Don’t Use Target’s Gift Registry, It Sucks

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Target recently changed their return policy to limit returns to two items each rolling 12 month period if you don’t have a receipt. I think that policy makes sense and it mirrors similar policies at other retailers and I understand that it’s meant to combat return fraud. However, someone forgot to think about the effect that will have on their gift registries, especially in the case where they fail to remove items off the gift registry and the gift giver doesn’t attach a gift receipt to the gift.

Let me give you an example, my fiancee recently had a bridal shower in which a Target gift registry was established and stocked with a variety of items such as board games. Well, when people purchased items off that list, the Target gift registry failed to remove the items from the list. You can imagine what happened next, she received multiple copies of some of the board games. Well, being a classier than average bunch, many of those duplicates didn’t come with a gift receipt taped to the box. In trying to return the items to Target, she ran smack into this new ridiculous policy. Target employees couldn’t check the registry, see that there were mistakes made on their part and give her a refund. The duplicates were Target’s fault but all their executive brains failed to identify this entirely common scenario.

I’m not writing this to complain about Target because I want them to change their policy, I could care less. I’m writing this as a warning to anyone thinking about a gift registry to skip Target’s. Target is really no different from any of those types of stores so register somewhere else and save yourself the hassle of dealing with them.

You know who does do it well? Bed Bath & Beyooooond really does a good job with their registry. If you buy it somewhere else, just give them a call and they’ll remove the item from the list. Everything is automatically 20% off, they are a bit pricier on some things, since you can find those coupons anywhere (they will accept expired coupons). And lastly, if you had it on your registry, you can return it without a receipt (the worst case is that they give you a gift card).

Who else does it well? Macy’s actually gives you a gift card or certificate worth 10% of the total value of items purchased from your bridal registry, among other similarly awesome benefits I can’t remember. 10% “cashback” is pretty freaking sweet compared to Target’s gift of a headache and a wonderfully frustrating shopping experience. So, lesson of the day is to skip Target and go elsewhere.

{ 100 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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100 Responses to “Don’t Use Target’s Gift Registry, It Sucks”

  1. Anonymous says:

    ya juanny i have to say there is no excuse target sucks ibrought something back with a recipt and they wouldnt return it because it was over the amount of days and i couldnt return it sooner because the closest target to me is 5 and a half hours i bought a hair clip at nordstoms and 3 months later it broke from some rust i went to exchange it one year or more later and they gave me a brand new one target makes way more money than nordstroms and treat their customers like dirt they should have A BETTER POLICY like macys or anywhere else that the employe ask if it is from a registry its so simple and millions of people do register there you are wrong about that.

  2. christina says:

    ya juanny i have to say there is no excuse target sucks ibrought something back with a recipt and they wouldnt return it because it was over the amount of days and i couldnt return it sooner because the closest target to me is 5 and a half hours i bought a hair clip at nordstoms and 3 months later it broke from some rust i went to exchange it one year or more later and they gave me a brand new one target makes way more money than nordstroms and treat their customers like dirt they should have A BETTER POLICY like macys or anywhere else that the employe ask if it is from a registry its so simple and millions of people do register there you are wrong about that.

    • Ashley says:

      1. How could you not have a gift recipt if it was on a registry? They automatically print when a registry is scanned. That is the gift givers fault.

      2. How could you wait for NINETY fricking days to return something you didn’t want? That is ample time.

      3. Learn to spell.

      • Random Spectator says:

        It is 90 days from the START OF THE GIFT REGISTRY according to Target NOT the wedding date…so no, that is not ample time.

  3. Liz says:

    I had the same problem at Target today and advise people not to register there. Their return policy is unfair and abusive. I registered for my baby shower at Target and received one item that was a duplicate from my registry. It was a $30 item. I asked the store manager for a store credit/even exchange to buy other stuff off my registry. They refused to do it. I called the registry’s phone no and the “guest relations” number and got nowhere. Allegedly, no one had any power to help me and I am supposed to be stuck with the duplicate gift. All I wanted was a credit to buy other stuff off my registry. I have a few hundred dollars worth of merchandise left on my registry and am considering cancelling the registry and buying them at Babies R Us. It is unfair that my friend is out $30 and I am stuck with a duplicate gift. And no, they do not offer a gift receipt at the register unless you ask (but they are always happy to ask you/offer you if you want to open a Target credit card!) and I should not have to call my friend to ask them for a receipt–that is embarassing.

  4. Sara says:

    I usually brag about how I love Target, but since I registered for my baby there that has all changed. I am now telling everyone, NEVER to register at Target!

    There is zero benefit to registering with them. The store did not do it’s part is updating the registry to reflect purchased gifts, and therefor I received multiples of the same item again and again. I received 6 of the same blanket, 3 of the same teething blanket, 3 of another blanket, 5 of the same receiving blanket and the list continues.

    The return policy is horrible, and is a hassle. It is really frustrating! I can’t return items with out a gift receipt after making two returns and there is a dollar limit too! That is ridiculous.

    The registry in itself should be the receipt. It’s not like I get cash back….I only get store credit…so Target still gets it’s money.

    And, you dont get any completion coupons, or any incentives to even register with them in the first place!

    As far as the purchase log is concerned, only 1% of items purchased showed up on it. Customers are paying and Target is profitting from it’s own incompetence!

    A very disappointed and once loyal customer.

  5. lin says:

    NEVER HAVE A GIFT REGISTRY FROM TARGET!!! I registered at Target for my wedding shower and it was the most awful experience ever. Some people purchased items from the registry far in advace when I first made it. I never received the items though until my shower. Because they had purchased items far in advance but then never gave them to me until the shower (and some people waited until the wedding) the receipts had expired when I went to exchange or return a couple things. Every other store usually gives you 90 days to return an item from your event date. I called the registry hotline and they were no help at all. The only thing they told me to do is maybe regift it! ugggg

  6. bruce0 says:

    Yeah they got us too. They should accept returns for store credit for items that are on the purchase log. You have to go online and type in a long order to print up a gift receipt, but even if it’s on the log you can’t return it if you’ve gone over yor two a year $150 total limit. It was a lot of work to return items just because duplicates were purchased. Even worse some items aren’t eligible for retun at all for some reason. They didn’t disclose this at sign up and hit you with it later. So you end up with these items that you don’t need and Target keeps the funds from the initial purchase.

    I felt like I was scammed by Target policy. It seems deliverate to take advantage of a captive and lucrative market.

    BAD experience do not register at Target. Macy’s and BBB were great.

  7. carol says:

    Target is notorious for not removing items from gift registries in a timely manner. I’ve had a ton of friends experience the same thing. It almost seems like its part of their business model…

    One way to avoid this mess is to use a universal registry site. I’m personally a fan of givingpal ( Using their bookmarklet, you can add items from any site you want and it’ll not only find the best price for it, but it also donates portion of the purchases to whatever charity you want for free.

  8. Anonymous says:

    target sucks for returns of any kind registry or not without a receipt they will not even give you store credit unlike all other major stores do. i say boycott them for their bad customer service. i’ll work with companies that work with me.

  9. cshellyg says:

    We all love target, so the only way around this is to request only Target gift cards. Tell everyone so you don’t end up with wasted gifts.

  10. Mandi Morre says:

    WOW! It must be nice to only need BOARD GAMES when getting married instead of items like linens, pots and pans, furniture and the like. I do know that all stores have an issue with the employees not taking the item off the Registry but if getting too many BOARD GAMES is the biggest issue you had when getting married , you are in for a real surprise!

  11. Jean says:

    Just yesterday I purchased an item on a bridal registry. I watched the clerk scan the printout and she even printed a receipt for the item. As of this morning, the registry is not updated. I’m fairly certain other people shopped for the same shower yesterday yet not one item has been removed. The posters who mention a deadline for returns are also correct. Even with a receipt, you have only 90 days which may seem like a lot but if items are purchased for a shower which is typically a month or two before the wedding, then the same item is purchased as a wedding gift because Target hasn’t updated the registry, you can be running pretty close to the deadline for returns. Although I do love Target for their merchandise, I agree that customer service (and not just in the area of registries) is very poor.

  12. Jean says:

    Aside to Ashley – what’s the point in having a registry if the only thing you’re supposed to buy is gift cards??? You accuse customers of being rude then YOU accuse US of not being very bright. Hmmmm.

  13. Ann says:

    It is the truth about Targets gift registry and also Walmart sucks they do the same thing

  14. Jennifer Baker says:

    I agree! Target’s system is horrible. They allow multiple purchases to be made and if you place an order online are completely inflexible about allowing you to change your order.

  15. Erika says:

    I was lucky and got a duplicate blanket for $59 and when I went in the employee was very helpful and printed out a registry transaction log and told me that acted as a gift receipt. She put the $59 on a gift card and sent me on my way. I don’t know if I got lucky but they were very nice to me.

  16. Kristy says:

    We ran into this problem when we got married as well. The other problem we had was the expiration date on the gift receipts. So when it came time to register for baby gifts, we skipped Target. I really can’t stand that store.

  17. sasha says:

    Of course you failed to mention the failure of the GUESTS who didn’t tape the gift receipt to it. Had they done that there would be no issue here. now would there?

    You can’t blame Target. They do not know where you received the items from. You have to understand they need to protect themselves from fraud and thieves. Switch your places and you would surely understand that.

  18. Mrs Hansen says:

    I was searching for a registry and found that I can not open it up on line. I am forced to go into the store and pull it up. I did not have this issue at Wal-Mart, I could view and print the person I am looking for, besides I know that Wal-Mart will be cheaper and have the same items I am looking for. I have never had any luck with Targets Registry. I know the return policy also is a lot tougher so because of this I am going to shop at Wal-Mart for a hassle free search and I can save money and they can live better.

  19. Julie says:

    Owners of gift registries can update the purchase log. If you log in to manage your registry, there is a “Want It” and “Got It” column for each item. Just as you can change the number for “Want It,” you can change the number in the “Got It” column. So after all the wedding gifts are opened and you see you have some duplicates, log in to your registry account. If your purchase log shows you didn’t get an item that you actually have three of, just change the “Got It” number to three and click on the “Save Changes” button. Your registry will update and then you can use it in lieu of a receipt when returning the extra items.

    It’s an extra step you have to take, but it isn’t that big of a deal. And you just had an awesome wedding and got a bunch of cool presents. Keep things in perspective, deal with what you have to deal with and move on.

  20. katcha says:

    I too spent the time to register for a baby shower and cannot see registry on line. After multiple calls to the 1-800 number I called the store direct, to let them know that it is not on line 7 days later. The store manager acted as if she didnt know how to handle the situation or much less care. Although I know someone else called in about the same issue earlier within the same day.

  21. JM says:

    This same thing just happened to my sister last night and I sent a certified letter to the CEO. She tried to return a duplicate item on her gift registry ($300 pots and pans) and they wouldn’t let her return because the registry had not been updated showing it purchased. I have posted the issue on my blog at I hope I receive positive results but based on what I am seeing from the posts here, it’s unlikely.

  22. Mackenzie says:

    If you don’t have a gift receipt all you have to do is print out your registry and that will serve as your return slip. I’m not sure if the item has to be purchased more than the number of “Want It”s but just to be safe I am adding an extra “Got It” for things I need to return. If something is not on your registry that you need to return simply go and add it to your registry. You can update the number of items you got online really easily. Sure it may be extra work on your part, but it works a lot better than bitching at employees who can’t do anything anyway!

  23. Patty says:

    My daughter-in-law also registered her baby registry at Target. We now find out the registry NEVER updates and she’s getting 5, 6, sometimes 7 of the same items. Customer service is located in New Delhi and nobody there speaks English. They claim there’s nothing they can do. DO NOT REGISTER AT TARGET!!!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Target just gave me a 15 dollar credit for a 60 dollar item. The item is not a clearance item. I’m going in the store later today. I didn’t realize how much the item cost. It was an item from my baby registry. This is the second time I have a problem. I usually don’t post on the comment threads but i want people to know. WHo can waste money in this economy.

  25. hmm says:

    I bought an item today on a wedding registry that I printed from the kiosk at the Target store. When I checked the same registry online later, the item didn’t even appear on the registry. Which registry was the right one? It’s pretty frustrating for me, and I know it’ll be frustrating for the couple I bought the item for.

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