Each year consumers return billions of dollars’ worth of gifts during the holiday season. But getting refunds in coming months may look different from previous years, as many retailers adjust return policies due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mary Aucoin Kaarto, 62, of Missouri City, Texas, says she will be conscious of return policies while doing holiday shopping.
"Nothing I could buy is worth putting my health or anybody's health at risk,” she says. “At my age I don't want any more hassles, and I don't return something unless there's a good reason.”
How should shoppers know which retailers offer the most accommodating return policies?
Jeanette Pavini, a savings expert and author of The Joy of Saving, says it is important to consider retailers’ policies on shipping returns, time limits on refunds, and restocking fees.
"This year it is especially important to consider a return policy when deciding to make a purchase, because there are new challenges with returns due to the pandemic,” Pavini says.
Here are some of the retailers with the most generous return policies.
"Nordstrom has always kind of sets the bar for return policies,” says Pavini. The luxury department chain offers full refunds for any item, regardless of when the item was purchased. Nordstrom will pay the cost of shipping for customers to send back fine jewelry, worn garments, and most designer items. The only exception is for special-occasion dresses, which must be returned in the condition they were purchased. Customers do not need a receipt to finalize refunds — Nordstrom will provide a gift card of the same price if no record of sale is available.
2. Bath & Body Works
Bath & Body Works guarantees customers they will accept returns on any product at any time, no matter the reason. Used lotion bottles, candles and opened fragrances are all fair game for a full refund as long as the original receipt is presented. If a customer does not have a receipt Bath & Body Works will provide an exchange for an in-store item or merchandise credit.