2019 holiday shopping

The holiday season is undoubtedly a heightened time for shopping, but it’s also the time of year when consumer returns reach an all-time high.

According to projections from UPS, the courier service forecasts a record-breaking number of returns during the 2019 holiday shopping season, estimating a peak on Jan. 2 with 1.9 million returns. It’s also estimated that there will be a 26 percent increase in the number of returns from last year.

As returns are expected to skyrocket, it’s worth keeping in mind the return policies of major brands and retailers before making holiday purchases, especially the ones that have the most relaxed policies (i.e., ones with no time restrictions or that accept used products).

Read on to see 11 fashion and beauty stores with the best return policies.

1. American Eagle

American Eagle is part of a short list of companies that sets no time restrictions on accepting returns. The brand, however, asks that a receipt be presented when making returns in order to get a full refund. Without a receipt, customers can receive store credit or exchange their items for their current price.

2. Athleta

Gap Inc.-owned Athleta has a “Give-It-A-Workout” guarantee, where customers can try out their items and return them if they don’t perform to their liking. The ath-leisure brand also doesn’t set a time restriction on its returns.

3. Bath & Body Works

Bath & Body Works lets customers return any product — opened or used — at any time.

“We just want you to love it!” reads the company’s return policy. “Return anything, anytime for any reason.”

The brand asks that customers provide a receipt or order invoice to receive a full refund in cash or as merchandise credit. Without a receipt, customers will receive an exchange or merchandise credit for the lowest selling price of the item.

4. Bloomingdale’s

Bloomingdale’s gives its customers 365 days to return items for a full refund, as long as the purchase is still in “saleable condition.”

The retailer requires that a receipt be presented in order to get the full refund. Customers returning without a receipt will be given merchandise credit for the lowest selling price in the last 180 days.

The 365-day return policy does not include sale items. For those items, customers have 30 days to return the purchase.

5. Eddie Bauer 

Lifestyle brand Eddie Bauer also offers a one-year return policy for purchases. Customers must show proof of purchase to receive a full refund. If customers no longer have the receipt but are a part of the brand’s Adventure Rewards, they will still be able to receive a full refund.

6. Kiehl’s

L’Oréal-owned skin-care brand Kiehl’s offers full refunds on any opened or gently used products at any time, as long as customers provide a receipt or online invoice.

7. Kohl’s

Kohl’s allows customers to make returns up to 180 days after purchase. For electronics, the retailer has a shorter return window of 30 days; however, for the holiday season any electronics purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25 can be returned by Jan. 31.

The retailer asks that customers present a receipt to issue a full refund, but it can also look up purchases in its system.

8. L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean ended its lifetime guarantee on all items last year, but the lifestyle brand now offers a one-year return policy where the brand will “consider any items for return that are defective due to materials or craftsmanship.” The brand asks customers to show a receipt or online invoice in order to receive the full refund.

The brand lists a number of reasons why it could potentially reject a return, including “products damaged by misuse, abuse, improper care or negligence,” “products showing excessive wear and tear,” “products lost or damaged due to fire, flood or natural disaster,” “returns that have been soiled or contaminated” and “returns on ammunition.”

9. Nordstrom

Nordstrom is one of the few department stores that puts no time restriction on returns. The department store handles returns on a case-by-case basis, but customers can receive a full refund if they present their purchases with a receipt.

If customers don’t have the receipt, Nordstrom may be able to locate the record of the sale in its system in order to issue a full refund. If no record of the sale is found, Nordstrom will issue a refund at the item’s current price.     

10. REI

REI gives customers a full year to return unused purchases for a full refund. For outdoor electronics, customers have 90 days to make a return.

For used outdoor gear, the brand gives a 30-day window for returns. It will not accept items for reasons such as normal wear and tear or damage caused by improper use.

11. Ulta Beauty  

Ulta Beauty also allows returns on opened or gently used beauty products during a 60-day timeframe. Customers can receive a full refund during the window if they present their purchases with a receipt, or if the retailer can locate their purchase through its Ultimate Rewards Member program.

Read more here:

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Holiday Shoppers Are Looking for Convenience 

How Retailers Can Prep for a Shorter Holiday Season

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