CVS Return Policy


As a frequent CVS shopper, I've reviewed the CVS return policy about a dozen times; however, I had yet to see how it works in IRL (in real life). While all of my experiences in a CVS store and online at have been positive, I was curious how it would go when it came time to return merchandise — especially merchandise purchased with coupons and ExtraBucks.

While on one night, I bought what I initially thought was a clever idea; a magnetic microwave splatter guard that sticks to the inside of your microwave so you don't have to keep taking it out. Then I thought about it; magnets and microwaves together are a very bad idea! It arrived within a couple of days. But, no way. Time to take it back.

Keep in mind that managers have the final say in your return — regardless of the CVS return policy.

1. You'll get your ExtraBucks back when you make a return.

Hand holding a CVS Pharmacy receipt outside a store

No one likes to lose money. If you pay for your items with ExtraBucks then find yourself needing to return them, you'll get your ExtraBucks back. Your "new" ExtraBucks will get printed on your return receipt with a fresh expiration date.

2. Used a coupon? According to the CVS return policy, you'll lose it when you return an item.

someone at the cvs return counter

Unlike ExtraBucks, when you return an item that you used a coupon with, you'll lose the coupon. For example, let's say Tide Pods were on sale for $4.97 and you used a $2 off coupon; all you'll be refunded is $2.97.

3. No need to return your item if it's under $10.

CVS return policy under $10

While this isn't a written official CVS return policy, if you buy something for under $10 online at and want to return it, call, and a rep will start a refund for you. No need to send the item back.

Keep in mind that this unwritten rule may vary by location and item.

4. Return CVS brand and beauty items, including makeup, for whatever reason, even if it's open.

CVS receipt being held with Baby Lips lip balm outside a CVS store

While CVS doesn't offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of the items they carry in store and online (like my splatter guard), they allow returns on all of the CVS brand and beauty items, even if opened. The catch? You must have your receipt or invoice with you. You'd better have proof you bought it at CVS, because they keep an eye on you.

5. Pay attention when returning a item in store, because cashiers can fail to refund your shipping.

A person holding a cvs online order receipt over an open CVS box with products inside

Although refunds shipping costs, pay attention when you return items in store, because cashiers can "forget" to refund your shipping. This situation happened to me with my questionably safe magnetic microwave splatter guard. Here's what I paid: $14.99 for the splatter guard, plus $5.49 shipping and $1.23 tax, for a total of $21.71.

When I took my return to my local CVS, the clerk immediately refunded $15.89 to my debit card. After thinking that didn't add up, I called customer service (888) 607-4287, and the rep refunded the difference to my card. She also said it would take three to five business days to see the money in my account. She explained that CVS reimburses shipping and that the cashier must have forgotten to include it. His forgetfulness could have cost me $5.82!

6. Sign up for email receipts so a CVS return without a receipt doesn't cost you.

Person inserting credit card at checkout in a CVS store

Looking to return something you bought from CVS and don't have the receipt? Unless you received an electronic receipt from an online purchase, best-case scenario, you're looking at getting a refund based on the lowest price of that item during the last 60 days. Worst case, you'll be denied a refund altogether.

7. Return your item via mail for free if you don't have a local CVS pharmacy.

CVS box on a front porch

Do you live in an area that doesn't have a local CVS, or it's too far to drive to for a return? No worries, CVS will gladly help you process a return by mail. All you have to do is call at (888) 607-4287. You'll receive a pre-paid (doesn't cost you) return label in the mail that you place on your package and drop off at your nearest post office, or ask if your carrier can take it for you. Since you have to wait for CVS to receive your item, expect the return process to take a few weeks.

8. CVS may accept your prescriptions for a return.

Person standing in line at a CVS Pharmacy

If you order your prescriptions online, you can't return them in store. But you may be able to return them back through the mail. Every case is different based on legal restrictions with prescriptions. If you have an issue with your prescription or need to return it, just call CVS Customer Care at 1-888-607-4CVS and see what they can do for you.

9. Your ID is required for all CVS returns.

Hand holding a refund slip from CVS

Receipt or no receipt, be prepared to show your license when you make a return in the store. This is especially true for opened items, like makeup. Why? To make sure you aren't abusing store returns.

Yep, CVS enters your info into their database and shares it with a company called The Retail Equation. If your refund is ever denied, you can get a transaction ID # from CVS and request a report via email or mail of your returns activity by calling (855) 837-3424.