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Policy regarding return of gift items without a gift receipt.

Posted Wed October 4, 2006 12:20 pm, by Ajay M. written to Target

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Recently, we celebrated our son's 4th birthday and he got quite a few gifts which were either not suited for him due to age (like toys) or were too big/small for him (like clothes). Not all of hem unfortunately had gift receipts.

I took a few of them that I knew came from Target and wanted to return them in exchange for nothing more than in store credit. This is where I learned about Target's really strange policy about return/exchanges without a receipt or gift receipt. It goes like this:

1. No more than TWO can be exchanged in a calendar year.
2. Those two that you can exchange, you have to swap for an item of equal or lesser value from the SAME department.
3. If the item you choose costs less than the item you are returning, then you loose the balance money. Also let's say that you are returning something valued at $20, you cannot exchange that for two items worth $10 & 10. It can be only one item.

I was really stumped. I tried reasoning with the CSR and the manager but to no avail. It just does not make any sense.

I sincerely recommend that this be changed. Much as we like, we cannot force people to give gift receipts and are stuck with things that we really cannot use due to this policy. This is one of the reasons, I have literally stopped shopping at Target.


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by alaya Posted Fri July 31, 2009 @ 2:15 AM

My daughter got 3 stroller/car seat for her baby shower.After the baby
shower things were a mess as one would expect with 30 guests plus
kids.We cant find a gift receipt were not sure she even got one.Today
we tried to return the stroller all she wanted was in store credit for
the things she did not get.The stroller was $160.00.They would not
take it back its in the unopened box 3 target labels with bar codes,
clearly from target,They will take something back that is $70.00 or
less nothing over.they looked up her registry nothing was purchased on
it(people just did not use it. havering used it myself in the past its
very confusing)since it was not used they wont take it back.We had
already returned the other stroller to babies r us no problem.
over the years I have spent thousands of dollars at target.I have read
all of their return policys and it says nothing about this policy or
the ones you have mentioned.This is the worst customer service.Its
truly insane. If this does not get resolved I will never shop at
target.I do not understand this policy at all.And the fact that i
could not find any clear policy stating this should be illegal it
certainly is immoral for a company who claims to care.
Thanks for letting rant.


by DK Posted Sun October 8, 2006 @ 10:20 PM

I am usually on the customer's side, but return issues are
complicated. Target's policy is convoluted, but at least it is fairly
clear. I think the most you can do is what you are doing - let
corporate know that you disagree with a given policy, and take your
business elsewhere.


by Moof Posted Sat October 7, 2006 @ 7:05 PM

I have mixed feelings about this letter. Firstly, I do think Target's
return policy is strict. However, I can see why it is. There are too
many people who try to scam and take advantage of stores return policy
(I am NOT saying that the letter writer is one of them.) With that
being said, I can only imagine the annoyance that the letter writer
must go through. I must say though, I am getting a little tired of
hearing letter after letter about target's return policy. I hope that
maybe they read these and take a good look at their policy. What I
think they should do is have a limit of three transactions without a
receipt during a calendar year, and then offer a merchandise credit
for the current selling price instead of this whole exchange within
the department thing.


by eydie Posted Fri October 6, 2006 @ 6:18 PM

It would have been better if you felt comfortable enough with the gift
givers to ask them to do the returning. That way you wouldn't have
run into the problem of having too many items. Some people would be
insulted if you asked them to return the gifts themselves, i
personally wouldn't, but i can see where they might think you are
being ungrateful. You could have your husband return a couple, your
mom return a couple and so on. That way you could avoid the only two
items per year thing.


by MA Loper Posted Fri October 6, 2006 @ 9:20 AM

Ajay was attempting to return items WITHOUT any receipt. From the
sound of it, he was trying to return several items without receipts.

Target's return policy is VERY explicit. It says "Returns within 90
days WITH RECEIPT." It is posted at Guest services and on the back of
every receipt (yes, I realize he didn't have one, but it's not like it
wasn't posted for all to see).

Technically, they didn't have to do squat for him.

No receipt = no return. End of story.

HOWEVER, because management felt the policy was a bit harsh, esp. in
light of gifts or other instances where producing a receipt my prove
difficult, they agreed to the "unwritten" rules that Ajay outlined

It might seem a bit complicated and contrived, but bottom line, it's
still better than getting nothing.

That being said, it wouldn't be wise for Target to post that
"unwritten" policy because then you'd have all the grifters and con
artists trying to take advantage of it.

I realize that doesn't apply in Ajay's case, but I hope everyone can
appreciate the logic.

But I don't understand all these comments that feel Ajay (or any other
Target guest without a receipt) should get anything more than that.
It's at least a partial accomodation!

It's not like they turned him away completely, and yet I'm reading so
much frustration because the store didn't just violate its own policy
and let him do whatever he wanted.

Bottom line, Ajay at least got something out of the deal, so, there
really wasn't much point, IMHO to write a complaint letter. What more
were they supposed to do for him?

by Tina . Posted Fri October 6, 2006 @ 7:00 AM

I'm not calling you a liar, Ajay, but I'm kinda wondering what these
gifts were that you were returning. You say that you know that they
were bought at Target because it had the Target logo on it. However, I
work at Target and the only things that I recall that have the Target
logo on it are Target exclusive items, none of which are clothing.


Clarification by AjaySM Fri October 6, 2006 @ 9:32 AM

by Daniela E Posted Fri October 6, 2006 @ 12:47 AM

Is this in writing anywhere? Anyone have a similar experience?

How utterly bizarre. I never had a return experience like this (but
haven't needed to return anything w/o a receipt in probably about a

I'll check back to see what the deal is...


JUST KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS! by GuestsSuck! Fri October 6, 2006 @ 12:15 PM

Dude it was a gift n/t by Erin M. Fri October 6, 2006 @ 2:26 PM

And I'm well aware of that by GuestsSuck! Sun October 8, 2006 @ 4:20 AM
by Dawn Nicolai Posted Thu October 5, 2006 @ 5:15 PM

I just wanted to re-iterate, in response to point number 2, that your
new item needs to be of equal or GREATER value, not lesser. Others
have corrected this but I don't want it to get lost in the shuffle.

Point number 3, then, is moot. You don't lose any balance money,
because you either have an even swap (suchas color or size) or you owe
a difference.

I do work at Target, and the policy is as posted, "A receipt is
required," etc., but what we are talking about here is what we call an
exception exchange. Note the word exception. They came up with this
for just the situation Ajay has run into, gifts that aren't
appropriate. Yes, it's convoluted, and yes, it's hard to explain to
guests, but it's better than nothing.


No by Starlight22203 Thu October 5, 2006 @ 6:58 PM

There is ONLY one instance by GuestsSuck! Fri October 6, 2006 @ 12:31 PM

Question for Dawn by Erin M. Thu October 5, 2006 @ 9:30 PM

No, it is standard. by MA Loper Fri October 6, 2006 @ 9:30 AM

perhaps I'm confused by Erin M. Fri October 6, 2006 @ 2:24 PM

Well, see, here's the thing by MA Loper Fri October 6, 2006 @ 8:05 PM

by Erin M. Posted Thu October 5, 2006 @ 4:56 PM

I understand that "a policy is a policy" yada yada, but you gotta
admit-- it's a crazy policy! The author here does not sound like they
think they're ENTITLED or DESERVE something from Target. In fact,
they never asked for a refund, freebie, etc.

They are merely giving Target... feedback... about the policies in
place. Maybe I'm too optimistic for my own good, but perhaps if
enough people spoke up about this issue, there would be change.


She said that she tried reasoning with the cashier and the manager by rxgirl Thu October 5, 2006 @ 5:24 PM

Does it ever hurt to ask for an exception?? by Starlight22203 Thu October 5, 2006 @ 7:00 PM

I don't think the op's letter screamed entitlement. However, by Tina . Thu October 5, 2006 @ 10:02 PM

Well the way I look at it is by Starlight22203 Thu October 5, 2006 @ 10:20 PM

Exceptions by Peregrina Thu October 5, 2006 @ 11:37 PM

But why does there need to be a change? by MA Loper Fri October 6, 2006 @ 9:34 AM

by mary jo Posted Thu October 5, 2006 @ 9:40 AM

"1. No more than TWO can be exchanged in a calendar year."

That is WITHOUT a receipt.

"2. Those two that you can exchange, you have to swap for an item of
equal or lesser value from the SAME department."

Again...thats without the receipt and its typical. They arent going to
just let you exchange whatever you want. Thats insane. By that theory
I should be able to exchange, say...a roll of paper towels for a brand
new tv and not have to pay the difference.

"3. If the item you choose costs less than the item you are returning,
then you loose the balance money. Also let's say that you are
returning something valued at $20, you cannot exchange that for two
items worth $10 & 10. It can be only one item."

There is two ways to look at this. If you are returning something YOU
bought WITHOUT a receipt then oh well. Thats your fault. You should
have kept up with it.

But if you are returning something that was GIVEN to you without a
receipt then you arent entitled to the balance. Thats fraud or just
plain theft.

You are making this FAR more difficult than it is. If you have receipt
no problems returning anything. And if you dont have a receipt then
you are at their mercy. They dont HAVE to return or exchange anything.
They do so as a service to you and you should appreciate what they are
willing to do. Gone are the days when the customer is allowed to run
the stores. Thanks goodness!!!

I want to take this time to post this story of a recent experience
returning something at Target.

It wasnt me but my mom. She had bought a radio/CD player for my nephew
and within a week it stopped working. She did have the receipt but she
did NOT have the packaging material. We know, from reading these
letters, that supposedly Target's return policy is very strict and she
probably wouldnt be able to get her money back and maybe not even an
exchange. Well, she took the radio and her receipt and off to the
service desk she went. A few minutes later she came away with her
money and a smile on her face. The lady running the desk was very
friendly and gave her NO problems with returning the radio even though
it was electronics, had been opened and used, and she didnt have the
box or anything else.

She said to make sure I let everyone know about this because they shop
at Target a LOT and have made many returns and have NEVER, EVER had
any kind of issue with it. So long as you are responsible and rational
then you arent going to have a problem.

That being said...I wanted to point out that there is some important
information missing. What did they do for you? You point out what they
wouldnt do for you but you didnt mention what really happend? Did they
offer to let you exchange it? Did they refuse you altogether? I am
guessing that they offered to let you exchange it for something of
equal or lesser value and that wasnt good enough for you.


by MA Loper Posted Thu October 5, 2006 @ 9:13 AM

The God's honest truth is that even in all that convoluted mess they
put you through, it's still actually a violation of Target's policy.

If you look at the sign that hangs over Guest Services, it says quite
prominently, "A receipt dated within 90 days is required for all
returns and exchanges." It's also printed on the back of every
receipt. (which, I realize doesn't help you in this case!)

Technically, they didn't have to give you anything at all. You had no
receipts, the items were most likely not purchased at that specific
store and it sounds like you were trying to return quite a few things
there without the receipts.

But the managers at each store didn't necessarily feel the policy as
stated, was necessarily fair, esp. in a case like yours where gifts
are involved and there is little chance of obtaining the receipt AND
it's clear the item came from Target. So they have the "unwritten"
rule where they will allowed limited returns without receipt.

By limiting the number of no receipt returns, they are trying to
reduce the losses the stores have to accept. Believe it or not, it
costs the store money when they hand you out merchandise without a

There are a lot of shady people out there who try and get over on
stores that way. I know this doesn't apply to you or your situation,
but there was a White House Employee who got busted bilking Target out
of nearly $4K in merchandise with fraudulent returns. They HAVE to
look out for their interests too.

People have been trying to "reason" with the LOD's and Target
corporate for years. They won't budge. Target makes good money, but
not the kind of margin WalMart makes, so they have to be so they have
to be a bit more stringent with their returns.

If your child is hard to buy for, or maybe the relatives are out of
town and don't know what he likes or what his sizes are, ask them to
send gift cards next time.

Kids LOVE to get gift cards & the Target cards are usually pretty fun
with all different types of designs, etc. That way he gets exactly
what he needs/wants and you don't have to hassle with receipt-less


Great Responses from everyone by AjaySM Thu October 5, 2006 @ 10:13 AM

Ajay. . . by MA Loper Thu October 5, 2006 @ 11:23 AM

More Clarification by GuestsSuck! Thu October 5, 2006 @ 3:00 PM

by APCO25guy Posted Thu October 5, 2006 @ 2:02 AM

Return policy is a business' PRIVELEGE not a RIGHT. Stores have
policies that allow returns with reciept as it is good business
practice, but they can declare all sales final and have no return
policy. Stores that had the most liberal return policies in the past
are either no longer in business or suffering. The big box retailers
like Target, WalMart and KMart/Sears have taken note of this.

You can thank all the losers who scam, scheme, shoplift and try to
return for cash/credit for these policies. Target is offering a
reasonable offer. They could do what many retailers now do and say
"sorry..no reciept no return, exchange or refunds".

Again, thanks to all the worthless people who abuse the system, honest
customers have fewer priveleges at all major retailers.


by Starlight22203 Posted Wed October 4, 2006 @ 11:36 PM

For eveyone who suggested she donate the items to charity...

How do you explain to a 4 year old why mommy has to take all his new
toys away?

With that said, I think your letter is very fair. I don't shop at
Target. No specific reason why, I just don't shop there. It's either
Walmart, Marc's or a Toy/Department store. The few times I have been
given gifts from Target and had to return them I was less than happy
about the situation. A few years ago I received a jewelry box for
Christmas and the glas was broke when I opened it. When I went to
exchange it they didn't have one that cost as much and they wanted me
to just forget the difference. And I'm sorry but some people
(especially older people) do get insulted if you tell them you would
like to exchange their gift. I know because my Godmother was offended
that I wanted to return something she bought one of my kids. The same
with my Grandmother... So when they ask what my kids want for
christmas or their birthday I give them a few ideas and tell them that
Wal-Mart has them and hope they take the suggestion...



SORRY! With the name Ajay, you are probably a man... by Starlight22203 Wed October 4, 2006 @ 11:38 PM

Good point... by Venice Thu October 5, 2006 @ 12:07 AM

Probably by Starlight22203 Thu October 5, 2006 @ 12:15 AM

toys for charity by Peregrina Thu October 5, 2006 @ 2:40 AM

... by Starlight22203 Thu October 5, 2006 @ 8:27 AM

um.... by mary jo Thu October 5, 2006 @ 10:06 AM

When children are learning to give to charity at church and school... by Starlight22203 Thu October 5, 2006 @ 11:43 AM

How do you explain to a 4 year old why mommy has to take all his new by mary jo Thu October 5, 2006 @ 9:49 AM

My brother, sister and I by Little Trooper Thu October 5, 2006 @ 11:17 AM

Thats true but... by mary jo Thu October 5, 2006 @ 11:29 AM

It does depend by Leanne L Thu October 5, 2006 @ 1:46 PM

Well of course there are always exceptions to the rule by mary jo Thu October 5, 2006 @ 6:28 PM

OMG by Leanne L Thu October 5, 2006 @ 7:59 PM
by Peregrina Posted Wed October 4, 2006 @ 11:14 PM

Good letter, Ajay, the only problem I have with it is that you tried
to 'reason' with the clerk and manager. That's like people who try to
'haggle' with me over prices. Sorry, like to help you, but I have to
obey the rules or loose my job. I like most of my customes, but if it
comes down to them or my job, my job wins. That's just personal
'plaint, though, this is a well-written letter.

Honestly, I don't see how Target's return policy is that restrictive.
Seems logical enough to me and I can see several ways of using it with
little or no angst or anger.

If you truly feel you are 'stuck' with something you cannot use, there
are plenty of charities and children's outreach programs that would be
happy to receive new clothes and toys.

by Contrary Posted Wed October 4, 2006 @ 10:37 PM

I not only thought that your letter was well written and reasonable, I
happen to agree with you. I still shop at Target (mostly because it's
right next door to where I work) but I will not buy gifts there, or
anything I may have to return, really.

As a result, Wally-World gets more of my money (way more, as I do my
grocery shopping there too).

I also think it's rather ridiculous that a thoughtful, well-written,
non-demanding letter gets attacked, albeit by only a few.

I don't think you came across as entitled or grasping, and I hope
Target listens to your lone voice in the wilderness.


Oh, I don't think Ajay is a lone voice by Venice Wed October 4, 2006 @ 11:46 PM

I agree... by Firebrat Tracy Thu October 5, 2006 @ 8:48 AM

Let's just say by GuestsSuck! Thu October 5, 2006 @ 2:28 PM

by Gerald R Posted Wed October 4, 2006 @ 10:03 PM

"My message was not intended to indicate that I am special and
something special needs to be done for me. So I apologize if it came
across that way."

No, it didn't come across that way. Yours was the best written letter
that I've seen on the topic of Target's refund/exhchange policy
without a receipt.

Although I do understand Target's policy it seems that a customer DOES
have to jump through too many hoops.


by GuestsSuck! Posted Wed October 4, 2006 @ 3:30 PM

What would you rather do: follow these "strange" exchange policy OR
follow the written policy where it says you NEED a receipt to do

If you don't like the no-receipt exchange policy, then they can always
go by what is written. A receipt dated within 90 days is required for
all returns and exchanges. Don't have the receipt? Sorry, they
technically don't have to do anything for you.

It makes perfect sense. Without a receipt, how are they to know you
even purchased it? Who's to say it was stolen? I'm not saying you
stole it, but without a receipt, you have no proof of purchase.

Ask for the receipts/gift receipts. Just say the item was defective to
the gift giver and that you want to exchange it, but need the receipt.

It's not Target's fault your relatives/friends didn't give gift
receipts. Your anger should be placed on them because face it, if they
had given you receipts, you wouldn't have even known about this
policy, and you would "still be shopping at Target."

PS On your #1 there, it's not a calendar year, it's a year starting
from your first no-receipt return. So let's say you did the two today,
you wouldn't be able to do another one until October 4, 2007.

And the question I pose to everyone with this gripe: If I, along with
everyone else, have to follow this policy, why shouldn't you?


Clarifications by AjaySM Wed October 4, 2006 @ 4:21 PM

You responded very well, Ajay by RedheadWGlasses Wed October 4, 2006 @ 8:05 PM

I agree with Red... by Venice Thu October 5, 2006 @ 12:04 AM

Very Classy reply-------Ajay by rxgirl Thu October 5, 2006 @ 12:34 AM

Excellent reply! by Firebrat Tracy Thu October 5, 2006 @ 8:50 AM

Some may be due to the amount and people don't want to share how much they spent for the gift, by mary jo Thu October 5, 2006 @ 10:22 AM

Nope - they are blank... by Firebrat Tracy Thu October 5, 2006 @ 10:33 AM

by Firebrat Tracy Posted Wed October 4, 2006 @ 2:54 PM

While I understand that you're frustrated, this has been Targets
policy for quite awhile.

It's written all over their receipts and there is a huge sign at the
customer service desk and also at registers.

Therefore, it's up to the gift-givers to be sure to include gift
receipts with their presents. It never fails to amaze me how many
people fail to do this, especially when shopping at at a place that is
strict about it, like Target.

The CSR and the manager have to stick to the policies, even if they
don't agree with them. If they bent the rules for you, they'd
inevitably have someone find out and get upset because the rules
weren't bent for them too. It's a no-win situation, but, ultimately,
we can thank our fellow shoppers for this rule. Leniency with returns
has been ruined by a few scam artists, and now we *all* are paying the


Especially since... by mary jo Thu October 5, 2006 @ 10:24 AM

by rxgirl Posted Wed October 4, 2006 @ 1:50 PM

You are not special, you should just be thankful that they would let
you even exchange without a receipt. There are too many people out
there that scam retailers and as a result the honest people have to
deal with more stringent return policies. Targets registers are
programmed in such a way that it is hard if not impossible to be
overriden no matter how much you try "reasoning with the CSR and
Manager)..our commenter here GUESTSSUCK wil be along shortly with the
intricate details--she works at Target and can speak to their poicy
better than I can.

I am sorry that you feel ENTITLED to something other than the remedy
offered you by Target on that day. I am not sure why you feel this
way, why should they make an exception for you and not for the many
other customers in your situation everyday? Also without a receipt
there really is no way of knowing what they item was originally
purchased for, could have been more or less than it is currently
selling for. They also have no way of knowing how long ago it was
purchased even though you can tell them a time frame. Unfortunately
just because you may be an honest person, some people are not and
these policies are in place to not only protect Target but to also
protect your pocket book down the road.


ENTITLED? hehe by Starlight22203 Fri October 6, 2006 @ 3:52 PM

Me too (lazy).....it is kind of like TickyTack calling shenanigans by rxgirl Sat October 7, 2006 @ 12:24 AM
by p d Posted Wed October 4, 2006 @ 1:05 PM

Why don't you just ask the gift givers for the receipt? If they can't
give it to you for whatever reason couldn't they go with you to the
store with the receipt?

If all else fails and you get "stuck" with the gifts there are
shelters or children's hopsitals you can donate the items to.


I agree.... this usually works..... by Gino Version 1.2 Wed October 4, 2006 @ 9:10 PM

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