Best and worst return policies for 2018: Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Kohl's, Macy's

Don't Waste Your Money

The week between Christmas and New Year's is the busiest time of year when it comes to returns.  But you don't want to show unprepared, and unable to return that ugly sweater you received.

So with the help of ConsumerWorld.org we found out which have the easiest policies -- and which have the toughest.

Gift receipt? No problem!

The trick to many happy returns is to always get a gift receipt. Have a gift receipt? Then there's no time limit at the following stores, which top our list of the easiest stores for returns.

Nordstrom and Macy's are very return friendly, even without a receipt. At Macy's you have 180 days to make an exchange, even if all you have is the tag. Exceptions are Macy's Last Act department, and high end brands like Gucci.

Walmart, surprisingly, scores well for returns on most lists. Its standard deadline is 90 days, except for TVs and premium electronics. Don't expect to make a return without a receipt or a credit/debit card number, as the retailer has a big problem with theft. (It's not Nordstrom.)

But with a receipt or gift receipt, Walmart is fairly flexible.

Sears is trickier. The time limit for returns varies on the item and department. Clothing and clothes dryers fall under two completely different return policies, so be sure to check.

Then comes Target, which year after year tops the list of tough return policies in blogs and magazines. It has a 90-day return window for clothing, 30 days for electronics. However:

  • You may have returns denied if the box is damaged.
  • You can make only two non-receipt returns in a year.
  • And if you are setting up a bridal or baby registry at Target, do some online research first -- returns can be tricky.

However, Target REDCard holders get an extra 30 days.

At Meijer, you must have your receipt to return an electronic item, and it must be within 30 days of the purchase. However, you have 90 days for other departments, so its overall return policy is average for big box retailers.

Dillard's is tricky too: You have 30 days after Christmas, period.

Toys"R"Us gives you 30 days to return most items with a receipt.

Burlington gives you 30 days with a receipt or gift receipt. After that, store credit only.

And Best Buy tops the complicated return policies list:

  • You only have until January 15th for computers, tablets, digital cameras, and gaming systems, if you simply want to return them because you don't want them.
  • Opened video games and computer software can only be exchanged for the same exact item.
  • For 2018, Best Buy has reinstated the dreaded 15 percent restocking fee for some products in open boxes, including drones, DSLR cameras, and computers, according to ConsumerWorld.org.

Overall winners

So our overall winners for the stores with the easiest return policy:

  • Nordstrom
  • Macy's
  • Kohls

However, if you have a receipt or gift receipt, and don't wait forever, all stores will let you make a return, so you don't waste your money

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