You smiled sweetly and thanked Aunt Mary for the ugly Christmas sweater that was four sizes too big, but now that the holidays are over, you wonder how fast you can exchange that sweater for something you can actually use. When it comes to unwanted gifts, figuring out the return policies of the numerous retailers can seem like a post-holiday maze of horrors.
Individual stores set different return policies that must be navigated. Most require either a gift receipt or the original receipt for a cash refund. A few will exchange items for in-store credit without a receipt. Online retailers typically want the item shipped back in the original box the item was mailed in and copies of invoices. Trying to figure out what you need to return, within what time frame and the items you need to have on hand can be confusing, but the table below breaks down the basic requirements of some of the more popular retailers. There are many finer details to return policies, so we've also posted a link to each store's specific policies for additional information.
|Holiday return policy ||Special notes|
Items purchased and shipped from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 may be returned until Jan. 31, 2013.
Additional restrictions for some items.
|Overstock.com || |
Items purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 may be returned unopened within 30 days of delivery or by January 31st, 2013, whichever is later.
All other conditions of the standard return policy apply.
|Zappos.com ||365 days to return items for any reason. Item must be in original packaging and condition.|
No charge for return shipping.
|Online or in-store purchases can be returned within 90 days with receipt and in original condition/packaging. 15-day and 30-day return items purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 have an extended return period with the countdown beginning on Dec. 26.||Additional exclusions may apply to some items.|
|Sears || |
30-day return items bought between Nov. 11 and Dec. 24 have an extended return through January 24, 2013. 60-day items purchased between Nov.11 and Dec. 24 have 60 days or until January, 24, 2013, whichever is later.
Additional restrictions apply.
|Best Buy || |
Holiday return policy: Gifts purchased between Nov. 4 and Dec. 24 can be returned through January 24, 2013. Carrier contracts for third-party services are not returnable, such as cell phones or satellite television. Other services may be refunded on a pro-rated based (e.g. Geek Squad).
Standard return policy terms apply.
|Barnes and Noble || |
Standard return policy applies. Although B&N has listed special holiday return policies in the past, there are none listed for the 2012 buying season. Check with your local store, but assume that the 14-day return policy applies.
|Special return directions apply to Nooks.|
|Toys R Us ||Whether they were purchased online or in-store, most items can be returned to a Toys R Us location or shipped back within 90-days. Item must be in original packaging and condition.||Additional exceptions apply.|
|Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic|| |
Clothing must not have been worn, used or washed. Most items can be returned within 45-days. Exchange for a gift card or mail back for a full refund.
|No shipping charges.|
|Office Depot||Unopened office supplies can be returned within 30-days. Some technology and electronics only have a 14-day return window. A 15% restocking fee is charged for any missing parts.||Standard return policies apply.|
Full refund up to 60 days. After 60 days, a merchandise credit will be applied.
|Shipping is not refunded.|
|Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma||Items purchased between Oct. 15 and Dec. 24 can be returned through Jan. 31, 2013. However, items purchased through the gift registry, such as for a wedding, have a 90-day return date after the event date.||Personalized items and special orders may not be returned.|
|Apple||Items received between from Oct. 27 through Dec. 25 can be returned through Jan. 7, 2013. All other standard return guidelines apply.||Policy does not apply to iPhones or wireless service contracts.|
|Target||Items that are unopened and in new condition can be returned for up to 90 days from purchase date.||Some items, such as electronics, have a modified return by date, which is printed on the receipt.|
|Staples||Some items, such as ink cartridges that are still current and unopened can be returned for a full refund at any time with receipt. Furniture items that typically have a 14-day return policy, when purchased between Nov. 22 and Dec. 24, may be returned until Jan. 12, 2013.||Additional exclusions and rules apply. See full return policy for details.|
|Office Max||Standard policy applies: 30-days to return office supplies; 14-days to return furniture.||Must have a receipt or receive merchandise credit at store's discretion.|
|J Crew||Items purchased in-store can be returned for 30 days and items purchased online or by phone can be returned for 60 days as long as they are in original condition.||Additional restrictions apply.|
|Kohl's||Kohl's new Hassle-Free return policy makes returning items simple. If you have a receipt, the return is very simple. If you don't have a receipt, the store may be able to locate purchases made in the last 12 months.||At this time, there is no time limit on returns. Some exclusions apply.|
JCPenney's refund program is called "Happy Returns" and has no limitation, although stores do reserve the right to limit refunds. If an item has been purchased in the last six months you shouldn't have a problem returning it with or without a receipt.
|Additional rules apply.|
Return items to stores and by mail. Items may be exchanged by purchasing the new item. Once L.L. Bean receives the returned item, the amount of the returned item will be credited to your account.
|L. L. Bean Visa card members enjoy free return shipping.|
|Kmart||Most items have a 90-day return policy. Some have a 30-day return time table. Item must be in original packaging and in original condition.||Receipt is required.|