16 Ways to Hack the DSW Return Policy for Easy, Free Returns

Updated

When it comes to shopping for shoes at DSW, my eyes are inevitably bigger than my closet — and it’s made me an expert on returning footwear.

From the best way to return an online purchase to how to get your full refund, here’s what you need to know about the DSW return policy.

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1. The DSW return policy is far from strict.

DSW has everything you want to see in a good return policy:

  • The time frame for returns is fairly generous.
  • The return process for online orders is frictionless.
  • There is always a way to make returns free.
  • You can get a refund even without a receipt – though there are some stipulations.

 

2. DSW’s return policy gives you 90 days to get a full refund.

Your refund will be issued via your original method of payment, assuming you still have the receipt.

The 90-day window can be expanded to 365 days if you are a DSW VIP Elite member, spending more than $500 at DSW each year.

 

3. You can get store credit for returns without a receipt.

No receipt? No problem. You can still make a return with DSW as long as you’re okay with getting store credit. You might not get a full refund, though. You’ll only get store credit for the current sale price of the item.

Bear in mind that if you have a DSW account, they can look up your purchase history, which eliminates the need for a receipt altogether.

 

4. DSW exchanges operate differently than refunds.

While you have 90 days to make returns, you’ll want to try to make any exchanges within 60 days. Let’s say you spent $120 on some Nikes, but exchanged them for $80 New Balances. If you make the exchange within 60 days, you’ll get the $40 back via your original method of payment.

If you wait until after 60 days, you can only get the $40 back as store credit.

 

5. The DSW online return policy lets you return items in-store.

DSW truly makes the return process convenient. Even if you ordered online, you can take your returns and exchanges into a physical store if that’s easier for you.

In-store orders must be returned at a brick-and-mortar DSW, though.

 

6. DSW.com returns are easy peasy, but there is a fee.

If you buy something from DSW.com, they’ll include a prepaid return shipping label in your box.

Just because mail-in returns are convenient doesn’t mean they’re free, though! Most customers will be charged an additional $8.50 for return shipping. But there are several workarounds to completely eliminate this fee.

 

7. DSW VIP Gold and Elite members get free returns.

All DSW VIP members get free shipping on online orders — but only DSW Gold and Elite members get free return shipping, too. To get VIP Gold status, you have to spend $200 in a calendar year. To get VIP Elite status, you have to spend $500.

 

8. DSW credit card holders get free returns, too.

If you use the DSW credit card for your purchase, then standard-shipping online returns are free regardless of your VIP status.

 

9. Return your online order in-store to skip the shipping fee.

If you’re just a regular ol’ VIP Club member or not a VIP member at all, don’t waste the $8.50 on return shipping fees. Instead, take advantage of the fact that you can return your online order in-store.

 

10. If you need your refund right away, go to a DSW store.

Another good reason to return in-store rather than online is that online returns inherently take longer to process. That means that you’re likely to experience a longer delay in getting your refund if you do things by snail mail..

Typically, it takes seven to 10 days for the reimbursement to show up on your card after the return has been initiated.

 

11. Paid with PayPal? Return in-store.

DSW-affiliated brands get tripped up when they have to issue returns or exchanges via PayPal. If you need to exchange a PayPal order, it’s much easier if you just do it in-store.

If you used a combo of PayPal and a gift card to make your purchase, any potential refund will be issued via gift card only.

 

12. You can’t return or exchange obviously worn or damaged shoes.

While each associate may have a different idea of what is acceptable or not, DSW has been known to reject returns or even exchanges on shoes that were obviously worn. You might be able to get away with it if you only wore the shoes once – especially if you didn’t wear them outside.

But generally speaking, any returns are going to need to be in pristine condition.

 

13. You can return clearance items, but not “final sale” shoes.

You’ll know an item is ‘final sale’ rather than clearance by sticker on the box. If you have any questions, you can always check with the store associate.

If you’re shopping online, final sale shoes will be clearly labeled.

 

14. Specialty items have different final sale rules.

Items like nail polish, dry shampoo, fragrance, and certain other personal care items are always considered final sale. However, if they’re unopened you can return them in person. You just won’t be able to return them via DSW.com.

If the specialty item is opened, it can no longer be returned at all.

 

15. You can return DSW shoes to The Shoe Company.

If you’re in Canada, DSW and The Shoe Company have reciprocal return policies. If you bought shoes at The Shoe Company, you can return them at DSW Canada locations. But you won’t be able to make those returns at any American locations.

If you are in America, you can also use your local DSW store to return purchases you made via the Vince Camuto site.

 

16. You won’t get your coupon back, but you will get your reward points back.

If you’re returning something you purchased with DSW rewards, your rewards will be refunded. Give them 24 to 48 hours to post to your account.

But if you used a coupon, you won’t be able to reuse it and you’ll only get back what you paid. The only exception is if you are exchanging a pair of shoes for the exact same style and brand in a different size.

Of course, they’ll only be able to tell that you used rewards or a coupon if you have a receipt or DSW account. If there’s no evidence that you used a coupon, this could be a good or bad thing because you’ll get the current floor price on a DSW store card.