Not all return policies are created equal

December 30, 2009 4:36:17 PM PST
If your Christmas gifts were not the right size, shape or color, it's time to hit the return aisle. But not all return policies are created equal. In fact, some can cost you if you wait too long to take your items back. Some stores do much better at returns than others. In some cases you won't get any cash back and others will charge you a restocking fee.

If you are fortunate enough to be bringing something back to Bed Bath and Beyond, you are in luck. As long as you have a receipt, there are no time limits.

At Macy's you've got 180 days to get a full refund. At Nordstrom's, gift stickers act as receipts and there are no time limits for returns.

But things get a bit more complicated at other stores, for instance at Best Buy, return policies depend on the product in question. You get 14 days for computers and digital cameras and 30 days for all other items. Some items cannot be returned once opened, like entertainment programs and you'll also face restocking fees that change according to the product as well.

At JCPenney you have 90 days to get the return back to the store as long as you have the receipt. If you have a gift receipt, you'll only get store credit and those with no receipt at all will only be given store credit equal to the lowest sale price of the item.

At Target, shoppers with receipts can get up to $70 back on returned items. After that, it's store credit only.

If you purchased something online from a big retailer, you may not be allowed to take to the nearest store for a refund. In fact, some do not take anything back if it was purchased online.


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