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Kip Tips

14 Retailers With Generous Return Policies

These merchants give customers a year or more to bring back most unwanted items for a refund.

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Getting a gift you don’t want is bad enough. Not being able to exchange it or get a refund because a retailer has a stingy return policy is even worse.

SEE ALSO: Seven Retailers With Stingy Return Policies

Most merchants give customers at least 30 days to return items, and several well-known retailers -- including Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, Toys “R” Us and Walmart -- have a 90-day return window for most items (electronics tend to be the exception and typically have 15- or 30-day limits). However, some stores are even more generous when it comes to granting exchanges and refunds.

We examined the return policies of dozens of popular retailers and found that these 14 have particularly flexible terms. Most of them don’t place a time limit on returns and allow customers to bring back almost anything (even items that have been worn) for a refund. The descriptions below highlight the key points of retailers' policies. For more detailed information, visit their Web sites.

It’s worth noting that several of these retailers will only give store credit for an item at its lowest selling price to consumers without a gift receipt. So do your friends and family a favor by including a gift receipt with the items you give them this holiday season.

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No time limit

Anthropologie unconditionally guarantees its merchandise and allows customers to return or exchange items if they're not satisfied for any reason. Customers who don't have a receipt -- or packing list for online purchases -- for merchandise bought more than a year ago will be refunded at the items' current selling prices. Furniture, however, must be returned within 30 days for a full refund. Furniture with a defect can be replaced for up to one year.

Athleta, a fitness apparel brand owned by Gap Inc., allows customers to return any item at anytime. There are no limitations on what can be returned for a refund.

Bath & Body Works has no time limit on returns and will issue a full refund to customers with a receipt. Customers with a gift receipt can exchange items or receive store credit for the purchase price on the gift receipt. Customers without a receipt can exchange merchandise or receive store credit based on the lowest selling price of an item.

Bloomingdale's allows customers to return or exchange most items, including sale items, any time after purchase. It does tag some dresses, which cannot be returned if the tags are removed. And merchandise that has been worn cannot be returned. Customers who don't have a receipt can get a refund if they purchased merchandise with a Bloomingdale's card within the past 12 months or the items still have their price tags attached. Otherwise, a gift card will be issued. There are stricter return rules for certain types of household merchandise such as furniture, mattresses and area rugs.

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Costco does not have a time limit on returns or exchanges of items other than some electronics and tech gadgets. Televisions, projectors, computers, cameras, camcorders, tablets, MP3 players and cell phones must be returned within 90 days of purchase for a full refund. Receipts are preferred but not required for returns or exchanges because this members-only warehouse club can track purchases through customers' accounts.

Garnet Hill, a mail-order catalog and online merchant, allows customers to exchange anything at any time for a full refund. There’s no shipping charge to exchange an item, but there is a $6.95 shipping fee for returns.

JC Penney lets customers with a receipt exchange most items at any time or receive a refund of the purchase price on the original method of payment. Exceptions include furniture, which must be returned within 30 days, and jewelry and electronics, which must be returned within 60 days. And special-occasion dresses must be returned in their original condition with the green return tag in place. Customers with a gift receipt can exchange items or receive a gift card for the amount listed on the receipt. Customers without a receipt must show a photo ID to exchange items or get a refund in the form or a gift card for the item's lowest selling price within the last 45 days.

Kohl's has a "No Questions Asked - Hassle Free" return policy for all purchases. The retailer's sales associates can locate Kohl's charge card purchases up to 12 months after the purchase date and apply a credit to a customer's account. Non-Kohl's charge card purchases and purchases made outside the 12-month time frame qualify for a store credit or a corporate-issued refund check. Customers with a gift receipt can exchange items or receive store credit or a corporate-issued refund check. And customers without a receipt can exchange items or receive a corporate-issued refund or a store credit based on the lowest 13-week sale price if they didn't pay with a Kohl's charge or other major credit card.

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Lands’ End guarantees that customers can return any item at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price. It offers free shipping on exchanges, and customers can avoid the $6.95 shipping fee on returns by taking items back to a Sears store. Gift returns with no record of purchase will be made in the form of a gift card at an item's lowest sale price.

L.L. Bean lets customers exchange or return purchases for a refund at any time. Customers without a receipt will receive a gift card for the current selling price of an item if the retailer can’t locate the purchase record. You might need to show a valid ID for in-store returns if you don't have a receipt. Items received as a gift can be exchanged or returned for a gift card.

Macy's does not have a time limit on returns and exchanges. A full refund in the original form of payment will be made to purchasers with receipts. Anyone with a gift receipt can receive a gift card for the full purchase price of an item. Those without a gift receipt will get a gift card for the item's lowest price within the last 180 days.

Nordstrom does not have a return policy. So there are no time limits for returns or exchanges. Salespeople evaluate return and exchange requests on a case-by-case basis, says company spokesman Dan Evans. Receipts are helpful but not necessary for returns or exchanges, he says. Usually Nordstrom Rack merchandise must be returned unaltered and unworn within 90 days of purchase with its original price tag and receipt or packing slip -- and a photo ID is required for all in-store cash refunds.

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One-year limit

REI, an outdoor gear and sporting goods retailer, once had a no-time-limit return policy but tightened it to one year, which still is quite generous in the world of retail. Items can be returned for a refund or replacement with proof of purchase. Used items must be cleaned before they are returned. Normal wear and tear or damage caused by improper use is not covered by REI's "100% Satisfaction Guaranteed" policy. Proof of purchase is required for all returns and exchanges.

Zappos, an online shoe and apparel retailer, will give customers a full refund if they send items back in their original condition and packaging up to 365 days from the purchase date. Just as all purchases ship for free, all returns can be sent for free with a prepaid shipping label that can be printed from Zappos.com.