Treat Your Product Purchase Receipts Like Money
Don’t assume that return policies in Canada are there to protect the consumer at all times with or without a receipt.
Just because you purchase an item online, at a store or even a garage sale doesn’t mean that you are entitled to return it.
In Canada, no law states that a seller must offer a return for a product purchased from a buyer.
What does this mean for Canadian consumers?
What this means is using any of the following reasons to return a product may offer you nothing in return.
- Decided that you could not afford it
- The item doesn’t fit properly
- I don’t like the color or look of the item
- Another store has it on sale for cheaper
A big reason any store offers refund or return policies is that they want customers to return and spend their money.
Keeping customers happy to know that they can return a product hassle free is a big deal for consumers.
I know I’d rather go to a store where you can return a product than one that you cannot.
For example, if you purchase an item at the Goodwill store you cannot return it as it’s final sale.
If you buy something at Value Village you cannot get your money back only an in-store credit to be used that day.
Learning How To Shop
When I moved to Canada you wouldn’t catch me trying to return anything because it was something I didn’t do back home.
It was Mrs. CBB who turned me into a consumer with purchase power as well as knowledgeable about various return policies.
Since I was going to be the principal shopper for our household as my wife was working I needed to know how to shop.
Shopping seems pretty straightforward but you’d be surprised how many don’t know the in’s and outs of return policies.
It’s not until something goes wrong that many consumers hit the wall because they find out they are SOL, in other words, out of luck.
How To Find Store Return Policies
Typically you will find a store’s return policies located:
- online at the store website
- near the cash register
- customer service counter
- back of a receipt
- on a wall or floor display
If all else fails and you are verbally told about a return policy have them give that to you in writing on your receipt.
Keep in mind that these return policies could change based on a sale or promotion the store is having.
For example, a store may offer a deeply discounted product with a no return or refund policy.
Return Policies and Receipt Keeping
One of the number one reasons a consumer finds themselves with a product they can’t use has to do with receipts.
The other is not reading return policies from start to finish so they understand what they spending their money on.
There have been numerous times I’ve walked out of Home Depot or even the mall to find receipts scattered on the ground.
I have to ask myself why a piece of paper that holds the key to a product return would be thrown away.
Fair enough some people lose their receipt because it falls out of their hands, pockets, or the bag they carry.
Often my guess is that the piece of paper that holds the key to their product return is too heavy to hold.
Number one littering is a pet peeve of mine and secondly, I don’t fancy arguing with management over something I had control over.
It’s not a big deal to ask for a receipt, hang on to the receipt, and to file any receipts month by month at home.
Our monthly budgeting regime in the CBB house includes a folder where we put any product receipts.
We ask for all receipts for money that we spend for budgeting purchases but even if that wasn’t our choice of financial management we’d still ask.
Why do you ask?
Why wouldn’t you should be the question?
- Budgeting purposes
- Return the product if needed
A few seconds of your time may save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars as one CBB nearly found out.
An error on her part almost cost a $300 restocking fee at a local Rona store and she wanted to let us know.
Below is the portion of their invoice that was not signed upon delivery nor communicated to them.
I removed the product description above to protect their privacy as requested.
Return Policies and Consumer Awareness
We are completing a home renovation in Ontario and purchase 80% of our products from a small town Rona with no local competition.
The reason we spend so much money there is that it makes sense for us as delivery costs can be expensive.
This particular Rona is independent which I did not know until we ran into a problem with a product we purchased.
We purchased the product online and when it was delivered we realized that it was not the right item we needed.
Assuming that it would fall under the store’s refund policy was a bad assumption on our part.
When I contacted the store I was told that it would cost a 15% restocking fee to have the product returned.
That translated to a whopping $300 for us to return a product that would not work for our project.
I had never heard of a restocking fee and was not informed about this before purchasing the item online.
The product was still brand new in the box as we had not opened it and the location had them in stock.
When I called Rona Head Office I was told that individually owned store owners can do whatever they want.
That kind of hit me hard as a consumer because it was not what I had expected to hear.
After reading the receipt we noticed that it had said no refund but the customer has to sign off.
That didn’t happen as the driver handed us the receipt and went on his merry way with no signature from us.
The reason that we were given by the owner was that because of Covid-19 he did not ask for a signature.
However, it clearly states that we were to sign the invoice which means we agree to the no refund policy.
I returned to the Rona website to read their return policy and round that we meet all of the criteria to get a refund.
So, that statement to consumers suggests that a Rona store owner can do what they want and how they want at any time.
It essentially trumps all of the above return policies information for consumers that shop at Rona.
I guess it’s really not a no-hassle return policy after all but I did miss the “Some conditions apply” part.
That’s the “exceptions” part highlighted below.
RONA RETURN POLICY Hassle-Free Returns :If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with your product, return it in the 90 days following your purchase, in its original condition and packaging with your original receipt for a refund, exchange or store credit. Some exceptions and conditions apply*.See the Appliances section to learn more about the returns and refunds policies of appliances.
With the original sales receipt
The merchandise will be refunded by the original method of payment.
Without the original sales receipt
Merchandise without the original sales receipt or not in its original packaging may be accepted at RONA Inc’s discretion. In such an event, the lowest system price will be refunded as a store credit/gift card.
Your name, address and phone number may be required by RONA Inc., as well as a valid government identification, prior to accepting merchandise for return without a receipt only.*Exceptions:
- There are no returns on tinted paint or stain, products that have been cut to length, modified or customized in any way, special order products, and certain products for hygienic reasons (e.g. toilet seats, masks, gloves, etc.).
- Your local store may refuse a return for items purchased at another RONA Inc. banner that it does not carry in its regular product selection.
- Gift cards, gift certificates and store credits cannot be exchanged or returned for cash or credit.
- There are no returns on used power equipment (including but not limited to lawnmowers, trimmers, snowblowers, etc.)
- Damaged or defective products are subject to the legal or manufacturer’s warranty, as applicable.
Notwithstanding this Return Policy, RONA Inc. reserves the right to limit or refuse a return for a reason not stated above. This Return Policy may be modified at any time without notice.
After calling other Rona stores two of them said they rarely charge a restocking fee if they have the product in stock.
At the time the store we bought our items at did have the product in stock as I had checked online.
Well, I guess the point of this email was to see if you were aware of what a restocking fee was in Canada.
I also wanted to make sure that shoppers are mindful of always reading return policies and the “exceptions policy”.
Big or small if you spend your money and assume to get a return as I did, it may not happen.
Luckily, I contacted a Rona corporate store in a larger city and they are taking the product back for us.
The store is out of the way for us but it won’t cost us $300 in gas to return it.
This is a mistake I won’t make again because I’ll be asking questions before I buy it if I’m not 100% sure.
At the same time, it would be nice if consumers are informed on the Rona website in detail as Home Depot does with its customers.
Some Special Order returns are subject to a 15% restocking fee. Cancellations may also be subject to a 15% restocking fee. See the Special Services Desk for details. – Home Depot Canada
Types Of Return Policies In Canada
Another thing to consider is that many stores in Canada have revised their store return policy temporarily in light of Covid-19.
For example, Walmart Canada has made temporary changes.
Yes. As the COVID-19 situation continues to change, we’re taking action to better serve you and our associates. We’ve temporarily updated our Return Policy, effective immediately.
- Any item purchased before March 14 is eligible for a 30-day extension in addition to our regular return window.
- Bulk returns will not be accepted (i.e. more than three of the same item).
- Select items will now be considered final sale if purchased after March 20, including wearables, ear/headphones, mattresses, and sleeping bags.
- Please read the temporary return policy updates that are also in effect for Third Party items purchased on Walmart.ca.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you for your understanding during this time!
1. No Return Allowed
This is straight-forward and one of those return policies that you DO want to be aware of.
It simply means that whatever you purchase from the seller is final sale and there are no refunds, returns, or exchanges.
2. Zero Returns Or Exchange On Certain Products
Personal goods such as bathing suits, undergarments, and earings may be subject to a store’s no return policy.
There are always going to be exceptions to the rules when you read return policies so read them in full.
For example, Home Depot will not return or exchange any major appliances.
3. Returns No Receipt
Some stores will allow consumers to return products with no receipts provided that they sell the product.
Walmart for example will allow returns on certain products without a receipt but you will get an in-store gift card.
This is at their discretion as it is for any store that allows returns with no receipts.
4. Specific Product Refund Policies With A Receipt
These are the exceptions to the rule for return policies that you need to be aware of.
As you’ll notice from the examples on this blog post that most return policies will have the exceptions to the rule at the bottom.
This means you can return the item with a receipt however you still need to meet these exceptions.
The policy may also state that the product must be unused, with tags and in the original packaging.
5. Product Return With A Receipt
The product must be returned to the store with a receipt to receive a full refund of the product.
Some stores only allow you to get the current price of the product if it is past the return policy terms and conditions.
For example, a customer can return the product for a full refund within 7 days and thereafter only get the current sale price.
6. Restocking Fees
Stores are entitled to charge a restocking fee in Canada if they choose. A typical restocking fee is 15% of the purchase cost.
7. Product Exchange Only
When you purchase a product under this provision it means the store will only allow you to exchange the item for a new one.
You will not get any form of cashback for the item you want to return.
8. Product Return Time Frame
The return policy may state that for the consumer to get a full refund the product must be returned within a set amount of days.
Typically in Canada, we see anywhere from 1 week to a month but if you’re unsure always read or ask.
Home Depot Return Policy – Home depot paint return policy, Home depot appliance return policy
Return Policy Exceptions
Some Special Order returns are subject to a 15% restocking fee. Cancellations may also be subject to a 15% restocking fee. See the Special Services Desk for details.
Gift cards, gift certificates and store credit cannot be exchanged or returned for cash, credit or cheque.
Holiday décor items, air conditioners, generators, furniture, televisions,
printers, computers and unused gas powered equipment must be returned within 30 days of delivery or in-store purchase. Any product damage and/or defects must be reported within 30 days.
Major appliances are non-returnable. Items should be inspected thoroughly at the time of delivery. If you are not satisfied, refuse the item before signing the delivery receipt. Be sure to report any product defects or damages with the delivery agent. Damages must be reported within 48 hours of delivery. After 48 hours, you may visit your local store or call 1-800-759-2054 for assistance.
Used lawn tractors, lawn mowers, snow throwers and gas powered equipment (excluding generators) will be repaired if possible in accordance with manufacturer’s warranty through a manufacturer authorized service contractor. Please contact the Customer Care Centre at 1-800-628-0525 for further information.
Popular Canadian Stores Refund Policies
This list is not inclusive of every store in Canada although if you don’t see a store that you are looking for simply, Google it.
Name of the store and return policy.
For example, Walmart returns policy.
Rona Return Policy
After the purchase home appliances
After the purchase of the home appliance, if for any reason (other for than for a defect or damage – please see “Defects and Damages” below) you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase, you may, in the 30 days following the purchase:
Read The Rona Appliance Return Policy In Full
Best Buy Return Policy – Best buy returns
Best Buy Products Return Policy
Eligible purchases can be returned and exchanged for 14 to 30 days* from the date of purchase. This can either happen at any store that’s open for pickup or by mail.
You’ll find everything you need to know about your return options and product-specific return policies on this page.
You can easily return or exchange your item at an open store.
If you made an in-store, Reserve and Pick Up, or an online purchase—you can complete a return or exchange at any Best Buy store that’s currently open. You can check the status of your local store by using our store locator.
Walmart Return Policy
If I buy something from Walmart, can I return it?
Yes (with just a few exceptions). We know that sometimes you buy something that doesn’t work out the way you had hoped, and for that reason we did our best to make a return policy that is helpful for you. Our return policy is the same for both online and in store purchases with just a few minor differences:
• Online purchases: the return timeframe begins on the date of your order’s arrival
• In-store purchases: the return timeframe begins on the purchase date. Make sure to bring along your proof of purchase.
Almost anything you buy from Walmart can be returned within 90 days with the exception of a few items below.
There are a few exceptions you should know about, which are listed below:
Within 14 days
Computers, Tablets, Laptops, Monitors, Printers, Camcorders, Digital Cameras, GPS Units, Wearable tech, Video game consoles & handhelds, Video games, Computer Games, Wireless Prepaid Phones
Within 15 days
Read the full Walmart Canada Return Policy.
Costco Return Policy
We shop at Costco Canada and what we love about the store is their return policies are exceptional.
On the odd occasion, we have returned a food product that we tried and did not like without hassle.
We were told that if you did not like something, bring it back for a full refund.
Like any other store, Costco also has exceptions to their return policy.
Guarantee, Returns and Exchanges: Costco guarantees your satisfaction with the merchandise you purchase from us.
Costco.ca merchandise may, subject to what follows regarding diamonds and certain electronic products, be returned to any of our hundreds of Costco warehouses worldwide.
Or, if you wish to return or exchange merchandise directly to costco.ca, contact us at www.costco.ca/customer service.
When returning items containing a 1.00 ct diamond or larger, Costco warehouses may require additional time to verify the diamond, in which case a refund will be approved upon positive verification.
This process may require 2 to 5 business days. Televisions, projectors, computers, cameras, camcorders, iPOD / MP3 players and cellular phones must be returned within 90 days of purchase to qualify for a refund.
For more information on Costco’s Electronic Return policy, please click here.
Costco may in the future restrict its return policy regarding other products. Restrictions will be shown on the corresponding product description page.
Ikea Return Policy
Ikea No-nonsense returns policy
We have made some changes to facilitate your product return or exchange.
You have 365 days to return or exchange your product. To avoid long wait times, IKEA encourages customers to take advantage of its 365-day return policy and return or exchange products at a later time.
We will take our closing period into consideration for receipts that have expired during this time.
Please note that due to physical distancing guidelines still in effect will be operating with fewer workstations and wait times will be longer than usual. We thank you for your patience and understanding.
Bed Bath and Beyond Return Policy
We want you to love what you buy from us, but we get it – sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Whether you didn’t like it, or it didn’t work as expected, we’ll try to make it right. If you’d like to make an exchange or return, here’s what you need to know.
You have up to 180 days after purchase to exchange or return, unless noted in our exceptions. Just provide your receipt, and we will refund the purchase price to the original form of payment. Purchases made with a gift card will be refunded as Merchandise Credit.
Marshall’s Return Policy
RETURN POLICY DUE TO COVID-19 CLOSURES
Subject to government regulations, merchandise purchased between February 18, 2020 and March 18, 2020 may be returned for up to 30 days after your store reopens.
All other terms of our standard Return Policy apply. Merchandise purchased after our stores reopen will be subject to our standard Return Policy:
We will gladly refund your purchase within 10 days, with original register receipt and tickets attached to the merchandise. Refunds given will be in the tender paid. Customers may also select a gift card for the value if they wish.
Beyond 10 days, no problem! With original register receipt and tickets attached to the merchandise, any refunds given will be in the form of a gift card in the amount paid. Our gift cards do not expire, so there’s plenty of time to choose something amazing.
For returns without a register receipt, valid government issued photo identification must be provided, and any refunds given will be in the form of gift card. Returns may be limited or declined, at our discretion.
Pet Smart Return Policy
Pet Smart In Store Return
To return an item in store that was purchased at petsmart.ca, simply bring the product in its original packaging plus the packing slip or the shipping confirmation email as proof of purchase to any PetSmart store.
If paid for by credit card, the card used to purchase the merchandise is required so that your return can be credited to the same card (minus the cost of shipping and gift wrapping).
If you do not have the same credit card that you used to make your petsmart.ca purchase, or used a payment method other than a credit card for your order (such as PayPal or Google Wallet), you’ll receive a merchandise return card for the appropriate amount.
Merchandise return cards can be used for future in-store purchases and cannot be redeemed for cash.
Canadian Tire Return Policy
We will attempt to give you a refund or exchange on every item purchased at any Canadian Tire store when you bring in your original receipt and issued Canadian Tire ‘Money’®. When you don’t have your receipt, we will offer a receipt look-up*.
Read the full Canadian Tire Returns Policy.
Shoppers Drug Mart Return Policy
- Within 30 days from original date of purchase
- Refunds will be provided in the same tender that the purchase was paid in:
- Cash will be refunded in cash.
- Debit card will be refunded to the original debit card.
- Credit card will be refunded to the original credit card.
- Gift Cards will be returned on a gift card.
- Cheques if cleared after 10 days will be refunded in cash.
- The value of any PC Optimum® points redeemed will be refunded on a Shoppers Drug Mart gift card.
Read the full Shoppers Drug Mart Refunds and Exchanges Policy.
Winner’s Return Policy
Subject to government regulations, merchandise purchased between February 18, 2020, and March 18, 2020, may be returned for up to 30 days after your store reopens.
All other terms of our standard Return Policy apply. Merchandise purchased after our stores reopen will be subject to our standard Return Policy: Read more here.
Think Before And After You Shop
If I’ve learned anything about shopping in Canada is that there may be legislation for anything and everything you buy.
When you set out to purchase something whether it’s a private sale or in a shop always know what you are getting into.
Saving money is great however by not taking the time to research return policies and hanging on to receipts will hurt your wallet.
Discussion: Have you ever been stung by a refund policy? Share your comments below.
Note: Always visit the store website for updated revisions to their store refund and return policies.
This is just an awareness blog post and not store legislations.
Your province or territory may have legislation that gives you the right to return specific products or cancel specific contracts. Contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office for more information. – Consumer Affairs Canada