Before you buy anything else online, check the store’s new COVID-19 return policy

While staying home, you may find yourself shopping online more frequently. But before you click “add to cart” again, you’ll want to check out the retailer’s return policy.
While staying home, you may find yourself shopping online more frequently. But before you click “add to cart” again, you’ll want to check out the retailer’s return policy.

HOUSTON – While staying home, you may find yourself shopping online more frequently. But before you click “add to cart” again, you’ll want to check out the retailer’s return policy. Since the pandemic, many have changed. Depending on when you made a purchase and where, you may be stuck with the items you order. That’s what happened to Linda Ljuljdjuraj at CVS.

New 'No returns’ policy could leave customers with unwanted merchandise

“I purchased some eyebrow scissors, and they were damaged,” Ljuljdjuraj explained. “I went back to return them within an hour and I was told they’re not doing any returns. I asked what the reason was and they said, “the COVID virus,” but they gave nothing as far as when you’d be able to return them, or would you ever able to return them.”

A price of $18 for brow scissors wouldn’t break the bank, but the $1,500 Ljuljdjuraj spent on chairs at Pier 1 back in March before stores closed was a bigger pill for her to swallow.

“I went to Pier 1, I purchased 12 chairs,” Ljuljdjuraj said. “I needed to see which ones would work. We’re building a new house, and six worked, six didn’t work.”

She planned to return those six to Pier 1 for a refund.

“I went to return them, and the young lady who also helped me when I was purchasing them said, ‘We are not doing any more returns,’” Ljuljdjuraj recalled. “And the same reason. I said, 'Well, what do I do with all these chairs that I have in my car?’”

Pier 1 is not the only retailer that has changed its return policy during the coronavirus outbreak.

Retailers suspend returns

Target has temporarily suspended exchanges and returns through April 26. Items with a “return by date” from March 26-April 26 will have until June 15 to be returned.

Citing “potential contamination risks,” CVS has made all sales final and suspended all returns of non-prescription items purchased in-store or online.

Even grocers are changing return policies.

Whole Foods, Kroger and Aldi have suspended returns. HEB has stopped accepting returns on things like paper towels, hand sanitizer and medication for now, but save your receipt. The company’s website says HEB will exchange or refund most items dated within 90 days of purchase.

Not all stores have suspended returns. Some are giving customers extra time to make returns once stores are open again.

Retailers extending return windows

Apple Stores will accept returns up to 14 days after they reopen. Some exclusions apply.

American Eagle Outfitters is telling customers, “You can wait as long as you need” to make returns.

Bed Bath & Beyond is adjusting its return policy to allow for returns for up to 240 days from the date of purchase. This applies to in-store purchases you made before stores closed down on March 22, as well as online purchases.

Best Buy purchases made March 1, 2020 through May 17, 2020 have an extended return period through May 31, 2020.

Gap Inc., as well as its brands Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta, will extend the return window to July 1 for all in-store purchases made between January 1, 2020, and March 31, 2020.

H&M announced it would extend its in-store return window “indefinitely.” If you bought an item that was eligible to be returned during the time H&M stores were closed, you can return it once stores reopen, even if the usual 30-day return window has expired.

Kohl’s will accept returns for 30 days after stores open back up.

Macy’s is extending its usual 90-day return policy by an additional 30 days until further notice.

Sephora is extending its in-store and online return windows. If you made a purchase in a store up to 30 days before March 16, you can return it (with receipt) up to 30 days after stores reopen. If you made a purchase online, Sephora is extending the return window from 30 days to 60 days.

Victoria’s Secret is adding 30 extra days to its return policy. That means, with an original receipt, you have 120 total days (from the date of purchase) to get a refund to the original form of payment.

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About the Author:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.