June 20, 2024

Mikayla Macfarlane

Serving technology better

Every holiday return policy from Amazon, Walmart, Target, and more compared

4 min read
Every holiday return policy from Amazon, Walmart, Target, and more compared


Apple Store iPhone 15 Launch

Jason Perlow/ZDNET

There are always two parts to the holiday shopping season: the buying and gifting phase and the receiving and returning phase. If the abundance of Black Friday deals already available is any indication, we’re currently in the midst of part one.

Also: Best early Black Friday deals: Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and more

Truth be told, no matter how much you think you know that special someone, or yourself, not every holiday gift is a guaranteed smash hit. Perhaps you should’ve ordered that pair of fuzzy winter boots a size larger, or that “new” laptop can’t seem to hold a charge; the odds are always stacked against you, and the ability to return a defective product is just as valuable as the discount it came with.

Below I’ve broken down the fine print of every major retailer and brand so you know exactly how long you have before the holiday shopping return window is closed, and which store offers the most security.

Holiday return policies for major retailers

Retailer

Return window

Return shipping

In-store returns

Unqualified items

Amazon

Until Jan. 31, 2024

Free, via UPS 

Yes, via Whole Foods, UPS, or Kohl’s

Products from third-party sellers, downloadable content, gift cards

Walmart

Until Jan. 31, 2024

Free, via FedEx

Yes, via Walmart

Products from third-party sellers, downloadable content, gift cards

Target

Until Jan. 24, 2024

Free, via UPS

Yes, via Target

Products from third-party sellers, downloadable content, gift cards

Best Buy

Until Jan. 13, 2023, or after 60 days for Totaltech members

Free, via UPS, USPS, and FedEx

Yes, via Best Buy

Activatable devices, downloadable content, gift cards

Costco

Within 90 days after purchase

No

Yes, via Costco

Activatable devices, downloadable content, gift cards

B&H

Until Feb. 1, 2024

Paid, via your shipping preference

Yes, via B&H

Products from third-party sellers, downloadable content, gift cards

Newegg

Until Jan. 31, 2024

Free, via UPS and FedEx

No

Products from third-party sellers, downloadable content, gift cards


Holiday return policies for brands

Retailer

Return window

Return shipping

In-store returns

Unqualified items

Apple

Until Jan. 8, 2024

Free, via UPS and FedEx 

Yes, via Apple store

Downloadable digital content, gift cards

Samsung

Within 30 days after delivery

Free, via FedEx

Yes, via Samsung store

None

Google

Within 15 days after delivery

Free, via FedEx

Yes, via Google store

Downloadable digital content, SIM cards, gift cards

Microsoft

Until Jan. 31, 2024

Free, via UPS

Yes, via Microsoft store

Downloadable digital content, gift cards

LG

Within 15 days after delivery

Free, via FedEx

No

None

HP

Until Jan. 14, 2024

Free, via UPS and FedEx

No

Downloadable digital content, gift cards, large format printers, “Final Sale” items

Lenovo

Within 30 days after delivery

Free, via UPS

No

Lenovo Outlet orders, server/storage products


FAQ

While most of the items purchased from Amazon between now and Dec. 25, 2023 are eligible for a return until Jan. 31, 2023, the policy does not apply to every item on the platform. 

Also: Amazon’s holiday gift to you: Extended returns signal start of shopping season

When shopping, you should pay close attention to whether you’re choosing products that are sold and shipped directly from Amazon, which qualify for the retailer’s extended return policy, and ones that are distributed by third-party sellers, which don’t qualify. 

When in doubt, look for the “Returnable until Jan 31, 2024” label under the buy button on listings for confirmation. Downloadable and consumable digital products such as gift cards are not eligible for returns, period.

In the case that an item arrives damaged, either due to shipping or manufacturer defect, reach out to the retailer or brand’s customer service line immediately for further instruction. In most cases, the return or replacement process will be the same as usual. 

However, there is a possibility that you may have to file an investigation claim with your local carrier if the damage is suspected to have occurred during shipping.

Most stores will require you to have either a physical or digital receipt should you want to return a product. If you ordered from an e-commerce platform like Amazon, Walmart, or Newegg, the receipt should be available to you on your Orders page. 

Also: The 50 best early Black Friday 2023 Walmart deals

That said, retailers like Costco, Macy’s, and Target do accept receipt-less returns. In some cases, you’ll have to settle for store credit instead of getting actual cash back. 

For physical purchases, it’s always good practice to take a picture of the receipt in case the item is not as described or you change your mind.





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