; returns are handled case by case. No receipts are required, there are no time limits, and no original tags are needed (except for special occasion dresses). Returns made by mail and in-store can take five to seven days to process; mail-in returns can take up to two weeks. And you can now return Nordstrom store and online purchases to Nordstrom Rack locations, a new addition to the retailer’s policy.

TargetYou have up to 90 days to return most items at Target (but 30 days for most electronics and 15 days for Apple products). The retailer provides free shipping on returns, and you can bring your items to any location as well. The company may honor returns on items that have been opened, damaged, or don’t come with a receipt, but it doesn’t guarantee this. If you have a Target Red Card, the return window is extended an additional 30 days.

For the holidays, the 30-day return window (15 days for Apple products) begins Dec. 26 for electronics and entertainment items purchased between Oct. 1 and Dec. 25.

WalmartFor most items, Walmart offers a 90-day return window. Electronics get 30 days, and post-paid cell phones have only a 14-day window. Walmart’s 30-day window for returns on tech purchased between Oct. 16 and Dec. 25 begins on Dec. 26. The retailer provides free returns regardless of whether you’re returning in-store or by mail and offers pickup services, though freight charges for large items are nonrefundable.

ZapposThis online-only retailer promises free returns on all U.S. orders for up to a year as long as the items are unworn and returned in their original packaging, with original tags still in place. Return shipping is free, and the company also allows exchanges.