How to Return and Exchange Your Unwanted Holiday Gifts

If the item was purchased on Amazon.com but from a third-party seller, you (or the person who gave you the gift) will need to facilitate the return with the seller. If you don’t want to bother with the hassle of shipping your package, you may be able to head to Kohl’s and ship out your Amazon return for free.

Tech Retailers: Apple, Best Buy, Walmart, Target

Apple will accept returns only on items purchased at an Apple Store or from Apple’s website. If you received a new Apple product between November 10 and December 25, you have through January 8, 2021, to return or exchange it. For gifts, refunds are issued in the form of an Apple gift card. Exchanges can only be done in the Apple Store.

Log in to your account, select Return a Gift, and follow the instructions on the page. If you’re returning an iPhone or iPad, follow up with your wireless carrier to make sure the wireless service has been canceled.

Best Buy will accept most products that were bought between October 13, 2020, and January 2, 2021, so long as you return it by January 16, 2021. Process your returns in-store or by mail with a prepaid return label, and expect to receive your refund via store credit. Beware: For gifts returned by mail, Best Buy will send an email notification to the gift giver.

Walmart will accept returns and exchanges on items that were placed between October 16 and December 25, 2020. The clock starts on December 26, so for items with a 14-day window, return by January 8, 2021.

Walmart has changed its in-store return policy slightly for Covid-19, so refer to the updated policy. Refunds are issued by gift card or cash back. Take the receipt with you to ensure you’ll get a speedy refund. If you don’t have a receipt, bring your ID, as well as your order number or the sender’s email address, and try to process the return with a Walmart employee.

Target will take back new and unopened items within 90 days of purchase. It will also accept returns and exchanges on “electronics and entertainment items” purchased between October 1 and December 25; you have up to 30 days from December 26 to return these to a Target store or by mail. If you’re returning an Apple device (excluding iPhones), you have 15 days from December 26.

Bring the gift receipt or packing slip. If the purchase was made on a non-Target credit card, you’ll get a refund reloaded to the original card. Alternatively, you can accept a refund by gift card.

Outdoor Retailers: The North Face, Patagonia, REI

The North Face allows gift returns via mail for store credit. Pack your item, sign in, fill out the gift return form, then attach the packing slip and prepaid return label to your box.

Patagonia accepts gift returns by mail for store credit. Make sure the item is new, with tags still attached, then fill out the gift return form and follow the instructions from the page. If you don’t have the order number, fill out a return form and bring it, along with the item, to a Patagonia store.

REI accepts most returns and exchanges up to a year after purchase, with the exception of outdoor electronics. (Those need to be returned within 90 days.) Returns can be made by mail or in a store; exchanges need to be processed in a store. If you request a “gift recipient refund,” then your refund will be issued in the form of a mailed check. If you don’t have your receipt, REI can help identify proof of purchase if you can fill out a note with more details about the purchase.

What if I Can’t Return It?

Maybe you dinged up the ebook reader or lost the receipt in a black hole. If your item is past the point of no return, there are plenty of ways to sustainably repurpose or resell unwanted gifts.

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