12 stores with strict holiday return policies


Finding the perfect gift for friends, coworkers and loved ones is rarely an easy task, and it can sometimes be an unsuccessful one requiring returns. So this year, as you go about your holiday shopping make sure that everyone -- including you -- has the option to return their gifts. Here are 12 popular retailers with strict return policies, and how best to navigate them, just in case that scarf, wallet, or a new pair of gloves, isn't exactly what the recipient (or you) had in mind.

12 stores with very strict holiday return policies
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12 stores with very strict holiday return policies


Overstock's return policy allows for returns of most new and unopened items within 30 days of delivery for a full refund. However, be sure to read the fine print on the policy. Items that were opened or show signs of wear will only receive a partial refund, minus the shipping charges and return fees. What's more, the retailer notes that products decrease in value over time, therefore a reduced refund will be offered for returns over 30 days after delivery. 

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Best Buy's standard policy for "most products" limits returns to 15 days from the date you receive your product for a full refund. Best Buy Elite members, on the other hand, get 30 days and Elite Plus members have 45 days. Cell phones and devices that require activation, are limited to 14 days for everyone. For the holidays, purchases made from Oct. 29 through Dec. 30 have an extended return period through Jan. 14, 2018. Elite or Elite Plus members have until Jan. 29 or Feb. 13, respectively. 

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GameStop's return policy requires careful reading as it's somewhat complicated. For instance, pre-owned items can be returned for up to seven days after purchase for a full refund. After that, and within 30 days of purchase, customers receive an identical exchange. As for new products, they must be in the original packaging and include any manuals, cabling and accessories in sellable condition. The retailer also reserves the right to limit returns to unopened or defective products. The company will not accept items after more than 30 days, or any product that has been taken out of its plastic wrap, among other restrictions. 

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Another retailer whose policies you may want to keep in mind when shopping, Forever 21's holiday guidelines allow gift items purchased online through Forever21.com on or after Nov. 13, 2017 to be returned only through Jan. 7, 2018 or within 30 days from the ship date, whichever is later. In addition, all store returns of online purchases made using PayPal are valid for exchange or credit only. As for old fashioned in-store purchases, the policy refers customers to their local store for information.

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Is there a yoga fanatic in your life? Then they're likely familiar with Lululemon's pricey and stylish yoga attire. However, make sure you're clear on the store's return policy when purchasing some of this upscale clothing. The holiday policy covers purchases from Nov. 3 through Dec. 24 and allows for returns through Jan. 23, 2018. Items must be unwashed, unworn and have the tag attached. Some items are not eligible for return such as underwear and water bottles. 

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The famous lingerie retailer has a generous return window -- allowing for merchandise to be brought back up to 90 days after purchase. However, keep in mind that beyond that 90 days, the store will issue a merchandise credit. Also note that online purchases being returned will not include a refund of shipping and handling fees

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Many parts of the Office Depot return policy are generous. Office Depot and OfficeMax brand products (excluding ink and toner) may be exchanged or returned for a full refund at any time for any reason. Other office supplies, however, must be unopened and exchanged or returned within 90 days. Technology and consumer electronics may only be exchanged or returned for a full refund with original receipt and in like-new condition within 14 days. The holiday policy says any item purchased between Oct. 1 and Dec. 24 can be returned until Jan. 14. 

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Barnes & Noble has one of the shortest return windows around. Items purchased online from Barnes & Noble must be returned within 14 days. In addition, all items must be in their original condition, including shrink-wrapped items remaining unopened. The 14-day window also applies to items bought in-store. Your local store must be contacted for additional rules and exclusions. 

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Kmart offers an extended holiday return policy. Select sales made from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24 may be returned through Jan. 31, 2018. Many items are excluded from this extension, such as vacuums, major home appliances, and more. In addition, items purchased outside the specific holiday period must be returned within 30 days of purchase. And if a mattress or headboard is on the gift list, those items must be returned within seven days, as does indoor upholstered furniture. 

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At Sears, a receipt is required for all returns. The store's holiday policy meanwhile states that select items purchased Nov. 1 through Dec. 24 have an extended return window through Jan. 31, 2018. However, similar to Kmart this applies only to those items which typically have a 30-day return window and excludes many purchases. Items must be returned in original packaging, with all accessories, manuals and parts, and original receipt. For items bought via Sears online, shipping fees are deducted from refunds. 

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Ross limits returns to 30 days within purchase. Items may not be used, worn or altered and must be accompanied by original receipt. After 30 days, purchases are typically eligible for exchange or a store credit. 

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If you or the recipient of your gift from the Apple store are not totally thrilled with the purchase, they allow just 14 days from when the gift was received to return it. In addition, the item must be packaged with all cords, adaptors and other documentation that was originally included. And finally, some items are not eligible for return, such as opened software, electronic software downloads and Apple print products.

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