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Nothing ticks me off more than a tangled return process, which is why the Target return policy is one of my faves. Target makes returns easy no matter what, whether you shop online, in the Target app, or in stores. They even give you an absurd amount of time to return Target-owned brands like Cat and Jack. And did I mention Target Drive-Up Returns are a thing now, too?
Plus, RedCard members get an extra 30 days for returns, which makes a sweet deal even sweeter. And if you have a Target Circle account, returns are a total cakewalk. Most times, you won’t even need a receipt. For me, all of this makes shopping at Target stress-free. Especially since losing receipts is a game I’m good at.
There are a few exceptions to Target’s return policy that you gotta know before you go. For example, some items have shorter return windows. And some items can’t be returned at all. But I’ll show you the ins and outs of Target’s return process so you’re fully prepared if a purchase doesn’t work.
These are all the Target return policy pointers you need to shop smarter on every Target run.
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1. The standard Target return policy window is 90 days, but RedCard members get 120 days.
The standard Target return policy gives you 90 days to return most items, whether you bought them in-store, online, or through Target Same-Day Delivery. If you have a Target RedCard, you get an extra 30 days for returns.
As for when the 90-day countdown starts, it depends on how you bought your items. If you shopped online or in the Target app and had your items shipped, your return window starts the day your order ships (aka the date listed on your Target shipping confirmation email).
But remember — this is just the standard return window for most things you buy at Target. There are a few items that have shorter (or longer) return windows, and some you can’t return at all. Don’t worry, I’ll dive into that more.
2. Return Target-owned brands like Cat and Jack for up to a year. Even if your items are used or worn.
This is one of the best parts of the Target return policy. If you buy items from Target-owned brands, you have one full year to return or exchange them. Even if it’s used or worn clothing.
That means if you buy a pair of Cat and Jack leggings and they fall apart after 10 months of your child playing outside in them, you can still get a full refund. Target will also let you exchange them for new leggings without an issue.
To get this perk, you’ll need a receipt or proof of purchase to return and exchange Target brand items. And that makes sense. Otherwise, there’d be nothing to stop folks from buying Target brands secondhand and exchanging them for new ones.
The most popular Target-owned brands with a one-year return policy:
- A New Day
- All in Motion
- Boots & Barkley
- Bullseye’s Playground
- Cat & Jack
- Hearth & Hand with Magnolia
- Made By Design
- Mondo Llama
- Project 62
- Room Essentials
- Shade & Shore
- Sun Squad
- up & up
3. You can even return food from Target brands for up to a year.
Yes, you read that right. You’ve got a year to return food from Target-owned food brands like Good & Gather, Market Pantry, and Simply Balanced for a full refund.
So you can totally return that Good & Gather marinara sauce that got pushed to the back of the fridge a few months back.
All other food brands at Target fall within the standard 90-day return window.
Related: We found the five worst Market Pantry items you should never buy at Target.
4. You can make Target returns without a receipt and still get a full refund.
Luckily, Target has a few different ways to look up your purchase, so it’s usually no sweat if you show up without a receipt.
All Target.com and app purchases — whether you receive them via shipping, same-day delivery, or pickup — come with a confirmation email. So those emails will often act as your receipt for Target returns.
If you bought your item in the store and lost your receipt, you still have your Target Circle account and the credit or debit card you paid for it with to back up your purchase.
5. Target returns without a receipt are by far the easiest for Circle members.
If you shop with a Target Circle account, it tracks all of your purchases, meaning you always have proof of purchase if you lose your receipt. As long as you shop through your Circle account online or scan your barcode in stores, you’re covered.
Plus, you can start a return and access your return barcode right in the Target app. When you make a return, they’ll scan your barcode and you’re all set.
6. If Target can’t tie your return to a previous purchase, you’ll get your refund on a merchandise return card.
If none of the above methods work for you (like, if you used cash to pay for your item in-store), Target will refund you with a merchandise return card. The catch? You’ll need to show your ID, and you can’t make returning things without a receipt a habit.
To fight fraud, Target only lets you return up to $100 worth of merchandise without a receipt every 365 days. They scan your ID when you make these returns, so they’re keeping track.
Also, you can only use merchandise return cards in stores, and you can’t use them to buy gift cards, prepaid cards, alcohol, or Target Starbucks purchases.
7. The Target return policy for electronics is 30 days and only 15 days for Apple products.
Target has a shorter return window for electronics, which is the main exception to their return policy. Instead of the standard 90-day return window, you only have 30 days to return electronics and entertainment purchases to Target.
However, the window gets even shorter for certain electronics products. You only have 15 days to return Apple products, and just 14 days to return mobile phones purchased online via Target Pickup.
If you already opened your mobile phone purchase, you may have to pay a $35 restocking fee when you return it. This rule tends to vary by state.
8. There are a few items you can’t return to Target at all, like trading cards, personalized items, and gift cards.
For one, you can’t return Target gift cards to Target at all. Bummer, I know. But it’s a small price to pay for Target’s flexible return policy.
These are all the items you can’t return to Target:
- Trading cards and trading card accessories (like Pokemon cards, sports cards, and trading card binders)
- Open or defective collectibles (like special edition Barbie dolls, porcelain dolls, action figures, and die-cast cars)
- Personalized items and digital downloads
- Opened/unsealed breast pumps
- Target gift cards
- Specialty and prepaid gift cards (like Visa, Mastercard, or American Express gift cards, plus restaurant, entertainment, and lottery cards)
9. You may or may not have luck returning opened items to Target — we’ve seen it go both ways.
In Target’s return policy, they state, “Items that are opened or damaged may be denied a refund.”
But we’ve found that for most Target purchases, you can return opened items for a full refund as long as you’re within the return window. But it really comes down to the condition of your item and the store manager or associate’s discretion. Hanging onto your receipt is all the more important here. The more proof you can armor yourself with, the more likely it is that Target will accept your opened return.
Also, keep in mind there are a few items you absolutely can’t return if opened. That brings me to my next point …
10. Target doesn’t let you return opened music, movies, video games, and airbeds, but you can exchange them.
With the Target exchange policy, opened music CDs, movies, video games, and software can’t be refunded but can be evenly exchanged at the store for the same title.
You can also exchange Target video games for the same title but on a different console (like PlayStation instead of Xbox).
Randomly, this same policy applies to airbeds from Target. You can exchange opened airbeds, but you can’t get a refund. This is similar to how the Walmart return policy doesn’t let you get a refund for airbeds.
11. You can return used makeup and beauty products to Target.
Target actually calls out used makeup and beauty items in their return policy, stating it’s okay to return them.
Even if your Target makeup has been opened, you’ll get the usual 90 days (or 120 days with a RedCard) to return it. This covers most beauty items bought in-store or online.
12. Target may let you return opened diapers, but it depends on the store.
Technically, there is no carve-out for diapers, so the standard Target return policy applies here. You have 90 days to return unopened diapers, or 120 days if you’re a RedCard member.
But we’ve noticed that Target is less likely to accept your return if the diaper package is opened, even though there’s no explicit rule about this in their policy. So, you may want to call your store ahead of time and speak to a manager to check in before you make the trek to Target.
If you buy diapers from a Target brand like Up & Up, you should be able to return them for up to a year.
13. The Target clothing return policy doesn’t require tags as long as you have proof of purchase.
The Target return policy for clothing without tags is pretty lenient. If you have your purchase history on the app, a receipt from your purchase, or the card you paid with, Target will accept returns without tags within the 90-day return period. If your clothing is from a Target brand, you have the whole 365 days to make the return.
Again, you might find this policy to be at the discretion of the Target associate or store manager. But I’ve personally made tagless returns multiple times without an issue.
14. If you return an item from a BOGO-free promotion, you’ll get a prorated discount.
When you buy something from Target as part of a Buy One Get One promo, your discount is based on the lowest priced item.
To illustrate this concept, let’s say Target has a BOGO-free promotion on Bluetooth speakers. One costs $60 and another costs $40. At full price, you’d pay $100 for both speakers. But since you’re getting the $40 speaker for free and only paying for the $60 speaker, you’re essentially getting a 40% discount.
If you return either speaker you purchased under the BOGO-free promo, your refund will be equal to the original purchase price minus its 40% prorated discount.
So, if you return the $60 speaker, your refund will be $36. If you return the $40 speaker, your refund will be $24. This prorated return policy also goes for BOGO 50% off deals.
Too much math? Don’t worry. Your Target receipt will show you the return value for each item in your BOGO purchase.
15. You’ll also get a prorated refund when you return free gift card promo items.
If you return a qualifying item from a free gift card promotion, your refund will get reduced by the prorated value of the free gift card.
So, let’s say you bought three $10 items that were part of a “spend $30, receive a free $10 Target gift card” promo. If you return one of those items, your refund will be worth $3.33 less than what you actually paid for the item. But you’ll still get to keep your free gift card.
16. Get rewarded for bringing in your Sodastream empties with Target Sodastream exchange.
You can only buy Sodastream gas cylinders at select retailers, and luckily, Target is one of them. Once you use up your gas cylinders, bring the empties back to your nearest Target store. You can currently get 50% off your next cylinder purchase when you make this exchange.
If you bought your Sodastream gas cylinders online at Target.com, you can mail in your empties directly to Sodastream. Then, you’ll get a $15 Target gift card. You’ll just need your Target order number to claim this promo.
17. You have the full 90 days to return Target Optical purchases.
Grabbed a new pair of glasses at Target Optical but don’t love the way they look? Like most stuff at Target, you have 90 days to make a return. However, you’ll need to bring your return directly to the Target Optical area. The same goes for purchases you make at the pharmacy, Starbucks, and Target Tech department (basically anywhere with it’s own registers).
When it comes to contacts from Target Optical, though, they’ve gotta be totally unopened and unmarked. And if your glasses are damaged, you can only return them if they were damaged during delivery.
18. Return online purchases in-store or by mail for free.
Returning online purchases from Target.com is easy and free, whether you choose to return your items to the store or by mail.
If you’re returning to the store, just bring in your items and a valid receipt, a return barcode, or the card you originally paid with.
You can also start a return online or find your return barcode for in-store returns on Target.com and in the Target app. If you’re logged into your Target Circle account, you can access all your past purchases under “Orders” on Target.com and under “Purchases” in the Target app.
If you’re returning your purchase by mail, Target will give you a free return shipping label to stick on your package. Then, just drop off your return package at an authorized UPS location.
19. At select stores, you can even use Target Drive Up to make returns from your car (and order Starbucks while you’re at it).
Target rolled out Drive Up Returns at select stores in April 2023, meaning you can make Target returns without ever leaving your car.
The whole thing works similarly to Target Drive Up for pickup orders. You start your return in the app, park in a designated Drive Up Returns space, show a Target team member your return barcode, and get refunded on the spot.
Even better, Target lets you make Drive Up Returns AND order Target Starbucks at the same time. So as you cash in on your refund, you can grab an extra pick-me-up to keep the rest of the day moving.
Target’s plan is to have Drive Up Returns available at all Target locations by the end of the summer, so fingers crossed for that rollout.
20. Pay attention to online items sold by Target Plus Partners — they may have shorter return windows.
Like Walmart and Amazon, Target lets you buy things online from verified third-party sellers, which they call “Target Plus Partners.” You can return most unopened items sold by Target Plus Partners in-store or by mail as long as you have proof of purchase. Without that, you’ll have a much harder time. Also, some opened or damaged items sold by Target Plus may not qualify for a full refund, according to Target’s policy.
But here’s the biggest catch: if you buy an item from a Target Plus Partner, the return window may be shorter than the standard 90 days.
For example, I bought a new iPhone case and screen protector from a Target Plus Partner, and I only had 60 days to return them. Looking at other third-party items on Target.com, I saw anywhere from 30 to 90 days to return.
It’s a good practice to check the “Shipping & Returns” section on the product page to see how much time you have to make a return. All online items from Target Plus Partners are marked as “sold and shipped by a Target Plus Partner.” Just keep an eye out for the Target logo combined with a “+” sign on the product listing.
21. The extended Target holiday return policy gives you plenty of time to return gifts and Black Friday purchases.
The holiday return policy at Target essentially takes all the normal return windows and freezes them until Dec. 26. This gives you extra time to return holiday purchases, which is a real lifesaver during the busiest time of year.
So, if you make any Target purchases between Oct. 6 and Dec. 25, the following rules apply:
- Most purchases that fall under the general Target return policy must be returned by March 26.
- Most purchases made with RedCards must be returned by April 25.
- Electronics and entertainment items that carry a 30-day return window must be returned by Jan. 24.
- Apple products (excluding phones) that carry a 15-day return window must be returned by Jan. 9.
- Mobile phones that carry a 14-day return window must be returned by Jan. 8.
22. Target won’t refund coupon discounts anymore, so you’ll only get back what you paid out of pocket.
Sorry folks, coupon refunds at Target are a thing of the past. For a long time, returning a Target item that you used a coupon on was a walk in the park. Target included any promotional discounts or coupons used in your refund, giving you the difference back on a Target gift card. But not anymore.
Now, when you return an item you used a coupon on, you’ll only get refunded what you paid out of pocket. This was a recent change to Target’s coupon policy as a way to crack down on coupon fraud, and it’s how Walmart treats returns with a coupon, too.
Related: Couponing at Target isn’t as hard as it seems. We’ll show you how to coupon at Target the easy way.
23. Cancel your Target.com order before it’s processed and you won’t get charged.
If you’ve changed your mind about something you purchased on the Target app before the order’s been all the way processed, you can still cancel and not have to deal with returns at all.
But here’s the thing: the processing could take two minutes or two hours. So if you’re gonna change your mind, be sure to act fast!
Have any Target return policy stories to share? Comment below and tell us all about it!