Return Protection – What it is and How to Take Advantage of the Perk

So you bought something, changed your mind, and the retailer’s return acceptance window has come and gone. Could your item still be eligible for a refund?

Luckily, you may not have to worry. If you’ve made the purchase with a credit card that has a “return protection” perk, you might get your money back after all!

Most people don’t know this is possible, so we’re going to take a look at how return protection works.

What IS Return Protection?

Return protection extends the period of time during which you can return (or exchange) an item after you purchase it. It also creates a return policy for an item that didn’t have one to begin with – not bad for a complimentary perk!

How to file a claim for return protection

If you’d like to return an item that you’ve purchased with a card that has return protection, you will need to fill out some paperwork. Every credit network that offers this perk requires a number of documents to verify your claim. These can include:

  • an original receipt with the item(s) you want to return
  • a copy of your credit statement with the item
  • a copy of the store’s return policy
  • a written documentation of the store’s refusal to accept the item

Depending on the type of item that you are returning, you may be asked to provide more information while the claim is processed.

It is important to note that return protection is secondary to any insurance claims that you may have – an insurer must reimburse you first before your credit card’s return protection may kick in.

A Comparison of Return Protection

Just as retailers have their own unique return policies, benefits may also vary by issuer. The following table breaks down how American Express, Discover, and MasterCard handle return protection claims. These are only general guidelines – terms will vary by credit card issuer.

  American Express Discover MasterCard
Participating cards? All cards All cards All cards
Duration of return protection after purchase? 90 days 90 days 60 days
Coverage (per claim) Up to $300 Up to $500 Up to $250
Coverage (total per year) $1,000 $2,500 $1,000 (4 claims per 12-month period)
Gift Coverage Yes Yes Yes
Shipping Cost Reimbursement for Returned Items? Yes n/a No

For more information about each credit processor’s return protection policies, click on the following links:

As you can see, having return protection can be a valuable perk for your credit card. But, keeping track of your receipts, which items are eligible for return protection, or how many days you have left before that cashmere sweater can go back to the department store can be confusing.

Luckily, Sift can handle this for you, keeping track of each item’s return protection for you. Sift lets you know before your retailer return is expiring in the first place, automatically keeps track of which items are eligible for return protection, and if you have to file a claim, Sift will send you the receipts along with all the instructions and where to file the claim. It’s so easy that you’ll never have to worry about returns again!

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