Harbor Freight Return Policy (What´s Covered + Generators)

Harbor Freight Return Policy

Have you ever asked yourself or your friend what Harbor Freight’s return policy is or what is Harbor Freight’s return policy for generators, pumps, and sprayers? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.

Even though Harbor Freight is based in California, they have over a thousand stores in the US and operate in 48 states across the country.

Odds are, you have probably shopped in or have at least seen a Harbor Freight near you. It’s a pretty popular hardware store, especially in comparison to some of the larger chains like Lowes and Home Depot.

When it comes to Harbor Freight’s return policy, they have a “no questions asked” policy that allows customers to return unwanted devices or products from online or store-bought items within 90 days of the original purchase date. 

Like many retail chains, Harbor Freight refunds you by the method of payment, and the payment is returned to your account in roughly 7 to 10 business days.

Some of that waiting period is on Harbor Freight but the window is so broad because banks often hold pending transactions for their own reasons as well. 

Harbor Freight Return Policy

There is nothing complicated about Harbor Freight’s return policy, which is a common thing amongst a lot of retailers.

Some return policies are so large and convoluted that they deserve to have books written about them just to dissect the policy and determine how everything works. 

Harbor Freight is pretty simple. The 90-day return policy is straightforward and no-nonsense. When you make a purchase from Harbor Freight, you have 90-days to return the item.

After 90-days have come and gone, you can no longer make a return, at least not in the traditional manner. 

Return methods include either in-store or online. If you make returns online, you will have to cover shipping costs but it’s perfectly fine to return the item through an online return process with Harbor Freight. 

You can also make an exchange rather than accept a return via your original payment method. An exchange can be for anything of equal value to the item that you originally purchased. 

The refund period is 7 to 10 days. When you make a return and everything is completed, Harbor Freight is saying that you may have to wait for a period of 7 to 10 business days, which are Monday through Friday, excluding holidays and weekends. 

Unless you decide to make an exchange, refunds are always conducted via the original method of payment. The only possible exception to that rule is if you originally made the purchase in cash. 

If it was a highly expensive item and we’re talking about hundreds of dollars in cash, you’re not likely to get hundreds of dollars in cash as a return in-store.

What they will most likely do is refund you with either a gift card or a Harbor Freight-only spending card.

Making an Exchange with Harbor Freight

Just like with returns, Harbor Freight also accepts exchanges, which we mentioned above. In more detail, there are some caveats to making an exchange with Harbor Freight, rather than accepting a standard refund. 

  • You have the same amount of time (90 days) to return an item for an exchange as you do for a return
  • You will have to pay shipping and handling fees and those are non-refundable
  • Certain items cannot be returned, such as flammable materials or anything that is considered to be a hazardous material.
  • You cannot return some opened items if there is a safety reason behind it
  • Harbor Freight does charge a restocking fee for select items
  • The store manager reserves the right to refuse your exchange on any basis

Of course, all of these apply to returns as well but if one of your returns or exchanges falls under one of the “no-return” categories, then you won’t be able to exchange it either. 

Harbor Freight Return Policy for Pump and Sprayers

Harbor Freight’s warranty on hand tools is a lifetime warranty, so you can return most hand tools whenever you want and you are not locked into a 90-day return policy.

That doesn’t include compressors, pumps, or paint sprayers, at least partially.

Pumps, compressors, and sprayers cannot be returned if they are opened, for obvious reasons. If they are not opened, then you have to follow a different process to return them than you would with other products.

To return pumps and sprayers, follow this link and fill out the form.

Once you fill out the appropriate form, linked above, you will have to send it to [email protected].

Be sure to completely fill out the form, leaving nothing out, and never open the product. The moment that you open the product, you can no longer return it to Harbor Freight. 

How Does Harbor Freight’s Refund Policy Work?

Although many blogs and websites claim that Harbor Freight will return credit and debit card purchases with cash, that’s not entirely true.

For one, most Harbor Freight retail locations are not going to have enough cash in the register to refund cash on major credit or debit card purchases. 

For two, it’s explicitly stated on Harbor Freight’s Terms and Conditions that you will receive a refund in the form of the payment that you made.

Harbor Freight states that they will return the cash and check purchases with cash. 

However, if the cash return amount is a very high number, you probably shouldn’t expect a cash return, at least not an entire cash return.

You will probably get as much cash as they can give you out of the drawers while receiving the rest via a gift card or a spending card that is specific to Harbor Freight. 

The reality is, that hardware and tools are expensive, and it’s not likely that Harbor Freight is just going to be able to pop out a register drawer and start forking over a thousand dollars.

Most stores are limited on how much cash they are allowed to keep in their registers. 

How to Return Items to Harbor Freight

You can only facilitate returns to Harbor Freight through an online process, which means the mail, or in-store. Email, letters, and customer service chats are not a part of the return process. 

To make a return through the mail, you have to jump-start the process by contacting a customer service agent with Harbor Freight by calling, 1-800-444-3353.

  • Contact Harbor Freight via phone call
  • Have your order number ready
  • Give the customer service rep your order number
  • Give them a precise and detailed reason for returning the item
  • The service rep will give you the appropriate instructions for returning the item, such as address and shipping costs
  • Package the item and take it to your preferred shipping service
  • Pay the shipping fees and send the item 
  • Wait for your return

Of course, sending anything through the mail is going to be a pretty long waiting game. Harbor Freight says 7-10 business days but that only begins when Harbor Freight receives the product. 

Returning items to the store is much easier and faster. You simply bring the product in, preferably in its original package and with the proof of purchase (receipts or online order number).

They will find your purchase in the system and then they will process your return.

Online returns are much the same as email returns, except you will start the process online rather than calling and talking to a customer service representative. 

What are Harbor Freight’s Re-Stocking Fees?

You will have to contact Harbor Freight’s Customer Service to determine if your returned item is subject to a re-stocking fee. The re-stocking fees are generally 20% of the original price of the item. 

Fortunately, there are a few exceptions that will get the re-stocking fee waived for you, which is really nice if you are returning an expensive product. 

  • The item in question has to be returned in its original, unopened package
  • If you decide to exchange your item for an upgraded version
  • If your product falls under the Extended Service Plan umbrella
  • If the item is still under the original, manufacturer’s warranty

If any of the above descriptors apply to you, then you can get the re-stocking fees completely waived so you won’t have to pay the 20% re-stocking fee, which is especially reasonable for items covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.

All Things Considered

Harbor Freight’s return policy, with a few exceptions, is pretty open and liberal.

You are limited to 90 days; however, hand tools are lifetime and there is also the probability that you will have a manufacturer warranty that extends well beyond 90 days as well. 




Jeff is an automotive technician, technical writer, and Managing Editor. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in cars like the Buick Reatta. Jeff has been creating written and video content about transportation, automotive, electric cars, future vehicles as well as new, used for more than 18 years. Jeff is based in Boulder, Colorado.

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