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5 Stores with Great Return Policies

Sometimes making a purchase, especially a big purchase, seems like a bit of a risky move. What if you decide you don’t like that new coffee table once you get it into your house? What if your new blender breaks after only a few months? What if the new food that looks so great on the package ends up tasting like something you wouldn’t feed your dog? When you shop at many retailers, you will find that you are out of luck when you want to return something you decide you don’t want, especially once you exceed a certain time window. There are some retailers that love to make sure their customers are always happy, however, and have fantastic return policies. Here are five places where you can enjoy practically risk-free shopping.

  1. Costco – Perhaps the most notorious for its generous return policy, the warehouse giant is known for not placing any limits on returning most of its merchandise. Whether you have a receipt or not, you can return almost anything from Costco months or even years later with no questions asked. If you buy a new office chair, for instance, and decide after a year that you don’t think it’s providing you with enough lumbar support, just bring it back in for a full refund and you can upgrade to the next model with minimal out-of-pocket expense. Costco does have a few exceptions to its rule, most of which are electronics. When you buy a new TV or computer for instance, you only have 90 days in which to return them. This limitation was put in place to prevent customers from constantly upgrading to the newest model of these items whenever they are released.
  1. Bed Bath & Beyond – Similar to Costco’s policy, the home retailer Bed Bath & Beyond doesn’t place any time restrictions on how long you have to return the items you have bought from them. Their employees describe their policy almost like a never-ending warranty. Nervous about buying that kitchen gadget in case it breaks in 6 months? Or are you wary of getting an expensive pillow for fear of it going flat? Don’t be. If you ever become unhappy with your item, simply bring it back for a full refund. Bed Bath & Beyond is a little stricter about receipts, so whenever you buy something there, you should file the receipt away with your important papers. If you don’t have your receipt, however, you can still try to make a return. As long as the item is still sold in stores, they will generally give you store credit.
  1. Trader Joe’s – When you’re thinking about returning a lamp to a store, you can be pretty sure you’ll be able to bring the lamp in with you, but what if you want to return food? Usually the reason you would want your money back for a food product is either because you didn’t like it or because there was something wrong with it (i.e. it was rotten, etc.) and you likely wouldn’t have anything to physically return. Trader Joe’s tackles this issue by simply offering a satisfaction guarantee on all of their foods. If you are unsatisfied with one of their products for any reason, you just have to bring in your receipt, talk to someone at their customer service desk, and you will get a full refund. This not only protects you against rogue spoiled foods, but also gives you license to try foods you might think look good but are scared will disappoint you. Trader Joe’s stands by their products, so even if you just decide something wasn’t for you after eating it, they will still give you your money back.
  1. – The only online retailer on this list, the shoe retailer Zappos has to be recognized for their excellent return policy. It can be scary to buy shoes online because you never know if a certain style will run large or small. Zappos takes the guesswork out of the equation by offering both free shipping and free return shipping. If you receive your new shoes, therefore and decide the fit isn’t quite right, you can print off a free return label and pop them back in the mail for no charge. Furthermore, Zappos gives you an entire year to decide that you don’t like your new shoes. As long as you return them within 365 days, Zappos will give you a full refund whether you’re returning the shoes because of a problem with how they fit or because you just decide you don’t like how they look after all. While their policy states that they prefer it if you keep the box the shoes came in and return them in the original packaging, they admit that they will accept returns without the original package as well.
  1. Target – The return policy for Target is similar to those of most other superstores. You can return most items within either 45 or 90 days for a full refund as long as you have your receipt. It is Target’s policy when you don’t have your receipt anymore, however, that is very helpful. You can return up to $70 worth of merchandise per year without having any proof that you even bought the item there. Since so many purchases you make at Target are likely to be things you won’t have thought to keep the receipt for, this policy can be a lifesaver for many shoppers. Don’t be surprised when the clerk takes down some information from your photo ID while doing the return. This is just how they track to make sure someone isn’t abusing their system.