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Now that we’re in October, the holiday season is quickly approaching. With that in mind, several big sales are coming up, including Amazon’s October Prime Day and Black Friday. If you’re planning to buy gifts during these huge sales events, you’ll likely need to know what the return policy is just in case the items don’t work out.

See below for the return windows and policies for major retail stores Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Macy’s. For more shopping tips, here’s how to get $30 ahead of October Prime Day. Also, here’s how to get shipping costs cut at these chain retailers.

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Between deals and other benefits, the Target Circle Program can be a great way to save money. Know that bargains can vary widely from one retailer to the next. To make sure you really are getting the best deal as you browse products, you’ll want to check prices. CNET’s Chrome Shopping extension can help you do that by finding the best discounts and promo codes.

Amazon returns

When you make a purchase on Amazon — even Amazon Warehouse — you’ve got 30 days to return the items. That’s not a lot of time if you’re buying gifts that you intend to give during the holidays. My suggestion? Open the item you’ve purchased to check that it has all the parts and pieces, and to make sure it’s what you’re after. If not, box it back up and ship it back as soon as possible.

If you do keep the item that you plan to gift past 30 days and the recipient finds that it doesn’t work for them, they can still get a refund for up to 80% of the total price on an Amazon gift card. They can also choose to exchange the item — for instance, if it’s the wrong size or color.

Note that some Amazon sellers may have different return policies.

Walmart returns

If you buy something from Walmart (online or in-store), you typically have a 90-day window to return it. However, Walmart does offer extended holiday returns for items purchased between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 that give you until Jan. 31, 2024, to return the item. So if you buy something as a gift during one of its sales, you or the person receiving it will have time to return or exchange the item.

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Target has an extended holiday return policy.

Robert Rodriguez/CNET

Target returns

If you buy something at Target and decide you’d like to return it, you have 90 days to do so. And if you have Target’s credit card, RedCard, you have 120 days to make the return. If you’re returning a Target brand item or something from your registry, Target gives you a full year.

Similar to Walmart, Target also has an extended holiday return policy. Here’s how it works:

  • For all electronics and entertainment items (excluding Apple products) purchased between Oct. 1 and Dec. 24, the 30-day refund period will start on Dec. 26 and must be returned by Jan. 24, 2024. 
  • For Apple products (excluding iPhones) purchased between Oct. 1 and Dec. 24, the 15-day refund period will start on Dec. 26 and must be returned by Jan. 9, 2024.
  • For mobile phones purchased in-store or online as a pickup order between Oct. 1 and Dec. 24, the 14-day refund window starts on Dec. 26 and must be returned by Jan. 8, 2024.

Best Buy returns

Best Buy gives you 15 days to return items you’ve purchased, and 14 days if it’s an activatable device like a phone or tablet. However, if you’re a My Best Buy Plus or My Best Buy Total member, you have 60 days to return anything you’ve purchased, excluding activatable devices.

If you’re returning a gift you received, you’ll get store credit for the purchase price if you return it in a store. If you return the gift by mail, the gift buyer will get the credit.

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If Best Buy follows last year’s holiday return policy, items purchased between Oct. 24 and Dec. 31 have until Jan. 14 to be returned.

Macy’s returns

Any item purchased from Macy’s must be returned within 30 days. If it’s an item from a gift registry, you have 90 days from the event date to return it. 

If Macy’s follows last year’s holiday return policy, items purchased Oct. 3 and later have a 90-day return window. This policy would end Jan. 31, 2024.

For more, here’s how to save on your next Target shopping trip. And here are nine Amazon Prime tips you shouldn’t forget.

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