return policiesBuyer’s remorse! If you miss the return window written out in a store’s return policy, there is another way to get your money back for unwanted shopping purchases. Credit cards offer return protection.

Store return policies

Returns are part of shopping. You try the item on in the store and it looks good. You get home, and you don’t like the clothing as much.

It happens with clothing and other household purchases.

Return policies give you time to make sense of your impulse buy. Do you really need that item.

However, often I go to return an item and can’t find my receipt.

Stores that offer digital or e-receipts, make returns easy.

Even with a receipt, the store’s return policy may limit your return, if you missed the return window.

If that’s the case, your credit card may be your secret weapon in dealing with a return policy that’s not that great.

money back returnsCredit card return protection

American Express, Chase, Citi Card and other credit card companies offer “Return Protection.”

The programs vary, but generally enhance the store’s return policy.

For example, with Chase Return Protection, you get reimbursed for a product you purchased that the retailer won’t return. You have to purchase the item with an eligible Chase card.

Now, to the fine print. The credit card protects your return for 90 days.

While 90 days is standard for many return policies, there are some stores whose return policy is less than 90 days.

With Chase, items up to $250 are eligible, up to a $1,000 maximum per year. Again, check with your credit card as the limits do vary.

How to organize your receipts and save money 

What do stores know about your return habits?

Fine print

There are some catches to the program like you have to still have the receipt from the store and the product must be in new condition.

Also, there is a long list of exclusions.

The following items are not included: animals, living plants, cars, boats, planes, trailers, motorized vehicles, computer software, medical equipment, jewelry, art, collectibles, formal attire and accessories, damaged and non-working items, tickets, travelers checks, gift cards, seasonal items, or products for your home like garage doors or ceiling fans.

Return fraud is a big problem in the industry, so the list of exclusions is long.

You mail back the product to the credit card company to get a refund for the purchase price.

The AmEx return protection program offers protection up to $300 per item with a $1000 yearly cap.

Check with your credit card company to make sure these protections are included with your card. Often, you just have to search for your card online and the benefits terms and conditions to see all the programs the credit card has to offer.