It’s that time of the year, with the 2019 Holiday season upon us and we are just thrilled to go through and unwrap all of our presents. But what are you supposed to do if one of the Apple products you had been wishing for comes in defective?
- 1 Brick and Mortar stores
- 2 Cell Phone Carriers
- 3 Online Retailers
- 4 Conclusion
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Or maybe you want to swap those regular AirPods for the new and fancy AirPods Pro? Well, the first step to take is to get the gift receipt, and then you’ll have to figure out where to go to return them. We have compiled a list of the most popular online and in-person stores so you can figure out how to return those Apple products.
Brick and Mortar stores
If you are lucky enough to be able to go to a “brick and mortar” store, this will likely be the quickest way to get your product returned or exchanged.
As has been the tradition for a few years, Apple unveiled its new “Holiday Return Policy” which started on November 15th. If an item was purchased through Apple’s Online Store between November 15th and December 25th, the product can be returned through January 8th.
If you can’t make it to an Apple Store, here is what you’ll need to do:
- Visit Apple’s Your Account page, and select Return a Gift
- Enter the Serial number or Order number of the item you are returning
- If using the order number, provide the UPC number found on the package
- Provide the contact information, and select Continue
- Follow the on-screen prompts and then select Print Return Label
If the purchase was made before 11/15 or after 12/25, then you are subject to the standard 14-day return policy.
There are many more Best Buy locations than Apple Stores, so it will be easier to find a Best Buy to return your product. If you, or a family member, are a Best Buy Elite or Elite Plus, member, you are provided with some extra benefits.
Provided that the product was purchased in either November or December, you have until January 14th to return it. However, there are a few exceptions:
- Cell Phones
- Cellular Tablets
- Cellular Wearables
- AppleCare Monthly Plans
- Major Appliances (Washers, Refrigerators, etc.)
As for the Best Buy Elite or Elite Plus members, if the product was purchased between November 1st and December 31st, then you have a bit longer. Elite members will have up to 30 days from the date that the gift was received. Elite Plus members have up to 45 days from the date that the gift was received.
It’s difficult to go through a town and not be able to find a Walmart nearby. In fact, Walmart has one of the best return policies for the 2019 Holiday season. Here’s how it breaks down:
- 14-day standard return window = Extended to January 10th
- 30-day standard return window = Extended to January 25th
- 90-day standard return window = No Change
As for what qualifies for the different return windows, the options are pretty simple. If you received a Prepaid or Post-paid (contract) iPhone, then you will have up until January 10th.
What makes this even better for both the gifter and the giftee, is the fact that items purchased between October 24th and December 25th are covered. This makes life easier for those who started Holiday shopping earlier than others.
Just like with Walmart, Target locations can be found everywhere, and the retailer offers a great return policy. Provided that the item was purchased within 90-days of receiving it, you can return it to Target and get a refund or exchange. The catch here is that the item must be unopened or you may receive a partial refund.
When it comes to Office Depot, the retailer requires that you have a gift receipt or the original receipt. In that event, you have until January 14th to return the products. The great thing here is that this return policy is valid for items purchased between October 1st and December 24th.
Any gift purchased between November 1st and December 24th falls into the category for the Staples Holiday Return Policy. This means that you have until January 5th or 14-days from the date of purchase, whichever is longer.
Surprisingly, Micro Center does not have a specialized holiday return policy for its items. Instead, you’ll need to rely on the standard return policy of 30-days from the date of purchase. This is a bit of a downer, but 30-days as a standard is better than the 14-days offered by others.
Primarily found in California and Texas, Fry’s is one of the more popular electronic retailers for the West Coast. Purchases made between November 29th and December 24th are eligible to be returned until January 14th, 2020.
This should come as no surprise, and for obvious reasons, but Costco does not offer a holiday return policy. That is because every purchase made from the wholesale retailer is eligible to be returned up to 90-days from the date of purchase.
BJ’s Wholesale Club
BJ’s Wholesale Club follows the same process and requirements as Costco, offering a 90-day return window for computers and electronics. However, you must ensure that all of the accessories are still included in the event that the item was opened.
Cell Phone Carriers
Carriers as a whole are a little bit trickier, as there are usually contracts and restocking fees to deal with. But for the holidays, some of these carriers make it easier to return products by extending the return windows.
Verizon’s Holiday Return Policy states that any purchases made between November 28th and December 31st can be returned or exchanged until January 15th. This is good for both devices and accessories, however, there is a restocking fee attached. If returning or exchanging devices, you must have all of the included accessories and will have to pay a $50 restocking fee, unless you live in Hawaii.
AT&T does not offer any special return policy for the 2019 Holiday Season. Instead, you will have up to 30-days from the date of shipment if the device was ordered online. For those who purchased devices in-store, you will have up to 14-days from the date of purchase to make the return. As for the restocking fee, AT&T charges up to $35 per device if it is returned or exchanged.
Sprint has been trying to do things to become even more “customer-focused” in light of its 4th place ranking. The company unveiled the new Total Satisfaction Guarantee, giving users 30-days to try out Sprint’s service and if you are unsatisfied, the enter charges will be refunded.
If you are already a Sprint subscriber, you have 30-days from the date of purchase and will be charged $45 for a restocking fee. However, if you are returning the device unopened and un-activated, that fee could be waived.
Surprisingly, the “UnCarrier” does not offer an extended holiday return policy of any kind. Instead, you will have up to 14-days from the date of purchase or from the lease date on the contract to exchange or return the products. As for a restocking fee, the fee is $75 for connected tablets and $50 for smartphones or connected wearables.
Much shopping is done online, especially in the last few years with Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales starting earlier than ever. That means you will be at the mercy of some of the retailers and have to follow some more strict rules or processes.
Any item shipped by Amazon.com between November 1st and December 31st can be returned for a full refund until January 31st. Getting the return process started is easy, as you will just need to login to Amazon’s website, hit the Returns & Refunds button, and follow the on-screen prompts. Then, the credit will be issued back to you and you can use it to purchase another device.
In some cases, there are retailers that have a storefront on Amazon but don’t ship through Amazon’s resources. For those instances, you can still follow the above steps, but the return policy may vary depending upon the retailer.
eBay is the trickiest retailer to navigate when it comes to returns because the website acts as a storefront for different “sellers”. This means you are at the mercy of the seller that the item was purchased from, and that return policy could vary. However, for all purchases, the seller is required to resolve any issues within 3-days or eBay will step-in and review the case.
Perhaps the best return policy on this list comes from the folks at B&H Photo. The company extended its return policy for the holidays on purchases made between November 1st, 2019 and January 1st, 2020. Any products purchased between those dates can be returned or exchanged until February 1st, 2020 or 30-days from the date of purchase (whichever is longer).
In order to initiate the return or exchange, you can do so online, over the phone, or through B&H’s Live Chat functionality. You will be required to fill out a Return Form, and then have it shipped back with the proper return label.
Adorama’s return policy states that you have 30-days after the purchase to return the products for a full refund, minus shipping charges. The devices/products must have all of the original packaging, materials and accessories. For those enrolled in Adorama’s “VIP360” membership, you will have up to 60-days from the date of purchase to return products or devices.
The Holiday Season is always a hectic time of the year, and it doesn’t really calm down until well into the next year. This is because family’s don’t celebrate the holidays all at the same time due to traveling or other plans.
However, when you finally unwrap those presents and need to get something exchanged, retailers tend to go above and beyond to make this process painless. While not all retailers are as great as Apple or B&H, some still do more than you would expect.
Sound off in the comments and let us know what you are looking forward to getting for the 2019 Holidays.
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.