In about-face, retailers ease holiday return policies during pandemic

It's the home stretch for holiday shoppers.

But don't stress over finding the perfect present.  Expect merchants to be more generous than ever with holiday return windows.

With just days to go before Christmas morning, consumers who are coming up short on a great gift idea may consider ease instead. Some merchants are doing a 180 when it comes to return policies.

Edgar Dworsky is the founder of He says it was just a short time ago when stores said no to returns out of an abundance of COVID caution. Now, he says stores are going the opposite direction.

“Many stores are liberalizing their return policies,” he said.

Stores like Kohls, TJ Maxx and Marshalls have added a full month to their return policy. Best Buy is adding two weeks. Target is pushing back its return window on some items to include purchases made as early as Oct. 1.

And they're not alone.

“We’re seeing Amazon, which used to have a Nov. 1 start date for returns, now, it's Oct. 1,” Dworsky said.

Plus, most online retailers are offering free shipping on returns, too.

“Assuming you have proof of purchase what was paid and when and you bring back the goods in pristine condition, there is really no other strings attached,” Dworsky said.

But the big prize for the biggest window goes to Home Depot.

“They have now doubled the return period to six months,” Dworsky said. “It used to be 90 days. Now, it's 180. That's unheard of.”

And it's all part of the plan to pull ahead in the holiday home stretch.

There is one major retailer who's bucking the trend this year. According to the Consumer World study, Bed Bath and Beyond. has tightened their return window from six months to now 90 days.

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