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Needing to return gifts? Some holiday return deadlines for stores

Here's a quick rundown of store policies and deadlines from popular retailers.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Experts say two out of three of us will return at least one gift this year and retailers are expecting a record number of returns. 

Depending on where the item was purchased, you may have a time limit to make a return for store credit, exchange or your money back.

Here's a quick rundown of store policies and deadlines from popular retailers.

Amazon

For most items shipped between Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, the deadline for returns is Jan. 31, according to Consumer World. It's possible that there could possibly be a restocking fee for some items and some drop-off locations like Kohl's and Whole Foods reportedly do free returns.

Bath & Body Works

The return policy at Bath & Body Works is extremely customer-friendly. Return anything, anytime for any reason for a full refund.

Best Buy

Customers have until Jan. 16 for items bought between Oct. 18 and Jan. 2, excluding items purchased with a third-party contract like cellphones, tablets, etc. Restocking fees may apply. Elite members who bought products on or after Dec. 4 have 45 days.

Costco

Good news! Most items have no deadlines for returns, but electronics like TVs, computers, cameras, smartwatches, cellphones, etc. have 90 days.

Macy's stores

The store has a 90-day deadline for most items. Purchases made on Oct. 5 and later have until Jan. 31 to make holiday returns. However, there are exceptions that apply. Online orders can make free mail returns.

TJ Maxx and Marshalls

Items purchased between Oct. 10 and Dec. 25 have until January 25 to make a return. In the event that a store is closed, customers wishing to make a return have a 30-day extension to make a return after reopening.

Target

The Target return policy varies depending on the type of item purchased. It's 90 days for most items however, 30-day return policy for electronics and entertainment items, 15 days for most Apple products and 14 days for cellphones. Target RedCard holders have an extra 30 days to make returns in addition to the regular return policy. Target also offers free and easy returns in-store or by mail.

Walmart stores

The return policy for most items is 90 days from the initial purchase. Purchases for electronic items from Nov. 1 onward have a 30-day return policy and 14 days for cellphones. The 30-day count starts Dec. 26. Walmart also offers free mail returns for online purchases.

Despite supply chain issues, the founder of Chargebacks911 shared this sharper insight on why there's so much stuff that could potentially go back on shelves and clothes racks. 

Bracketing. 

It's when people order multiple versions of the same item online, maybe in a different size or color, and just keep one with free shipping on returns. Taking it a step further, some do what's called wardrobing and even wear and return.  

"Honestly, I think part of this is all the promotions. Especially if you buy stuff on Amazon where you buy things online it’s tempting to just kind of just overbuy and overspend because of the convenience that you can always send it back," Monica Eaton-Cardone said. "If you don’t like it, you can send it back. You might as well buy one in every color and see which one works best."  

Experts estimate $66.7 billion worth of stuff could be returned by the end of the year.

To ensure a smooth return policy, USA Today has provided a list of tips to avoid the stresses of the post-holiday retail experience.

Here are a few that stuck out that will help you in the crowds:

  • Early mornings and late evenings can be less crowded in stores
  • Have the original receipt or gift receipt
  • Bring your state ID because some exchanges require ID
  • Be nice because kindness goes a long way