20 Retailers That Have Amended Their Return Policies Due to COVID-19

Before you initiate a return, make sure your retailer of choice is currently accepting product returns and exchanges.

The task of returning unwanted products has become a lot more challenging during this pandemic.

If you've been holding on to an unwanted item purchased in-store or online just before retailers temporarily closed brick-and-mortar locations or suspended e-commerce transactions, you're in luck. Most have extended their standard return window to accommodate customers who've been sheltering in place for weeks. But the trends aren't all favorable for consumers: Big-box retailers such as Costco and Walmart have temporarily discontinued returns for select household items -- including paper products and cleaning supplies -- due to health and safety concerns. And due to the increased volume of returns and e-commerce activity in general, it may take retailers longer than usual to process refunds, says consumer-savings expert Andrea Woroch.

For purchases that need to be returned by mail, the United States Postal Service remains open, as do major shipping outlets such as UPS and FedEx.

We've examined amended return policies for many popular brick-and-mortar retailers and e-commerce sites to identify how soon shoppers will need to initiate a return in order to get a full refund. Here's what we found.

Andrea Browne Taylor
Contributing Editor

Browne Taylor joined Kiplinger in 2011 and was a channel editor for Kiplinger.com covering living and family finance topics. She previously worked at the Washington Post as a Web producer in the Style section and prior to that covered the Jobs, Cars and Real Estate sections. She earned a BA in journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She is Director of Member Services, at the National Association of Home Builders.