Michaels return policy is fair, but quite confusing and it certainly favors in-store purchases over Michaels.com purchases.

If you’ve tried to return a Michaels.com purchase in the past, you probably know. I recently bought a set of acrylic paint that I needed to return and let’s just say it was an adventure. The return policy isn’t complicated, but it’s glitchy and a bit of a head-scratcher. Depending on which way you go, you’ll have to decide whether you need your money returned stat, or if you’re OK to wait a few weeks.

Here’s my experience and tips for navigating the Michaels return policy.

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1. Michaels return policy requires you to call customer service to initiate a return from Michaels.com.

There’s no way around it, you have to call customer service to make a return via mail.

I called (800) 642-4235 to start the process of returning my acrylic paint set. I was on hold for 10 minutes before I got through, and at that point I was thinking there had to be an easier way to allow online shoppers to mail back a return!

 

2. You’ll get a free prepaid shipping label to make your Michaels.com return, even if Michaels says you won’t.

Talk about confusion! I was on the phone with customer service, trying to find out if I was responsible for return shipping, and the Michaels customer service representative said “yes.” Then the rep asked me to hold again and then came back on the line to say that I should check my email for further instructions.

When I checked my email, I saw a prepaid UPS shipping label to print. Stay with me here — since the Michaels rep told me I’d pay for shipping, I was confused. But, I didn’t want to wait on hold for another 10 minutes, and I was running errands anyway, so I stopped by a UPS store and showed it to them and asked if it was a prepaid label. It was.

Lo and behold, it’s actually free to ship Michaels.com returns back. In spite of what they say.

TIP: You can’t return items you bought in store via mail. You have to go into the store to do it.

 

3. Don’t open any packaging or use your items — you can only return items that are new in the packaging.

Michaels wants to resell your item, so don’t open it unless you know you won’t need to return it.

Since they reserve the right to limit returns for any reason (yikes!) don’t even chance it.

 

4. Your confirmation email from Michaels.com works as a receipt for in-store returns.

For Michaels.com orders, you can use the packing slip that comes with your item (mine was on the outside of the box). Or you can show the Michaels associate at the store your confirmation email on your phone.

 

5. If you want your money back right away, do returns in store only.

Since Michaels pays your shipping fees to return your item, it’s a good way to go. But, it can take up to two weeks before you’ll see the credit hit your bank. Michaels says three to seven days, but they have to first receive your item and process the return before you get your money back, and mail is very slow these days.

I decided to get my money back right now instead of waiting on them, so I went to the store to return the paint set.

 

RELATED: Easy Ways to Save at Michaels Craft Store

 

6. Michaels return policy without a receipt gives you the item’s lowest price over the past 90 days.

Similar as with Hobby Lobby returns, if you don’t have a receipt, they’ll give you the lowest selling price for the item over the past 90 days. This means if you bought the item at full price, but it went on sale a week later, even if it’s back to full price when you return it, you’ll only get money back for the sale price. Super weird and kind of unfair, IMO.

You’ll have to show a valid photo ID, and they’ll log it into the system, but don’t worry: they’re not really keeping track of you and your receipt-losing as much as trying to prevent actual fraud.

 

 

7. …Except when it comes to the Cricut return policy at Michaels — you need a receipt.

You can’t return anything Cricut-brand unless you have a receipt and the item hasn’t been opened. If there’s a defect or your Cricut machine is damaged, contact Cricut and try to get it figured out through the warranty process.

 

8. With a receipt, you get a whopping 180 days (that’s six months!) to make a return.

If this isn’t a good reason to hang on to your receipt, I’m not sure what is. If you have the receipt and it’s within 180 days, you’ll get a full-price return, no questions asked.

After that, your return will be processed like a receipt-less return and you’ll get the lowest selling price from the past 90 days.

 

RELATED: Hobby Lobby Return Policy

 

9. Even if you have your Michaels.com shipping invoice, in-store returns for online purchases aren’t clean.

At my store, the associate couldn’t find the order number for my paint purchase in the system, even though I gave her my shipping invoice with the order number. It wasn’t matching up. As such, she had to process it in the same way she’d do a receipt-less return.

The only difference was that she had the proof in her hands, so she manually entered the amount I was owed instead of giving me the lowest selling price over the past 90 days, like a true receipt-less return.

It was kind of a mess, and she had to call over another employee to help her, saying Michaels.com returns are always fussy. I believe her!

 

 

10. You won’t recover your initial shipping costs, but you’ll get the rest of your money back.

If you used a coupon when you made your purchase, that amount will be deducted from your total. But it’s OK — with a receipt, you’ll basically receive what you paid, including tax. (Minus that initial shipping cost, of course.)

TIP: For anyone who doesn’t have a receipt or a Michaels Rewards account but used a coupon to make a purchase, get yourself back into the store as soon as possible (within a few days) to take advantage of getting a store credit for the item’s full amount. If you can get the lowest selling price over the past 90 days, you’ll get the most bang for your buck this way.

 

11. Michaels Rewards dollars will be deducted from your account when you return your item.

You’ll have to give back any Michaels Rewards you earned on the purchase you’re returning.

If you paid with a Rewards voucher, Michaels will give you a new voucher if it’s not expired (this would be a situation where you return your item without waiting). If the voucher is past its expiration date (you waited a few months to make the return), you’ll receive the amount back in Rewards dollars toward a new $5 voucher.

 

Don’t scroll up! Here are the articles I mentioned:

Easy Ways to Save at Michaels Craft Store
Hobby Lobby Return Policy

 

UP NEXT: Using the Hobby Lobby Return Policy So It Doesn’t Use You

 

Michaels Return Policy: How to Unravel This Tangled Mess