11 Things you Must Know about Nordstrom’s Return Policy

You’ve likely heard how excellent the Nordstrom return policy is, and it’s not a myth. They do have one of the most forgiving return policies next to Costco. However, the policies have changed slightly in recent years, some for the better and others for the worse.

Nordstrom has a ‘people-pleasing’ process in place, but they’re watching to see who abuses it. So they now call their return policy a ‘case-by-case’ process. So you might not be subject to the same policies as your friend; it depends on your return history and the product you’re returning.

So, you must know these 11 things about the Nordstrom return policy to make the most of your purchases.

Nordstrom Return Policy Overview

First things first, Nordstrom’s return policy is amazingly forgiving. You can return without a receipt (in some cases), even after you’ve worn the items. Some customers can even return items six months or more after buying them.

However, Nordstrom cracked down recently on some of their policies because too many customers were abusing the process. So yes, you can still return worn items, but Nordstrom’s ‘big brother’ is watching, and if you abuse the policy, chances are you will be one of the few banned from doing returns at Nordstrom.

With that out, let’s get into the amazing things about Nordstrom’s return policy.

1. There Isn’t a Time Limit to Nordstrom Returns

Yes, this policy still exists for most shoppers. Nordstrom doesn’t have a specific window that you must process a return. This goes back to their desire to ‘people please.’

So you probably wonder how long you have to return a product.

It can be a few weeks or a few years. After that, it depends on what the product is and how often you make returns. A Nordstrom associate or manager will decide what’s fair to both you and the store when you try to return something.

Products with tags and receipts usually get returned with no problem. However, if it’s obvious you wore the item repeatedly and now want to return it a year later, you might be out of luck, and for a good reason, they don’t want anyone taking advantage of their leniency.

2. You can Make Returns Without a Receipt

Here’s the good news.

You can return items at Nordstrom without a receipt.

Would they prefer you had a receipt? 


However, they will process the return without it. Usually, they can look it up in their system or on your credit card. If they can’t locate the purchase anywhere, it falls into the ‘case-by-case basis’ decision.

If you don’t make returns often at Nordstrom, or at least without a receipt, they’ll likely accept it. But if there’s any reason to believe you didn’t buy it there or there’s proof that you abuse the policy, they might decline it. 

Note that you’ll get the current price for the item if you don’t have a receipt, so you may receive less than you paid if it’s on sale or clearance.

Again, they have a people-pleasing policy, so they’ll usually bend over backward to process your return as long as you treat them fairly.

If you don’t have a receipt or record of purchase, you’ll receive your refund as a Nordstrom store credit. The same is true of gifts; even with a gift receipt, you’ll receive a Nordstrom gift card for the return.

3. You can Return Items Curbside

The pandemic may not be as prevalent, but Nordstrom still caters to its customers who don’t want to go into the store. Today, most stores have curbside returns that allow you to return your items outside. 

Note they don’t accept fine jewelry, designer labels, baby gear, or Nordstrom Rack returns curbside. You must go inside the store or process the return online for these returns.

4. You can Return Worn Clothing or Shoes

Some customers may be able to return worn clothing or shoes. This is another ‘case-by-case’ situation, and there are major exceptions.

If you wore an item and found it uncomfortable or had another issue with it, chances are Nordstrom will process the return. However, if it’s obvious you wore the item multiple times and now just want your money back, they likely won’t.

Nordstrom strives to treat its customers fairly, but they ask for the same in return.

Special Occasion Dresses are the Exception

The major exception to the rule that you can return worn clothing or shoes is special occasion dresses. The tags and your receipt will state that you cannot return special occasion dresses without the tag attached.

Here’s why.

Many people were abusing the policy. They bought special occasion dresses, wore them to the occasion, and then returned them. Upon surveying their customers, Nordstrom found that it was important to most that the dress be brand new and not used/returned.

Nordstrom also found that most returns of worn clothing or shoes were for special occasions, so they cracked down on that policy.

5. You can Return Items Without a Tag

You can return items without a tag, but only sometimes. So again, if it looks like you wore the item daily and then returned it, you likely can’t. 

You stand a chance if it’s a unique situation and you don’t process many returns there.

6. You can Return Used Makeup

Like most stores that sell makeup, Nordstrom wants you to be 100% satisfied with your purchase. If you try a makeup or skincare product and don’t like it, you can usually return it.

Like their return policy on clothing and shoes, it must look like you used only some of the product and then tried to return it. Be as fair to Nordstrom as they are to their customers, and you’ll get your returns processed.

They understand that sometimes makeup doesn’t look how you thought or it disagrees with your skin, and you need to return it.

7. You’ll Receive the Refund Depending on How you Paid for It

Many years ago, no matter how you paid for your Nordstrom purchase, they would refund you cash if you asked. Today, they only refund your purchase depending on how you paid for it.

If you paid by credit or debit card, you’ll see a credit on your statement within 14 business days, and if you paid with a gift card, you’d receive a refund on a Nordstrom gift card.

If you paid with Nordstrom Notes, you’d receive new Nordstrom Notes for the amount of the return.

8. Nordstrom Doesn’t Refund Shipping Charges

If you bought an item online and returned it, you won’t get a refund of the shipping charges if you paid any. 

9. Returns via Mail are Free

Even though you won’t get your shipping costs back, you don’t have to pay for return shipping if you return an item. Nordstrom provides a prepaid shipping label when you process the return online.

10. You Must Show your ID to Process a Return

Even if you have a receipt and the product has tags, you must provide your ID to process a Nordstrom return.

This is how they keep track of the number of returns you make and if you abuse any policies. If they find you have excessive returns, they can decline your request, so use your return options with caution.

11. You can Return Products at Nordstrom Rack

You can return Nordstrom purchases at Nordstrom Rack, but know that products purchased at Nordstrom Rack have different return policies. It’s convenient to have more places to return your Nordstrom products, but Nordstrom Rack is stricter with its return policy.

FAQs – More Things to Know about the Nordstrom Return Policy

Can you return gift cards?

No, you cannot return gift cards bought at Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack. This is the one area where Nordstrom is strict with their return policy.

Does Nordstrom have a 30-day return policy?

Nordstrom doesn’t have a set time you must return your items. However, because they use a case-by-case basis, you might be able to return products after 30 days as long as you haven’t abused their policies and the items don’t look excessively worn or used.

Can you return online purchases in-store?

Yes, you can return purchases made online at Nordstrom.com at your local store. It’s easiest if you start the process online and bring the product in, but they can process it for you if you don’t.

Does Nordstrom charge a restocking fee?

Thanks to its ‘ customer first ‘ policy, Nordstrom doesn’t charge a restocking fee.

Final Thoughts – The Nordstrom Return Policy is One of the Best

Even with its most recent changes, the Nordstrom return policy is still one of the best. They look out for their customers but ask that you do the same.

Only return items you didn’t use excessively, and you’ll likely be eligible to return them even six months later. But, of course, some stores might be stricter than others, or you might even find different policies at the same store.

It’s truly a case-by-case basis, but for the most part, customers are still happy.

Kim Pinnelli is a personal finance freelance writer and koopy.com contributor. She lives in the Chicago suburbs, writing from home for the last 13 years. Kim enjoys helping people understand personal finances and writes on topics about saving money, investing, planning for retirement, and ways to increase income. In her free time, Kim enjoys hanging out with her 3 children, reading, crocheting, and spending time outdoors.

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