The A to Z of Easy Online Returns

Shopping may be on your list of favorite activities, but making returns can be about as much fun as folding laundry. Don’t sweat it.  The good news is, just as online shopping is convenient, returning online purchases can be a breeze too.

Since lots of our members have questions about all the various policies, we’ve created the definitive guide, including Online Department Store Return Policies, Online Boutique Return Policies, and Online Specialty Store Return Policies.

How Return Mailing Labels Work

Many online department stores allow you to take items back to their brick-and-mortar locations. As an alternative, they even include mailing labels with your package to make returns easy. Just slap it on a box and mail it back — a shipping fee will be deducted once your return is processed. For example, Barneys charges a $8 fee if you use their mailing label. So if you return a $100 dress from Barneys, $92 will go back on your card ($100 return less the $8 mailing label fee).


Quick Tips for Easy Returns

Keep these quick tips in mind so you can wrap up any returns and get right back to shopping:

  • When making returns in-store, bring your invoice, original packing materials, credit card and ID.
  • You can’t return online items to off-price stores. For example, items can’t be returned to Nordstrom Rack.
  • Online shoppers have more return options. Online returns can also be made in store, while you can’t return in-store purchases by mail.
  • Initial shipping fees are not refunded when returning an item unless you are buying from a retailer that offers free shipping and free returns.
  • Retailers that offer free shipping and returns include Shopbop, Urban Outfitters and Endless.
  • Getting refunded: By-mail returns are generally processed within 14 business days from the date you ship it back.
  • Final sale items cannot be returned. Just as you can’t return final sale items to a store, you can’t return them online either.

Return information like timeframe and cost vary from store to store. Just in case you have any last-minute returns, these details are worth knowing to avoid any potential mishaps. Check back and we’ll lay out all the nitty gritty by retailer for online department stores, boutiques and specialty stores such as J. Crew and Banana Republic.