Sears relays this policy detail in a bolded, all-caps font: "Refunds and exchanges will not be given without receipt." Assuming you do have one, the return policy is separated into 30-, 60- and 90-day periods by item category. (Purchases made between Nov. 9 and Dec. 24 can be returned through Jan. 24 or the regular return deadline, whichever is later.) Some categories, including opened consumer electronics, are also subject to a 15 percent restocking fee. Sears did not respond to requests for comment.
The former Buy.com allows returns on most items within 45 days of the shipping date and has an extended holiday return deadline of Feb. 15 for items shipped between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. But the site allows returns only, credited to the original payment method. According to the policy, "While we always try to satisfy our customers in any way possible, Buy.com is unable to do exchanges for different items." Unless the item is defective or damaged, you're also on the hook for return shipping charges. Rakuten.com did not respond to requests for comment.
As American Apparel's policy is written, there are a few areas of potential concern for gift recipients. According to the site, "Any item that was not purchased at full price cannot be returned. This includes sale items." Exchanges are also processed as new orders, it notes: "We will refund your original form of payment for the value of the returned merchandise and charge you for the new order." In practice, though, you might have more luck. An American Apparel spokeswoman said the policy on gift purchases is to offer store credit in the form of a gift card, so long as the return isn't a final sale item.
The first line of GameStop's policies says it all: "A receipt is required for all returns and exchanges." That means online and store purchases. Returns won't be accepted at all for items that have been damaged, played or have missing parts if they were sold as a bundle. But a spokeswoman said there's a holiday policy exemption from Dec. 26 through Jan. 15. During that period, gift recipients can exchange qualifying items even if they do not have a receipt, she said.
Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble requires a receipt or gift receipt for all returns or exchanges. Some items, including gifted e-books, cannot be returned at all. If you happen to have a gift receipt, the extended holiday return policy offers a Jan. 31 deadline for items bought between Nov. 17 and Dec. 31. A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman confirmed the policy.
"Can I return something I received as a gift?" is a question on ThinkGeek's Returns & Exchanges page. Yes, the site answers, gift recipients can return an item. But return, per the site's other policies, means only a refund to the original payment method. (For some items, with a 15 percent restocking fee.) Exchanges are limited to requests for a different size of apparel. ThinkGeek.com did not respond to requests for comment.