IKEA has what is widely considered to be a generous return period. They offer a full year for unopened items. But perhaps you’re sitting on day 370, and you’ve heard rumors of post-365-day returns.
While these kinds of returns are not cut and dried, I have put together as much information as I can find to help you.
IKEA can accept returns of unopened items after 365 days, but they are not obliged to do so. This means that it depends on the store, the item, how many days over 365 it is, and if the receipt is presented.
Post-365-Day Returns Are Not Official Policy
If you take a couple of minutes to search on IKEA’s website, you will find the store’s Returns Policy neatly laid out in simple terms.
There, you will clearly find that IKEA’s longest official return policy is 365 days. You will be able to get a full refund if the item in question is unopened and undamaged.
IKEA Can Accept Post-365-Day Returns
Now, even though their official policy states that returns are only accepted if the product was purchased within the past year, you may find yourself lucky as, technically, IKEA can allow you to return your products after that time frame.
However, the store is under no obligation to actually do so. Their systems can process the return but whether or not the store actually will as well as the specific requirements for such a return can vary from store to store and from item to item.
Best Course of Action
In order to eliminate all doubt and immediately get your answer, it is best to go into the store with the item. People find it easier to say no to other people over the phone or via email. Going in and presenting your smiling face may make them entertain your request.
In addition, having the item with you means that they cannot question whether it is open or closed, damaged or not, etc. They can see with their own eyes whether it’ll be worthwhile circumventing normal policy.
If you want to return an item after 365 days, then there are certain considerations.
Opened or Unopened?
First, the IKEA employee that you consult will want to know whether or not your product has been opened.
This is a really important factor to consider because an opened product or package is a lot less likely to be accepted for a return. IKEA’s policy limits these kinds of transactions to 180 days from the date of purchase.
An unopened product is more likely to be accepted as there is less risk of components of the product being used, damaged, or missing. IKEA will also be able to simply add the product back to the existing stock (if it is still in circulation) without needing to repackage it.
Opened products are unlikely to be eligible for resale (except possibly as as-is stock), so the store will lose money if they accept your return.
How Many Days More?
Sometimes Murphy’s Law strikes and we only remember about the item a few days after the return period is up.
Luckily, IKEA employees are human and are not likely to straight-up refuse the return if it is only a few days or weeks past the officially accepted period.
However, if you try to return a product from two years ago, you will most probably be met with a firm ‘no’. The main reason for this is that the product is more likely to be out of circulation completely, so the store no longer sells it.
There also might not be replacement parts available, so customers would not be able to get any if they do purchase the item.
Purchased In-Store vs Online
You may also have to consider whether you bought the item in-store or online.
If you purchased it in-store, you may be lucky as that location may have some extra stock of the same item, and could potentially put it out on clearance sale.
However, they are unlikely to accept online purchases for returns after a year as online items for sale tend to have a different stock list than the physical stores.
Most online items are kept in warehouses until delivery to customers. Therefore, the store would be less likely to accept your return as they may not have any similar existing stock. Keeping a stand-alone item would not be in their best interest as they would struggle to sell it.
Return to Same Store
If you bought your item from one particular branch and are trying to return it at another branch, you are less likely to succeed with the return.
The store you bought it from is more likely to have existing stock still in their store and is, thus, more likely to be able to sell the item. However, another branch may not have ever had the product to begin with, so accepting such a return would not appeal to them at all.
In addition, it is much easier to process the return of an item that was logged at one store when delivered and sold there than to suddenly acquire an item that did not come through the right channels.
Another very important factor that will be taken into consideration will be regarding the condition of your item.
IKEA will not accept any returns, even within the accepted periods, for items that have been damaged after purchase, are dirt, or have been modified in any way to be different from their original state.
IKEA would lose money if they processed your return as they would not be able to resell the product.
An item in near-perfect condition will likely be readily accepted as IKEA will be able to resell it, even if at a slightly discounted price. This is especially true if the item you are returning is a best seller.
The parts would also be able to be considered for replacement pieces as well.
What Is It?
Although IKEA is relatively lenient with returns, there are certain items that are simply not eligible for returns. Whether they fall within or over the 365-day limit is irrelevant.
Their website states that “plants, cut fabric, custom countertops and as-is products” cannot be returned or refunded.
They don’t accept plants because you might not have taken care of them and they could be dead or dying. The soil could be leached of nutrients by the time the plant comes back, so the next person who buys it will have a dead plant soon after purchase.
Cut fabric and custom countertops are done according to client specifications. One client’s specifications are unlikely to match those of another client, so these pieces become unusable.
Is the Item a Good-Seller/Current Product?
If the item you bought is still in circulation online or in-store, you will probably be faced with very little resistance from the employees.
A good-seller means that customers are always looking for the item, so the store will be looking to find any extra stock they can find to make the sale.
The return of an item that is not really that popular will probably be met with some hesitation as the store won’t be that desperate for the extra stock.
Do You Have the Receipt?
Having the receipt for your product will definitely help your case. IKEA may accept the product without a receipt if the sale has been logged on their system as that will be all the proof they need that you were the original customer that made the purchase.
However, having a receipt will increase your chances of success as if they cannot find history of the purchase on their system, they will not want to issue you with a refund as they cannot verify that you actually purchased it, and they could be giving money to the wrong person.
They are much less likely to find the sale on their system if it was processed more than a year ago.
How Much Will You Get for the Return?
If your purchase was within the accepted period and met all of the required conditions, then you would receive a full refund in the method of payment that the purchase was originally paid in. If you paid cash, you’d get cash back; if you paid with your credit card you will get a refund through a bank transfer.
However, an item past the accepted return period is less likely to be returned for a refund. You are more likely to receive store credit so that you can make another purchase within the store.
You should also be aware that you may not receive the full amount that you paid for it. If the items are currently on sale for a discounted price (clearance sale), you may only receive credit for the more recent purchase price and not the original.