Bed Bath & Beyond ends its super-generous return policy

Bed Bath & Beyond is changing its beloved return policy April 20, meaning customers will no longer be able to get full store credit without a receipt. Even with the change, Bed Bath & Beyond still has one of the best return policies out there. 

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff/File
The doorman from Bed, Bath & Beyond helps customers load their purchases into their car on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York. Photo by Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor

Bed Bath & Beyond has long been known for its extremely generous return policy. Even without a receipt, customers could frequently get full store credit for returns, even on items that had been used for years or weren't sold at that particular retail location.

Although that policy bagged them many loyal fans (like Broad City's Abbi), it's changing on April 20. After that date, most customers without a receipt will only be able to get an exchange or a store credit for 80% of the current selling price.

There's No Change to the Policy If You Have a Receipt

It should be noted that things aren't changing for customers with receipts; they can still receive an exchange or full refund, with no time limit mentioned. Customers with gift receipts can choose from an exchange or store credit for the amount spent.

Even some customers without a receipt can still bag the full value. If the purchase was made in the past year with a credit card or from your gift registry, Bed Bath & Beyond can look up the purchase in their records and treat this as a receipt.

Make Your Returns Before April 20

It's worth claiming the older, more robust return policy while you can if you have items you're not sure you want to hold on to. If you've been waffling over whether that china you registered for is really "you," or uncertain about what you're going to do with that baby changing table that was less convenient than expected, you've got a little time before the deadline to get the best value back. (And spend it on something you really want!)

How Does Their New Policy Stack Up?

The new return policy is still a good deal for customers who lack receipts — a store credit for 80% of the value is far better than a refusal to process the return at all. The lack of time limits and willingness to accept items without receipts still places it among the best return policies around.

Here are a few that may now outshine it:

  • L.L.Bean's Guaranteed to Last program, which will replace or offer the current selling price for any item at anytime. (Even heavily damaged items are fair game if they are clean.)
  • Kohl's Hassle-Free Returns policy puts no time restrictions on items returned with a receipt, and offers exchanges or merchandise credits (based on the lowest price within the last 13 weeks) without a receipt.
  • Macy's also places no time limit on returns made with receipt, and will give store credit for the item's lowest selling price in the past 180 days if you have no receipt.
  • Costco places no time limit on returns for most items and will try to process returns even if you don't have a receipt. Electronics purchases, however (televisions, projectors, cameras, etc.) have a 90-day limit.

Are you a loyal Bed Bath & Beyond customer? How do you feel about this change? Do you have a beloved return policy elsewhere we didn't mention? 

Erin Coduti is a contributor to DealNews, where this article first appeared.  

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