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Every major retailer’s return policy this holiday season 2023-2024

With the holidays upon us, retailers are preparing their stores for an influx of returns. After all, not every gift is a keeper. Fortunately, the biggest online retailers have extended their return policies to deal with the deluge. Their different timelines vary considerably, so keeping track of it all can be a major headache. To save you the trouble, we’ve compiled the following list of all the major retailers’ modified return policies for the holiday season. Whether you’re returning a gift you bought for someone else or a gift you didn’t like, these policies should help set things straight.

Amazon holiday return policy and deadlines

Amazon’s standard return policy is pretty complicated, but their extended holiday policy is simple. The vast majority of Amazon products purchased within the months of November and December are eligible for return until the 31st of January.

Most Amazon purchases made between 11/1/23 and 12/31/23 can be returned by 1/31/24.

Apple products are the exception. They can only be returned by the 15th of January if purchased in November or December.

Also, their Custom Gift List Policy is still active. This allows you to return products bought as gifts within 90 days, should the product be purchased through your Amazon Custom Gift List. If you want to double-dip on both policies to cover all your bases, we don’t blame you.

Best Buy holiday return policy and deadlines

Best Buy is another goliath online retailer with a simplified holiday return policy. For most products, purchases made between the 27th of October and the 30th of December can be returned up until the 13th of January.

There are a few exceptions, including items from “third-party contracts.” This means anything with an additional activation plan, like smartphones and cellular watches. Holiday decorations may also not apply, and anything already marked as non-returnable can’t be refunded.

Most Best Buy purchases made between 10/27/23 and 12/30/23 can be returned by 1/13/24.

Keep in mind that Best Buy’s standard return window of 15 days of receiving the product still applies as well. Activatable devices are the exception here too, with fine-print policies that depend on the particular third-party contract. You can check out the specifics of the standard policy here.

Walmart holiday return policy and deadlines

Compared to the other retailers, Walmart adds an extra month to the “holiday season” window. Most of their products purchased between the 1st of October and the 31st of December are eligible for return by January 31st. It’s a generous timeframe with only a few notable exceptions.

Most Walmart purchases made between 10/1/23 and 12/31/23 can be returned until 1/31/24.

Wireless smartphones and luxury items like expensive jewelry, for example, can only be returned within 14 days of delivery. Major appliances also have a shorter return window. If you aren’t sure if your purchase applies, you can check out their detailed standard return policy here.

Target holiday return policy and deadlines

The wording of Target’s holiday return policy is a little confusing, but it’s actually straightforward in practice. The majority of their products fall in the “Electronics and Entertainment” category.

Any such products purchased between October 1st and December 24th can be returned by January 24th. Apple products, that aren’t phones, have the same purchase window, however that return period ends early on January 9th.

Most Target purchases made between 10/1/23 and 12/24/23 can be returned by 1/13/24.

Smartphones with data plans purchased between October 1st and December 24th are eligible for a refund if returned before January 8th. This applies only to phones bought or picked up in-store.

Apple holiday return policy and deadlines

For Apple, the holiday return policy starts the moment you receive the product in the mail, and it’s explicitly intended for products purchased through the online store. Receive it between the 3rd of November and the 25th of December, and you’ll have until the 8th of January to make your return.

Most Apple purchases delivered between 11/3/23 and 12/25/23 can be returned by 1/8/24.

There’s some fine print here; the policy applies to eligible products. However, there are a few exceptions. iPhones locked-in with T-Mobile, for example, aren’t eligible for the extended return policy, so you can check out Apple’s standard return policy to weigh your options.

Can I return a gift that someone gave me without the receipt?

In almost all cases, you’ll need the receipt, debit or credit card number, or order confirmation number to return an item. Thus, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to return a gift without informing the gift-giver that you prefer cash over the item. Furthermore, the money will probably get refunded on their card should you return the item online. If you want the cash, you’ll have to go to a store in-person.

Do I have to pay for the shipping to return an item?

This depends entirely on the policies of the retailer in question. That being said, the online retailers on our list almost always send a return shipping label to cover the cost for free. You may need to provide your own box and take a trip to a shipping center to send it on its way, but there’s a very high chance that the cost of the return shipment will be covered by the retailer. If you want to be certain, you can try the different links we’ve provided above to check on the specific policy of the retailer in question.

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