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Stores tightening return policies this year

Why you need to make returns before mid January
Posted at 10:12 AM, Dec 26, 2019

The weeks of shopping are over. Now it's time to enjoy those holiday gifts.

But what if you don't want one or two? Then you need to know which retailers you will need to rush to in the next week or so.

Stores used to give us months — sometimes even a year — to return holiday gifts, but not anymore.

A report on says for the 2019 holiday season, a number of major stores have tightened the screws.

Among them:

Best Buy: January 14 is the return deadline for most holiday purchases.

Walmart: TVs must be returned within 30 days. It used to be 90 days.

The Apple Store: Just 14 days for most items, one of the shortest return periods of any major retailer.

Target: Just 30 days for electronics and 15 days for Apple items.

Macy's: 90 days, which is generous, but shorter than the previous six-months return policy.

Read the full Consumer World report here.

Even the stores with the best return policies tighten rules

And from the "doesn't that stink" file: the no-questions-asked lifetime return policy seems to be disappearing. Retailers like L.L.Bean, Costco and Nordstrom have been praised for years for their generous policies, but even those are changing.

L.L.Bean used to replace boots and backpacks — and just about everything else — forever. But that changed in the past couple of years, which could have you saying "doesn't that stink" if your boots split after a few years.

Even Nordstrom, which used to take anything back without a receipt, is now limiting returns to prevent customers from borrowing dresses ("wardrobing") and then returning them.

However, L.L.Bean, Nordstrom and Costco still have some of the most generous policies of major stores, despite their cutbacks.

Sure, there's no need to rush out the first couple of days after Christmas when return lines are longest.

But don't wait much longer than January 8, just to be safe, and so you don't waste your money.


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