What Is The Return Policy At Harbor Freight?

12 mins read

The return policy at Harbor Freight is pretty no-nonsense. From charging restocking fees to reserving the right to retain a copy of your photo ID, Harbor Freight isn’t messing around when it comes to returns.

This is likely because people often try to use tool retailers as makeshift tool rental libraries. So, Harbor Freight has put a few safeguards in place to reduce the risk of being taken advantage of.

Harbor Freight return policy

The key points from the Harbor Freight return policy can be summed up with the following:

  • Proof of purchase (receipt or packing slip) is required to receive a full refund
  • Exchanges and returns must be requested within 90 days of purchase, unless an extended warranty is present
  • All items under warranty can be exchanged for a replacement at any time, with or without a receipt, if materials or workmanship fail
  • All hand tools are covered by a lifetime warranty that covers workmanship and materials but does not cover normal wear and tear
  • A valid, government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport is required for returns and refunds, and a copy of it may be recorded, retained, or shared with other agencies by Harbor Freight
  • Items containing oil or gas cannot be returned
  • Some items cannot be returned if opened (call customer service at 1 (844) 416-9141 to find out if your item is eligible for return)
  • Check and debit card purchases can be refunded in cash
  • Returns can be processed at any Harbor Freight location regardless of where you purchased your item
  • Some items are subject to a 20% restocking fee, and the items that will incur this fee are subject to change at any time (call 1 (800) 444-3353 to find out if your item is subject to this fee)
  • The manager at any Harbor Freight location has the right to refuse any return or exchange request at any time for any reason
  • Shipping and handling fees are non-refundable
  • Items can be returned in person or by mail
  • If you return your item within 30 days, you will not be asked to provide a reason for your return

You can review all of the details of the Harbor Freight return policy here.

How Long Is Harbor Freight’s Return Policy?

Harbor Freight has a strict 90-day policy when it comes to requesting a return. After 90 days, you may still be eligible for an exchange if your item is under warranty, but you will not be able to receive a refund after this window has passed.

That said, there’s always a chance you’ll get lucky on a late return. If you really want to return something to Harbor Freight but it’s been longer than 90 days, try visiting a store to explain your situation. There’s always a chance they’ll understand and give you the refund anyway.

Harbor Freight’s Return Policy Exceptions

Luckily, there aren’t very many official exceptions to the Harbor Freight return policy.

That said, the return policy does state that any return can be denied at any time for any reason, so… you really never know.

Some things that cannot be returned to Harbor Freight include:

  • Items that contain oil or gas
  • Certain pumps, sprayers, or drain cleaners (if opened)
  • Items that were purchased longer than 90 days ago

Can You Return Used Tools To Harbor Freight?

Luckily, tools do not have to be brand new or even unopened to return them to Harbor Freight.

If you request your return within 90 days and have your proof of purchase, you can return your item regardless of whether it has been used or not.

Can You Return Broken Tools To Harbor Freight?

Broken tools can definitely be returned to Harbor Freight, especially if the cause of the break is workmanship or materials. Within 90 days, you can return any item to Harbor Freight (with a few exceptions, listed above) for any reason.

After those 90 days have passed, you can still request a replacement for broken tools if they are covered under the lifetime warranty (hand tools only).

How To Return An Item To Harbor Freight

There are two ways to return an item to Harbor Freight: by mail or in person.

To return your item by mail (online orders only):

  1. Contact Harbor Freight customer service at 1 (800) 444-3353 to request a return authorization (6am – 6pm PST every day)
  2. During the return authorization call, you will be asked to provide your online order number and a brief description of your reason for returning the item
  3. The customer service representative will walk you through the rest of the return process

To return your item in person (online and in-store orders):

  1. Bring your item and proof of purchase (receipt, packing slip, or return authorization) to any Harbor Freight location
  2. Let an employee know that you would like to process a return
  3. An employee will walk you through the rest of the return process

Remember that regardless of how you request your return, this must be done within 90 days of purchase.

Items do not need to be returned with their original packaging as long as you can provide proof of purchase.

Can You Return To Harbor Freight Without A Receipt?

One of the things Harbor Freight is most strict on is receipts.

If you can’t provide a receipt, packing slip, or return authorization (for items purchased online), then you will not be able to receive a full refund for your tools.

Harbor Freight requires proof of purchase for all refunds. If you are exchanging your tool or taking advantage of a warranty that offers tool replacement, then you may not be expected to provide proof of purchase.

Does Harbor Freight Give Refunds?

If you meet the specifications of the Harbor Freight return policy, then you can absolutely receive a refund!

Harbor Freight offers full refunds on most items within 90 days of purchase, regardless of the reason for the return. They even offer cash refunds on credit and debit card purchases, which is always a major bonus.

Harbor Freight’s Exchange Policy

Harbor Freight’s exchange policy is slightly different than their return policy.

While returns can only be processed within 90 days of purchase, exchanges are more flexible.

If your item is covered under Harbor Freight’s lifetime warranty, you can request an exchange for a replacement tool at any time with or without a receipt.

However, if you are not taking advantage of a warranty, then you must still provide proof of purchase and request your exchange within 90 days.

Within the 90 day window, you always have the option of choosing between a refund or a replacement for your item.

Does Harbor Freight Have a Strict Return Policy?

When it comes to return policies, Harbor Freight does have one of the stricter ones around.

But it’s not all bad. There’s still plenty of room to request a refund if you act within those first 90 days.

You just have to make sure to keep a strong hold on your receipt, because without that, you won’t be able to receive a refund, regardless of why you’re requesting one.

Also remember that Harbor Freight reserves the right to deny returns and exchanges to anyone at any time for any reason, regardless of whether the customer has a receipt. So, it’s probably a good idea not to try to abuse the Harbor Freight return policy.

Harbor Freight also maintains a database of shopper information, so if you start returning stuff too often, it’s likely they’ll catch on and prevent you from making further returns.


What does Harbor Freight do with returned items?

This depends on the condition of the item. Items that are “like new” are restocked and resold (hence the restocking fee). Items that are broken, unusable, or hazardous are safely disposed of.

Can you return tools to Harbor Freight?

Yes. Tools can be returned within 90 days of purchase. Proof of purchase is required for all returns and exchanges.

How much is the restocking fee at Harbor freight?

Harbor Freight charges a 20% stocking fee on some items.

How long is the Harbor Freight warranty good for?

Harbor Freight offers a lifetime warranty on all hand tools and a 90-day warranty on everything else.

How to contact Harbor Freight’s customer service?

You can try contacting Harbor Freight customer service online here, or you can call them at 1 (844) 416-9141.


The Harbor Freight return policy isn’t the most flexible in the world, but if you act within the first 90 days of your purchase, you have quite a bit of freedom when it comes to returns, refunds, and exchanges.

All items can be returned within 90 days, and many items can be exchanged for a replacement at any time if they fail due to mechanical error.

Just remember that Harbor Freight reserves the right to deny a return at any time, so be sure not to start taking advantage of the return policy too often.

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