Understanding Safeway’s Mysterious Return Policy

Unfortunately, Safeway does not publicize any information about their general return policy through their official website. So, we had to do a little digging to find out the full scoop.

As far as we can tell, Safeway accepts returns and exchanges on most items as long as the customer can provide a receipt. Without a receipt, Safeway is unlikely to grant you a refund or exchange, based on what we’ve read.

safeway return policy

Safeway’s return policy is considered quite strict. For most returns, you even have to prove you’re a Safeway For U Rewards member (formerly known as Safeway Club members), although this loyalty program is free to join. According to some sources, returns over $9.99 require a receipt plus a Safeway For U Rewards card. Without a loyalty card, you will only be able to receive a refund for purchases under $10.

safeway return policy review

Grocery Delivery & Pickup Return Policy

When it comes to their grocery delivery and pickup services, Safeway is much more forthcoming about their return policy. In fact, according to their website, Safeway offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all online grocery orders. This means that if you are not fully satisfied with any of your online grocery order items, you can notify your delivery driver or contact Safeway’s customer service line at 1 (877) 505-4040 to let them know and request a refund or replacement.

However, the Safeway grocery delivery return policy does not cover damages caused by improper use or storage, and it also does not cover any accidents that might happen after delivery or pick up is complete. They also note in this same section that they do not issue refunds for normal wear and tear on durable goods. Considering this, it’s safe to say that their satisfaction guarantee comes with a few limitations.

Items Accepted For Returns

Generally speaking, Safeway accepts returns on most items as long as the customer can provide a receipt. This includes grocery items, home goods, party supplies, prepared foods, and more.

Although we could not confirm this through Safeway directly, some sources state that you must return your items to the same Safeway where you purchased them.

Return Policy Exceptions

According to several sources online, Safeway does not accept returns of alcohol, tobacco products, or baby food or formula. This is standard policy for most major grocery stores.

They also do not accept returns on items without receipts or items that have been used or damaged by the customer.

How Long Do You Have To Return Items?

Unfortunately, because Safeway is so secretive about their return policy, we were not able to determine whether there is a time limit for Safeway returns. So, as far as we can tell, there is no official time limit as long as you can provide a receipt for your return request. 

It’s also worth noting that, according to the Reddit user we referenced above, Safeway’s official corporate return policy states that returns are accepted on a case-by-case basis only. This would explain why Safeway does not publicize an overarching return policy on their website, because each return is up to the discretion of the employee, supervisor, and/or manager on shift.

How To Return Items to Safeway

There are several different ways to return an item to Safeway. The most common and straightforward method is to visit the Safeway store where you purchased your item and visit the customer service desk or cashier. However, you can also request a refund by calling Safeway’s customer service line at 1 (877) 505-4040.

Another method afforded to Safeway grocery delivery customers only is to notify your delivery driver that you are unsatisfied with one of your items. However, this would require inspecting your delivery prior to the delivery driver leaving your home, which might not always be possible.

As far as we can tell, Safeway does not charge any fees for returns or exchanges. 

To return an item to Safeway in person, follow these steps…

  1. First, gather your item and purchase receipt and head to your local Safeway store (if the refund you are requesting is for $10 or more, you will also want to make sure you have a Safeway loyalty membership before requesting your refund) 
  2. When you arrive at Safeway, find the customer service desk (or anyone working at a checkout stand) and let them know that you would like to request a refund or exchange
  3. The associate will ask to inspect your item and your sales receipt and determine whether or not to grant your refund request
  4. If your return is approved, you will be issued a refund to your original form of payment immediately

Returning Items Without A Receipt

Safeway is very strict about receipts for returns. If you don’t have a receipt, you will not be able to get a refund at Safeway (unless you get really lucky).

Returning Opened Items

Because Safeway returns are accepted on a case-by-case basis, there is no clear information as to whether or not Safeway accepts returns of opened items.

However, Safeway does clearly state that they do not accept returns of items that have been damaged by the customer or that are simply showing normal signs of wear and tear. So, while your opened item might qualify for a return in theory, make sure that it is in like-new condition.

That said, Safeway’s case-by-case returns policy could work in your favor. So, it’s always worth trying to return your item even if you might not succeed.

Can You Exchange Items Instead?

If you simply need to exchange your item for a replacement, this is almost always an option as well.

To request an exchange, simply follow the same steps provided for return requests, but let the associate know that you would like to exchange your purchase for a new item instead of receiving a refund.

You may be offered an exchange for the same item, or Safeway might allow you to exchange for an item of a slightly different price. In this case, you will either be issued a refund for the difference if your new item is less expensive. Or, you will be expected to pay the difference if your new item is more expensive.

As with returns, it is unclear whether Safeway has a designated time limit for exchanges. This means that it’s always worth attempting to exchange your item at Safeway as long as it’s in good condition and you can provide your receipt.

Getting Your Refund

If you are granted a refund at Safeway, you will receive that refund in the form of your original payment method. In other words, if you paid in cash, you will receive your refund in cash on the spot. If you paid using a credit or debit card, Safeway will credit the amount of your purchase back to your account. Receiving your refund this way could take several days considering transfer and processing times. 

In some cases, if Safeway is not able to offer you a standard refund, you might be offered a refund in the form of a Safeway gift card instead. It’s not entirely clear what situations might result in this, but again, Safeway judges each return request on an individual basis 


If you purchased an item at Safeway that is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, you may be able to receive a replacement in the event of damages even if Safeway cannot provide you with a refund or exchange.

If your item is covered by a warranty, you should have received paperwork in the item’s original packaging describing your warranty coverage. If your item did not come with any such paperwork (or information directing you to an online address where warranty coverage can be found), it’s unlikely that your item is covered by a warranty.

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