If Impulsive Buying Is Your Move, Here's 12 Stores With A Great Return Policy

From flexible Nordstrom returns to Walmart’s holiday policy, you can take the drama out of the impulsive buy 🛍️

A Cleo illustration of a blue shopping bag on a red background with a return arrow

Spooky season is over, which means holiday season is fast approaching 🎄🎅

It’s that time of year where you watch your loved ones excitingly unwrap the gifts you bought, and try (but ultimately fail) to hide the look of disappointment on their face when they’re presented with a cat jumper they wouldn’t dare to be seen wearing in public.

Merry Christmas.

P.s. Sorry, Mom. I’m 27 now 🐈

Christmas Sadness GIF by Mad Genius

Last year, returns processor Optoro said they were expecting two out of three consumers to return at least one gift during the holiday season.

And it’s not just about how we feel when our loved ones aren’t happy with their gifts.

Retailers are losing money.

When we return items, it’s costing retailers more than you think. And it comes down to supply chain issues and higher transportation costs. Last year, CNN reported returns would cost over half the price of the item to process which is up by 59% since 2020 🤯

Are extended holiday returns the Ghost of Christmas Past? 😱

A few retailers, including Amazon and Walmart, have already announced they’re extending their return policies ahead of the holiday season. But as returns seem to be costing retailers more each year, it’s likely we’ll see less stores following suit.

In fact, major retailers are shortening their standard policies and adding restocking fees.

Of course, there are times where returning items is unavoidable. Sometimes it’s difficult to buy gifts so you end up impulse buying. And that’s why some retailers offer extended holiday returns, giving consumers the confidence to buy early, knowing they’ll have plenty of time to make a return.

So, without further ado, here’s a list of the top 12 stores with the best return policies and what’s covered 💫

#1 IKEA return policy 📦

Alright, let’s kick things off with everyone’s fave place to get lost ↔️

You’ve got 365 days to get a full refund if you decide you no longer want your purchase. So basically, the time it takes to find the nearest exit.

However, if the item has been unboxed, you’ll have 180 days to return.

Meatballs don’t count.

You can return small items via FedEx or UPS, you’ll just need to fill out the return slip and send it back to your nearest IKEA store with a copy of the order confirmation and you’ll need to cover the shipping fee.

Or, to save your precious hard-earned money, you can return online purchases to a store for free. You’ll just need to show your order confirmation email as your proof of purchase.

And if you bought a large item like a bed frame, it’s probably not going to be possible to return it to a store unless you have an RV or something sitting in your driveway. So you’ll just need to arrange for IKEA to pick it up – but sad news, you’ll have to pay a fee.

When we spoke with IKEA, they said if you don’t have a receipt, they should be able to locate your order with the below information:

📦 date of purchase
📦 store purchased from
📦 the exact amount
📦 and the last four digits of the card you paid with

#2 Zappos return policy 👞

Zappos has one of the best return policies.

If you’ve very easily just slipped into your new pair of shoes, looked in the mirror and screamed in utter horror because your feet now look twice the size, don’t worry.

Zappos says you’ll have 365 days to return and get a full refund.

You’ll just need to make sure the tags are still on and they’re in a reusable condition (i.e. aren’t cheesy).

And to prevent you from getting stuck with those shoes that make you look like a clown, it’s worth noting if you buy something from the final sale, you wouldn’t be eligible for a refund 🙃

When we checked with Zappos, they said returns are free. They’ll send you an email with your return code which you’ll need to show to a UPS store. The UPS store will then scan the code and print the label out for you.


#3 The Home Depot return policy 🖌️

“Return it fast and easy just like you impulsively bought it.”

Most new and unopened merchandise have a 90-day return policy, but there are a few exclusions.

If you lose the receipt, the store should be able to locate your order via shipping confirmation email, credit card, and a valid I.D.

⚠️ Purchases can only be tracked in The Home Depot’s system for up to 30 days from the purchase date, so if you’ve lost your receipt, you’ve got 30 days to return.

If you can’t return the item yourself (shouldn’t have bought that shed), you’ll just need to arrange a pick-up from your home and you may be charged a fee.

And if you’re returning via mail, you can get a free shipping label sent to your email address. All you need to do is drop your parcel off at the nearest UPS Access Point location.

#4 Target return policy 🎯

If you’re planning on splashing out at Target over the holiday period, the refund period will begin on December 26th for any items purchased from October 6th to December 25th 🎄

You’ll have 90 days to return most items and if you paid with a RedCard (loyalty program with discounts on purchases), you’ll have an extra 30 days to return. You’ll also have up to a year to change your mind on any Target owned brands or registry items.

Returns by mail are completely free.

We love to see it 💅

You’ll just need to print a prepaid return mailing label and once you’ve shipped it, you’ll get an email with a refund timescale.

If you’re returning the item to a store and don’t have a proof of purchase, Target says they may be able to look up the receipt if you give them the method of payment. If all else fails, you might receive a refund in the form of a merchandise return card which will be topped up with the current price of the item.

#5 Nordstrom return policy 💄

Returning items to Nordstrom is a breeze. You can make a free return curbside (pass the parcel out of the car window), in-store, or by mail.

Nordstrom has no time limit for returns or exchanges for both in-store and online purchases – pretty cool, huh?

Pre-paid return labels are no longer sent with online orders so you’ll need to dip into your own ink to print the pre-paid label. And if you don’t have any ink, just show your QR code to a USPS location and they’ll print a shipping label for you.

If you don’t have a receipt or order number to hand, Nordstrom says it should be able to find the purchase in other ways, but you may be asked for some personal information to help locate the order.


And if your order can’t be found, you may be given a Nordstrom Gift Card which will be loaded with the current price of the item.

#6 Walmart return policy 👚

Walmart recently announced it’s making changes to its return policy ahead of the holiday season. It’s extending its holiday returns so that most items purchased between October 1st and December 31st can be returned up until January 31st 2023.

You’ll generally have 90 days after the purchase date to exchange or return but there are a few exceptions, some items vary between 14 to 90 days.

If you’ve bought perennials, trees, or shrubs, and they’re looking a bit sad, you’ll have up to a year to get a refund when you bring them back to a store. So if after a few months your tree isn’t looking in the best shape, you’ll literally have to dig it up and take it back 🌲

Online returns are totally free and if you’re a Walmart+ member, you can arrange a pick-up from your home.

Walmart return policy without receipt
Lost your receipt? Walmart says it’ll accept a return or exchange if:

🧾 you bring a government-issued photo ID
🧾 the refund verification process accepts the return
🧾you have the credit or debit card used to make the purchase in-store or the email or phone number used to make the purchase online

#7 Bloomingdale’s return policy 👜

You’ll have 90 days to return most Bloomingdale’s purchases for a refund, as long as the item is still in a saleable condition (which means you can’t just wear the dress your works Christmas party and return it 👀).

Some departments have different return policies which you can find here.

And if you’re making a return via mail, like JLO's love – it don't cost a thing.

Winning 🤑

You can also return your online orders to a store free of charge (Bloomingdale's locations).

If you don’t have a receipt, Bloomingdale’s says it’ll issue merchandise credit. Without proof you purchased the item, you’ll get the lowest selling price in the last 180 days.

#8 Amazon return policy 🥽

Looks like Christmas has come early 👀

Amazon is extending its returns policy ahead of the holiday season. So if you make a purchase between October 11th and December 25th, you can return these items up until January 31st 2023.

Generally speaking, Amazon and most sellers on Amazon offer returns for items within 30 days of receipt of shipment, however, it depends on what you’ve bought and some sellers return policies may vary 🎧🥦💎

For example:

💒 Wedding registry gifts – 180 day return policy from the date the item is delivered
🍼 Baby registry gifts – 365 days for most items from the date it’s delivered

If you’ve purchased items from Amazon directly, you more than likely won’t have to pay return shipping charges. But if you purchased from a 3rd party seller, you may have to dip into your wallet.

Check online to see which applies to you.

#9 Costco return policy 🥫

Costco says it has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Most items don’t have a time frame unless stated on its return policy.

However, if you’re purchasing certain items like refrigerators and freezers, you’ll have 90 days to make a return.

Also, if you’re purchasing a major appliance (refrigerator, washer, dryer, dishwasher etc), Costco will extend the manufacturer’s warranty to two years and you’ll also get free warranty assistance on these items.

So rest assured, if your refrigerator starts humming during the night, someone will come round to check on it 👻

Online orders can be returned at any Costco warehouse, or you can make a free return via mail.

When we checked with Costco, they said if you no longer have a receipt, they should be able to find your order via your membership details.

#10 Bath and Body Works return policy 🧼

Bath and Body works says you can make a return any time, for any reason.

So if you’ve recently purchased a Bath and Body Works candle and it’s got a ~distinctive~ scent, you can take it back and get a full refund.

If you’ve made an online order, you can return it in person at any store but if you’d prefer to ship it back, you’ll have to cover the shipping fees.

One of the downsides to this is if you don’t have a proof of purchase, you wouldn’t be able to get a refund for the item but you can exchange if you wanna try something else 🌼

#11 Athleta return policy

The “Give-It-A-Workout-Guarantee” 👟

If your new gym clothes aren’t feeling too great on your early morning run, Athleta’s return policy lets you return them within 60 days of the ship date.

Online returns are totally free. Hell yeah. You’ll just need to download a prepaid return shipping label.

If you’re returning to a store and you’ve realized you accidentally threw your receipt away along with all the other trash you’ve stuffed into your coat pocket over the last year, don’t worry.

When we checked with Athleta, they said as long as you have the card you used to make the payment or the shipping confirmation email, you should be all good.

Moral of the story – keep your pockets tidy.

And if you received an item as a gift, if you return it with the gift receipt or invoice, you’ll receive a gift card with a refund. If it’s returned without a receipt or invoice, you’ll get a merchandise certificate by mail refunded with the current selling price 💳

#12 Kohl’s return policy 🧥

Kohl’s says it accepts most returns up to 180 days after the original purchase date. You’ll have up to 30 days for certain items including premium watches and electronics.

You can return items in-store which were bought online or if you’re returning via mail, you’ll need to pay for a label yourself 😬

If you lost the receipt, Kohl’s says their stores might still be able to help locate the original purchase so they can still process a refund. Failing that, you’ll receive a Khol’s merchandise credit based on the lowest discounted 13-week sale for the item you’re returning.

⚠️ PSA: Black Friday’s just around the corner

Be kinder to yourself and your money this holiday season and don’t feel pressured into impulsive buying. 42% of shoppers actually regret what they purchase on Black Friday.

Not cool.

If you are planning on shopping during the peak of retail chaos, create a budget you can stick to. 84% of Cleo users feel better about their money after using the app for at least one month 💙

Check out our blog post How to make a budget with Cleo for tips on how to get set up.

Enjoy this post? Give it a share or send it along to a friend. You never know, it could make a big difference.

Big love. Cleo 💙

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