Can You Return Video Games To The Major Retail Stores?

So, you just purchased a brand-new video game for your PlayStation 4. It’s a highly anticipated AAA title, you’ve been hyped for it ever since you saw the trailers back during E3 of last year.

You plop in the disk, install the game, wait forever for that day one 50GB patch to download, and then finally! You can play your game. But what’s this? The game is a buggy mess, quests are broken, characters are boring, and it’s filled with exploitative microtransactions.

You just can’t play the game anymore, and it’s only been 4 hours. Will you be able to refund your game to the store you bought it from?

The truth is that most retailers don’t give out refunds for physical game copies unless the disk itself is faulty. And even if the game disk isn’t working, or the code is already used, you will get another copy of the same game instead of your money back.

But there are other situations like when you purchase a game only to find out that your brother has already bought it and now you have an extra useless copy lying around. In that case, the store will refund you the full amount of the game is given back in its fully sealed condition. 

This article will discuss the refund policies of various major retailers when it comes to video games- how many days do you have to refund a game, do you need proof of purchase, what condition should the game be in, etc. Now let’s get started.


Compared to other retailers, GameStop has some of the most customer-friendly return policies. This is why you often hear stories about people ripping off GameStop in various ways.

They do have their downsides too, like the pitiful amount of money you get for trading in a giant collection of preowned games. And sometimes, they won’t even accept returns for various inexplicable reasons. It all comes down to the specific guys you talk with, and how they respond on that particular day.

Nevertheless, GameStop does have official policies regarding returns. You can return a brand-new unopened game within 30 days for a full refund to your source account, the return can be made via mail or a local GameStop store. A receipt is necessary for all returns and exchanges. F

or cash purchases over $150, the money will be refunded via check from GameStop’s corporate office within 14 business days.

For used games, GameStop has a 7- day full refund or replacement policy where you can either get a refund or an identical exchange. A lot of people use this loophole to buy used games, finish them within 7 days, and return the disk for a full refund (for whatever made-up reasons).

But don’t abuse this policy too hard, or you might get banned from the store! Digital downloads, DLCs, and PC downloads aren’t subject to refunds upon return, because they have no way of knowing if you used or stored the digital key/code.

That’s true even with cards that have a scratch stripe on the back to cover the code, it’s just official GameStop policy.


According to updated Walmart policies, video games if found to be defective can be returned within 90 days provided you’ve got the original receipt and packaging.

It must be unopened if you expect to get a refund, opened games will only be exchanged with another copy of the same title. But in case the original game is out of stock, you can exchange it for a different title.

Online purchases can be returned to the store, or via mail. Just make sure you print out the return label from your Walmart account if you plan to return via mail. And, digital download cards for games shall not be refunded (same policy as GameStop).

Best Buy

These guys have a pretty strict return policy that might put off a lot of gamers. First off, you can’t return any opened copies of video games for a money refund. Instead, you’ll be offered an identical item in exchange.

And digital game codes or DLC are non-refundable. You also need proof of purchase, or else the refund will be denied. The return window is 15 days for most items, although you can extend that to 30 days with a Best Buy Elite membership.

If you wish to return a game, there are 3 ways to do it- go to the store, mail it in, or use a prepaid return label. When you visit the store, make sure you’ve got the proof of purchase (receipt), the credit/ debit card you used to make the purchase, and a valid photo id.

If you wish to mail in your return, print out a return form and mail it in via the carrier of your choice. You can also use a prepaid return label and submit the package at an authorized UPS drop-off center. Return shipping fees might be deducted from your refund. 


Like most other retailers, Target will offer you a full refund on unopened games while opened games can only be exchanged for an identical item.

This is to comply with DMCA anti-piracy laws. Otherwise, people would just buy games, play them, and return these games to the store with made-up excuses. However, Target’s return window is much better than most other retailers- as much as 90 days after purchase.

When you compare this to the 14 to 30-day return window on Best Buy, it sure sounds a lot better. As usual, make sure you’ve got your proof of purchase with you when you walk into the store to request a refund. Usually, the money will be transferred into the source account via the original mode of payment.

If you accidentally misplaced or lost the receipt, access the digital barcode or receipt from your account. If you have no alternate proof of purchase, you will be refunded with a “merchandise return card” that’s only valid for in-store purchases and can’t be redeemed online. 


Within 30 days of purchase, you can return video games to Amazon for a full refund (provided they are unopened). Any video game codes or other similar digital products purchased from the Amazon Appstore, Amazon Video Store, or Amazon Digital Music Store cannot be returned.

But apps and in-app products purchased from the Appstore might be eligible for refunds in certain circumstances (within 90-days from purchase).

If you purchased a physical game disk but it’s missing parts like additional collector edition items, activation code, etc. you will be charged up to 100% restocking fee on the return.

If you return games within the 30- day period, you won’t be charged for shipping and the full amount will be credited back to your original payment method. 


When it comes to returns, nothing beats Costco’s policy. You can basically buy a game, play it, claim you’re not satisfied, and ask for a refund. And you’ll be refunded!

The best part? There’s no time limit, so you can buy a game for Christmas and return it in summer after deciding you don’t need it anymore. So, why don’t more people abuse this policy?

First of all, it’s scummy to do such a thing. And besides, Costco doesn’t actually sell all that many games. They take pride in delivering a sense of security and guaranteed satisfaction or money back.

Due to this amazing return policy, people are actually inclined to buy more stuff at Costco. They sell more memberships too, which costs 60 bucks per year for the Gold edition and $120 for the executive membership. Any returns made to Costco are charged back to the publisher.


You can return video games within 90 days from purchase if it’s unopened the full amount will be refunded to your original payment method.

Make sure you’ve got the invoice/ receipt with you, otherwise Meijer will try to locate the transaction within its own records and issue a Merchandise Return card which is sort of like store credit. You’ll also need a valid form of ID if you’re returning an item without its original receipt. 

In the case of open video games, you won’t be issued a monetary refund. Instead, another copy of the same game will be presented to you. You can try to talk with the manager or an employee to get a version of the game for a different console.

This often happens when parents buy a PS4 copy of some game when their child has an Xbox, not everyone knows the difference. Especially for people who aren’t very tech-savvy.

Return rules are the same for both in-store, as well as online purchases. Make sure to return any manuals, cards, and other accessories that came with the game.


The return window of 30 days is nice, a lot better than Best Buy’s 14- day period from the date of purchase. But they only refund your money if the video game is in perfect condition- i.e., new and sealed.

With all stickers, tags, and free promotional items included when you ask for a refund. If it is used, you better make sure that the game disk is faulty because that’s the only way you’re getting it replaced.

The one nice thing is that Argos might actually offer you a refund for a faulty disk instead of a mandatory replacement with another game copy like other stores do. And, they won’t deduct the postage costs from your refund amount if the disk is faulty.

They also support home pickup for small items, so returning a game should be pretty convenient. If you don’t have your receipt, Argos will track down the transaction by using your bank statement.   


I hope you found some information here that will help you out with returning your video games. Always read the official return policy on the manufacturer’s website, and understand the rules before you purchase something.

Know that you are aided by consumer-protection laws, so make sure the retailer isn’t trying to illegally withhold a refund on your purchase. From our experience, Costco and GameStop are the two best places for buying games.

Although, when it comes to trading in your old stuff you might want to go local instead of giving up your games to GameStop. They offer terrible trade-in prices on used games and consoles. 


As long as I can remember myself I always enjoyed video games. I had amazing moments playing them and that's why I became a game developer, to create amazing experiences for the players. Read More About Me

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