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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Return policy comparison: the worst five retailers

Some retailers allow you to return anything under any circumstances. I once bought an artificial Christmas tree that was on sale at Walmart in December and returned it in July. A year after I bought it, I returned an unopened Aerobed to Costco. Kohl’s let me exchange a Keurig that broke almost two years after purchase…without a receipt. Other retailers have notoriously bad return policies.

Below are five of the worst return policy offenders:


Apple thrives on its reputation for making its products easy and intuitive to use. You might be shocked to learn that a company known for its user-friendly products is very customer service unfriendly. Apple only allows returns for most products within 14 days of purchase (for an iPhone you get 30 days). You must have an official receipt, although they do accept a gift card as long as you agree that your refund is in the form of an Apple Store gift card. Additionally, the product must be unopened or you will be charged a 10% restocking fee. Finally, if the returned product costs more than $750, you will have to wait for the postman in your area to deliver a check.

Barnes & Edel

Don’t wait too long to decide whether to keep that new self-help book that your friend thought would be perfect for you, because all you have to do is 30 days to return It. Also, don’t even look at it funny until you’ve decided to keep it. If you are attempting to return it, the book must be in perfect condition and if purchased online, it must include the packing sheet.

Best Buy

Another store that requires returns to be done quickly is Best Buy. The consumer giant requires customers to return unopened goods within 15 days. Opened products eligible for returns will be charged a 15% or $45 restocking fee. Good luck figuring out if your product is even eligible for a return, as their policy uses words like “Most Best Purchases” without specifying what can and cannot be returned.

Eternally 21

Customers can receive a refund in the payment method used, but all returns require a receipt. If you’re not 100% sure you’re going to keep an item, make sure you leave the tags on. Once the tags and labels are removed, the item is yours forever.


Attention video game junkies, this one’s for you. You can return new purchases within 30 days, but only if you have a receipt and it is unopened. Used products have a 7 day return policy. Once you open it, you can only exchange it for an identical product.

There are many things that contribute to what business customers decide to give their company. Location, selection and price are good reasons, but customer service is also a big one. Now that the number of physical stores is shrinking, these stores may want to think about adjusting their returns policy.

What do you think, Clever Friends, which other retailer do you know with the worst return policy?



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