15 Details in Target's Return Policy That Even Experienced Shoppers Overlook

Is it as easy to return items at the famed red big box store as it is to buy them in the first place?
Updated April 11, 2024
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A Target storefront

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With its large selection of products and fairly low prices, it's no wonder that many folks are loyal Target shoppers. But what happens when you buy something and it’s not what you expected?

Luckily, Target has a generous return policy that can help alleviate any concerns you may have. Not only does it often allow for easy returns, but it can also help lower financial stress since you can often get your money back.

To that end, let's dive deeper into the ins and outs so you can shop with peace of mind.

There's a 90-day return policy on most items

goodluz/Adobe Woman with dark hair smile at laptop while shoe box with brown boot on top is on the table next to laptop

Many items you buy from Target can be returned within 90 days. This means you have plenty of time to try out your new purchase, and if it doesn't meet your expectations, you can easily exchange it or get a full refund. Bringing your receipt will make the process the easiest.

Keep in mind that some items have a shorter return window. Also, items that are not like new may have additional restrictions.

Using a Target RedCard extends the return window by 30 days

Анна Демидова/Adobe pay online at the self-checkout counter in the supermarket

If you're a RedCard holder, Target will give you an extra 30 days beyond the standard return policy to bring something back (barring restricted items). This means that you'll have a total of 120 days to decide if you want to keep it or not.

RedCard holders also get 5% off, free shipping on many items, and access to special deals – a plus if you’re a regular.

There are ways to look up purchases without a receipt

Krakenimages.com/Adobe woman holding credit card

If you lost your receipt or didn’t think to save it in the first place, don’t worry, as there are ways that Target can track your purchase and verify that you made it. For example, if you paid with a credit or debit card, they can look up your receipt using the original payment method.

Additional ways a team member can look up your receipt include using your Target RedCard, through the Target app, or via your online order confirmation if the purchase was made online.

If a receipt can’t be found, you may still be able to return the item for a store credit

CLShebley/Adobe Target Gift Card

Let’s say you paid for something in cash, don’t have the receipt, and there’s no barcode that can be scanned to track it. In this case, Target will give you a merchandise return card with the amount.

Note that this card is non-transferable, as Target scans your ID when they do the return. This card can also only be used for in-store purchases, so it really is best practice to save your receipts.

Online orders can be returned in-store or via mail

lovelyday12/Adobe delivery man giving parcel box to customer

If you need to return something you bought from Target's website, you have two options: either in-store or via mail. Returning an item in-store is usually the easiest and fastest way, as you can simply bring both the item and your order confirmation email to customer service and boom.

However, if you can't make it to a Target store, you can also return the item using a prepaid return mailing label. Simply print out a return label from Target's website and ship the item back at no cost.

Electronics must be returned within 30 days

Krakenimages.com/Adobe man smiling confident using laptop at new home

Electronics have to be returned within 30 days at Target. This includes computers, tablets, cameras, and gaming systems.

Additionally, the item must be in its original packaging and include any accessories. That's why it's prudent to carefully check an item before buying it to make sure nothing is missing in the first place.

Apple products need to be returned within 15 days

vladim_ka/Adobe Apple products

Another product with a shorter return window, Apple items have to be returned within 15 days. This means that you'll need to act fast if there's some sort of issue with your AirPods or Apple Watch. Even if your Apple item stops working properly or breaks altogether, it's not returnable once that period of time lapses.

There’s an extra exception within this return policy, though. iPhones fall under Target’s mobile phone return policy, where you only have 14 days to return the item.

Opened CDs, DVDs, and video games can only be exchanged

Dontree/Adobe man's holding the box of Mario Party Superstars

If you’ve picked up a CD, movie, or game, you are welcome to bring it back to Target for an even exchange. That means they will give you a copy of the same thing, even across different game platforms.

However, you can’t return these items or exchange them for different options. This is likely to prevent pirating.

Pro tip: Consider buying your products with a credit card where you can earn cash back and easily return the product if you need to later. 

Makeup can be returned, even when opened

Drazen/Adobe woman applying blush on female friend's cheek

According to Target's website, you can return most opened or unopened makeup, skincare, or hair care items within 90 days of purchase if you have the original receipt.

This is great news if you’re hesitant to try new beauty products, as you can experiment without the fear of wasting your money. That way, if the lipstick color you thought would be perfect actually isn’t, you can simply swap it out.

You have a year to return Target brand food and clothing

MelissaMN/Adobe racks of clearance womens and juniors clothing

In addition to beauty products, there are some other items you can bring back even if you’ve used them — up to a year later. So if your apparel from A New Day isn’t holding up as it should, you can bring it back for an even exchange or return. This applies to all Target-owned brands, like Cat & Jack, Threshold, and Market Pantry.

There's a special holiday return policy

OntheRun Photo/Adobe holiday baking and decorating supplies

Limited-release items and seasonal items have their modifications to Target’s traditional return policy. You’ll want to double-check with a Target team member before purchasing these items to understand when they’re returnable.

You can return BOGO items but for a discounted rate

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe grey haired lady turning on standing lamp at home

If you picked something up at Target that was on sale for buy one get one free (BOGO), any money that you are refunded will be calculated based on the original amount of the item.

For example, if you bought a $60 lamp and a $40 lamp BOGO, you’ll get a $40 total discount. If you decide to return either item, you’ll receive the item’s prorated price.

There’s an exchange program specifically for Sodastream products

ColleenMichaels/Adobe soda stream flavors for sale

If you are a seltzer aficionado, then you are likely hip to Sodastream, an appliance that can turn still water into bubbly water. The system works using a refillable cylinder of carbon dioxide, which you can buy at Target and a few other stores.

If you bring back your empty cylinder, you will get 50% off of the next one. You can also mail in your empty cylinders directly to Sodastream, where you’ll receive a $15 Target gift card in return. These are two eco-friendly options that keep more money in your wallet.

Open airbeds can only be exchanged

rh2010/Adobe young couple setting up the tent and inflating the mattress

Another item that can only be exchanged and not returned if it’s opened is an airbed. Airbeds come in specific sizes, so be sure you have the right one before opening the box in the off chance you need to return it.

You can’t return some items at Target

wachiwit/Adobe A set of Pokemon cards

While Target is arguably quite generous with its return policy, there are some things it just won’t take back. The list includes trading cards, open or defective collectibles (like action figures or other dolls), and gift cards.

Note that in many cases, the final decision is up to the store manager, so your mileage may vary across the board.

Bottom line

Vasyl/Adobe senior couple at home

With a generous 90-day return policy for most items, an extra 30 days for RedCard holders, and the ability to track purchases without a receipt, Target makes it easy to shop without stress. 

One expert tip is to consider buying your item using a credit card. Not only is there the potential to earn cash back, but it’s easier to exchange the product if it doesn’t meet your expectations.

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Author Details

Cat Lafuente Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.

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