Jenna McMahon | 

Here's What to Know About the American Eagle Return Policy

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The American Eagle return policy is one of the most generous we’ve seen, and we can’t wait to fill you in on all the details. Even though American Eagle, Aerie, and their fan gear brand Tailgate are flexible with returns, it’s still smart to know what the deal is if your items don’t work out.

Does American Eagle accept returns without a receipt? What if you prematurely ripped the tags off? Can you exchange those AE mom jeans that hang a little TOO loose?

We combed through the American Eagle return policy and pulled out the parts you really need to know. Everything about American Eagle returns, exceptions, refunds, and FAQs is laid out for you right here.

Looking to save on future American Eagle purchases? Check out these American Eagle shopping hacks and see all the latest American Eagle deals available now!


Before You Start Your American Eagle Return

A person's hand holding up an American Eagle shopping bag.

Take as much time as you need to return American Eagle items.

Yes … you heard that right! You can return items to American Eagle literally whenever, so you don’t need to rush to decide what you do and don’t want to keep. You still have to be realistic about your returns, though. Like, you probably won’t get a full refund if you return a stained shirt with all the tags removed two years after your purchase.


You’ll get a full refund for American Eagle returns with a receipt.

According to the American Eagle return policy on their website, a “receipt” can be a few different things. They’ll accept pretty much any proof of purchase, whether that’s a receipt, invoice, order confirmation page, order details page, or order confirmation email.

Once your return is processed, you’ll get a full refund back to your original payment method.


You’ll get store credit for American Eagle returns without a receipt.

If you don’t have a receipt for your American Eagle return, you’re not totally out of luck. You can still return items and get store credit for the current price of the item. They’ll load your store credit onto an AE gift card, which you can then use on future American Eagle or Aerie purchases.

Store credit doesn’t beat a full refund, but it’s way better than nothing.


You can return clearance or sale items for a full refund.

Yes, American Eagle will accept your return even if you paid a clearance or sale price. You’ll get refunded the amount you paid for the item.



You can return American Eagle items even without the original tags.

You’ll still get a full refund on a return without tags, but here’s the catch: your item has to be in fairly new condition.

American Eagle will ask you to send the item back so it can be examined. If the item shows damage or excessive wear, they’ll decline your return and mail the item back to you. However, you can also bring the item to an American Eagle store near you and have an associate decide if it’s eligible for a return.


How to Return American Eagle Items

a screenshot of american eagle's online return process where you select which items you'd like to return

You can return American Eagle items online or in store.

How to return items in-store:

Visit any American Eagle, Aerie, or Tailgate store in the U.S to easily return or exchange your items for free. If you paid to have your items shipped to you, those shipping fees are nonrefundable.


How to return items by mail:

  1. Go to American Eagle Returns online.
  2. Enter your order number and email address.
  3. Choose the item you’d like to return and select the reason why.
  4. Choose to print a return label from home or return your items in store.

If you’re mailing your return, you’ll choose a shipping service and a drop-off location from the list provided. Once you review and submit your return, American Eagle will generate a return shipping label for you to print and attach to your package.


Exceptions to American Eagle’s Return Policy

aerie undies in store image 2021 3

You can’t return items with the hygienic liner removed.

If you buy an American Eagle bathing suit or bikini bottom, don’t remove the hygienic liner before you decide to keep it. Once you remove the liner, you can no longer return the item. We think this policy is pretty fair (for basic health reasons).


You can’t return American Eagle gift cards.

Returning AE gift cards is a no-go. All gift cards from American Eagle, Aerie, or Tailgate are final sale.



You can only exchange American Eagle items in store.

American Eagle doesn’t accept exchanges by mail right now. You can easily make an exchange in store, or buy a new item online and separately mail your return back.


You’ll pay a $5 fee for items that don’t qualify for free returns.

Your order qualifies for free returns if it totals the amount necessary to get a free return label. We asked an American Eagle customer service rep what the qualifying amount was, but the answer wasn’t totally clear. Basically, it depends on where you place your order and which items are in your basket. Before you check out online, your basket will indicate whether your order qualifies for free returns.

If your items don’t qualify, American Eagle will deduct $5 from your refund total once they process your return.


What to Know About American Eagle Refunds

a woman holding up multiple american eagle and aerie gift cards in the store

It can take 2 – 4 weeks for American Eagle to receive your mailed return.

Shipping delays are to blame for this lag time. If you want your refund ASAP, we suggest returning your American Eagle items in store. If not, it could be a while before your refund gets back to you.

Once American Eagle receives your return, they’ll send you an email to let you know your refund is processing.


You’ll get refunded in 5 – 7 business days.

American Eagle will issue your refund as soon as they receive your return, but it may take 5 – 7 business days for your refund to fully process (depending on your bank or credit card).



American Eagle Return Policy FAQ

a screenshot of american eagle's AE Live page on a desktop computer

Can I return an American Eagle order I purchased with Afterpay?

Yes, you can return an American Eagle order if you paid for it with Afterpay. Your refund amount will equal the total amount of the payments you’ve made. Afterpay will send you an email with details about your refund and payment plan cancellation.


What qualifies for an even exchange?

The new item has to be the same color and style as the original item to qualify for an even exchange. If you want a new color, style, or fit, you’ll need to return the original item and purchase your new item separately at its current price.


Can I return an AE Live order?

Yes, you can return all orders purchased through AE Live for free.


Read Up on More Return Policies

If combing through return policy fine print makes your eyes glaze over, don’t miss our comprehensive guide to return & exchange policies. We dug through the heavy text and laid out all the important return policy details for your favorite stores.


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