Find out which stores will let you use your loyalty card to make returns
by Brean Horne, Senior Writer
Losing your receipt doesn’t have to be the end of the world when you want to return an item you purchased in-store.
And your loyalty card might just save the day and help you with the process if you do.
Here, we round up the retailers that can use your loyalty card purchase history to let you make a return.
What happens if you lose your receipt?
When it comes to making a return in-store, retailers ask for a “proof of purchase.” While the easiest and most common way to prove you bought something is with a receipt, it’s not the only thing that stores accept. So if you’ve lost or misplaced yours, there’s still hope of getting your money back!
Some retailers are happy to provide a refund or exchange (which is often at a reduced rate) without a receipt. While others accept bank statements and the details of the card you used to pay (if you make a card payment.)
Interestingly, we’ve found that some stores can use your purchase history if you swiped your loyalty card to prove that you bought the item too.
Now, stores have no legal obligation to offer these options and they vary between retailers. So don’t assume that just because one retailer accepts loyalty cards as proof of purchase, for example, a similar store will.
Knowing exactly what the returns policy is will ensure that you get the help you need if you ever want to make a return.
Most stores have this information available online and you can also reach out to their customer service team if anything is unclear (or you just prefer to chat with someone!)
How to use loyalty cards as proof of purchase
Over the years stores have begun to revamp their returns processes. Some retailers offer digital receipts via email which can be a useful backup if you lose your physical receipt.
And, others, like Marks and Spencer, use the barcode on an item along with the card you paid with to locate your purchase and process the return.
Certain shops have taken this a step further and use your purchase history on the loyalty card to help you make a return if you lose your receipt.
You’ll need to have scanned your loyalty card at the time of purchase for this to be possible though.
If you lose your receipt (or just fancy trying it out) you can take the item you wish to return to the store, scan your card and they’ll be able to find your purchase and process the return.
Remember that your item needs to be returned within the store’s return window to get your money back.
Which stores accept loyalty cards as proof of purchase?
The table below rounds up which retailers currently do and don’t accept loyalty cards as proof of purchase. (And we’ll keep updating the list as we find more!)
|Store||Scheme name||Accepts loyalty card return|
|John Lewis||My John Lewis||✔|
|Waitrose & Partners||MyWaitrose||✖|
|Marks & Spencer||Sparks Card||✖|
What are your rights for returning goods?
In the UK you have the right to return items within 30 days that are bought in-store or online if they are:
- Unsatisfactory quality
- Not for purpose
- Not what was advertised or described
- Don’t last a reasonable amount of time
The rules are slightly different when it comes to simply changing your mind about an item. And your rights depend on how you made the purchase.
If you buy something in-store but decide to return it because you don’t want it, (rather than there being an issue with it,) stores legally don’t have to accept it. This includes offering you the option to exchange it for something else.
However, most stores have their own returns policy when it comes to changing your mind about a product. And they’ll usually give you your money back if you return the item within around 28 days.
This usually gets extended around the Christmas period to allow people more time to return or exchange gifts. You’ll need proof of purchase to make a return, which typically is a receipt.
As more people shop online though, stores are offering a wider range of ways for you to prove how and when an item was bought. For example, some stores offer e-receipts, or as mentioned earlier, certain retailers can use your loyalty card to locate the purchase.
If a shop doesn’t offer refunds then it might let you exchange or give you a credit note which you can spend in-store instead. Which isn’t ideal most times but at least you get the chance to try and find something you want.
It’s always a good idea to check what a retailer’s return policy is before purchasing so that you don’t get caught out.
Online shopping comes with slightly more rights. You have 14 days from receiving the item to decide whether you want to return it and let the retailer know. You’ll then get 14 days to send the item back to them.
The original delivery charge may be refunded too but you might have to pay when you return it back to them. Again, every retailer has its own policy on this so it’s always worth checking before you buy. Read our guide on your right to return when you change your mind for more details.
Can a shop refuse a return?
Even if a shop offers returns, there are some instances where you might not be able to get your money back for simply changing your mind. For example, if you bought perishable goods like flowers or frozen food.
Personalised items and made-to-order furniture might get turned down as well. Some stores are quite particular if the original packaging is open or damaged.
So always check before you purchase to make sure you aren’t caught out by their returns policy.