Return Policies For Online Merchants

Cyber Monday is only the beginning of the holiday e-shopping season. To avoid the hustle and bustle of malls and the hassles of parking and traffic, millions of consumers turn to online shopping. When shopping online, consider both shipping costs and return policies before making your purchases.

Woman shopping online for Christmas gifts

Some stores allow returns only within 30 days, while some others offer only store credit (not cash back). Many other retailers are more lenient, however. FreeShipping.org has compiled a list of the return policies of many major online retailers. Keep these deadlines and details in mind when shopping online for holiday gifts.

Ann Taylor

You have 60 days to return Ann Taylor purchases, but the company will issue only store credit if you don't have the receipt. Returns handled online result in an e-gift certificate, so be sure to include your e-mail address on the return receipt when you send the merchandise back. An in-store gift return yields a hardcopy gift certificate.

Bath & Body Works

Because Bath & Body Works maintains a "no sale is ever final" policy, it doesn't need to extend its holiday deadline. You don't need a sales receipt or shipping invoice for gifts, but you can return them only to brick-and-mortar Bath and Body Works stores.

Cabela's

You have 90 days to return a Cabela's purchase, which makes everything nice and easy -- except that you receive only store credit or a gift card when you don't have a receipt. If you need to return a gift, print a return form and send it to Cabela's customer service address, or bring it in to any of the company's retail stores.

Coldwater Creek

There's no deadline for Coldwater Creek returns by mail or to a retail outlet. If you're sending something back and don't have a receipt or packing slip, make sure you enclose a note with your name and address.

Best Buy

Enjoy Best Buy free shipping now through Dec. 27, and return gift purchases -- with no exclusions -- from Nov. 13 through Jan. 4. The electronics behemoth is spreading the holiday cheer even further by removing restocking fees within this timeframe for all products, including special orders.

Costco

Costco's standard return policy is already a liberal 365 days. In addition, Costco refunds membership fees if a customer isn't satisfied. Refunds for Internet purchases include shipping and handling charges.

Endless.com

The online-only shoe merchant provides a generous 365 days for returns, with guaranteed free shipping. Use the Endless online returns center for proper processing.

JCPenney

JCPenney pays for shipping and handling on all returns, no matter the reason for the return. You have up to 90 days and, with a gift receipt, the company will issue a gift card in the amount of your purchase.

Kmart

You'll need an original receipt or email confirmation dated within 90 days of the original date of purchase -- no exceptions.

Kohl's

Return any item, anytime, for any reason. If you have your receipt, you'll get a full refund or an even exchange. No receipt? No problem. Kohl's will give you a refund, an exchange or store credit.

Lands' End

For returns without an exchange, use the return label for a flat shipping fee of $6.95. You also can return your order to any Sears or Lands' End store and avoid shipping costs entirely.

L.L.Bean

The sky's the limit with L.L. Bean, which has no return deadline and doesn't require authorization before you ship your gift back. Just download and fill out a form, or use the form printed on the packing slip.

Macy's

The return deadline for Macy's is a generous 180 days, and you don't need a receipt thanks to a program that identifies products in their system. Returned gifts result in store credit or exchange. The deadline for jewelry purchases, however, is only 30 days.

Mainline Menswear

You can return any gifts ordered between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 for up to 14 days after Christmas, which gives you only until Jan. 7.

Sears

Return the gift in its original packaging with the original receipt or email confirmation within 90 days of purchase for a refund or exchange. Alternatively, you can return a purchase from Sears.com to one of its stores.

Shoebacca.com

Like Endless, Shoebacca provides free shipping both ways and a 365-day window in which to return or exchange unwanted gifts.

Sierra Trading Post

Sierra Trading Post makes returns easy: You have up to six months and will receive instant credit plus $2.95 shipping on your next order. If you prefer, STP will give you a refund.

Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us

Online purchases returned by mail within 90 days to the online Returns Center are refunded to the original form of payment -- which means the gift giver will know you've returned her gift and you'll come up empty-handed. Instead, make returns to a Toys "R" Us or Babies "R" Us store for a merchandise credit.

Victoria's Secret

Now through Nov. 16, you can enjoy free shipping, but you have only 90 days to return that lacy tidbit for cash. After that, Victoria's Secret offers only store credit. To return gifts, use the return/exchange form attached to the original invoice; check the box indicating you're returning a gift, and provide your shipping information. If you don't have the original invoice, use the printable return and exchange form.

Wal-Mart

You can return or exchange most store items with a receipt within 90 days of purchase. Visit walmartstores.com to see exceptions for electronic and regulated items. You can return online purchases to any Wal-Mart store.

Zappos

Another great shoe deal: Zappos' free shipping is good both for purchases and returns. Whether you're unhappy with a purchase or you simply change your mind, Zappos will provide a full refund or exchange within 365 days of purchase. You'll need the original packaging, however.

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Comments on "Holiday shopping return policies"

body shop is better than bbw January 02, 2014 | 3:43 PM

if you return to bath and body works without a receipt you will receive almost nothing. I went to return several items from a few weeks ago, and they were still in the store, on sale for between $5 and 10 and they offered me between $.50 and $.62 yes that is cents. They said the items would just be destroyed, and I had even printed out the policy from the internet. I have an email in to the company… but have not heard back -

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