Will Nordstrom Really Take ANYTHING Back? I've Got Answers! UPDATED with Nordstrom's Official Response!

Beauty & Style 36

NordstromIn just a few months, Nashville will FINALLY be getting a Nordstrom and, as you can imagine, I'm beside myself with excitement.

Since the new Nordstrom (currently under construction) is a big topic of conversation among my mom friends, I've begun hearing more and more about Nordstrom's exceptional return policy.

"Nordstrom takes back anything!" one of my friends told me recently. "I had a pair of shoes from Nordstrom that were four years old and they took them back!"

"Nordstrom even took back a set of snow tires!" another friend claimed. "Or was it a chainsaw? Anyway, a man brought it in and even though Nordstrom didn't sell it to him, they gave him a refund!"

I found the snow tire story hard to believe. However, I've heard it several times since my friend recounted it to me.

Is it true? And what is Nordstrom's actual return policy, anyway? Read on to find out!

Lucky for us, Snopes has investigated the widely circulated snow tire story and found that it's ...

Maybe true. And maybe not.

John Nordstrom (of the Nordstrom Nordstroms) claims the story is true and has been quoted as saying he was there when it happened. Making the story more plausible, he says the Nordstrom in question had once been a tire store and the customer may have been confused. With that in mind, the tires were accepted by the employee.

However, in the 1980s the company itself said the story was not true, but that it was often repeated simply because the department store chain's liberal return policy is truly legendary.

Whether the story is true or not, the fact is that, unlike at most other stores, Nordstrom will generally take your purchase back without a receipt if it carries the item in question. Items that clearly couldn't have been sold at Nordstrom however (like snow tires and chainsaws) aren't eligible for return.

Hey. That's good enough for me.

Nordstrom also is smart enough not to put the specifics of its return policy in writing. From the Nordstrom website:

How do I make a return at Nordstrom?

For an in-store return, contact or stop by the Nordstrom store nearest you, and we will make every effort to see that your needs are met.

Why not be more specific? Because apparently Nordstrom has problems from time to time with customers returning obviously well-worn merchandise. Specifically LINGERIE. In one hilarious fashion forum discussion on the subject, a user had this to say:

My sister works for the lingerie department at Nordstroms. Just imagine the crap, the seriously naaasty crap that people come to return.


So tell me, readers. Have you had any experience with Nordstrom's return policy? And are there other stores you can think of that make returns easy peasy? I'd love to know about them!

UPDATE: Here's an official answer to this post from Nordstrom PR rep John Bailey:

"We are  really  excited to open our doors in Nashville next September (9/16) and start serving customers.

You mentioned in your blog about how we handle returns We have no formal policy regarding the return of merchandise at Nordstrom.  We handle all returns on case by case basis, with the ultimate objective of taking care of the customer.  We want our customers to know that if theyve purchased something from Nordstrom that isnt right, well work hard to find a solution.  A valid government issued photo ID is required for all cash refunds.

Also, the tire story is true and it is true that John Nordstrom was there.   When we opened our store in Alaska, we purchased a business where tires and other goods were sold. When the customer came into our store to return the tires, he claimed he’d purchased in that location, we figured that was true and honored his claim."


Thanks for the official lowdown, John!

Image via Hans van de Bruggen/Flickr



To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

nonmember avatar Michelle

Costco has a phenomenal return policy!

Nordstrom does too, but I believe you need a receipt (or the sticker that they place on the back of the tag when an item has been purchased). Both serve as proof of purchase. I believe they require this in an effort to cut down on theft and prevent people from getting a store credit or cash for stolen merchandise.

Playi... Playitagain

My dad works for nordstroms in novi, mi Just outside detroit. from black friday till feb 1st every year. Last year a elderly lady came in with a majorly used kids holiday dress. My father and the manager took the item back after figuring out the price thanks to the computer. They think the dress was at least 2 years old. The lady promptly went and purchased another holiday dress in a bigger kids size. Ive always found it funny.

Meand... MeandMyBabes

I tried to return a nursing bra once, but couldn't.  I understand, given that it's a bra, but that wasn't their reasoning.  I had washed it, in anticipation of wearing it, but wasn't able to wear it.  Since I had washed it, they wouldn't take it back.

nonmember avatar KK

I got two nesting bowls for a wedding gift from my husband's friend's fiancee. There was no receipt, but it was wrapped in a Nordstrom box, so I figured I might as well try and return it there. The Customer Service girl did some sleuthing and finally found the product in her computer, she said it took her so long because the bowls were part of a set of three. Our buddy's fiancee must have kept one bowl for herself and given us the other two! I'm not sure how she worked it out, but the CS gave us store credit, even though it wasn't a complete set. :)

Christy Morton Songy

I gave my husband a set of cufflinks and shirt studs from Nordstroms as a wedding present. He lost one of the shirt studs 3 years later. I went in to ask if they could order me a new set (that I was going to pay for!) and Nordstroms replaced the entire set with no receipt and no questions asked. It was phenomenal.

Colie68 Colie68

I had a pair of Chanel sun glasses for 3 years and one day the C's on the side of them fell out. I took them back and they let me get another pair in a different style and it didn't cost me anything. I was amazed that I got a brand new pair! I love Nordstrom!

rita1986 rita1986

while buying a shirt the clerk rang is up and tried to charge us more, we explained that it was wrong but they weren't going to do anything about it until my mom got this really sad look on her face and said, "but this is nordstroms."  they have a policy that the customer is always right, and in this case, we actually were so there were no hard feelings.

theAm... theAmberShow

Bed Bath and Beyond.  You can return aaaaannnyyyything.

Linds... LindsayFerrier

Oooh, Amber, that's great to know! There's one less than ten minutes away from me.  :)

Marjorie Peskin

My daughter, when she was 16, bought herself a pair of chocolate UGGS with her very first paycheck at Nordstrom in Natick MA. They were defective and the bottoms leaked. We tried to return them WITH THE RECEIPT, THE ORIGINAL PACKAGING right to the store. They refused to take them back. We tried corporate headquarters and they said they rely on the individual salesperson. So the poor kid spent $180 bucks, her whole paycheck on a pair if boots she could not wear thay she had for less than a month. We no longer shop there and I closed my account.

1-10 of 36 comments 1234 Last