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Consumer Reports: The best and worst stores for gift returns

Posted at 10:17 AM, Dec 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-23 10:17:53-05

This holiday season, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll either get or give a gift that will end up in the to-be-returned pile. But store policies vary widely so returning stuff might not be so easy. Consumer Reports checked out a number of major retailer's’ return policies. Here are the five best and the five worst.

Nordstrom and LL Bean allow returns of all their merchandise with no time limit and no receipt required. LL Bean will even accept well-used items if you’re not satisfied and give you a store credit or exchange. Bed Bath and Beyond, Costco and JC-Penney also have no time limit on returns and no receipt required. But not all merchandise qualifies. Check out the exceptions online.

Some stores have really restrictive return policies. You may only have 30 days or less to return the item and they likely insist on a receipt. Among the most restrictive return policies? They’re at Kmart, Sears, Forever 21, GameStop and Barnes and Noble. Keep in mind Barnes and Noble won’t take back anything that has been opened. Kmart also will refuse to take back opened movies, video games and music.

Many of the retailers with restrictive policies relax them for gift returns during the holidays. To get details on any particular store’s return policy, check out its website. The policy, including holiday exceptions is spelled out there.