Walmart Return Policy for Opened & Unboxed Items

Short Answer: Walmart’s general return policy will typically allow you to return opened items as long as you still have the original packaging and all accessories, even if the packaging is damaged. Air mattresses and media purchases are two of the most notable exceptions to this policy — once you’ve opened these items, you cannot return them, unless they were defective or damaged. For more information about returning opened items to Walmart, see below.

Walmart’s Return Policy for Opened Items

Walmart’s return policy allows customers to return most items bought in-store and online within 90 days of purchase (as previously reported). Select consumer electronics, including computers and tablets, must be returned within 30 days.

To receive a full refund in the form of your original payment, be sure to bring your receipt. You can still return items without a receipt, but you will likely only be able to get a cash refund if your purchase was under $25. Returns without a receipt valued at $25 or more will be refunded in the form of a Walmart gift card, at the discretion of the store manager.

To be eligible for a refund, you must return the item with the original manufacturer’s packaging and accessories, even when mailing in the return.[1] As long as returns are accompanied by their original packaging and parts, they should be accepted — even if you’ve opened the package. The original packaging contains a barcode that allows the associate to scan the item and confirm that was (and still is) sold at Walmart.

In most cases, Walmart will accept returns even if the manufacturer’s packaging is ripped or damaged. This applies to in-store returns and mail-in returns. Noteworthy exceptions include books, music, video games, and movies (as previously reported). Air mattresses are another exception; once opened, you can only exchange them. You must return these products within 90 days unused, unopened, and unmarked. However, if you purchase and open one of these items and find that it is defective, you can return the damaged item with the original packaging and receipt.

For more information about making returns at Walmart stores, see our article about Walmart’s return hours.

Returning Partially Assembled Items

Walmart’s return policy does not explicitly address the return of partially assembled items, so we reached out to the company’s customer service department for clarification. According to several customer service representatives, if you present a whole, undamaged, and disassembled product accompanied by the original manufacturer’s packaging, you should be able to return even a partially assembled item.

For questions regarding specific items, you can contact your local Walmart or consult the virtual help-desk.

Returning Items With Damaged or No Packaging

If you destroyed or threw away the original packaging, Walmart is not required to accept the return, even if the item is undamaged and you have the receipt.

Note that Walmart managers wield some discretion in accepting or rejecting returns in-store. Individual stores may maintain different return policies; it is best to call your local Walmart if you threw away/destroyed the original packaging. Questions regarding returns of online purchases without original packaging can also be directed to Walmart’s virtual help-desk.

Returning Damaged, Defective, or Broken Items

Walmart’s return policy covers items that were already damaged when you bought them. If you buy an item and open it at home only to find that it is defective, broken, or missing elements, you can return the item for either a replacement or a refund.[2]

This policy applies to items purchased in stores or online. Note that if you are returning an item purchased online to a Walmart store, replacement options will depend on whether an equivalent item is available.

Keep in mind that if the item becomes damaged after purchase, either by you or another person, you generally cannot return it, even if you have the original receipt and packaging.[2]

Even items covered by a Walmart protection plan are typically not eligible for return or replacement due to accidental or intentional damage after purchase. There are a few exceptions, though: protection plans for laptops, tablets and mobile phones cover damage from accidents like drops and spills.[3]

For more information, see our related research on Walmart’s general return policy, as well as the company’s online return policy.

4 comments

  • Alexandre Grand-Pierre says:

    I just went to Walmart to return an air matress. The box was opened but the item was inside neatly and the box was still in great shape, but they said I couldn’t get refunded for an item that is opened. I could only exchange it for the same item, or something of similar or lesser value. Is this some new policy? I’m just going to go back home an old glue the box back shut lol. Would I be able return a Walmart item at a different Walmart from the one I purchased the item at?

    • Lindsey Desmet says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hello, Alexandre! You can return most Walmart purchases to any store. However, this policy regarding air mattresses is not new; Walmart only allows you to exchange an air mattress with an open box. We have updated our article to reflect this. We also cover the policy in detail in our article on Walmart mattress returns.

  • Nancy Livengood-Miller says:

    My son bought a 6 pack of Angry Orchard Rose. He barely got one bottle down. I tasted it and couldn’t drink it at all. It tastes awful. He has the other 5 bottles in the carton and the receipt. Will Walmart take this back with one bottle gone? Thank You!

    • Lindsey Desmet says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hello, Nancy! Walmart usually only allows returns of alcohol when the product is unopened/complete, and only in states that allow alcohol returns. If your state does allow alcohol returns, the Walmart store manager will have discretion over whether to accept a six-pack with one bottle missing; you may want to call your local store before visiting. For information about the return laws in your state, see our article on whether you can return alcohol. Best of luck!