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Walmart and Target Will Let You Keep Your Holiday Returns—Will More Stores Follow?

More and more retailers will give you a refund without asking for anything in return.

Returning holiday gifts may be a whole lot easier this year, as more and more stores continue to adopt "returnless" (or "keep it") policies. Yes, that's exactly what it sounds like: Shoppers who are not satisfied with products can keep their returns while also getting a refund for the purchase. The returnless method sounds too good to be true—you're essentially getting paid for not taking something back—but experts say policies like these are just as beneficial for retailers as they are for consumers.

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"Retailers have a threshold for returns. Usually returns are very, very costly, and because retailers don't want to lose money on those returns they definitely allow customers to keep certain items," goTRG president and CEO Sender Shamiss explained during an appearance on CNBC's Squawk Box.

"Of course, there's a lot of criteria around that," Shamiss added. "For the most part, retailers allow customers to keep returns that are not profitable to take back," which typically cost under "$20 or so," he noted.

Shamiss' goTRG surveyed over 500 U.S.-based retailers and found that 59 percent are implementing "keep it" policies this holiday season—that's a 26 percent increase from 2022. Walmart, Target, Amazon, Wayfair, Chewy, Kohl's, and Shein, are among those offering returnless refunds, per Navar.

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Terms and conditions can vary by retailer, but price seems to be the biggest qualifier for an item's eligibility for returnless policies. More specifically, retailers are more inclined to let customers keep items whose shipping and processing costs near or exceed their market value.

In goTRG's "Returns Report: 2023 Holiday Predictions" report, 27 percent of surveyed retailers said returns $20 or less meet eligibility. Many retailers—21 percent to be exact—said they would refund and allow customers to keep returns costing up to $30.

As expected, the more expensive the return, the less likely retailers are to bend the rules. However, 14 percent said they would accept items priced up to $50 for returnless policies.

"This strategy not only curtails logistical expenses but also bolsters customer loyalty and trust," goTRG said of the "keep it" strategy.

As you wrap up your holiday shopping, check to see if your local retailer offers a returnless policy—it could make your loved ones' potential returns that much easier.

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Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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