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This article was last updated Dec 12, 2018. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
Have you ever tried to return a new item and been denied a refund by the merchant? This can be a frustrating and costly experience, but if you used a select credit card to pay for the item, you may be still be able to get that refund.
Credit card issuers often offer extended warranty or purchase protection on purchases made with a card, which can be helpful if items are damaged, lost or stolen, but those protections don’t help you with basic returns. Plus, some issuers provide protection for items you purchase that are in working condition, but simply won’t be accepted back by the merchant.
Known as return protection, this benefit may allow you to be reimbursed on an eligible purchases when the merchant refuses to work with you. To take advantage of return protection benefits, you must pay for the item in full with your eligible credit card and submit a claim typically within 90 days of purchase. That means you can’t use a gift card or cash for some of the cost, then your credit card for the remaining balance.
In addition, the item you return often will need to be in like-new or good working condition with all the original parts. Note, the specific terms for return protection vary by issuer (see the list below), so you should review your card’s benefits guide to find out exactly what’s covered.
Here we’ll review the return protection plans provided by major issuers, their exclusions and how you can file a claim.
Return protection by issuer
This past year, issuers have cut back on return protection benefits — and some, like Chase and Discover, even did away with the benefit altogether. However, we found two issuers that offer return protection benefits — American Express and Citibank.
Other issuers that don’t offer return protection include Bank of America, Barclays, Capital One, and Wells Fargo. Since few issuers offer return protection benefits, and if this is something you’re looking for, you should consider cards from Amex or Citi. Just keep in mind that return protection benefits may be discontinued at anytime — therefore it shouldn’t be the primary reason you choose a credit card.
|Issuer||Maximum coverage per item||Maximum coverage per calendar year per account||Return window|
|American Express||$300||$1,000||Within 90 days of purchase|
|Citibank||$300||$1,000||Within 90 days of purchase|
*Additional terms and limitations apply to return protection benefits. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.
Popular American Express cards with return protection:
Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
- Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small® in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
- New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
- $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
- $695 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for The Platinum Card® from American Express
Popular Citi cards with return protection:
What are the exclusions?
Not only do these issuers limit the amount of the return protection to $300 per occurrence, this perk doesn’t cover everything you purchase with your credit card. While there are numerous exclusions, many items that are excluded aren’t things you’d typically think to return, such as pets or collectables. In addition to purchase exclusions, shipping and handling costs for the purchase aren’t reimbursable. Items must also have been purchased in the U.S. and its territories.
Here are common items that don’t qualify for return protection:
- Motorized vehicles (cars, boats, motorcycles…) and their attached parts (including tires)
- Computer software or any type of video, digital, or audio discs or tapes, including video games
- Collectable, one-of-a-kind, custom-built, and limited edition items (antiques, coins, furs, art, sports memorabilia, stamps, for example)
- Going-out-of-business sale items
- Services and additional costs (installation charges, warranties, memberships)
- Cash (including rare or precious coins), gift cards, checks, promissory notes or any other financial document that represents money
- Tickets (airplane, train, concert, sporting events)
- Items that can spoil or are consumable and need to be replaced after they have been used for a period of time (food, fuel, batteries, medications, beauty products or personal care products)
- Living plants
- Watches or jewelry, including loose gems, precious stones, metals and pearls.
- Furniture or appliances
- Firearms or ammunition
How to file a claim
You can file a return protection claim one of several ways, including calling your bank, submitting a claim form online, or mailing a claim form. In order to file a claim, you’ll need your purchase receipt. Your credit card issuer may also request additional documents, like a copy of the store’s return policy or your monthly statement.
- American Express: 1-800-297-8019 or visit AmericanExpress.com/onlineclaim
- Citibank: 1-866-918-4670 or visit citi.com to download a claim form for submission
Can I keep the item after I file a claim?
No — part of the claims process is mailing your eligible item to the location specified by your credit card issuer. It will need to be inspected to make sure it meets the requirements for reimbursement.
The information related to the Citi Simplicity® Cardhas been independently collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.