Gift returns and exchanges: How have stores changed their policies for the holiday season?

Shoppers walk through The Grove shopping mall during the holiday shopping season, three days before Christmas, on December 22, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Now that all the presents are unwrapped, the real fun begins deciding which gifts are keepers compared to others that are getting returned. 

Shoppers are starting to flood stores to get a head start on their post-holiday returns and exchanges, and if you're searching for the gift receipt, here are some gift return and exchange policies to keep in mind courtesy of retailers, including Walmart, Target, and Amazon.


Target tells FOX Television Stations that it offers free and easy returns on most new, unopened items within 90 days of purchase. This year, Target is extending its return window for electronics and entertainment to Jan. 24, 2023. 


Walmart says customers have 90 days to return most items, there are certain categories, like electronics or Marketplace items, where the returns window is shorter. 

The retail giant explains with their new "Holiday Guarantee," they have extended the return window for these categories to ensure customers can return without a problem after the Holiday. Walmart notes under their current return policy, a receipt isn’t required (but preferred). Eligible purchases from October 1 can be returned through January 31, instead of November 1, which was our policy last year, according to Walmart. 

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In a statement provided to FOX Television Stations, Walmart says "We want to make the customer return experience easier than ever, so we’re introducing new options that ensure making a return with Walmart is as easy and convenient as shopping at Walmart."

"Time is precious to our customers and Walmart+ members. With these new and expanded services, we continue to adapt to meet their needs and deliver on our goal to offer Walmart customers and members a simple, convenient, and flexible experience that makes shopping easier." 


Amazon tells FOX Television Stations that it offers free, convenient returns on most items delivered in the U.S., and customers should look for the FREE Returns badge under the price to confirm it is a qualifying item. 

To start a return, Amazon says customers can visit "Your Order," select the item to be returned and select the reason for returning. Customers can then choose from a list of convenient return options and then drop off their items. Customers can also make returns with no packaging or a label at select locations, including Whole Foods, Kohl’s, Amazon Stores (Amazon Go, Amazon Fresh, Amazon Style), Amazon Counter and Locker+, and UPS Stores by showing the QR code provided.

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The retailer notes its standard returns window will be temporarily extended until January 31, 2023, for most items purchased from October 11, 2022, through December 25, 2022, in the US. This includes shipped by the seller or fulfilled by Amazon items. For more information on our returns policy and to view the returns eligibility for each category, visit Returns and refunds.


Nordstrom handles returns on a "case-by-case" basis. The retailer explains on its website that refunds are applied to the form of payment with which the returned items were bought. If the store decides to provide a refund and no record of sale is available, store associates will ask for personal identification and a refund will be provided at the current price on a Nordstrom Gift Card.

According to Nordstrom’s website, jewelry and designer items purchased at Nordstrom or are not eligible to be returned to Nordstrom Rack stores. Boutique returns must be processed at the store where they were originally purchased.

Best Buy

Best Buy is starting its extended holiday returns policy early this year. The retailer says items purchased between Oct. 24 through Dec. 31 have an extended return period through Jan. 14, 2023. According to Best Buy’s website, this return policy excludes goods purchased with a "third-party contract" (i.e. cellphones, tablets, and AppleCare+ plans, and holiday products (i.e. artificial trees, lights, decorations, etc.). Other exclusions, including restocking fees, non-returnable products, and all other terms and conditions of the Best Buy Return & Exchange Promise apply.

And this year, the extended Holiday Returns Policy starts early. Best Buy says purchases made Oct. 24, 2022, through Dec. 31, 2022, have an extended return period through Jan. 14, 2023, excluding items purchased with a third-party contract (i.e.., activatable devices [cell phones, cellular tablets, mobile hotspots, cellular wearables] and AppleCare+ plans, etc.), and holiday products (e.g., artificial trees, lights, decorations, etc.). 

Apple Store

Apple’s holiday return policy says items purchased at the Apple Online Store that are received between November 4, 2022, and December 25, 2022, may be returned through January 8, 2023. Apple notes all other terms and conditions provided in the Apple online store sales and refunds policy still apply to items purchased. All purchases made after December 25, 2022, are subject to the Standard Return Policy, according to Apple’s website


Macy’s says they will accept most returns by mail or in stores within 90 days of purchase for free. For the holiday season, Macy's is extending their return window. Starting October 3, 2022 - November 3, 2022, most items purchased at Macy's or will be accepted for an extended return period until Jan. 31, 2023. Purchases made on or after November 4th, 2022 will follow the store's standard 90-day return policy. For more visit Macy's website. 


Goods bought at a Costco store need to be returned at the returns counter at any Costco warehouse. The retailer says items ordered online can be returned at any Costco warehouse -or- the customer can initiate a return through
Accepted payment methods differ online and in the warehouse. Shoppers can click here for a complete list of accepted payments. 

Costco also has a return policy on different items. Costco will accept returns within 90 days for televisions, projectors, major appliances (refrigerators above 10 cubic ft., freezers, ranges, cooktops, over-the-range microwaves, range hoods, dishwashers, water heaters, washers, and dryers), computers, touchscreen tablets, smartwatches, cameras, aerial cameras (drones), camcorders, MP3 players and cell phones. 


Most new, unused merchandise can be refunded or exchanged with proof of purchase within 90 days of the original purchase date, unless noted in our return policy exceptions, according to Lowe’s website. Holiday items must be returned on or before the day of the holiday (i.e. Christmas). Items purchased after the holiday are final sales, and no returns will be accepted.

Lowes says returns with valid proof of purchase will be exchanged, refunded in cash, credited to your account, or refunded via in-store credit based on the original method of payment. 

Home Depot

Under Home Depot’s return policy, most new, unopened goods sold by the home improvement retailer can be returned within 90 days of purchase, unless noted in the store’s return policy exceptions. If you paid with a Home Depot credit card, the standard 90-day return policy is extended to a full year.

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.