The post-holiday rush to return unwanted gifts is real.
We’ve all been there: Smiling, holding a gift you are so grateful to receive but unfortunately know you will never wear or use. It has to go back to the store! And so the annual frustration begins.
But the relatively minor inconvenience of an ill-fitting gift could get even worse if your loved one purchased it too far in advance. Typical store return policies often require an item to be returned within about a few weeks or a month of purchase — which is pretty tough to do if your aunt starts shopping in July.
Then there’s the issue of pandemic supply chain interruptions. If you have to send something back to an online retailer, it could take longer than usual.
Conventional wisdom says that saving ahead of time is good practice for anyone looking to keep the budget in check, and if you’re too late for this year, think about this strategy for 2022. Still, our holiday budget planner could come in handy this season.
Thankfully, many retailers understand these challenges and have extended return policies to accommodate unwanted holiday gifts.
- 1 Holiday Return Policies
- 1.1 Big Box Discount Stores
- 1.2 2. Wal-Mart
- 1.3 Online Retailers
- 1.4 Technology
- 1.5 Clothing
- 1.6 Specialty Stores
Holiday Return Policies
All stores have return policies and you can find them on their websites. Here are the special holiday return policies for some of the most popular retailers in 2021.
Big Box Discount Stores
Target’s extended holiday return policy only applies to electronics and entertainment purchased from Oct. 1 through Dec. 25. The refund period on these products will begin on Dec. 26, and the length of time varies based on product:
- Electronics and entertainment items (excluding Apple® products) have a 30-day refund period and must be returned by Jan. 24, 2022.
- Apple products (excluding mobile phones) have a 15-day refund period and must be returned by Jan. 9, 2022.
- Mobile phones purchased in-store or online via Order Pickup have a 14-day refund window and must be returned by Jan. 8, 2022.
Otherwise, items must be returned within 90 days per the store’s usual return policy.
For most items purchased or delivered between Nov. 1 through Dec. 25 with less than a 90-day return window, the return period begins on Dec. 26.
Some items have a less than 90-day return window. Cell phones must be returned within 14 days; most electronics within 30 days; prescription glasses and contacts and hearing aids within 60 days.
Return policies vary by seller in the online marketplace.
Most items purchased on Amazon between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 can be returned until Jan. 31, 2022.
Most third-party sellers stick to Amazon’s policy, but not all, so be sure to check their seller page before buying if you’re concerned
Items purchased from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 can be returned for a full refund within 30 days of delivery or by Jan. 31, 2022, whichever date is later. Refunds must be received at the warehouse within 15 days of the return being initiated.
5. Best Buy
The stores’ extended return policy applies to items purchased from Oct. 18 to Jan. 2 of the new year. They can be returned until Jan. 16, 2020. This excludes items like cell phones or AppleCare monthly plans that were purchased with a third-party contract and holiday products like decorations.
Items purchased online that are received between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25 may be returned through Jan. 8, 2022. Some items, like opened software and gift cards, are still ineligible for returns.
Electronics purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25 can be returned through Jan. 31, 2021 in its original packaging. Most other items may be returned within 180 days after the original purchase date, per the store’s standard policy.
Purchases made between Oct. 10 and Dec. 25 can be returned through Jan. 25, 2022.
For purchases starting Oct. 5, most items can be returned until Jan. 31, 2022. Otherwise, the store accepts returns within 90 days. Apple products and tech accessories must be returned within 14 days of purchase.
10. TJ Maxx
Items purchased between Oct. 10 and Dec. 25 can be returned through Jan. 25, 2022. On Dec. 26, the company returns to its normal 40-day return policy.
11. Urban Outfitters
Orders placed between Oct. 1 and Dec. 25 can be returned by Feb. 28, 2022. Returns within 30 days of delivery will be issued a full refund, and returns made after 30 days will be refunded via emailed store credit.
Orders placed between Oct. 1 and Dec. 25 will be eligible for return through Jan. 31, 2022.
Purchases made between Oct. 21 and Dec. 24 can be returned until Jan. 23, 2022. Exchanges can only be done in store.
Items purchased at any of the three stores between Oct. 24 and Dec. 24 can be returned by Jan. 15, 2022 or 45 days after purchase, whichever is later. Online items that are returned by mail must be received by Jan. 15, 2022 or 45 days after purchase, whichever is later.
Items purchased online or in stores between Oct. 24 and Dec. 24 can be returned by Jan. 15, 2022, or 60 days after purchase, whichever is later. Online items that are returned by mail must be received by Jan. 15, 2022, or 60 days after purchase, whichever is later.
16. Bed Bath & Beyond
The store offers a 90-day return policy for most items. Smart home technology, like thermostats and doorbells, purchased between Nov. 15 and Dec. 31 can be returned until Jan. 31, 2022.
17. Home Goods
Purchases made between Oct. 10 and Dec. 25 can be returned through Jan. 15, 2022.
Gifts purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 can be returned through Jan. 31, 2022 with a receipt.
19. Barnes & Noble
Purchases made between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 can be returned through Jan. 31, 2022, including NOOK tablets and eReaders.
Items purchased between Oct. 15, 2021 and Dec. 24, 2021 can be returned through Jan. 24, 2022.
Contributor Cassidy Alexander is a Florida-based journalist with experience writing about education, local government and personal finance. Writer Dana Sitar contributed information for this report.