August 22, 2019


Gone are the glory days when you could return items hassle-free to your favourite stores. In our modern era peppered with con-people, theft and dishonesty, it’s not a surprise that shops are becoming stricter with their returns policy. Big W has now joined in this trend with recent changes, making their refund policy more stringent.

From mid-August 2019, Big W has announced that it won’t be accepting any returns, refunds or exchanges without a receipt.

Even though I was never really aware of official policy, I always assumed that I would only get a direct refund if I produced a receipt. However, I have, in the past, taken back unwanted gifts to larger stores like Kmart and Big W, without a receipt, and received a store credit or gift voucher of the same value.

However, it looks like most stores have cracked down on any kind of returns or exchanges without proof of purchase.

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No Receipt! No Return!

Big W has said in a statement:

“BIG W will happily give customers a refund or exchange within 90 days of purchase, provided they have a proof of purchase and the product is still in its original and saleable condition (and packaging with all accessories included has not been worn or used) and if a perishable product, is not expired.

There are no returns on a personalised item, digital download, pre-paid card, voucher or clearance items.”

However, all is not lost for those keen to return unwanted gifts and a Big W spokesperson have assured customers saying:

“In the case of returning a gift, we are working on a gift receipt solution for customers that will be introduced in the near future.”

Kmart’s official policy, also insists that an original receipt is presented for an exchange or return and only allows a 28-day return policy, while Big W’s policy is very generous, offering 90 days to change your mind.

Thumb’s Up

Most customers are supportive of this new policy, posting in a Big W facebook group saying:

“The policy before was any Big W brand item ie clothing could be returned and exchanged without a receipt. Instead of refunds, gift cards were issued for the value of the items. The reason this is being changed now is because of the amount of people who are grabbing clothes from the racks and claiming they don’t fit but don’t have a receipt so therefore they got a gift card for the value so then went and bought other stuff with that card, which is a loss to Big W. As someone who works in returns at Big W, I saw this happen literally multiple times a day.”

“Good about time !!” and “lol yep that will teach the lazy and dodgy buggers”

“I’m surprised they haven’t done this sooner. It ruins it for people who actually do the right thing though.”

“What’s the big deal? The ones making a fuss are probably the same ones that never keep a receipt and complain when they don’t get their own way”

Thumb’s Down

Other shoppers were a bit perturbed about this new rule:
“What if it is a gift and you need to swap it for a bigger size? That kind of sucks.”

Don’t Blame The Staff

Staff are sure to cop some flack about this so one concerned poster has reminded everyone:

“Just remember it’s not the staff’s fault, they do not make the rules just paid to do as they are told by their manager so when you are told that they can’t refund or exchange your unreceipted item/s there’s no use in throwing a temper tantrum at them!”

Are you supportive of this new policy? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • This makes sense to me. Although I notice that Big W now will not return reduced items even with a receipt. This is super frustrating when you’re buying for someone else like the kids or husband who are never with your shopping and need to try the clothes on.


  • I always thought you had to have a receipt anyway so doesn’t really change anything for me


  • I honestly never knew you could return stuff without a receipt.
    I’ve always been asked for a receipt.
    Even in the 90s as a kid when my parents would take stuff back if it was faulty or whatever they would be asked for a receipt so it’s news to me that they would let people do this as how do they know that that product was even bought from that store and not from kmart or target etc.?


  • I genuinely think this is fantastic as it’s a great way to stop stealing


  • It would be helpful to know this at time of purchase, either by the salesperson or clearly signed around the store. I got caught out, not knowing this new policy. I bought a pair of boots and threw my receipt out and after wearing them once only, found them to be faulty and could not exchange them. At time of purchase I did not know this new policy and assumed I was buying a quality product.


  • I have always used a receipt to return items I will make sure now that I keep all of them


  • I too was of the understanding a receipt was needed for any/all post-purchase transactions. It’s a timely reminder to always collect your receipt at time of purchase. I know many who don’t, saying they don’t need the receipt as the transaction will show up on the card statement etc, especially if Pay Wave/Pass or Tap’N’Go, or more often now, a mobile phone app is used for your purchase.
    It’s a sad state of affairs when people can no longer be trusted to do the right thing.


  • Very interesting and will keep this in mind


  • I always thought you needed a receipt to change or return an item.


  • I mean you just need to keep your recipets now


  • I’ve always returned with a receipt – I just assumed it was the normal thing to do.


  • Receipts just seem like commonsense.


  • I have always thought you needed a receipt to return something. I know sometimes it is a bit iffy but if you need a different size in a gift or have two maybe you could ask the person who gave it to you to exchange it


  • I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask to have the receipt on you.


  • it is hard for the store at times


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