WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

5 stores with strict return policies

Posted December 21, 2013

Best Buy

We all know the hassle of returning products with or without a receipt. It's well known that some stores are just more customer friendly than others when it come to making those returns.

Here's a list of 5 stores that have some of the most strict return policies. If you are buying gifts from these stores, make sure you include gift receipts.

The stores on the list include Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Game Stop, Gilt and For all the details including the specifics of their strict policies, head to

Have you had any difficult experiences making a return recently? What stores do you find to be the most generous with their return policies?


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • breaktime Dec 24, 2013

    Target is a nightmare !!! I was on their bridal registry when I got married and received a few duplicates of picture frames etc and they gave me such a hassle, I couldn't believe it, I just kept the duplicates, when I had a baby shower you can believe I did not register at target, they lost my business almost 10 years ago over this and I do not regret shopping where I am treated fairly.

  • EvilSithLord Dec 23, 2013

    Target it's the worst. They charged me restocking fee for a return claiming the article was "on-sale" and the current price was lower than the original price. Nice trick! Now with security breach, I will definitely keep doing business somewhere else.

  • senglish27529 Dec 22, 2013

    BJ's Club is very good on taking returns, as long as you adhere to their policies. I had one of the easiest returns ever a few weeks ago, since I had the receipt and had only purchased the item a couple of days before.

    However, a few years ago we bought a gift for our grandson, and returned it after Christmas because he received two very similar items and didn't need both. He kept the more heavy-duty item (good call!) so ours had to go back. They informed me that they were making an exception in accepting my return (with receipt) after their 30-day window. The experience made me realize that I didn't want to do any *early* Christmas shopping at BJ's.


  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Dec 22, 2013

    St Ives - that's terrible! How sad that someone would abuse the policy so badly. In the Kiplinger story, a Barnes and Noble employee posted that the reason their policy is so strict is because people buy the books, read them and then return them. Isn't that what the library is for? He gave an example of one mom who bought the kids summer reading books and returned them all at the end of the summer. They had clearly been read and were damaged.

  • msmert2003 Dec 22, 2013

    WalMart and Lowes (and there are others) have an excellent return policy. I find Target hard to deal with. If you do not have your receipt, not only do you get store credit, but there is a "penalty" of 10%. Usually a store will give you the lowest price. I do not have a problem with store credits.

  • St Ives Dec 22, 2013

    Never have had a problem anywhere in the triangle, but I do not return things very often.. Remember the story of a very prominent woman in the DC area who bought her kids summer clothing in the Spring and returned it dirty and used in the Autumn. she was a very respected wife of a politician so it was taken back until one day a new store manager refused. She said she would never shop there their relief.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Dec 22, 2013

    HDrider, I am not familiar with the 3 per year restriction on Target returns with or without receipt. I make more returns than that every year at Target with no issues and it is not in their return policy here. Did your wife ask to speak with a manager?:

  • HDRider Dec 22, 2013

    TARGET, TARGET, TARGET!!!! has the absolute worst return policies! 3 per year with recipe, 1 Without exchange only! and you must make an exchange from the same Dept and section. My wife got 2 crock pots went to return one. Had to exchange ok np we will just get diapers and we could not we had to go to the same kitchen dept....

  • StunGunn Dec 21, 2013

    I find Kohl's to have the most generous return policy. I've returned all sorts of things there from a Timex watch that stopped working after a month to a bath mat that didn't work out after over a month. I had my receipts, but they were very nice about it. I've also had success with Walmart returning items, but I've always had my receipt, so I'm not sure how strict they are.

    I had a problem at Stein Mart years ago. I had my receipt, but they would only issue a store credit. They told me the receipt only guaranteed I'd get a refund for the full price even if it went on sale after I had bought it at full price. It was a Christmas item, and I returned it sometime in January.

    Good return policies mean a lot to me.

  • jdouglas13 Dec 21, 2013

    I forgot about the pet stores. I can't recall which one (Petsmart?), but was told if my dog suddenly decided she no longer liked the food, to bring it back for a full refund any time.