If you’ve done many Walmart returns, you know they can go smoothly one day and get hairy the next. One of the trickiest things about Walmart return policy is the way it’s implemented can vary from store to store.
Below, I’ll break down what is concrete policy and what is at the discretion of the person standing at the customer service desk the day you make your return.
Generally, when you’re within the 90-day purchase window (30 days for electronics), things should go smoothly. And whether or not you’re within that window, and even if you have no receipt, we’ll show you how you can still get a refund from Walmart.
1. The Walmart return policy gives you 90 days to return most products.
The Walmart return policy gives you 90 days to return items like clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. for a full refund via original form of payment.
You also have 60 days to return prescription glasses and 30 days to return most third-party (marketplace) items from Walmart.com.
Debit and credit card refunds will be available in up to 10 business days, or debit card refunds can be processed as cash.
2. The Walmart electronics return policy gives you 30 days.
You’ve got 30 days to return most electronics at Walmart, including electric scooters, hoverboards, and Verizon postpaid mobile phones.
Walmart also gives you 14 days for any other mobile phone returns.
3. You’ve got a year to return trees, shrubs, and perennials, but receipt is required.
Just like Home Depot and Lowe’s, Walmart gives you an entire year to return all trees, shrubs, and perennials. They can even be dead when you return them, so no green thumb, no worries. But just like the home improvement stores, you must have your proof of purchase in order to make the return.
4. Walmart fresh guarantee refunds you for perishable items you don’t have to take back.
As for perishables, Walmart offers the Fresh Guarantee for anything from their Produce, Fresh Flowers, Meat, Bakery, Deli, Dairy & Frozen departments. As long as you have a receipt, they’ll give you a full refund. The only rule is you have to initiate the return before the “best by” date. Official Walmart communication under ‘our guarantee‘ says that by starting your return on the App or online, you may not have to return the item.
A 2017 press release states this option may also be available on select household items such as shampoo and color cosmetics.
5. You can return any Walmart private brand with just the empty package.
Walmart leaves this policy short and vague, but here it is verbatim: “Not 100% Satisfied with a Walmart Private Brand Item? We’ll replace it or refund your money. All you need is the package.” Read it for yourself under ‘our guarantees.’
If all you need is the package, I had to assume that meant that I could return an open-box, used item. I decided to test for myself so went in and returned a used Great Value item and received a full refund. I had my proof of purchase in my Walmart app, but if I hadn’t, I still could have exchanged for another brand. Listen up. Here’s the takeaway–we don’t buy generic brands for fear they aren’t as good as the name brands. Well forget that. You can now afford to test out Walmart brands with the knowledge that if you end up not loving it, you can always take it back.
Walmart brands include:
- Great Value
- No Boundaries
- Play Day
- Parent’s Choice
- Special Kitty
- Terra & Sky
- Time and Tru
- Wonder Nation
For more 100% satisfaction guarantees, read about my exploits returning holey kids’ leggings with the Target return policy.
6. You can do Walmart returns without a receipt and get cash back for items under $10.
If you have absolutely no proof of purchase, you’re not out of luck. Go to the Service Desk with the product and your valid, government-issued photo ID. Your returns will be tracked against your ID. There’s some chatter online about a maximum of 3 returns without receipt in a 45 day period, but that info isn’t something Walmart will verify for me.
Your refund amount will be equal to the current selling price of the item or the lowest price in the last 90 days. Refunds will generally be processed as merchandise credit or an exchange. Refunds of $10 or less will be processed as a cash or credit refund.
Make sure the name on your Walmart account matches the name on your photo ID before going to do a return.
7. In-store purchases can be looked up with the card you paid with.
If you shopped in store and paid with a card but tossed your receipt, you’re not out of luck. Walmart will scan the credit or debit card you purchased your item with to give you a refund.
8. Walmart online return policy lets you bring back items in store with an email confirmation.
If you want to return something in store, pull up the 13-digit order number from your email and show it to the service desk.
No need to even pull out your wallet -– they’ll immediately refund it to whatever card you used to make your purchase. The same applies if you’ve purchased your items with other payment methods like PayPal and Affirm.
9. Use the Walmart app for your return and you may get to keep the item for free.
You can also use the Walmart app to speed up your in-store return. This is called Mobile Express Returns and you do it through your Purchase History in the app. You’ll get a QR code you show at the Service Desk, hand over the goods, and boom! Easy return.
10. Or you can mail back your online returns for free.
If you want to return your Walmart order, you can send it back by mail without paying a cent. This works whether you got your order in the store or on Walmart.com. You can do the whole process through the Walmart app under Purchase History. The only Walmart orders that don’t cover the cost of return shipping are those from third-party sellers in Walmart marketplace.
The only downside of returning by mail is how long it takes to get your money back. While you’ll get your money back as soon as the product is processed, expect to wait two to three weeks.
11. The Walmart holiday return policy begins Nov 1st and extends the return window until after Christmas.
Holiday return policies essentially extend the period of time the retailer will accept returns. Here’s how Walmart’s holiday return policy works.
For items with a 90-day return (and that’s most of the store), there is no holiday return policy. The item must be returned within 90 days of purchase, period.
For items with a 14-day to 30-day return window (electronics, third-party sellers), the holiday return policy goes into effect on November 1st and freezes the return countdown from beginning until Dec. 26.
See official details.
12. There’s a list of items you cannot return to Walmart.
While the 90-day Walmart return policy covers a lot, some things you can’t return at all.
Here’s what you shouldn’t expect a refund on:
- software delivered by mail
- Firearms, ammo, crossbows, and airsoft/BB guns
- Minutes for prepaid cell phones
- Pepper spray
- Trading cards
- Gas-powered items like dirt bikes, go karts, and ATVs
- Prescription drugs and devices
- Hygienic medical equipment and diabetic supplies
- Used tires
- Anything including pseudoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, or ephedrine
- Ovulation and pregnancy tests, sex toys, and home diagnostic testing kits
13. If you’ve already opened it, some things can only be exchanged.
Walmart’s usually cool about opened returns, except when it comes to the following items:
- Unlocked wireless phones (14 days to exchange)
- Air beds and air mattresses (90 days to exchange)
- Medical equipment like walkers, crutches, and slings (90 days to exchange)
You won’t get a refund for any of these, but you can exchange them.
14. Return damaged items within the initial 90 days.
If your product is damaged or defective, it can still be returned within the first 90 days if you have a receipt. This even counts for products that have been opened. The same applies for prescription glasses (60 days) and electronics (30 days).
15. You can return non-perishable food within 90 days, but only with a receipt.
Like with most items with the Walmart return policy, you can return non-perishable foods within 90 days as long as you have the receipt, no exceptions.
I ordered some Heinz ketchup from Walmart.com, only to find out I accidentally ordered jalapeno flavored. (Gross.) I brought it to the store and flashed my receipt for an instant refund.
I could have also processed my refund online, and for perishable items, I wouldn’t have even had to send the item back to get my refund. If you abuse this policy, your account may be banned.
16. You can’t return gift cards to Walmart at all.
Unless it’s mandated by your state, most stores don’t take gift cards back and offer a refund.
If you change your mind after buying a gift card at Walmart, you’re out of luck, regardless of whether it’s a Walmart gift card, Visa gift card, restaurant gift card, gaming gift card, etc.
I definitely recommend just using the gift card or reselling it on Gift Card Granny.
Some states are beginning to mandate retailers allow gift card returns. States that mandate gift cards can be returned are:
- California: for cards with balance of $10 or less with original balance above $10.
- Colorado: for cards with balance of $5 or less.
- Massachusetts: for cards with balance of $5 or less.
- Maine: for cards with balance of $5 or less.
- Montana: for cards with balance of $5 or less.
- New Jersey: for cards with balance of $5 or less.
- Oregon: for cards with balance of $5 or less.
- Washington: for cards with balance of $5 or less.
- Puerto Rico: for cards with balance of $5 or less.
- Texas: for cards with balance of $2.50 or less with original balance above $5.
- Rhode Island: for cards with balance of $5 or less.
- Vermont: for cards with balance of $5 or less.
17. Returning something after using a coupon? You won’t get the value of the coupon back.
Let’s say you used a $1 manufacturer coupon on a $5 box of hair dye, only to find out it’s the wrong color. You can still do the return, but you’ll only get $4 back and not the value of the coupon.
18. Return Walmart contacts for up to a year if they’re unopened.
If you order contacts from WalmartContacts.com, you’ve got 365 days to return them. But they have to be unopened for a full refund.