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Return Policy Template

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Return Policy Template

Updated September 25, 2023

A return policy outlines a company’s terms and conditions for customers wanting to return a purchased item for a refund. Some common terms addressed in a return policy include the accepted condition of the merchandise, the timeframe for returning a product, and instructions on initiating a return.

Is a Return Policy required?

If a store does not accept returns, some States require that it is disclosed to customers before a sale.

Table of Contents

How to Write a Return Policy (6 steps)

  1. Are Returns Accepted?
  2. Refundable vs Non-Refundable Items
  3. Timeframe for Accepted Returns
  4. A Returned Item’s Condition
  5. The Refund Process
  6. Choosing Refund Options

1. Whether Returns are Accepted

In most states, merchants are not required to accept returns of non-defective items as long as this “no return” policy is clearly stated or presented to the customer before purchase.

2. Refundable vs. Non-Refundable Items

It should specify which types of merchandise are refundable or non-refundable. For example, a store may allow a customer to return an item if it is not perishable or can be hygienically compromised. Similarly, a retailer may allow returns for all items except those marked as “final sale”.

3. Timeframe for Accepted Returns

This answers how long a customer has from the date of purchase (or date of delivery for online purchases) to return the product. This timeframe can vary widely from merchant to merchant.
For example, Target has a 90-day return policy[1] for most items, while Home Depot offers a 1-year return policy[2] to return an expired plant for a full refund as long as the original receipt is presented.

4. A Returned Item’s Condition

This section specifies what condition the item must be in when returned. While some retailers strictly accept unused items, some allow lightly used items to be returned if other conditions are met. Other things to note in this section are whether the item must be in its original packaging when returned and the return policy for defective items.

5. The Refund Process

This provides a breakdown of what the customer must do to return an item. For in-store returns, this may include whether the customer must present the original receipt. For online purchases, it should provide a mailing address for the customer to return the item and whether they must cover the shipping cost.

6. Choosing Refund Options

It should be mentioned how a refund is returned, such as:

  • Cash refunds (or credit back to a card);
  • Store credit; or
  • Exchange for equal or lesser goods.

State Requirements

Display of a return policy and refund requirements by State:

State Return Policy Required?
 Alabama No
 Alaska No
 Arizona No
 Arkansas No
 California Yes* *If there are any restrictions on returns, including restocking fees, it must be shown to customers at the time of purchase. If not, a consumer can return the goods for a full refund within 30 days of purchase. Civil Code §§ 1723-1725
 Colorado No
Connecticut No Retailers must adhere to the terms mentioned in any return policy. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-110b
 Delaware Yes* *For any “assistive technology device” for devices providing functions to help with disabilities, the following must be disclosed in 10-point font and in capital letters:


§ 5003B
 Florida Yes* *Merchants must post their return policy if they don’t offer refunds or are limited in any way. Otherwise, customers have 7 days to return the merchandise. Fla. Stat. § 501.142
 Georgia No
 Hawaii Yes* *If a retailer does not accept a return within 60 days of purchase, such limitation must be made to a customer before purchase. HRS § 481B-5.5
 Idaho Yes* *For new vehicle purchases only. § 48-903
 Illinois Yes* *Only for the sale of pre-paid calling cards. 815 ILCS 505/2TT
 Indiana Yes* For health spa services only. A copy of a consumer’s cancellation rights, within 3 days of payment, must be mentioned when signing any contract. IC 24-5-7-5
 Iowa Yes* *A consumer must be given the right to cancel for door-to-door sales, buying clubs, funeral services, social referral services, business opportunities, membership campground contracts, exercise clubs, and timeshares. Iowa Attorney General
 Kansas Yes* *A consumer of telemarketing sales is given the right to return an item within 7 days. § 50-673
 Kentucky No
 Louisiana No
 Maine No Maine State Legislature
 Maryland Yes Stores must post a return policy on the wall, merchandise, or on a receipt. If no policy is mentioned, returns can be made within a “reasonable” time period. Maryland Attorney General (FAQ)
 Massachusetts Yes* *To clearly and conspicuously disclose to a buyer before the consummation of
a transaction, the exact nature and extent of the seller’s refund, return, or cancellation policy.
940 CMR 3.13
 Michigan No
 Minnesota Yes* *If a merchant does not offer cash refunds, it must be mentioned in a return policy and displayed clearly and conspicuously on the premises in 14-point font. Minn. Stat. § 325F.80 (Subd. 3)
 Mississippi Yes* *For life insurance contracts, within 10 days of delivery of the contract, a purchaser has the right to cancel.

*For Medicare supplement policies or certificates must have a notice stating the purchaser has 30 days to return if not satisfied for any reason.

§ 83-7-51, § 83-9-111
 Missouri No
 Montana No
 Nebraska Yes* *For telephone sales, a refund policy is required, and the consumer can return a product within 5 days of receiving or hearing the return policy. If a seller requests a refund, it must be paid within 30 days of the refund request. § 86-225
 Nevada No For telephone sales, a consumer has the right to return goods within 14 after receipt.

NRS 599B.190

 New Hampshire Yes* *Credit repair services must provide the disclosure of a refund policy in at least 10-point font, in bold, above the signature line in a contract. Consumer Sourcebook – Credit Repair
 New Jersey Yes Refund policies are required to be displayed by merchants if the refund policy is 20 days or less. NJ Attorney General – Division of Consumer Affairs
 New Mexico No
 New York Yes A merchant is required to post a refund policy. If not, a buyer can return a product within 30 days. Dept. of State – Refunds, Rebates, and Rainchecks
 North Carolina No
 North Dakota No For sales made separate from a permanent place of business and over $25, merchants must provide a refund for 3 days following purchases (if over 65 years old, 15 days for a refund).
 Ohio No If a merchant has a refund policy, it must be displayed in a conspicuous place. Ohio Attorney General – Refund Policies and Restcoking Fees
 Oklahoma No
 Oregon No ORC Ann. 1345.03
 Pennsylvania Yes* *Door-to-door salespeople and gym memberships must give a refund policy, and the customer has at least 3 days to return. Pennsylvania Attorney General – Your Right to Rescind
 Rhode Island Yes It is required for merchants to display a return policy in a conspicuous place. If not, the customer has 10 days to return the item for a refund. R.I. Gen. Laws § 6-27-9
 South Carolina No For door-to-door salespeople of purchases over $25, a return policy must be disclosed, with a customer having 3 days to cancel and obtain a refund. South Carolina BAR – Consumers right to cancel door-to-door sales contracts
 South Dakota No For door-to-door salespeople of purchases over $25, a return policy must be disclosed, with a customer having 3 days to cancel and obtain a refund. South Dakota Consumer Protection – Door-to-Door Sales
 Tennessee Yes* For door-to-door sales, it should read the following on any purchase: A title of “BUYER’S RIGHT TO CANCEL” and content of “If this agreement was solicited at your residence and you do not want the goods or services, you may cancel this agreement by mailing a notice to the seller. The notice must say that you do not want the goods or services and must be mailed before twelve o’clock midnight (12:00) of the third business day after you sign this agreement. The notice must be mailed to: (insert name and mailing address of seller).”
 Texas No For door-to-door sales of more than $25, a customer has 3 days to cancel and obtain a refund. If a refund is requested, it cannot take more than 10 days for the customer to receive it. Door-to-Door Sales & 3-Day Right of Rescission
 Utah Yes* For door-to-door sales of more than $25, a customer must be given the following notice: “You, the Buyer, May Cancel This Transaction At Any Time Prior to Midnight of the Third Business Day (or Time Period Reflecting the Supplier’s Cancellation Policy But Not Less Than Three Business Days) After the Date of This Transaction or Receipt of The Product, Whichever is Later.”
 Vermont Yes* *For door-to-door sales of more than $25, a “Notice of Cancellation” must be given to customers. 9 V.S.A. § 2454
 Virginia Yes Merchants that do not offer returns within 20 days of purchase must have a refund policy displayed in a conspicuous area. Virginia Consumer Services Division – Refunds and Exchanges
 Washington No For a retail transaction away from a usual place of business and more than $25, a customer has 3 days to obtain a refund. Washington Attorney General – Refund rights on door-to-door sales, RCW 63.14.154
West Virginia No
 Wisconsin No
 Wyoming No

Implied Warranty

All states have adopted some variation of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), including a provision (§ 2-314) that most goods have an unspoken guarantee that they will be functional after the purchase. This specifically applies to defective items and items that are damaged when received by the customer. The exact language of this provision and return policy for applicable items may differ from state to state.


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[NAME OF RETAILER] wants you to be completely satisfied with your purchase. If for any reason you are not satisfied, we will gladly accept returns for refund or merchandise credit under the following terms and conditions:

1. ITEM CONDITION. Unless an item is being returned because it was damaged or defective upon receipt, item(s) to be returned (select one):

must be in new, unused, and saleable condition with tags attached.
may be “open box” but must be complete and all original packaging intact.
may be in any condition

2. FORM OF PAYMENT. For returned items, refunds will be issued (select one):

in the original form of payment.
as store credit only.

3. EXCLUDED ITEMS. All items, with the exception of the following, are eligible for return (select those that apply):

Clearance Items
Final sale Items
Special-order items
Custom-made products
Gift cards

4. IN-STORE RETURNS. Returns are accepted within [NUMBER] days of the original purchase with a valid receipt or proof of purchase.

5. ONLINE RETURNS. For items purchased online, returns are accepted within [NUMBER] days of the delivery date. To initiate a return, please contact us at [WEB ADDRESS OR LINK] or email [EMAIL] to obtain a return authorization. Please include your original order number and reason for the return. Returns that are shipped without authorization may not be accepted. Please allow up to [NUMBER] business days for your refund to be processed once your return is received.

6. RETURN SHIPPING. Return authorization for items shipped in error, or items that are being returned because they are defective or damaged, will include a pre-paid shipping label. Return shipping on items that are being returned for other reasons will be (select one):

paid for by the customer.
paid for by [NAME OF RETAILER].

7. RESTOCKING FEE. (select one)

Restocking fees are not charged by this retailer.
Except for items that are returned for being damaged or defective or items that were shipped in error, at the retailer’s discretion, to cover the cost of inspecting, repackaging, and restocking items, a restocking fee of [PERCENT]% (or the maximum amount permitted by state law, whichever is less) may be assessed for the following items or types of items: [ITEMS]



If you have any questions about this return policy, please contact us at: