Sorting Out Policies

Retailers with good and bad return policies

The holiday shopping season can bring holiday returns. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a store’s return and exchange policy in mind when buying gifts. This is especially true during the pandemic — you don’t want your loved ones having to make unnecessary trips to the store. Here’s a look at some retailers with good return policies and some retailers with bad return policies.

The Good


If you’re a Costco member, you’re in luck — this chain has some amazing return policies. Costco allows almost every kind of merchandise to be returned at any time for a full refund. The lone exception is electronics, which must be returned within 90 days.

American Eagle Outfitters

American Eagle Outfitters allows shoppers to return unused items for a full refund as long as they have a receipt. If there is no receipt, shoppers can still return the items for store credit. There is no timetable on returns.


Kohl’s gives customers up to 180 days to return merchandise for a refund. As US News notes, the only exception is (again) electronics, which must be returned within 30 days for refunds.

The Bad


Santa would argue that while Apple makes nice products, its return policy is quite naughty. Customers must return items within just 14 days from the time the item was received for a refund. Not only that, but the item must contain everything that was included, like cables, instruction booklets and more.

Best Buy

Best Buy isn’t much better than Apple, giving customers just 15 days to return items for a refund or exchange. Best Buy also charges a stocking fee — $45 or 15 percent of the item’s purchase price — on most returns.

Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble’s return window is slightly longer than Apple and Best Buy — 30 days — but the items must be unopened and/or in original condition. Also, online returns must be mailed back to the company; you can’t return them to a store.

Chris O'Shea

Chris O'Shea