Time and money are two things you hate to waste. That’s why so many of us forego the dressing room, only to try things on at home later and realize the clothes we bought don’t fit very well. Luckily, pretty much all major retailers allow returns to any of their locations, so you don’t even need to wait until you’re back in the neighborhood where you bought the item.
Knowing you can make the return at another locale is just the start — it’s important to also know how long you have to return merchandise, as some stores offer as few as 14 days to make a return! This article summarizes return policies of some of the biggest major retailers in the United States so you can know exactly where and when you can return items you don’t want.
Retail Policies on Returns to Different Locations
For the most part, major retailers allow you to return items to any of their locations. However, there are sometimes exceptions where items must be returned to the store where they were purchased. A common example is an appliance or another item you enter into a contract with the store upon purchasing (a rent-to-own contract, for example).
Occasionally, specific locations will have different rules for the return of certain items. For instance, Target’s general return policy allows the return of gently used makeup, and it doesn’t seem to matter which location you return that makeup to; however, when we visited Target to return makeup, they told us that the policy at that specific store is that used makeup can only be returned if originally purchased at that location. Therefore, you should keep in mind that stores of the same chain may have minor differences in the overall return policy. If there’s anything you’re unsure of, call ahead or, if you manage to remember, ask when you’re making the purchase. In many cases, the store will specify that your merchandise can only be returned to the purchase location before you make your transaction.
You should always have your ID handy when making a return anywhere, as it’s not uncommon for a store to ask to see it to verify proof of purchase, especially if you don’t have your receipt. As long as you have your receipt, stores will refund you the full purchase price of any eligible item, including the sales tax, even if you bought that item in a different state.
Even though a store’s return policy may describe your item as eligible for return, most stores also state that they reserve the right to deny a return for any reason; though this probably isn’t likely to happen in most cases, it’s something to be aware of.
List of Stores & Their Return Policies
Returns to any store can be made at the store’s customer service desk; if there isn’t one, simply head to the register to get your items taken care of. All of these stores allow returns to other locations, though there are exceptions for certain products.
- Return policy: Apple accepts returns within 14 days of purchase or delivery. Items must be returned with all accessories, such as adapters, cords, and manuals. Returns made without a receipt may be eligible for store credit.
- Cannot be returned: Opened software (though it may still be returned if it has not been installed on a device), electronic software downloads, software upgrades, Apple Store gift cards, Apple Developer products (membership, technical support incidents, WWDC tickets), and Apple Print products.
- Returns made to different locations: Apple products can only be returned to an Apple Store if they were bought there. Apple products purchased from other retailers cannot be returned to the Apple Store. Other than that, Apple appears to accept returns at any location as long as it is within the return period.
- View the Apple return policy
- Find an Apple Store
2. Best Buy
- Return policy: Best Buy accepts returns on most products within 15 days of purchase. However, if you are a My Best Buy Elite member you have 30 days, and 45 days if you are a My Best Buy Elite Plus member. For cell phones and other activatable devices, Best Buy offers a 14 day return period regardless of whether or not you’re a member. You may also return items without a receipt, but you’ll be asked to provide photo ID. For any items returned that are missing packaging or accessories, Best Buy may deduct from the refund to make up for what’s missing.
- Cannot be returned: Some products are considered final sale and thus are not returnable. According to Best Buy’s website, non-returnable items include “custom orders, digital content, prepaid cards, gift packaging, memberships, completed services, opened consumable items including batteries, cleaning agents, oils, ink and 3D printer filament, and items returned that are damaged, unsanitary, missing major contents or not in a like-new condition.”
- Returns made to different locations: If you have an item that is damaged or defective, you must work with the Best Buy location you purchased it from to resolve the problem. Otherwise, Best Buy accepts returns to any store on most of their products.
- View the Best Buy return policy
- Find a Best Buy
- Return policy: Customers have 60 days to return most unopened items/items in new condition. You may be asked to present a photo ID during any return, but it’s more likely if you’re returning an item without a receipt. Items returned without a receipt will be refunded at the lowest advertised price as store credit. CVS brand products are under CVS’s 100% satisfaction guarantee and can be returned for any reason, opened or unopened.
- Cannot be returned: Gift cards, pre-paid cards, phone cards, some healthcare items, and home, health, and personal care products.
- Returns made to different locations: You can return your purchases to any CVS location.
- View the CVS return policy
- Find a CVS
4. Dollar General
- Return policy: Dollar General accepts returns within 30 days of purchase (in-store) or delivery (online) with a receipt. If you do not have a receipt, you will receive store credit as a refund.
- Cannot be returned: No items specified
- Returns made to different locations: You can return your purchase to any Dollar General location. However, items purchased online cannot be returned in store, and items purchased in-store cannot be returned online.
- View the Dollar General return policy
- Find a Dollar General
- Return policy: Customers can return items within 45 days of purchase as long as the items are in their original condition. Items returned that have proof of purchase will receive a full refund. Items without proof of purchase may be eligible for a merchandise certificate.
- Cannot be returned: Final sale items
- Returns made to different locations: Gap accepts returns at any of its locations. Though Gap is owned by the same company that owns Banana Republic, Old Navy, and other retail stores, any product purchased at a Gap must be returned to a Gap and cannot be returned to stores of other company brands.
- View the Gap return policy
- Find a Gap
6. Home Depot
- Return policy: General customers have 90 days from the purchase date to return new, unopened items with a receipt. Those who have the Home Depot Consumer Credit Card, the Home Depot Commercial Revolving Charge, or the Home Depot Commercial Account have 365 days to return a purchase. Home Depot can attempt to process returns for items with no receipt by searching their system for the purchase, but you’ll need to bring a photo ID. If your purchase was made with a trackable method of payment (credit or debit cards, checks, credit cards associated with Home Depot), there will be a much higher chance of Home Depot being able to accept a return on the item.
- Cannot be returned: None specified
- Returns made to different locations: Most items can be returned to any Home Depot location. However, if you enter into a contract with Home Depot upon purchasing an item, that item can only be returned to the store where you bought it.
- View the Home Depot return policy
- Find a Home Depot
7. J.C. Penney
- Return policy: For most items, there is no specific return window. As long as the item is still in good condition, it’s eligible for return. This will be up to the discretion of each store. Items without a receipt will be refunded as store credit based on the lowest selling price within the last 45 days. Some items have a shorter return period, such as jewelry (60 days); appliances, electronics, furniture, mattresses, and small electrics (30 days).
- Cannot be returned: Gift cards, monogrammed items, personalized items, altered items, body jewelry, perishable food, and services.
- Returns made to different locations: Some of the factory ship items will need to be returned directly to the supplier. Furniture and major appliances have to be returned to the supplier. Other items can be returned to any J. C. Penney location.
- View the J. C. Penney return policy
- Find a J. C. Penney
- Return policy: Kohl’s has an exceptionally long time limit for returning items. It keeps a record of credit card purchases for 16 months, and the website states that if you made your purchase in a physical store, the store may be able to track purchases even further back if you visit that particular store. It appears that whether you have your receipt or not, as long as your purchase can be tracked, it can be returned, regardless of how long ago the purchase was made. Aside from this, we were told by Kohl’s customer service that the Kohl’s “hassle-free” return system allows you to return any item for any reason, even if that item has been opened. The only exceptions to the general return policy are premium electronic items, such as Fitbits, which only have a 30-day period for return.
- Cannot be returned: None specified
- Returns made to different locations: Kohl’s has one of the most lenient return policies. When talking to their customer service representative, we were told that any item could be returned to any store, including things like Fitbits and fine jewelry.
- View the Kohl’s return policy
- Find a Kohls
- Return policy: Lowe’s allows 90 days for returns on most products, opened or unopened, with or without a receipt. You may be asked to provide a photo ID when making a return. If you do not have your receipt, Lowe’s will refund you the current selling price of the item as store credit. Major appliances, outdoor power equipment, and highway trailers only have a 30 day window for return.
- Cannot be returned: None specified
- Returns made to different locations: Lowe’s allows returns to any location for most products. However, highway trailers in particular must be returned to a location within the original state of purchase, and you will need to have all of the original paperwork to return it.
- View the Lowe’s return policy
- Find a Lowe’s
- Return policy: Macy’s offers returns within 180 days of purchase. Most items must be returned in original condition, but they also accept returns of gently used cosmetics. Some items have a shorter return period: Jewelry and watches, Apple, last act, lids, optical, and fur vault products must be returned within 30 days of purchase (14 days for Apple smartphones); Small electrics, personal care, and dresses must be returned within 60 days of purchase.
- Cannot be returned: None specified
- Returns made to different locations: Macy’s only allows cosmetics returns to stores that sell those brands of cosmetics; otherwise, all items can be returned to all locations.
- View the Macy’s return policy
- Find a Macy’s
11. Rite Aid
- Return policy: Rite Aid accepts returns on most items within 90 days of purchase on a case by case basis. They also accept returns on opened makeup and beauty products. Items returned without a receipt will be refunded the lowest sale price within the last 45 days in the form of a Rite Aid Gift Card.
- Cannot be returned: Cigarettes and tobacco, prescriptions, prepaid cards, gift cards, or lottery tickets.
- Returns made to different locations: Online purchases cannot be returned to a Rite Aid location and must be returned online.
- View the Rite Aid return policy
- Find a Rite Aid
12. Sears (& Kmart)
Note: Since Kmart is owned by Sears, the return policy is the same.
- Return policy: In general, Sears accepts returns within 30 days of purchase with a receipt; items should be in their original packaging and with all parts that came with them. Sears will sometimes accept returns on items missing packaging or tags, but it depends on the merchandise. For items missing labels, tags, or packaging, sometimes an exchange can be made if the item is not eligible for return.
- Cannot be returned: Opened movies, music, games, software, and collectibles — these can, however, be exchanged if found to be defective.
- Returns made to different locations: For the most part, you can return your Sears purchase at the customer service desk of any Sears location. This does not include marketplace items bought online; those must be returned via the seller who you bought the item from. Also, items purchased at Sears Outlet stores can only be returned at other Outlet stores.
- View the Sears return policy
- Find a Sears
- Return policy: You can return items to Staples within 30 days of purchase as long as the item is in saleable condition. This means the item should have its original packaging, including the manual, UPC, parts, and any other accessories. In the case of electronics, all personal information should be removed before returning. Some items only have a 14 day return period, and these items include computers, laptops, tablets, eReaders, smart/cell phones, and unopened drones. If you do not have your receipt, you will receive store credit for the returned item. Any purchased item that may contain personal information is to be returned to a Staples store, regardless of whether or not it was originally purchased online.
- Cannot be returned: None specified
- Returns made to different locations: According to customer service, items can be returned to any store.
- View the Staples return policy
- Find a Staples
- Return policy: Most new or unopened items can be returned within 90 days (120 days for REDcard holders) with the receipt. Exceptions can be made for items that were defective upon purchase. Target can also attempt to process returns for items without a receipt, but you’ll need to bring a government-issued photo ID and the method of payment you used to purchase the item, along with the item itself. Because Target uses these items to search for the purchase in their database, you’ll have a better chance of Target accepting the return if you used a trackable method of payment. If you used cash, it may not be possible for Target to accept a return on your item. Though Target doesn’t accept returns on many opened items, it will often allow exchanges. Some items may have a shorter return period: for example, electronics have a 30 day period, and drones have a 14 day period.
- Cannot be returned: Opened collectibles (special edition dolls, sports cards, action figures, etc.).
- Returns made to different locations: While most items can be returned at the customer service desk of any Target store, items such as opened cosmetics must be returned at the location of purchase. Unopened, unused cosmetics can be returned to any Target store.
- View the Target return policy
- Find a Target
15. T.J. Maxx
- Return policy: Merchandise can be returned within 30 days of purchase with a receipt. For returns made without a receipt, the purchase amount will be refunded as store credit.
- Cannot be returned: Merchandise that has been used or worn. Therefore, items such as swimsuits and undergarments must have the tags still attached in order to be returned.
- Returns made to different locations: Jewelry can only be returned to T.J. Maxx stores that carry jewelry and must be returned at the Jewelry Counter; all other items can be returned to any location.
- View the T.J. Maxx return policy
- Find a T.J. Maxx
- Return policy: Walgreens accepts returns within 30 days of purchase. If you have your receipt, you will receive a full refund in the form of your original payment method. Without a receipt, you will be refunded the item’s lowest advertised price in the form of store credit. When returning an item, Walgreens may also ask to see a photo ID. After 30 days have passed, you can still return items, but even if you have your original receipt, your refund will be in store credit. Opened cosmetics can be returned at the discretion of the clerk at the cosmetics counter.
- Cannot be returned: Gift cards, pre-paid general purpose reload cards, phone cards, pre-paid phones, sexual wellness products, bathing suits, underwear, earrings, or seasonal products.
- Returns made to different locations: Walgreens allows returns to any location. Most items can be returned at the register, but some items will need to be returned at their respective areas, such as print/photo items at the Photo Center.
- View the Walgreens return policy
- Find a Walgreens
- Return policy: Most items can be returned to Walmart within 90 days of purchase, with or without a receipt. However, there are some items that have a shorter window for returns, such as electronics, and the store manager will have the final say about whether or not you can return an item.
- Cannot be returned: Firearms and marketplace items bought online. Marketplace items have to be returned via the Marketplace seller.
- Returns made to different locations: In most cases, you can return a Walmart purchase to any Walmart at the customer service desk during store hours. However, there are some items that must be returned to the store you bought it from. Foods purchased from the fresh produce, meat, bakery, or service deli sections of Walmart must be returned to the original store of purchase in order to receive a refund as part of Walmart’s Fresh Guarantee.
- View the Walmart return policy
- Find a Walmart
Most retailers allow items to be returned to any of their locations, with few exceptions. Aside from that, return policies are very similar from retailer to retailer, the main difference being the amount of time you have to return your purchase. The majority of retailers also allow you to return items without a receipt in exchange for store credit. Whenever you decide to return a purchase, make sure you have a photo ID on you, as you may be asked to provide one. Many stores use identification to help them verify proof of purchase. Though retailers are often pretty lenient and allow returns for almost any product, they still have the right to deny a return for any reason. It never hurts to call ahead if you’re unsure about whether an item is eligible for return.