The Best Return Policies In The Business
As a former connoisseur of return fraud, (emphasis on former, OK?) I am intimately aware of the return policies of many of the chain retailers cluttering America’s once-breathtaking landscape. Some, of course, are better than others. Pretty much all of them are better than Best Buy’s, which is god-awful. (That’s right, Best Buy! I’m callin’ you out!) The ones in this article, as I’m sure you’ve already gathered by the title, rank among the best. It’s hard to find satisfaction in this world, especially when it comes to interacting with big box retailers, but these faceless corporations are A-ok in my book.
As a peddler of wares for the upper class, it stands to reason that Nordstrom should have the Rolls-Royce of return policies. And boy, do they. Their official policy is, well, that there isn’t one. Which means you can return items years after you’ve bought them—hell, even after you’ve worn them. Which, naturally, makes Nordstrom a hotbed for fraudulent activity. A friend of mine’s mother, who used to work there, has horror stories about gritting her teeth and taking back used underwear. (The customer’s always right, after all!) If anything you buy at Nordie’s “malfunctions” (up to and including flip flops that fell apart after a summer or eight), you can bring it back for a refund. You don’t even need a receipt, just the tag from the item you purchased. Now, before you go hog-wild and return every single thing you’ve ever bought at Nordstrom, know this—returns negatively affect the commissions of the employees who accept ‘em. So have a heart. Please?
I am not proud, but I will say I have purchased and subsequently returned multiple fancy cameras to Costco in order to take event photos. (It’s a great way to save on those headshots, dreamers!). But, I mean, can you blame me? Costco allows you to return anything you’re displeased with at any time, and you don’t even need a receipt—they can just look up your purchase history. The only exception is electronics, which you have to return within 90 days. (Sorry, it’s too late to get back the $700 you paid for the Apple Newton that’s been collecting dust in your closet for the past twenty years.) You can even return your Costco membership if unsatisfied. How delightfully meta!
Bed Bath and Beyond
Like Costco, BB&B has a lifetime return policy. If something you bought there stops working—ever—just bring it back and exchange it for a new one. The internet is rife with stories of people who have returned broken coffee makers, vacuums and more after years of use, often without a receipt. You don’t even need the box the item came in, for God’s sake. Now that’s what I call a 100% satisfaction guarantee, baby! Oh, and they also take expired coupons, which is great because you currently have a drawer in your kitchen full of them.
Kohl’s gives you an infinite amount of time to return things with a receipt—they call it their “No Questions Asked, Hassle Free” return policy. (There’s a 12-month limit on getting cash back, though.) They also take things back without a receipt, but give you the lowest price the item’s been sold at during the last 13 months, which can be a bummer since their merchandise is often reduced to unethically cheap prices. (Seriously, if they can sell a shirt for $2, what did they pay for it?) If you bought whatever you’re returning with a Kohl’s card or other major credit card, they can look it up and give you your dough back; otherwise they’ll do an even exchange or give you store credit.
Those khakis you bought ten years ago no longer cuttin’ the mustard? Bring ‘em back. The preppy paradise’s pledges, “Our products are guaranteed to give 100% satisfaction in every way. Return anything purchased from us at any time if it proves otherwise.” In the “Share Your Story” section of their website, you can read the touching story of one gal whose dog died before he could use the custom-embroidered dog bed she purchased. When she asked for a partial refund, the company said they’d give her a full one…and sent their condolences over the deceased dog. My parents wouldn’t even do that!
Trader Joe’s, home of the suicide-inducing parking lot, will take back anything, absolutely anything, you’re not satisfied with—up to and including moldy cheese. You don’t even need the food itself, just the receipt. Or, failing that, a torn-off label.
Wanna look fancy for a night out? Just buy expensive-ass makeup and return it! Sephora takes back anything you’re not pleased with within 30 days. Just tell ‘em I sent you. And that whatever you bought made your face break out.
Megan Koester is a writer and comedian living in—wait for it—Los Angeles. You can follow her on Twitter @bornferal.