13 Stores With Strict Holiday Return Policies

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THE RULES OF RETURNS

Finding the perfect gift for friends, coworkers, and loved ones is rarely an easy task, and it can sometimes be unsuccessful, requiring a return. So this year, as you go about your holiday shopping make sure everyone has the option to return their gifts. Here are 13 popular retailers with strict return policies, and how best to navigate them — just in case that scarf or wallet or what-have-you isn't exactly what the recipient (or you) had in mind.
Apple Store
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APPLE STORE

For a product from the Apple Store to be returned, the company allows just 14 days from when an in-store purchase was made or an online order delivered. Last year, shoppers had until Jan. 8 to return or exchange items purchased from Nov. 15 to Dec. 25. But at press time, Apple had not announced a 2018 holiday policy. The returned item must be packaged with all cords, adaptors, and other documentation that was originally included. Refunds for gifts are issued as gift cards.
Barnes & Noble store
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BARNES & NOBLE

Barnes & Noble has one of the shortest return windows around. Items purchased online or in store must be returned within 14 days in their original condition. That includes shrink-wrapped items, which must remain unopened. If you're returning an item with a gift receipt, you've got 60 days from the purchase date to return it for store credit or a gift card.
Abe's Of Maine
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ABE'S OF MAINE

If you need to send back an unwanted item to this electronics store, you've got just two weeks from the date of delivery to do so — and you'll be zinged with a 15 percent restocking fee. Make sure all the original packaging is intact, too. The return policy is scarcely more generous for defective merchandise: You have the same 14-day window, although Abe's offers a 100 percent refund. Also worth knowing: Abe's does not accept returns on TVs for any reason unless you refuse delivery of the item when it arrives (say, because of visible damage to the packaging).
Best Buy
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BEST BUY

Best Buy's standard policy for "most products" limits returns to 15 days from the date of purchase (in stores) or the date of delivery (online) for a full refund. Best Buy Elite members get 30 days and Elite Plus members have 45 days. Cellphones and devices that require activation are limited to 14 days for everyone. During the holidays, for purchases made from Oct. 29 through Dec. 30, there's an extended return period through Jan. 12, 2019. Elite or Elite Plus members have until Jan. 29 or Feb. 13, respectively.

Amazon package
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AMAZON

Amazon has a 30-day window for returns, which has been extended until Jan. 31, 2019, for all purchases made between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. But if you buy something through a third-party seller on Amazon, that return policy doesn't apply. Instead, you're at the mercy of whatever the originating vendor's return/exchange policy is. Be especially alert if you're buying from an overseas seller.

Newegg
Photo credit: Newegg by Jason Howie (CC BY)

NEWEGG

This electronics retailer gives customers 30 days to return new, unopened items for a full refund. But if the package has been opened — which is easy to do without thinking, even with an unwanted present — then Newegg refunds only 85 percent of the purchase price. For some pricey items that have been opened, such as TVs or laptops, Newegg refunds only 75 percent of the cost. And if you're one of those rare people purchasing with Bitcoin, refunds are issued as gift cards only.
GameStop
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GAMESTOP

GameStop's return policy requires careful reading, as it's somewhat complicated. For instance, pre-owned items can be returned for up to seven days after purchase for a full refund, or exchanged for a like item within 30 days. New products must be in the original packaging and retain all original materials, such as cables and instruction sheets. After 30 days, you're out of luck; no returns or exchanges are accepted.
Forever 21
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FOREVER 21

This fashion retailer requires all returned items to be in original condition, with tags attached, and be postmarked within 30 days of the shipping date. The cost of return shipping is deducted from the refund unless the item is defective or otherwise faulty. Return and exchange policies may differ for purchases made at bricks-and-mortar locations. In addition, all store returns of online purchases made using PayPal are valid for exchange or credit only.
Lululemon
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LULULEMON

Yoga fanatics are familiar with Lululemon's pricey and stylish activewear. Just make sure you're familiar with the retailer's return policy before buying. Shoppers have 30 days to return or exchange purchases, and exchanges are offered only in store. Clothing must be unwashed and unworn, and have the tags attached. Some items, such as underwear and water bottles, are not eligible.
Overstock.com
Photo credit: Courtesy of overstock.com

OVERSTOCK.COM

Overstock's return policy allows for returns of most new and unopened items within 30 days of delivery for a full refund, regardless of the time of year. However, be sure to read the fine print on the policy. Items that are sent back after more than 30 days, have been opened, or show signs of wear are eligible for only a partial refund, minus shipping charges and return fees.
Ross Dress for Less
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ROSS

Ross limits returns to within 30 days of purchase. After 30 days, purchases are typically eligible for exchange or store credit only. Items may not be used, worn, or altered. And hold on to those receipts: Ross allows only exchanges or in-store credit for returns without a receipt.
Kmart
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KMART

Again this year, Kmart is offering an extended holiday return policy. Most items purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 may be returned through Jan. 31, 2019. Shop Your Way members have until Jan. 31 or 45 days from the date of purchase, whichever is longer. Shipping charges will be deducted from the refund amount for returns made by mail. Many items are excluded from this extension, such as vacuums, major home appliances, and more. In addition, items purchased outside the specific holiday period must be returned within 30 days of purchase.

Sears Auto Center
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SEARS

At Sears, a receipt is required for all returns. The holiday return policy is similar to last year's: Most items purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 may be returned through Jan. 31, 2019. Shop Your Way members have until Jan. 31 or 45 days from the date of purchase, whichever is longer. Items must be returned in their original packaging, with all accessories, manuals, and parts. For purchases returned by mail, shipping fees are deducted from the refund amount.

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