Review of retail store return policies, including Bed Bath & Beyond (Bridal Registry too)

Retail stores have tightened up their return policies in from 2009 to 2011. Many retailers limit your returns to 30 or 90 days, and some stores even require a drivers license to return an item that was bought using cash.

This review will focus on everyday items. Please keep in mind that certain items such as books, movies, video games, medical supplies, computers, phones, and other electronics vary by store -- and by department.

From my experience and research, I have found that one retailer in particular offers the best return policy out of all retails stores ~ Bed Bath & Beyond, which also includes returns for items purchased under Bed Bath & Beyond's Bridal Registry.


Bed Bath & Beyond Return Policy

Bed Bath & Beyond's prices tend to be on the high side. On the positive side:

  1. You can return anything you bought at Bed Bath & Beyond, with or without the receipt, and in any condition, without too much hassle, depending on the Bed Bath & Beyond Customer Service Representative.
  2. Bed Bath & Beyond accepts several coupons at the same time!
  3. Coupons never truly expire!

Coupons: As an aside, Bed Bath & Beyond has 3 types of coupons and will also take competitor's coupons:

  1. 20% off a single item
  2. $5 off any purchase ($15 or more)
  3. 20% your entire purchase (rare to find).

I make sure that I always use a 20% off coupon or $5 coupon each time I shop at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Tip (Did you know?):

Bed Bath & Beyond adds an expiration date on each coupon to get you in the store, but the truth is - Bed Bath & Beyond's coupons never actually expire.

  • Therefore, if an item costs $15, use the $5 coupon [$15 - $5 = $10].
  • $25 is your breakeven point for saving $5 off [$25 - 20% ($5) = $20].
  • If an item costs $25 or more, use the 20% off coupon [$30 - 20% ($6) = $24].

Bed Bath & Beyond Customer Service phone number (Internet Sales *only*): For any questions or assistance call 1-800-GO BEYOND (1-800-462-3966).


WalMart Return Policy

In the past, WalMart had a gracious return policy, but has tightened up their business practices in recent times.

With receipt

Returns can be made within 90 days, and you will be credited back via your method of payment (cash, credit, debit, or gift card).

Without a receipt

You have to show your license, and you may only return up to 2 items a year. If your purchase is under $10, you can get cash back; if it is over $10, WalMart issues you get a gift card.

Beware: Cannot return certain items!

  • Beware, some items cannot be returned under any circumstances, even if you have the receipt, and the item is not opened. For example, a neighbor purchased a Diabetes Monitoring Kit for $75, and tried to return it unopened and with the receipt. WalMart would not take it back under any circumstance (because it had a needle in it), so my neighbor asked for the manager, explained to him that there was no sign in the pharmacy section stating that the item could not be returned, and was able to return it.


Target or WalMart?

Do you prefer shopping at Target or WalMart?

See results without voting

Target Return Policy

With receipt

Returns can be made within 90 days, and you will be credited back via your method of payment (cash, credit, debit, or gift card).

  • If you bring in the credit card you use, they can find your item in their computer.

Without a receipt

You have to show your license, and you may only return up to two (2) items a year.

If item is over $20, you cannot return it. If item is under $20, Target will give you a Target gift card.

Target's policy is better than WalMart's for the following reason

  • Target's Customer Service can find your credit or debit card in their system, and then pull up your receipt. Target's Customer Service Department is well-trained and professional. As an aside, Target's stores are cleaner then WalMarts and Target's Customer Service staff are most helpful.


Toys R Us Return Policy

With a receipt

90 days for purchases. Electronic items can only be exchanged for the same item (within 45 days).

Without a receipt

Toys R Us will attempt to lookup you receipt by credit card, but there is no guarantee that they will find it. If they cannot find your receipt and you do not have one, they cannot take back your merchandise for any reason.


Pier 1 Return Policy

Pier 1 has a very strict policy for returning their items.

With a receipt - 30 days.

Without a receipt - When I called the store to ask, I was told that they cannot return any item without a receipt, unless the manager approves it.

However, on Pier 1's website it states: "Without original receipt - We will provide an exchange or store credit for the current selling price. This excludes merchandise that is specifically labeled 'return with original receipt only'. A valid ID is required."


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Wrapping up

Based on my review of the following retail stores, Bed Bath & Beyond overwhelmingly has the best and most lenient return policy.

You can return:

  • A rusty toaster
  • A George Foreman Grill you have owned for 5 years, and
  • Bed Bath & Beyond *will* honor the return.

Regardless of the retail stores return policies, I recommend that you keep an envelope labeled with each retailer that you shop at, and simply place the receipts inside. In the event that you have an issue with something you bought, you can quickly find on the receipt. Stay organized - it is your money we are saving!

If you have exceeded the time for a return with a certain retailer, you might be out of luck. However, I suggest you speak up, ask for a manager, and try to return the item anyway. Please do no be afraid to ask!

Know the return policy of the retailers

Additionally, know the return policy of the retailers -- and even the the departments within the retailer you most commonly shop at -- then you will not be surprised when they will not accept your item back.

As burdensome as that might sound, it is important to know. In the event you bought expensive computer software at WalMart, opened it, and want to return it within the time allowed, "Buyer beware" -- you cannot return it because it must be returned unopened.

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Comments 35 comments

Garouche 8 years ago

Do New York City retail stores need to post their return policy on their receipts?

MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 8 years ago from United States Author

Garouch, I am not sure, but it is a good idea to ask before you buy. Most larger retailers post their return policies, but some do not.

WryLilt profile image

WryLilt 6 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia

The reason stores have such stringent returns policies is because 1. People often steal items then try and bring them in for a cash refund and 2. If you return a broken or non re usable item the store will probably have to throw it in the garbage which means the refund they give you comes out of their own pocket.

Disgusted  6 years ago

I shopped at Coldwater creek for the first time and was so turned off I will never shop there again. First of all, they demanded personal information while I was purchasing which I politely declined and they gave me an attitude and stared at me like I was a criminal. The item I was purchasing was only $20 and I was paying cash, I didn't understand why I needed to give them my life other than for them to sell it which I wasn't comfortable about. Then the clerk distracted me and handed me the wrong change on purpose. I was supposed to get 80 cents back and he only gave me 30. The store closed minutes after I realized so I couldn't go back in and get my money. I am convinced this was done on purpose to penalize me for refusing to give information. Another chain store refused to give me a return on a purchase made the day before because I refused to give them a driver's license for them to scan. I had the receipt and the tags attached and I paid cash, $30, so why does my license need to be scanned? This is getting ridiculous, are stores now government agencies? I will no longer be shopping at major retailers, from now on I will stick to small mom and pop stores that I know and trust. Screw these big retailers. I hope they all go out of business.

anonymous 6 years ago

you have an error with the 20 percent calculations in the Bed Bath and Beyond Section. 20 percent off of 30 dollars does not equal six dollars, it equals 24. thanks for the article!!

anonymous 6 years ago

the Walmart info is incorrect for returns without a receipt. they allow up to 3 returns in a 6-month period without a receipt, and of course ask for your drivers license every time. if you try a 4th return, it will produce a print out and will not be allowed, until the 6-month period of the first return is up. and you can return multiple items at once without a receipt and it's considered one return, so it's not just 3 items, it's 3 return transactions...

anonymous 6 years ago

Stores return policies are what they are and are in place for many reasons, mostly for theft. Laws really do not protect businesses against people who steal from them, so this is their only form of protection against getting "hit" a second time by the thief.

It's is bothersome to me that so many people do not keep their receipts, even when the cashier TELLS the customer that it is absolutely necessary to have in the event that something that they purchased needs to be returned.

I have seen customers who do not keep their receipts even for large purchases, such as sofas and appliances, and then RUDELY DEMAND SERVICE when they are turned down because they do not have a receipt. WHY DO THEY NOT KEEP THE DARN RECEIPT!?!?!?!? It's a major purchase!?!?!? There's a warranty that you need to keep the receipt for!!!!! Do you throw the deed to your house away? What is the problem? You don't keep the receipt, you can't return it! It's a piece of paper that shows proof of purchase which keeps a GOOD customer WAY ABOVE the ones who make it bad for everyone else - the ones who steal and try to return. GO AFTER THEM if you're angry about return policies, not the stores!

Without information from a customer, like an ID# there is no way stores can remember everyone who returns without receipts, so it is necessary at times to give the information.

Because we have dug our own hole, by shopping where items are the cheapest and imported into the United States, we have to pay a price to not be stuck in that hole forever, and this is one of the punishments. We stopped shopping American, for the cheaper prices of lower quality items.

You get what you pay for. Now pay for it.

I HATE being in the same line when they call a manager for someone who forgot their receipt. They waste everyone's time, not just the stores time. Just keep the stupid receipt and follow the rules like everyone else does - unless you stole it!

Swiz78 6 years ago

WryLit, you are wrong. The stores send the items back to the manufacturers and get credit for it, or they fix it and sell it to you at a discounted price. Which is why you have be careful with those lovely clearance tags that everyone flocks to. You are right about the stealing portion of your comment.

barbara 5 years ago

Walmart is always changing their policy.

I brought several items back thinking it would be done as one transaction, nope! For some reason, they took 5 items and did one transaction and then took the other 2 and did another transaction.

I was like did that just count as two transactions and she said yes mam, since you didn't have your receipt we break the tranaction into two..

I was like wtf?

MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States Author

It is unfortunate that honest people are asked for so much personal info...I agree with you Disgusted.

Judi 5 years ago

Great article - I was always wondering if Bed Bath & Beyond's coupons really I know.

CP 5 years ago

I think some stores have actually relaxed policies in response to backlash. Case in point: Target - 2 years ago they wouldn't give a return without receipt for any reason. Now they'll look it up using your credit card, and offer at least a store credit for items under $20. My real complaint is when they won't do even exchanges on gifts without gift receipts. They refused to exchange a pair of Mossimo jeans (their exclusive brand!) for a different size, since there was no receipt. Since the item was obviously FROM Target, and was already out of inventory, how would this hurt their bottom line?

MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States Author

CP, you raise an excellent point! Many people do not think of giving gift receipts with presents. I think Target needs to recognize that and at least do an exchange. In my "Take Aways" section I recommend asking for a manager, it cannot hurt.

shopaholic 5 years ago

I bought some things from a store before their return policy changed to 90-days. At time of my purchase they had no specific return policy and you could make returns at any time, getting a full refund with receipt, or a store credit without receipt. I have all my receipts and want to know if I can still return my purchases because receipts do not show 90-day return policy?

MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States Author

shopaholic, I believe you can return your items if your bring in your receipts to the store, ask for a manager, and be assertive.

shopaholic 5 years ago

Thank you. I'll let you know what happens when I do this and which store I returned items to.

MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States Author

I look forward to your feedback/comments shopaholic. Let me know!

Multiman 5 years ago

Wow, grat article and useful information on how each store brand differs in the return policy. Voted up.

MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States Author

Thanks so much for stopping by Multiman, cool name by the way!

organiccat 5 years ago

Can i return defective product without a package? Do you think that I can get refund?

MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States Author

organiccat, yes you can. Bed Bath & Beyond will find your item in the Bed Bath & Beyond computer system, and if the item is not found, (1) Bed Bath & Beyond will exchange the item for a similar item, or (2) refund money based on that similar item, or (3) offer you a Bed Bath & Beyond gift card.

Brian Burton profile image

Brian Burton 5 years ago

That is interesting. Voted up! I hadn't realized walmart tightened up their return policy, but it makes sense. Normally I don't do returns, but had a big one with old merchandise the other day (after cleaning out the garage), and Lowes took all the stuff back. Couldn't believe it.

MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States Author

Brian, very interesting about Lowes...did you have a receipt. If not did you get a store credit?

Brian Burton profile image

Brian Burton 5 years ago

I did not have a receipt and I got store credit (which was just fine with me)

Brande 5 years ago

The return policy is for Target is incorrect.

I attempted to return an item which was purchased with a Visa checkcard. I also had my receipt. I was informed they are not allowed to credit back any money to any card bearing the Visa name. I was offered store credit.

I didn't want the item and do not regularly shop at Target; store credit was not an option. I had to mail the item back to Target and now they are issuing me an egift card.

Isn't this the same as store credit?

MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States Author

Brande, wow - I did not know that so I called Target at the Albany, New York store. If an item is purchased and returned within 90 days - yes, Target will return an item to your Visa. If the item was purchased over 90 days, the item CANNOT be returned to your Visa. Over 90 days, there is an increased chance that the item is no longer offered at Target and does not ring up in their system and cannot be returned at all.

Therefore, the Target return policy I outlined on my Hub seems to be valid. I hope this helps.

HateWalmart 5 years ago

Walmart return policy is ridiculous. i purchased xbox 360 on 24th nov and went to return it on dec 12.the box was not even opened.They refused to give me even a walmart gift card saying its more than 15days.Disgusting!!

HateWalmart 5 years ago

Checked the below link and called the walmart customer service and they said its for and not for stores..So to know some info we need to physically go to the store if we are not purchasing online??

MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States Author

HateWalmart, I agree that Walmart's return policy is too strict, especially for honest people who have their receipt and are within 30 days!!

alto2 5 years ago

Just returned a defective humidifier to Bed Bath and Beyond. I'd accidentally tossed the receipt but they said that was no problem, and since I did an even exchange, they didn't even ask for any information. They also said there's NO LIMIT on their return period, which blew me away. They have officially impressed the heck out of me.

(Also, not only do their coupons not expire, you can use several at the same time!)

MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States Author

alto2 - yes, that is why BBB has such a great return policy - no question asked. Excellent point too - you CAN use several coupons at once.

Guest 5 years ago

To clarify, I worked at a Bed Bath and Beyond and while the 20% off coupons do not expire the $5 off of $15 that they send out attached to the ads DOES expire.

MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States Author

Guest - BBB told me the $5 off of $15 DO NOT EVER EXPIRE. Only the "make-up" coupons BBB prints out in the store (that you receive when you return an item in which you used a coupon) actually expire. All of the coupons BBB mails to you DO NOT EXPIRE. I promise.

Willow woman 4 years ago

Bed bath and beyond has new program with text coupons. To my unpleasant surprise they DO expire. It comes up saying "expired" and they don't have anything they can scan. I thought it would be so convenient not to deal with paper when I signed up.

Valentine2.13 2 years ago

Pier One always asks me these questions at the check out counter.\

1. Phone number. (Mine is unlisted. Never give it out.)

2. Email address: (Never give that out.) Tell them it is private.

That irritates the heck out of me and drives me away from the store as do not want to be bothered with these questions.

On the other hand my other gripe is with Chico's!

I have been asked many times my email address, my phone number and most of all.."Do I want to sign up for email sales, etc." No, no, not a thousand times no! Well, ea time they ask me those questions, especially If I do not give out my emai address, they become very huffy with me and their demeanor changes drastically like I have the plague or something to that extent. At the Tucson store, the lady kept trying and trying to get it out of me. I told her, I can go on the Chico's website at my leisure if I want to check the sales She didn't like that answer . I don't care. I do not want to be harassed like that. What a turnoff. Makes me never want to walk into that store again.

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