17 retailers with the best return policies

Not sure you'll love something? It won't be an issue with these shops.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

The holiday season means amping up the amount of shopping you’d normally do, which can include everyone on your list or even a few purchases for yourself. However, whether you’re spending cash in stores or online, it’s hard not to factor in a retailer’s return policy. Do they have a short window period for returns? If you’re shopping online, do you have to pay for return shipping? All of this can be a determining factor in buying an item.

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers made $573 billion in store returns in 2017, with e-commerce returns nearing $100 billion. So shoppers are clearly more willing to return items they once loved or wanted enough to purchase. However, the study also found that a little more than 10 percent of returns were considered fraudulent, which equated to a $60 billion loss for retailers.

There’s no doubt some shoppers have been taking advantage of return policies, and many retailers have responded by making their return policies much stricter. For instance, earlier this year L.L.Bean, which was once notorious for accepting pretty much all returns, added new restrictions to their policies.

But for shoppers making legitimate purchases, it’s extremely important to patronize retailers that allow for easy and free returns. These 17 stores do just that.

1. Nordstrom has no time limit on returns or exchanges

Nordstrom storefront
Credit: Nordstrom

It doesn't matter how long it takes you to get around to returning things at Nordstrom. They have no time limits!

Nordstrom’s return policy can seem a bit vague and returns are handled on a “case-by-case-basis.” But their policy clearly reads, “There are no time limits for returns or exchanges.”

Refunds are credited to the original form of payment, and if an item was a gift, the recipient will receive a Nordstrom gift card instead. For purchases that can’t be verified, a sales associate may ask for identification, and the price the item is currently selling for will be added to a gift card.

2. Lands’ End will take back your personalized items

Lands' End Store Interior
Credit: Lands' End

Getting someone a monogrammed gift won't stop them from returning it when you buy from Lands' End.

It’s pretty customary that once an item has been personalized, there are no returns. But Lands’ End has what it calls Guaranteed.Period. This includes exchanges and refunds on products purchased within 90 days. Beyond the three-month period, or for purchases without proof of receipt, a credit is issued.

But what really makes Lands’ End stand out is the acceptance of products that have been monogrammed or even hemmed. Hundreds of their items are available for personalized engraving, heat stamping, and embroidery. So if you’re not satisfied with that monogrammed flannel shirt, you’re not stuck with it.

3. L.L. Bean still has one of the most lenient returns

Two people jumping in L.L.Bean clothes on a mountain
Credit: L.L.Bean

L.L.Bean has always had an amazing return policy, and it's still one of the best even with the new restrictions.

L.L. Bean is legendary for having one of the most forgiving return policies ever. Shoppers used to be able to return at item, at any time with no proof of purchase. Maybe that’s why the company updated their policy earlier this year. The new rules allow for returns of up to one year with proof of purchase. However, if you purchased L.L. Bean items before the policy update (February 9, 2018), then that time-limit doesn’t apply to you.

4. Ikea offers refunds on delivery charges

Ikea Kitchen Display
Credit: Ikea

Don't love your Ikea furniture as much as you'd hoped? You can return it and Ikea will even refund shipping.

A year is a pretty long time, and that’s exactly the window Ikea gives you to make returns on almost anything. As long as items are returned with proof of purchase and in resellable condition, you’re eligible for a full refund. Returning furniture you purchased online usually means a loss of your initial delivery charge, but Ikea will refund your delivery fee if a return is processed within 14 days of receiving your item.

5. Refunds on Costco membership fees at any time

Couple shopping at Costco
Credit: Costco

Costco has some great bargains if you like buying in bulk, but if you hate it you can get your membership fees back.

Paying for items in bulk can offer a ton of savings, but for membership stores like Costco, that means paying a yearly fee. Annual membership ranges from $60-$120, but if at any time you’re not happy, Costco gladly offers a refund. In full. At any time. You can get a refund on membership if you’re not happy after one shopping trip or 100. Costco extends its leniency to other areas as well, accepting returns on all items (with certain exceptions, including electronics and diamonds).

6. Zappos makes return shipping a breeze

Zappos sneakers
Credit: Zappos

Buying shoes online is a crapshoot, but Zappos makes returns easy as pie.

Online shoe and apparel retailer Zappos provides returns on items within 365 days, as long as they’re unworn and in the original packaging. Also, if the item came with an attached security tag, it must still be attached as well.

But Zappos really shines when it comes to sending pre-paid mailing labels. You can log into your account to print one out or have a label emailed to you. And if you don’t have access to a printer, the company will even send you the return label via mail. No need to worry about printing a thing.

7. Athleta accepts your worn workout gear

Athleta winter outdoor workout jacket and wintery ombre leggings
Credit: Athleta

Athleta is one of the very few companies that lets you return workout clothes after trying them out!

Even for stores with the most lenient return policies, most require clothes to be unworn or even with tags still attached. However, Athleta, a women's fitness apparel store owned by The Gap, is just the opposite thanks to the Give-It-a-Workout guarantee. They actually want you to wear their athletic gear and then, if you’re not satisfied, start the return process.

Their site states, “Work it out. If it doesn’t perform, return it.” Many people will probably have fitness resolutions for the new year, so at least yoga pants or hiking gear come with a return guarantee after you work up a sweat.

8. Kohl’s accepts returns from Amazon (in a few areas)

Kohl's storefront
Credit: Kohl's

Kohl's not only accepts its own returns, but it'll handle your Amazon returns too.

Kohl’s has a pretty standard return policy, but they’re working with Amazon to make those online orders and returns even easier. Select Amazon orders are eligible to be returned to participating Kohl’s stores in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Chicago. After starting the return process via amazon.com, print out your label and drop the package off at a designated Kohl’s spot. The department store will handle everything from there.

9. Target extends electronics returns for the holidays

Playstation Mini Console from Target
Credit: Target

Target makes sure you can return any unwanted tech gifts you get for the holidays.

Overall, Target’s return policy remains on the longer side of standard (90 days for returns or exchanges), but it’s a winner specifically for electronics around the holidays. The usual rule of thumb for electronics is 30 days for a refund or exchange, but for any items purchased between November 1 and December 25, the 30-day period doesn’t begin until December 26. Also, for all Target-owned brands (Threshold, Universal Thread, Opalhouse, etc.), the return policy is one year with proof of purchase.

10. Tomorrow will send someone to retrieve your unwanted mattress

Tomorrow mattress and bedding
Credit: Tomorrow Bedding

If you don't love your mattress in the first year, Tomorrow will actually come pick it up.

Shopping for a mattress without testing it out can be tricky and feel like a gamble, but Tomorrow makes returns easy. All of their products (pillows, sheets, curtains, etc.) have a 100-day return for a full refund, no matter what shape they’re in, but that’s extended to 365 days for mattresses. If you have the original box, they’ll send a prepaid UPS label, but what are the odds of having a mattress box hanging around for a year? Luckily, box or not, Tomorrow will schedule a pick-up time to have the mattress retrieved.

11. CVS promises 100% satisfaction on all beauty products

Wet n Wild Liquid Lipstick
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

We loved this lipstick, but if you don't, CVS lets you return it (even if you tried it!).

CVS sells almost every affordable drugstore makeup or beauty brand, including our favorite liquid lipstick from Wet ‘n’ Wild. Their satisfaction guaranteed policy ensures you can return unopened and opened beauty items with a receipt. If that lipstick isn’t the right shade? No worries. Tried a new body wash, but you’re not loving it? Just head to the counter and let CVS know you’re not satisfied. The same 100% love it or return it policy applies to CVS brand products too.

12. Walmart has a 60-day satisfaction for prescription glasses

Walmart Vision Center
Credit: Walmart

If you don't love your new prescription glasses, Walmart lets you return them.

Walmart’s policies vary by department with most items being eligible for a return within 90 days. But if you wear eyeglasses, that window is 60 days to return prescription lenses. While this is a shorter time frame, that’s more than enough time to determine if a pair of specs works for you. Lenses can be returned in store at the Vision Centers or on walmart.com.

13. Bath & Body Works accepts returns under $250 without a receipt

Bath & Body Works Products
Credit: Bath & Body Works

If you don't love your scent, you can return it even after trying it out.

The scents of pumpkin, lavender, and maple cinnamon are hard for anyone to resist, but sometimes you change your mind on that fragrant hand soap or body wash you thought you’d love so much. Whether you’ve tried a product once or haven’t even opened the packaging, Bath & Body Works allows refunds or exchanges at any time provided there’s proof of purchase. Without a receipt, an exchange or credit can still be provided. They even specify that they’ll accept up to $250 in returns in a three-month period for items without a receipt.

14. Michaels provides in-store cash refunds

Bernat Yarn from Michaels Crafts
Credit: Michaels

Even though there's no such thing as too many craft supplies, Michaels has a great return policy just in case.

Crafters everywhere are intimately familiar with Michaels. Shoppers have up to 180 days to return unused items in its original packaging. That’s a pretty generous return window for in-store and online sales.

But it gets even sweeter for in-store purchases with receipts. Most retailers will refund a purchase in the original method of payment, but for purchases made with a debit card, shoppers will be refunded in cold, hard cash. The same goes if you used PayPal and decided to return an online order to a store.

15. Trader Joe’s accepts returns on any food item, at any time

Trader Joe's Carrot Cake spread and signage
Credit: Trader Joe's

TJs is so sure you'll love their stuff that they will take returns of foods you've already tasted.

Trader Joe’s has a reputation for being shopper-friendly, but the return policy takes the cake for customer service. While it’s hard to track down an official return policy online, the grocery chain has been known to have a “no questions asked” stance. Just bring back the item, even if it’s half eaten, and an associate will process your refund.

16. Bloomingdale’s provides returns on final sale products

Bloomingdale's store interior
Credit: Bloomingdale's

Bloomingdale's is one of the only stores that lets you return sale items.

You’ve probably seen signs or a note on most of your receipts specifying clearance or final sale items are not eligible for returns, but Bloomingdale’s actually gives you up to 30 days to make up your mind on sales. If you’re not satisfied with a Final Offer item, return it within a month and get all your money back. For many of their other items, you can be refunded or receive credit as long as they’re returned within 365 days and in saleable condition.

17. The Home Depot has extended returns for card holders

The Home Depot Storefront
Credit: The Home Depot

If you have a Home Depot card, you get a full year for returns.

There are a few items The Home Depot has return policy exceptions for: 30 days for furniture, consumer electronics, generators, and area rugs. But for the majority of merchandise, there home improvement giant has a 90-day return rule. However, if you purchased items with The Home Depot’s credit or charge cards, that extends to up to one year.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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