Target's New Return Policy Might Be Better: We're Not Sure

Target recently changed their return policy. It’s more consumer-friendly. We think. What we can tell you for sure is that it’s more confusing.

Customers who have an unused item in its original packaging, with the receipt, can make as many returns and exchanges as they like. What’s different, and where the old return policy became less consumer friendly than competitors, is what happens when you lack a receipt. Consumer Reports Money explains:

Now, you can make as many non-receipt returns as you want, up to $70, in any 12-month period. Target’s previous “hidden” return policy allowed customers to make just two non-receipt returns of up to $35 each, over 12 months.

Another new twist: Those who receive gifts through the store’s gift registry now can use the registry listing as a de facto receipt. If you’re a newlywed who got six identical toasters from Target but no receipts, you can return five of them by printing out a copy of your gift-purchase log. Before, you could to return only two items if each cost $35 or less, and you hadn’t already reached your two no-receipt returns limit.

But wait, there’s more!

One of the biggest changes affects holiday gifts. Target allows for even exchanges if you’ve exceeded your $70 return limit. So if Aunt Minnie gave you a shirt in “large” but you’re a “medium,” you can exchange it without a hassle, even if she tossed the receipt. In the past, if you had reached your non-receipt returns limit, you couldn’t exchange the shirt, even with Target tags intact.

If you decide to exchange the returned item for something that costs less, Target will give you a gift card for the difference. But you’ll have to use it in the same department.

In all these cases, you’ll have to show a driver’s license or some other identification so Target can record your non-receipt transgressions.

While this new policy is vastly improved for customers with gift registries, we still agree with Consumer Reports that it’s inferior to Walmart’s. Keeping fraud down is important, but is there a way to do it without making every customer feel like a criminal?

Target’s new return policy: Better, if you can figure it out [Consumer Reports Money]

(Photo: pdxmac)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.