Target’s return policy is famous for being flexible and generous while also having quite a few limitations. Within 90 days of purchase, most items are eligible for return or exchange at Target as long as the customer can provide proof of purchase and the item has not been opened or used.
Technically, Target’s return policy states that proof of purchase is required to process most returns. However, there are some loopholes in case you’ve lost track of your old-fashioned paper receipt.
According to Target, there are actually three different ways to work around a missing receipt.
Return barcodes are a valid alternative to a receipt and can be accessed for any purchases made on Target.com. These barcodes are also available for purchases made in store using either your digital wallet inside of the Target app or with a card associated with your Target account (Target RedCard, for example).
Target can look up purchases in their system
Yup, it’s true! Target can look up purchases in some situations, depending on how long it’s been since the purchase was made and what payment method was used. Target can look up purchase records for purchases made with Target RedCard (including Target Debit Card, Target Credit Card, and Target Mastercard) or third-party Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover credit cards.
Just make sure you’re still within the return window allowed for the item you’re trying to return.
As a last resort, Target offers refunds on returns without a receipt or other proof of purchase in the form of merchandise cards. A merchandise card is similar to a Target GiftCard, but it can only be used to purchase merchandise at a physical Target location.
Target Return Policy Exceptions
There are a few notable exceptions to Target’s return policy, including:
- Electronics and entertainment items must be returned within 30 days
- Apple products must be returned within 15 days
- Mobile phones must be returned within 14 days
- Personalized items, digital downloads, open or defective collector’s items, giftcards, and items purchased through a kiosk are not eligible for return or exchange
But there are also some good exceptions, such as:
- Purchases made with any Target RedCard are given an additional 30 days for returns
- Registry items can be returned or exchanged within one year of the associated event
- Target-owned brand items can be returned or exchanged within one year of purchase
- During the holidays, items purchased between October 1st and December 25th are given an extended return policy, delaying the start date of the return window to December 26th
How Can You Extend The Return Policy Window?
The simplest way to extend the Target return window is by shopping with a Target RedCard. RedCard purchases are automatically given an additional 30 days on their return window.
You can also extend the return window by buying items from Target-owned brands. These items can be returned up to one year after purchase.
And because Target’s holiday return policy is so extensive, any electronics, entertainment items, or Apple products purchased between October 1st and December 25th have a delayed return window that doesn’t begin until December 26th.
How To Return An Item Without A Receipt At Target
If you’d like to return an item to Target without a receipt, there are a few different ways to do this, depending on how you made your purchase and how you’d like your return to be processed.
To return items to a Target store without a receipt:
- Check to see whether you have an alternative proof of purchase, such as a return barcode or packing slip. Return barcodes can be accessed through Target.com or through the Target app.
- With or without your proof of purchase, head to your local Target store and find the guest services counter.
- Let an employee know that you would like to return your item.
- The employee may ask you some questions to verify the return, such as when you purchased the item, why you’re returning it, etc.
- If your return is accepted without any proof of purchase, you will receive your refund in the form of a Target merchandise card. This card can be used to purchase items in person at Target. If you provide proof of purchase in the form of a return barcode or packing slip, and your item meets all of the requirements for a full refund, then you will be refunded to your original form of payment.
To return items by mail through Target.com or the Target app without a receipt:
- Visit Target.com or the Target app and log into your account
- Select “Online” from the top toggle menu
- On Target.com, select “Orders,” or select “Purchases” if using the app
- Select “Return”
- Select “Refund”
- At this point, you will be given the option to access a return barcode which you can bring to a Target store location to return your item and receive your refund
- If you would like to return your item by mail, select the “Mail” option
- Target will provide a free return mailing label and packing/shipping instructions by email
Receipt Alternatives When Returning An Item
Here’s a list of three proof of purchase types that count as a valid alternative to a receipt at Target:
Return barcodes are typically issued for purchases made online or through the Target app. These can be accessed either through the app or through your Target.com account.
If you purchased your item online and received it in the mail, then the box likely came with a packing slip either taped to the outside or folded up inside the box. These slips can be used as an alternative to a receipt.
Looking up your purchase history is easier than you might think, and there are a few different ways to do it. You can access your purchase history by logging into your Target.com account or by reviewing your digital wallet through the Target app. Target employees can also look up your purchase history for certain payment methods (cash payments cannot be tracked).
If a record of your purchase is found through any of these methods, and if your item is still within its allotted return window, then you will be eligible for a return.
What To Do If Your Return Is Denied?
If your return is denied, there are a few different things you can try.
- Try going in on a different day and speaking with a different employee
- Try returning your item to a different Target store
- Gift your item or sell it online
Comparison of Target Return Policy With Competitors
When it comes to big box retailers, Target’s return policy is pretty competitive. Let’s look at the return policies of a few other big names to see how they measure up.
Amazon Return Policy
The good news: They accept returns on some opened items.
The bad news: They only allow returns within 30 days of purchase and they do not accept returns for any of their third-party sellers.
Walmart Return Policy
The good news: They accept returns for up to 90 days, with or without a receipt.
The bad news: There are quite a few exceptions to the standard policy. For example, major appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and lawncare equipment cannot be returned without a receipt.
Overall, Target’s policy is pretty well-matched with Walmart’s (while Amazon’s policy is definitely a step behind). Walmart does allow returns without a receipt on many items, which Target generally tries to discourage, but Walmart also has quite a few exceptions to their policy.
Overall, Target has the most straightforward and easy-to-understand return policy of these three major sellers.
Tips On How To Minimize Returns To Target
Even though Target has a generous and flexible return and exchange policy, there are limits to how much any one customer can return each year.
Here is a list of the best ways to minimize the number of returns you’ll need to make at Target!
Always think twice
Shopping is fun, but it’s even more fun when you know for sure that you’re in love with what you’re buying. Check out a few different options and think of your purchase decisions before pulling out your wallet.
Read customer reviews
One of the best ways to ensure that you’re buying something you’ll be happy with is to check out what other customers are saying about the item you’re eyeing. The more satisfied reviews you find, the less likely it is that you’ll end up wanting a refund.
Always measure big things like furniture
It’s easy to get excited about a new piece of furniture on the display floor, only to bring it home and realize that it’s actually too big for your space. Instead, consider measuring larger purchases before buying to make sure you’re buying the right fit (come prepared with a tape measure!).
Try on clothing before purchasing
This one might seem obvious, but sometimes it’s nice to have a reminder. Clothes might look cute on the hanger but fit way differently than you thought once you try them on. One of the best ways to cut down on regrettable clothing purchases is to try things on before you buy.
Avoid impulse purchases
It’s always good to resist impulse purchasing, right? Your wallet will thank you, and so will the Target returns counter.
Can you return discounted or clearance items to Target?
Yes! Discount and clearance items can be returned to Target.
Can you return items without tags?
Yes. While Target does prefer items to be unopened and unused, they do not exclude returns on clothing items without tags.
Does Target limit the number of returns you can make without receipt?
There is no official information on Target’s website regarding this question. However, several sources claim that Target has a $100 per year limit on returns without a receipt. Once source also states that items priced at $100 or more cannot be returned without a receipt at Target.
What is the maximum amount you can return at Target without a receipt?
Although this isn’t verified through Target, current information states that $100 is the maximum value you can return to Target within a one year timeframe.
Can you return a gift to Target without a receipt?
Yes. If you received a gift that you don’t want or need, you can return it to Target without a receipt in exchange for a Target merchandise card.
Do you have to wait 24 hours to return at Target?
While one online source claims that Target’s system requires 24 hours before transactions can be pulled up to verify purchase, we can’t confirm this. Regardless, you do not have to wait 24 hours to return an item to Target, as long as you have your proof of purchase.
I’ll bet you didn’t think there was so much to know about Target’s return policy! Now, whether you have your receipt or not, you will be able to receive a refund from Target. If you aren’t able to provide any alternative proof of purchase, then you’ll receive your refund in the form of a store merchandise card.
Still, compared to most other retailers, Target has a competitive return policy that’s easy to use and makes shopping at Target feel almost risk free.