Holiday shopping can be stressful -- especially when there are no specific items on someone's wish list. Some stores have a special, extended return period for purchases made during the holidays to combat gift givers' worries that even this year's hottest gift won't be a hit. However, most of the 14 retailers featured here have such generous policies year-round that they don't need to make exceptions. Some don't even require a receipt for returns. But don't expect to return items willy-nilly -- many stores track customers' return history and could block a return if they detect a suspicious pattern.
Nordstrom handles all returns on a case-by-case basis, and there's no time limit. A receipt isn't necessary, although it can help store employees quickly find a purchase in the system. However, Nordstrom reserves the right to refuse returns and won't take back special-occasion dresses if the tag is removed or the dress looks worn. Related stores, including Nordstrom Rack, HauteLook, and Trunk Club, have their own return policies.
L.L.Bean stands by its products with a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee and offers to treat its customers fairly if the customers agree to do the same. In practice, this means there's no time limit for returns. However, L.L.Bean won't accept returns for items that aren't purchased directly from the company, items that are soiled or missing a label, or items that were damaged during a natural disaster.
Costco applies a no-time-limit return policy to most of the products it sells. However, there are a few exceptions, such as the 90-day return window for select electronics. Special rules may also apply to cigarettes, alcohol, diamonds, items with a limited life span (such as batteries), and special-order products.
BATH AND BODY WORKS
Products can be returned to Bath and Body Works at any time if a customer is not completely satisfied. Without a receipt or invoice, the return must be made in exchange for a different product or store credit.
Items from Bloomingdale's can generally be returned within 365 days of purchase. A receipt isn't required, however without a receipt one Bloomingdales will issue store credit or put credit into the person's Bloomingdale's account. There are also special rules for particular items. For example, dresses aren't returnable unless they have a tag and weren't worn.
The office supply chain's return policy varies depending on the product. Office supplies and printer ink or toner can be returned at any time for a full refund, while electronics and furniture usually have a 14-day return period. However, the 14-day window doesn't apply to purchases made between Nov. 20 and Dec. 25, 2016. Those can be returned up until Jan. 15, 2017. If the store can't find a transaction and someone doesn't have a receipt, he or she will receive a store credit worth the item's lowest selling price from the previous 30 days.
BED BATH & BEYOND
Bed Bath & Beyond has a generous return policy. Most returns can be made at any time with an original receipt or packing slip. Even without a receipt, one can make a return within 365 days of the purchase. A full refund is offered if the purchase can be identified within the system. Otherwise, one might get an exchange or credit worth the item's current selling price, minus 20 percent.
REI customers can make a return and request a refund or replacement within a year, and there's no time limit for items that have a manufacturing defect. However, ordinary wear and tear and improper use aren't part of REI's 100-percent satisfaction guarantee. Gift recipients can receive a refund for unwanted or defective items as long as they have proof of purchase.
There's often no time limit on returns to JCPenney with an original or gift receipt. Products can also be exchanged without a receipt, or one can make a return and receive store credit equal to the item's lowest selling price from the previous 45 days. There are a few exceptions to the no-time-limit rule, including a 30-day return policy for appliances and furniture and a 60-day limit for fine jewelry and electronics.
Zappos offers free returns on all products within 365 days of the purchase. However, the shoes must be unworn and in their original packaging to qualify.
While Amazon's return policy isn't as generous as those of some brick-and-mortar retailers, it does stand out due to its holiday-specific policy. Select purchases made between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016, can be returned through Jan. 31, 2017. There are a few exclusions based on the type of product, brand, and whether or not the purchase was made from a third-party seller.
Macy's return policy states the store will accept a return within 365 days as long as the item "is in saleable condition." A return is possible without a receipt, but one will receive a store credit worth the item's lowest selling price from the previous 180 days. Restrictions apply to certain items or brands, such as mattresses and Louis Vuitton products.
Aside from a 30-day return period for select electronics products, Kohl's purchases can be returned at any time for a refund, exchange, or store credit. However, Kohl's holiday policy extends the electronics' return period to Jan. 31, 2017 for purchases made between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25, 2016. Returns are accepted without a receipt if the store can connect the transaction to the purchaser's credit or debit card or Yes2You Rewards account number.
TOYS R US
New, unused items can be returned to Toys R Us within 90 days of purchase with a receipt or gift receipt. However, a shorter 30-day policy applies to select products, including video game hardware, drones, select electronics, and cameras.