Customer Returns and Refund Laws by State

Almost every consumer has returned a purchased retail item for a refund, exchange, or store credit at some point. While merchants are required to accept returns in only certain situations, some states have laws governing the disclosure of refund and return policies. State refund and return laws are summarized below. For more information, see FindLaw's section on "Product Warranties and Returns."

Returns and Refunds under Federal Law

Many retailers, as part of their business models, allow returns if customers change their minds or receive unwanted items as gifts. While many retailers have decided this makes for the best business practice, they aren't legally required to accept returns. Rather, retailers are required to accept returns only if the sold good is defective or if they otherwise break the sales contract.

In addition to retailers being required to accept the return of defective items, federal law provides a "Cooling-Off Rule " giving buyers three days to cancel purchases of $25 or more. Under this rule, the right to cancel for a full refund extends until midnight of the third business day after the sale. The rule applies to sales at the buyer's home or workplace, at facilities rented by the seller on a temporary basis, or at locations otherwise away from the seller's normal retail location.

Returns and Refunds under State Law

In addition to applicable federal law, many states have laws regarding consumer refunds. Often, refund policies must be prominently displayed at the place of purchase in order to be valid. Many states, in addition to the protections of the federal Cooling-Off Rule, allow consumers to rescind club memberships or other special sales contracts within a specified number of business days.

Other fees, such as restocking fees, normally must be made clear in the retailer's policy language. Regardless of whether your state requires disclosure of return policies, you should ask any retailer for their particular policy before making a purchase. Additionally, states may or may not explicitly apply their laws to online sales. Below are summaries of state laws governing refunds of retail sales items:

Alabama There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Alaska There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Arizona There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Arkansas There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
California Retailers are required to clearly post their refund policy unless they offer a full cash refund, exchange, or store credit within seven days of the purchase date. Retailers failing this requirement are required to accept full refunds within 30 days of purchase.
Colorado There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Connecticut Each retailer may set its own refund policy, which must be conspicuously disclosed at the time of sale. If the policy isn't properly disclosed, or if the retailer doesn't have a refund policy, a buyer may return purchased goods for a refund.
Delaware There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Florida Retailers that don't offer refunds must clearly display this fact at the place of sale. Failing this requirement, customers may return goods for a full refund within 20 days of purchase.
Georgia There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Hawaii Each retailer may set its own refund policy, which must be conspicuously disclosed at the time of sale. If the policy isn't properly disclosed, merchants are required to provide refund.
Idaho There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Illinois There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Indiana There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Iowa There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. If retailers don't accept returns they must disclose it.
Kansas There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Kentucky There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Louisiana There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Maine There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Maryland Retailers must post their return policies on the wall, on the merchandise, or on the receipt. If the policy isn't posted, the retailer must accept returned merchandise within a reasonable time.
Massachusetts A seller's refund, return, or cancellation policy must be disclosed to the buyer clearly and conspicuously before the transaction is completed. This is usually done by means of a sign at the point of purchase. Goods may be returned within a reasonable period of time if no return policy was disclosed.
Michigan There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Minnesota A seller must clearly and conspicuously display written notice of its policy in boldface type of a minimum size of 14 points. If a seller fails this requirement, cash refunds are required of goods that are acceptable for return.
Mississippi There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Missouri There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Montana There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Nebraska There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Nevada There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
New Hampshire There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
New Jersey Merchants must conspicuously post their refund policies. Businesses with no posted refund policies are liable to the buyer, for up to 20 days from purchase, for a cash refund or a credit.
New Mexico There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
New York A store is legally required to post its refund policy. If the store doesn't post any return policy, the law requires the store to accept returns within 30 days of purchase.
North Carolina There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
North Dakota There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Ohio A merchant isn't required to have a specific refund policy, but if it does have a refund policy, the policy must be clearly and conspicuously posted. If a merchant doesn't have a refund policy posted, the consumer is entitled to a refund.
Oklahoma There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Oregon There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Pennsylvania There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Rhode Island Unless a customer has been clearly informed by a poster or other appropriate notice placed at the point of display or at the cash register or at the store entrance that all sales are final and that goods aren't returnable, a customer who has paid for an item can return the item within ten business days from the date of purchase.
South Carolina There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
South Dakota There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Tennessee There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Texas There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Utah If seller has a non-refund, exchange, or credit policy, the policy must be clearly indicated by a sign posted at the point of display, the point of sale, or the store entrance. If the seller fails this requirement, the customer is entitled to a return.
Vermont There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Virginia A merchant must notify its customers of its return policy by a sign attached to the goods or placed in a conspicuous public area of the merchant's premises. A merchant is exempt from this requirement if it provides a cash or credit refund within 20 days or more of purchase.
Washington There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
West Virginia There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Wisconsin There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.
Wyoming There's no right to cancel contracts or purchase agreements. Whether you can receive a refund is dependent on the retailer's return and refund policies.

Getting Legal Help

If you need help in understanding your rights as a consumer, or legal assistance with a product return or refund, you can contact a consumer protection attorney.

Next Steps

Contact a qualified attorney to assist with any issues related to consumer transactions.

Help Me Find a Do-It-Yourself Solution