The Best Return Policies to Avoid Getting Stuck with a Bad Deal

The Best Return Policies to Avoid Getting Stuck with a Bad Deal

Posted on August 21, 2012

By now you know that when we find a really great deal here at BradsDeals, we get incredibly excited. We pride ourselves on finding those hidden gems, but what if it just doesn't work out? Maybe the sizing was all wrong, the fabric felt different, or the machine broke within days of receiving it. No matter what it is, you want your money back. Here are our tips for making the most out of return policies:

Best Return Policies

Not happy with that gift you got? Return it!

  • Stick to stores with free returns: When shopping online there are lots of stores that offer free return shipping. If you stick to these places you can shop as you normally would at a store, try your items on at home (and buy in multiple sizes to make sure items fit), and return what you want for free if you're not satisfied.
  • Get free returns and free shipping. Do you want a new $10 shirt but the store you want it at only has free shipping over $50? We've got a fix for that. Order additional items until you meet the free shipping threshold. Once you've received your package, send back the other items you didn't want and you just got that $10 shirt you wanted all along without the shipping charge! You can also do this with stores that allow free returns in-store, and get your money back even faster!
  • Pay by Credit Card: Several credit cards offer the ability to dispute credit card transactions. If your item arrives damaged or doesn't arrive at all, and the company won't cooperate, your credit card will protect you. Just make sure you have proof. Keep all receipts, email receipts, packing slips, tags, and packaging. For example, with an American Express card you have 90 days to file your claim and are covered up to $50,000 per card account per year.
  • Check your warranty: In the case of electronics the return period is generally very short, so always keep and file away your warranties. If something goes wrong, check it and see what's covered. If you're covered, make sure to call right away and get your item fixed. If your warranty has expired, this would be another reason to have purchased by credit card. Most credit cards will extend your warranty on a big ticket item as long as you purchased the item with that card. Make sure to check with your company and see what their policy is, as it varies by card type. Again, make sure you have all your documentation including the expired warranty. If the cost to repair is more than the product is worth, you may simply get cash to replace it!
  • Contact the seller: When buying on sites like eBay and Amazon, make sure to politely contact the item seller through the site if you're unsatisfied with your order. Give them a chance to make things right before you have to bring your case to the site. If you do have to escalate the case, at least everything is on record through the site. Then, you can go through their process to get your refund.
  • Don't shop at places that don't allow returns: This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you have any inkling that you may not like what you're purchasing, don't get it there. There are plenty of places that have generous return policies where you can probably find a similar item. To be safe, always make sure to check a store's individual return policy. Especially if you're unsure of what you're buying, it's best to spend the extra couple minutes online or take a moment to ask the salesperson in the store. And if you're set on buying your item at a place that doesn't accept returns, be prepared to resort to your credit card company to refund your item or to have to resell it on a third party site.
  • If all else fails, sell it! I once bought a purse on sale at a place that didn't accept returns, decided it was too big, and sold it on eBay for what I bought it for minus shipping. It was a little more work than finding out if I liked that purse, but at least I still got my money back. In some cases, you may even be able to make a profit!


Our picks for stores with the best return policies:

Store How Many Days Restocking Fee
Nordstrom Unlimited No
Macy's 180 days No
Kohl's Unlimited No
Zappo's 365 days No
Costco Unlimited (except electronics) No
REI Unlimited No
Target 90 days (except electronics) No


What stores do you think have the best return policies? Let us know in the comments below!

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