ATLANTA -- 'Tis the season to return. If you find yourself with a gift you'd like to exchange or have replaced with cash, today I have you covered. Returns happen; it's just part of the retail world and I don't think you should be penalized in that event.
Today you'll find my list of the stores that have the best and worst return policies. Do you have a favorite store that's not on the list? I'd love to hear your comments.
MORE | Find additional deals and ways to save!
If you're looking for a great deal, follow @MattGranite on Twitter.
Who made the good list?
Why? It's refreshing to find a store that not only offers free shipping, but pays return shipping on all returns, all the time. Their customer service is also superb in all my tests. Granted, this is not a store where many of us can afford to shop.
Why? You don't even need a receipt. All purchases are tied to your membership and Costo will refund you all shipping and handling charges. Costco also has a 90 day return window on electronics which is far better than most competitors.
Why? They will take back any time, any time whether or not you have a receipt. Any store that makes it this easy gets two huge thumbs up. Now only if they'd improve on their online shipping cost minimums!
Why? Most people think I'm crazy when I recommend a shoe purchase online but this fine foot retailer gives you an entire year to return any unwanted item. They even pay for return shipping.
Why? Although the return windows are not always as long as I'd like, their web-based customer service is phenomenal, their return center could not be easier to use and they give most other e-tailers a run for their money.
Why? They promise to attempt a return on every purchase, even those without a receipt, which is rare to see. They have a generous 90-day return window and will accept returns for anything purchased online in an actual store (rather than making you ship it back to the e-warehouse from which it shipped).
Why? They place few limits on any type of return or change and will attempt returns at any time . The one caveat: gifts can't be returned for cash, you get the value of that return on a gift card.
Who made the naughty list?
1) Most Daily Deal Sites
Why? Most daily deal sites don't accept returns unless an item is defective, and at that point, it's for a replacement, not a refund. I truly can't fault daily deal sites for their return policies. They operate with razor thin profit margins which allow for the biggest price drops and deals, and also some unfortunately lousy return policies.
2) Best Buy
Why? For a great store that makes purchasing so easy, their tiered return policy is overly complicated.
Some products have 15 days, other produces like computers and tablets have a 30 day return policy. And although Best Buy has an extended holiday return policy, their regular policy frustrates me. I don't like the fact that returns are extended for Best Buy Elite and Elite Plus members. I think all shoppers should be treated equally. I also don't like the "Best Buy reserves the right to deny any return or exchange" mission statement. While I realize all stores have that policy in place, even Target suggest they'll "attempt a return" in returns disclaimer.
Why? Despite wonderful prices and rapidly improving customer service, Walmart's return policies could not be more complex or confusing.
Every department has a different return policy:
CDs and books: 90 days
Video game hardware: 15 days
Pre-owned video game software: 90 days
Tablets: 15 days
Lawn mowers: 30 days
You need a chart just to understand what's going on.
We receive absolutely no financial compensation for mentioning any store or website. The only purpose of this segment is to watch out for your wallet.