Some retailers are more like Scrooge than Santa when it comes to returning merchandise. After examining the return policies of dozens of popular stores, we identified seven that are particularly stingy about returns and exchanges.
Most stores give customers at least 30 days to bring back items for a full refund. Generous retailers allow a year or more to return purchases. But there are a handful of retailers that limit the return window to less than a month, and a few that make it especially tough to get back your money.
So as you do your holiday shopping, you should consider whether the stores where you purchase gifts will make it easy for recipients to return them - just in case. Here are seven retailers with stingy return policies. The key points of these retailers' policies are below. For more detailed information, visit their Web sites.
American Apparel gives customers 45 days to return items, which isn't particularly stingy. But you might have a hard time getting the retailer to accept your return. That's because any item that's not purchased at full price can't be returned. So if you bought something on sale, you're stuck with it. Swimwear, bodysuits, intimates and cosmetics also can't be returned. And you only receive store credit for online purchases returned to a store.
Barnes & Noble gives customers just 14 days to return items with a receipt for a refund. However, the book seller extended its policy for the holidays to allow returns until
Dillard's return window is shorter than several other department stores. It requires merchandise to be returned within 30 days, in its original condition and with a receipt in order to receive a refund. And Dillard's will not issue a refund for online purchases of clearance items that have been marked down 65% or more. It gives customers only three days to return in-store purchases of items that have been marked down 65% or more.
Gilt has a short return window and a complicated policy. For starters, this members-only shopping site allows only sized items -- clothing, footwear and belts -- to be returned for a refund, unless the item is marked "final sale." Handbags, toys, ties and other non-sized items aren't eligible for return. Customers have 21 days to return eligible items, which must be unused and in their original packaging. Items priced at