10 Popular Stores With the Worst Return Policies (#8 Really Hurts)

SAVING & SPENDING - SHOPPING
You'll wish you never bought from these stores after seeing their return policies.
Updated March 22, 2024
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We’ve all had a disappointing experience: You buy something and find out it doesn’t look as good at home as it did in the store or on a website.

Most retailers understand that customers change their minds about items and might want to return them. However, some stores are more accommodating than others when it comes to returning these goods.

Here are some stores with lousy return policies. If you think there is a chance you'll return an item, perhaps it’s best to skip purchasing it at one of the following retailers so you can save money shopping.

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Barnes & Noble

Victoria/Adobe logos of the cheescake factory

Bookseller Barnes & Noble has a 30-day return policy for most items purchased in its stores or online. However, there are some exceptions to this policy that can make it hard to keep more cash in your wallet.

For example, to get a refund, the retailer's Nook e-reader must be returned within 14 days.

The company doesn't allow returns of digital content such as e-books and audiobooks, and you can't return magazines and newspapers.

Apple

Heorshe/Adobe apple store in hong kong

Apple products like phones or laptops are expensive, so be careful with your purchases.

Apple’s policy allows you to return or exchange an item within 14 days of purchase with the original receipt. You also have to remember to return the item in its original packaging with all the wires and accessories included to get a refund.

Best Buy

wolterke/Adobe best buy logo outside store building

Best Buy is another electronics company with a tight return window. It accepts returns within 15 days of purchase for most items. Activatable devices get just 14 days.

In many states, the company also charges a restocking fee of $45 for activatable devices or 15% of the purchase price for other items.

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Wish

Graphicroyalty/Adobe problem with blocked credit card

Wish has a 30-day return policy for items, but there are plenty of exceptions.

For example, Wish doesn't let you return unsealed audio or video recordings or computer software, and perishable goods are also generally not returnable.

Some merchants who use Wish to sell their goods also do not allow for returns.

Amazon

Mike Mareen/Adobe amazon logistics center

Amazon makes it easy to return many items within 30 days of purchase. However, third-party vendors also sell on the site, which can complicate returns.

Most of these vendors offer 30-day returns, but some may have their less-generous return policies.

Lululemon

JHVEPhoto/Adobe Lululemon sign

On many items, Lululemon offers 30 days to return an item. But if you mess up, you might be stuck with an item.

For example, products must be unworn and unwashed. You must also generally ensure that the tag is still attached.

ThredUp

nenetus/Adobe woman paying something online

ThredUp can be a great option for finding unique items and giving them a new life. However, the company’s return policies might drag down your enthusiasm.

The retailer requires items to be postmarked within 14 days of you receiving the item, which is a tight return window compared to other clothing retailers. You must also pay a $3.99 restocking fee to return the item.

Verizon Wireless

DW labs Incorporated/Adobe Verizon

Verizon Wireless purchases must be returned in 30 days, which is typical for many retailers.

However, Verizon Wireless isn’t so outstanding regarding its restocking fee: The company charges customers $50 when they return a wireless device.

Saks Fifth Avenue

DW labs Incorporated/Adobe saks & company on fifth avenue

If you buy an item from Saks Fifth Avenue, watch the calendar for returns by mail.

If you start the return process more than 14 days after you purchase an item, the retailer will take $9.95 out of your refunded amount to cover shipping.

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J.Crew

William/Adobe j-crew store sign

Like many retailers, J.Crew has strict rules about unworn and unwashed items to be returned within 30 days.

Mailing your return to the company will also cost you money, as the retailer deducts $7.50 from the funds returned to you to cover shipping costs.

Bottom line

dark_blade/Adobe happy african american woman shopping

A good return policy is a smart shopping hack that can help you save money, so savvy shoppers should look for stores that don't meet that standard.

There are times when shopping at the retailers on this list makes sense. But if you're unsure about a product, you might want to purchase it elsewhere.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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