Target Return Policy: 5 Reasons Why It Sucks & 7 Reasons Why It’s Great

Target Return Policy

Do you know what Target’s return policy is? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.

Target’s return policy allows most items to be fully refunded if they are returned within 90 days, but this isn’t the case for every return. Some items are ineligible for return, while others are given shorter return periods. Target’s return policy can be great, but it’s worth remembering that it also has its downsides.

In the following article, we look at five reasons why Target’s return policy sucks and seven reasons why it’s great, as well as covering some of the most popular questions you might have about the policy.

5 Reasons Why Target’s Return Policy Sucks

1. Some items have shorter return periods

While most of the items sold by Target can be returned within 90 days, a small number of items have a more restrictive period during which they can be returned or exchanged.

Target does not provide a reason as to why this is, but it may be due to branded goods having separate returns policies Target has to abide by. 

According to Target, the following items have a shorter returns period:

  • Electronics and entertainment goods, except for Apple products: 30 days,
  • Apple products, except phones: 15 days,
  • Mobile phones: 14 days.

These shorter return periods are very inconvenient to anyone who cannot get out within the required period.

Unfortunately, the affected items are typically expensive, meaning people may lose out if they are forced to keep the item without being refunded or allowed an exchange.

2. Not every product can be returned

Unfortunately, some items are not eligible for return to Target at all. The reasons for this are likely to vary between items but usually, it is due to the risk of the item being used, making it unfit for purpose, or out of concern that items cannot be resold.

Let’s look at some of the items that are not able to be returned to Target:

  • Opened or damaged collectibles like sports cards or action figures,
  • Gift cards, including Target gift cards,
  • Personalized items,
  • Digital downloads.

Other items may not be eligible for return and instead can only be exchanged once they have been opened. These items include:

  • Opened video games, music CDs, movies, and software can only be exchanged for the same title within 90 days,
  • Unboxed airbeds can be exchanged for a similar item.

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3. You aren’t guaranteed to have your return accepted

Sometimes returns aren’t accepted despite you following all the rules, and you may be left confused as to why.

However, it’s important to remember that Target reserve the right to deny you a return at their discretion, as all retailers do.

Target may decide to deny your return request if they suspect the item has been used or worn, if you are returning a product that wasn’t bought in the USA, or if they cannot identify the purchase using the information you have.

Having a return request denied can be very frustrating, especially when you believe you are owed a refund or exchange. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do once your request has been refused.

4. You have a $100 limit on no-receipt returns

To help prevent abuse of the returns system, Target has implemented a limit on how much you are able to return without a receipt. Currently, you can return items up to the value of $100 over a period of a year.

Once you cross this threshold, you may be denied future return requests without a receipt, even if you are returning an eligible product. This limit is there to protect Target’s return policy from being abused, which is understandable.

However, for people who frequently shop at Target and may make a lot of returns, it may be very easy to use up that $100 limit quickly.

Particularly for people who return large purchases or many items in one go, this threshold is likely to be met in a much shorter time than a year.

5. It can take a while to receive your refund

How quickly you receive a refund usually depends on the payment method, as cash purchases are typically refunded more quickly than card payments. However, even returns of items bought with cash take at least 24 hours to be refunded.

It takes around 24 hours for Target’s system to process purchases made with any payment method, meaning you are required to wait for this period before your purchase can be refunded.

The same policy also applies if you are wanting to exchange your product.

For cash purchases, one solution is to visit another store, where you should be able to receive a cash refund straight away. However, this is very inconvenient for people who don’t have another Target location nearby.

For card purchases, you will have to wait longer. Refunds to cards usually take around five days once the refund has been approved, and refunds to Target’s RedCard can take up to two days after approval.

7 Reasons Why Target’s Return Policy Is Great

1. You may not need a receipt

Although you are limited to how many refunds you can make without having the receipt, the option is still there if you need it.

If you don’t have your receipt but need to make a return, Target may be able to locate the order information using other details.

So long as you purchased the item using a check, credit card, Target RedCard, or Target gift card, a staff member should be able to help you locate your order using details from your order, which will allow them to verify that you made the purchase.

In place of a receipt, Target will accept a few other things as proof of purchase, which you may be asked to use instead:

  • Shipping and delivery confirmation emails,
  • The payment card you used to make the purchase,
  • The return barcode on your Target profile or on the app.

2. You can return many items opened

Many items are able to be returned to Target even if they have been opened, so long as the item is eligible for return and is returned within 90 days.

While unopened items are likely to be preferable, it’s worth noting that Target will accept opened items for return in many cases.

Although there are some restrictions on which items can be returned opened, some of the products may surprise you.

Food products and beauty items are both accepted for return even if they have been opened, something many other retailers do not offer.

As well as opened items, Target may also accept items which don’t have original tags or packaging. If the purchase can be verified through a receipt or the order system, Target will usually offer a full refund on items without tags or packaging.

It’s worth noting that Target reserve the right to refuse to fulfill a refund request on an opened item and is likely to do so at their own discretion.

The exact reasons for refusing to refund an opened item aren’t known.

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3. Clearance items are able to be returned

Clearance items are eligible to be returned for a refund to Target. This is a great addition to the Target returns policy, as many retailers don’t offer returns or refunds on clearance products.

Returns for clearance items work very similarly to returns for full-priced items. So long as the item is returned within 90 days of purchase and you are able to provide proof of purchase, Target will give a full refund for the price of the item.

Unfortunately, clearance items are not eligible for price adjustment at Target, meaning you are not able to receive the difference back if the price of the item drops.

You can also return items bought as part of deals like BOGO offers and receive a full refund.

The refund you receive will honor the discount you received and so you will receive the lower amount rather than the original price of the product. 

4. You can extend the return period

One of the benefits of signing up for the Target RedCard is that it offers you an additional 30 days on top of the original 90 you have to return any products. This is a good offer for anyone who makes lots of Target returns. 

You can also receive an extended return period by choosing when you shop more carefully.

As part of Target’s holiday returns policy, items can be returned for longer than usual, so making purchases around the holidays is a good way to secure yourself a longer return period.

5. Returns are free

Returning an item for a refund to Target is free in most cases.

This is the case whether you decide to ship your return back to Target or take it directly back to the store; either way, you shouldn’t have to pay any fees or charges. 

To make your return by mail, Target will send you a shipping label to use. This is available free of charge through the Target website or the app.

When making your return in person, you simply hand the item over for a refund, so no charges are incurred.

6. Making returns is usually easy

The process of making a return to Target is usually fairly easy and works similarly to many other retailers.

You can begin the process by going in store and speaking to a staff member or by going to your Target account online or on the app.

You have a number of options on how to physically return the item, all of which apply regardless of whether you purchased the item in-store or online.

You can take the item back to the store directly or mail it back using the provided shipping label.

7. You have longer to return Target-owned brands

You have up to a year in which to return products from Target-owned brands. As there are currently more than 40 brands owned by Target, a lot of everyday products you are likely to buy may be from a Target-owned brand, meaning you get an additional nine months to make returns. 

To check whether an item is part of a Target-owned brand, you can check the full list of these brands online.

For now, let’s take a look at some examples of Target-owned brands:

  • Archer Farms,
  • Art Class,
  • C9 by Champion,
  • Chefmate,
  • Cherokee,
  • Distributed by Target,
  • Embark,
  • Fieldcrest,
  • Market Pantry,
  • Merona,
  • Mossimo,
  • ProSpirit,
  • Room Essentials,
  • Shaun White,
  • Sonia Kashuk,
  • Threshold,
  • Wine Cube,
  • Yoobi.

Target Return Policy FAQs

Will shipping charges be refunded?

This will depend on your reason for returning the item. Any return which is declined by Target or is not due to error on their behalf is unlikely to be ineligible to have shipping fees refunded.

If you think you should have been refunded shipping charges contact Target Guest Services at 1-800-591-3869.

If your order is yet to arrive but you already know you are going to return it, you can refuse to accept delivery.

In this case, you will be refunded the full amount of the order and any costs for shipping and delivery once the order is received by Target.

What happens if you make a return after 90 days?

If your item is required to be returned within 90 days, you may be denied the request for a refund or exchange.

This is likely to be at the discretion of Target themselves and may vary between stores.

If your return is accepted, you may find that you are offered your refund in the form of a store of gift card, rather than cash or card refunds.

This is likely to ensure that people are making returns within the required time period.

For items with a longer return period or paid for using Target RedCard, returns after 90 days should be accepted as long as they are within their required time period.

Can you return Gift Registry items to Target?

Gift Registry items can be returned to Target for up to a year after the event date. Most items need to be unopened and completely new to be accepted for return, and you will need to provide a gift receipt.

To return an item received as part of a Gift Registry, retrieve the returns barcode from your Target Registry page.

To do this, log in to your account and visit the Offers; benefits page, where you have the option to start a return. Simply select a store and present the barcode at your chosen location.

Can you return other gifts to Target?

Gifted items can be returned to Target regardless of whether they are part of a Gift Registry.

You will need to present a gift receipt or packing slip in order for your return to be accepted, and your refund will be given in the form of a Target gift card. 

To return a gifted item, you will need to wait at least one day from the date it was purchased. This is likely to be an issue if you have purchased the gift for someone else and need to return it urgently.

What happens to items returned to Target?

This depends on the item being returned. Some items might be resold if they are unopened and in good condition, especially items which were not spoiled or damaged when they left the store.

Perishable items like food and beauty products are likely to be destroyed for hygiene and safety reasons, especially if they have been opened and used.

Other items may be donated, recycled, or disposed of, depending on its condition.

Final Thoughts

Target’s returns policy has a number of downsides, including taking a while to process a refund and a number of items having shorter return periods.

However, it also has a lot of great points, such as free and easy returns and the option to return without a receipt.

Overall, Target’s return policy offers many things other retailers don’t always include.



Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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