Walmart Return Policy: 6 Reasons Why It Sucks & 6 Reasons Why It’s Great

walmart Return Policy

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

Walmart is a popular retail giant, well-known for its lenient return policies and happiness guarantee. Most people assume that this means if you don’t like the product you purchased, you can take it back, right? 

Walmart makes returning the majority of their products a simple, straightforward process, giving you 90-days to return most items with or without a receipt and even if they are opened. On the other hand, not all products are welcomed back through their doors, they can refuse any item at any time, and they don’t back all of their third-party sellers.

Does this mean that Walmart isn’t as impressive as it seems when it comes to its return policies? Let’s take a look.

6 Reasons Why Walmart’s Return Policy Sucks

Most people will tell you that Walmart will take anything back, but this can’t be further from the truth.

While their return policy is defiantly a lot more laid back than most other companies, there are still many areas in which the rules and regulations simply suck.

  1. Not all third-party sellers are required to accept returns
  2. Walmart is strict with their electronics return window
  3. They can refuse any item at any time for any reason
  4. There is no loophole for non-refundable products
  5. Appliances can’t be opened
  6. They record your personal information every time

Read also >> Walmart Return Policy after 90 Days (Secrets You´ll Never Imagine)

Read also >> Walmart Return Policy for Opened Items (Full Guide)

1. You Can’t Return Products Purchased from Third Party Sellers on the Marketplace.

Walmart has created an amazing marketplace where customers can shop for tons of different items, even if that means going through a company not related to them.

This third-party marketplace is absolutely awesome until it isn’t. 

While Walmart might have a decent return policy on their products, third-party sellers are free to do whatever they want, including setting their own return guidelines.

So, whereas most Walmart items have a 90-day return policy with free shipping on returns, a third-party brand might not offer refunds or will refund your money after you pay for return shipping.

There are even a few third-party companies on Walmart’s marketplace that actually charge for re-stocking returned items as well up to 25% of the purchase price.

Depending on what you bought, it might save you money to simply keep the product and sell it rather than sending it back.

2. They Are Super Stricked About the 30-Day Electronics Return Policy.

If you plan on buying electronics from Walmart, you better make sure you do your homework ahead of time to ensure you are getting exactly what you want.

You have a few weeks to decide whether or not that new laptop, sound system, T.V, or smartwatch is right for you; then you are out of luck.

This might not be a problem for everyone. Still, for those who opt not to pay for the extended warranty or someone who isn’t necessarily in a hurry to open their new items, this can be the difference between a satisfied customer and a massive waste of money.

A lot of customers have taken to the internet to file complaints that don’t go anywhere, thanks to Walmart’s thorough policy printed on the back of your receipt regarding the lack of kindness from customer service when items pass the 30-day period.

This is especially true for many people who purchased laptops and televisions who said that it took time to set up and figure out the product to decide whether they liked it or not.

Other people have complained about the computers that quit working after a month with no way to send them back. (our advice is to pay the extra few bucks for the extended warranty on everything.)

3. They Can Refuse Any Returns

For the most part, customers don’t have issues with returning items to Walmart stores or online. In fact, Walmart employees all have their own stories regarding some wild and crazy returns they accepted and had to provide refunds for.

However, if you are unlucky enough to run into a grumpy employee having a bad day, or you have made a few more returns than the company likes, you can be sent home with your purchase still in hand.

Each employee is provided the right and responsibility to assess the return and determine whether or not it qualifies for a refund.

While you can often override a cranky cashier, you can’t compete with a manager on a power kick, so be careful when communicating your concerns, or you might end up leaving very unhappy.

4. No Returns Mean No Returns

Contrary to popular belief, Walmart does not accept EVERYTHING back for returns.

They actually have a pretty long list of products that are not refundable whatsoever, and corporate policy ties the hands of every employee from cashier to manager, not allowing anyone to override these rules. 

Items that cannot be returned, replaced or refunded for any reason, including

  • Firearms; Ammunition  
  • Prescription Medications and Devices
  • Airsoft; Air Guns, BB Guns, Crossbows 
  • Items containing Pseudoephedrine, Ephedrine, Phenylpropanolamine
  • Pepper Spray  
  • Sex Toys; Vibrators,
  • Pregnancy Tests, Ovulation Tests, Home Diagnostic Testing Kits (including COVID-19 tests)
  • Gas Powered Recreational Vehicles (e.g., Dirt Bikes, Mini-Bikes, Go-Carts, Scooters, Ride-ons, UTVs & ATVs)  
  • Diabetic Supplies including Meters, Strips, Lancets, Lancet devices, and Syringes
  • Used or Mounted Tires, Wheels, Rims, Snow Tires  
  • Hygienic Medical Equipment (e.g., Bedpans, Bath Seats, Sitz Baths, Eye Drop Guides, opened/Unsealed Breast Pumps)
  • Trading Cards (Opened or Unopened)
  • RV Sewer Lines, Toilets, Toilet Bowls, and Urinals (Used or Installed)
  • Prepaid Cell Phone Cards  
  • Video Game Download Cards 
  • Sim Cards
  • Gift Cards  
  • Prepaid Gaming Cards    
  • Video On Demand
  • Electronic games
  • Software Downloads

For the most part, many of these items are not refundable due to health and safety concerns. However, other things don’t make much sense. 

5. Appliances Can’t Be Opened or Installed

How can you tell you don’t like the way an appliance works if you haven’t yet installed it?

While it is understandable that Walmart doesn’t want to accept returns of refrigerators that are full of food or stoves that have already had stuck on gunk, it is hard to tell if that smart touch fridge door is worth the extra few hundred dollars or not if you aren’t allowed to try it out.

6. They Record Your Every Move

Many retail companies have started protecting themselves from return scams and fraud. This involves the use of a computer program that tracks your personal information and records it every single time you return any item, from a pack of gum to a brand new desktop computer.

Although it makes sense that Walmart would want to ensure they are not losing out on money from people who abuse the system, it can also have a negative effect on innocent people who seriously just have bad luck or those who shop at Walmart a lot so are bound to end up with more returns than other in-frequent shoppers.

What is even more frustrating is that the system makes the decision on whether or not the return is approved, and once you are denied, there is no turning back and no overriding it either. 

6 Reasons Why Walmart’s Return Policy is Great

Okay, now that we got that out of our system and harped on the Walmart brands’ outrageous return policies in place.

Let’s allow the company to redeem itself with a handful of reasons why it can also be seen as great.

  1. You have 90-days to return most products
  2. You can return purchases without a receipt
  3. Returns are easy online and in stores
  4. You can return opened and even some used items
  5. You can return food items
  6. Walmart won’t stick you with damaged or defective items

1. 90-Days Is a Decent Amount of Time for Returns

Walmart allows customers 90-days to return most items sold in stores and online for a full refund. Compared to many other stores that typically only offer a 30-day return window, we have to give them props.

90-days is more than enough time to decide whether or not that new shirt fits, your child likes that new bike, or if you will actually ever use those new pots and pans.

Three months is also plenty of time to find time to take your products back to the store. The world today is busier than ever, so rushing an item back to where you bought it isn’t always an easy feat.

Some people only do their shopping on the weekends, or get so busy they forget to return the products at all.

When provided 90 full days to remember to return an item, then find time to take it back or print the label and make your way to the post office, most people can find time to accomplish this task.

2. You Can Return Without a Receipt

There are companies out there that are sticklers for having some sort of proof of purchase. Whether you have the original receipt, shipping receipt, or packing slip, providing evidence you paid for your product is required.

With most items on Walmart’s shelves, a receipt is very helpful but not required. 

If you show up at your local Walmart store without your receipt, you can still return the product, but instead of cash back, you will be provided a gift card with the most recent purchase price of the item in question. 

This means that if you paid full price a few weeks ago, but it recently went on sale, you might lose out on a few dollars, but you will still receive most of your money back. 

3. You Can Take Products Back Whether Purchased Online or In-Stores

Whether you purchased your product online or in stores, you can take it back for a refund in whichever way works most conveniently for you.

A lot of customers who order items online will choose to return them in-store simply because the process is much quicker and can be done within a matter of minutes rather than waiting a week or more.

Similarly, if you bought an item from Walmart stores and would prefer to ship it back, this is typically allowed. Many people will do this with bigger purchases such as mattresses or big screen TVs since Walmart will schedule a pickup time to have the items returned to the store.

You also have the option of returning products to any Walmart store you want.

So, if you buy an item while out of town on vacation or a business trip and realize it isn’t what you wanted by the time you get home, returning it to your local Walmart center is pretty straightforward, especially if you kept your receipt.

4. You Can Return Opened and Used Items

Another unique policy Walmart has when it comes to returns that not a whole lot of other companies abide by is their allowance of returning products that have not only already been opened but even items that have been used.

While this policy can be a little tricky depending on the product you are trying to return and the employee you encounter that day, for the most part, most items will be accepted back open or not.

That doesn’t mean you can return a toilet paper roll sans toilet paper (although we have heard this myth a time or two).

However, as long as you still have the original packaging along with all of the accessories that came with the item, your return should go pretty smoothly.

5. They Let You Return Food (Even if You Have Already Started Eating it)

Have you ever purchased food from a grocery store and realized you didn’t like the product or it has already gone bad, only to bit the lost money you paid, toss it out, and move on?

With Walmart’s 100% freshness guarantee, you don’t have to accept defeat when it comes to the food you buy.

If you grabbed a bag of apples that have already gone soft, or you picked up some chips that don’t taste the way you hoped they would, you could take them right back to the store with your receipt for a full refund. 

While a lot of companies also offer this service, not many of them make the process as smooth and effortless as Walmart does.

6. Walmart Won’t Leave You With Damaged Goods.

Walmart is very good about taking back products that have come to you damaged or defected in any way, shape, or form.

This means crushed packages that come through the mail, remotes missing from your new T.V. box, or scratches on that brand-new computer desk you just purchased last week.

Even if the damaged item is on the long list of “non-returnables,” Walmart will still provide you with a refund, exchange, or another way to make things right. 

What’s the Verdict? Does Walmart Provide Customers with a Decent Return Policy?

We have to give credit where credit is due. Walmart has a much more lenient, accepting, and open return policy compared to many other retailers, actually to most other retailers, to be honest.

While there are a few issues we see come up with unhappy customers regarding their unsuccessful returns, for the most part, you can’t go wrong.

More often than not, you will be required to provide a receipt to return many products these days with most companies, and returning opened and even half-eaten items are just out of the question.

And, it seems the majority of their rules and regulations are there for a good reason, making us feel fairly satisfied overall with Walmart’s policy on returns, refunds, and exchanges.

Summing Things Up

Unfortunately, you can’t make everyone happy, and whether companies have rules in place to protect themselves or their customers, there is always going to be someone who wants to complain.

Although Walmart does have a few places we would love to see improvements; overall, their return policy seems to be pretty fair.



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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