Trader Joe’s Return Policy (Should You Bother Returning Your Product?)

There are a slew of reasons why Trader Joe’s is adored by many – the Hawaiian shirts, the orange chicken, and the always affordable prices. The most important, though, is the store’s return policy.

Try it. We think you’ll like it. If you don’t, bring it back for a full refund.”


In most Trader Joe’s stores, that sign – or a version of it is painted on the wall, and it lasts. You can return anything you buy for a full refund if you don’t like it or it’s damaged in some manner. They’re so sure of themselves and their items.

What Is Trader Joe’s Return Policy in 2023?

Trader Joe’s return policy is simple and straightforward – you can return anything. They let you buy any meal or drink and take it home to try. If you don’t feel like it, you can simply return whatever is left, and you will receive a complete refund, no questions asked.

Keep in mind, however, that under the Consumer Rights Act, you must return an item within 30 days or the policy will be voided.

Trader Joe’s invites you to buy things and try them without any risk. It doesn’t matter if it’s a half-eaten box of chips or a frozen entrée; they will take it all back.

Can You Return Alcohol to Trader Joe’s?

There is a significant disagreement on this subject. Some stores like Costco will not accept alcohol returns; however, Trader Joe’s receives all wine, beer, or liquor. There is no exception, even if it is opened or half-empty. They’ll take it back without any questions.

Some state laws permit Trader Joe’s to offer an exchange for a different bottle of wine or a 6-pack of beer rather than a cash refund on alcohol.

Generally, their policy allows you to “taste test” wine and beer at home then return it for a refund if you don’t like it.

Do You Need Your Receipt To Return a Trader Joe’s Product?

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A Trader Joe’s return does not require a receipt. This is because many of the items at Trader Joe’s are created particularly for the store and bear the Trader Joe’s logo.

To put it another way, the employee can tell you’re returning anything you bought from them. But, if you’re returning a more expensive item, such as vitamins or liquor, keep your receipt handy to make the return process go much smoother.

Is There a Fine Print for Trader Joe’s Return Policy?

There is a fine print to understand, as with any return policy. Here’s what Trader Joe’s wants you to understand:

Returning Item with Receipt

When returning items to Trader Joe’s with your receipt, you’ll get back the total purchase price to whatever form of payment you initially used.

Returning Item Without Receipt

When returning items without a receipt, you’ll get back the lowest advertised price. Your refund will then be issued as store credit to a Trader Joe’s gift card.

What Does Trader Joe’s Do With Expired Food?

Trader Joe’s has one of the most impressive food waste management programs among grocery store chains in the US. Their dedication to reducing their environmental impact while assisting their local store communities is part of their dedication.

The long-running food donation program begins in the store, collaborating with Feeding America. Items set to expire the next day are withdrawn from the shelf each day, scanned, and properly stored before being delivered to a local food pantry or food recovery program.

That means that all food that is “unfit for sale but safe to consume” is donated on its whole. This includes meals about to expire, dented cereal boxes, cartons of eggs with a single cracked egg, and misshaped fruits.

Does Trader Joe’s Frozen Food Expire?

Frozen food is a lifesaver – whether you are a college student constantly on the go or a mom looking for quick and easy prep food. They are always available. That’s why we most likely have a freezer full of frozen dinners.

This begs the question – does Trader Joe’s frozen food go bad?

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Frozen meals can stay an endless amount of time in a good freezer and still be edible, but they may not taste as delicious. After three to six months, freezer burn will begin to harm your meals. Freezer burn is a condition that happens when dehydration and oxidation occur as a result of air reaching frozen food.

While food with freezer burn is perfectly safe to eat, it gets dry and lacks flavor and texture. To avoid this, remove as much air from the packing as possible.

This is true for all foods, though certain foods have different freezer life spans. According to an infographic from LifeHacker, food can remain indefinitely in the freezer, but various items may attract freezer burn at different periods.

Steaks, for example, can be frozen for six to twelve months, whereas bacon only lasts about a month. However, some milk, salad greens, and cheese should never be frozen.

The FDA also has a handy chart that shows how long items can be stored in the fridge and freezer. They recommend keeping your fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now that you know, don’t be too concerned about grabbing your favorite Trader Joe’s frozen dinner from the back of your freezer. Frozen food is virtually indestructible. Just make sure to keep it as airtight as possible.

Why Doesn’t Trader Joe’s Frozen Food Have Expiration Dates?

The simple answer is – because they don’t need them. From a business and commercial sense, Trader Joe’s relies on a high rate of product and inventory turnover; as a result, these “expiration dates” aren’t really necessary.

Since Trader Joe’s does not influence how the goods are stored, including these dates for the benefit of a consumer appears useless.

In addition, there is no legal necessity, genuine guideline, or general rules for these dates, as most have stated. They’re more of an inventory management system that any indication of a food’s appropriateness for consumption.

As a socially and environmentally conscientious corporation, Trader Joe’s is certainly aware that these dates result in an enormous quantity of food waste. Especially that, the US is the most food wasteful country on Earth due to lack of control or management because of the use of “best by” or “best before” dates.

Is There A Change In Trader Joe’s Return Policy During The Pandemic?

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Trader Joe’s took a page from Costco’s playbook during the COVID-19 outbreak, drawing a line in the sand on returns and refunds.

Trader Joe’s implemented a new return policy that applies to all of its stores, “Due to the current circumstances we are unable to accept returns on overbought products. Thank you.” This sign was visible in one of their stores in Southern California.

So, what exactly does that imply? For example, if you bought a bag of chips and it tastes terrible, you can return it. However, if you purchased 18 bags of chips and want to return them because you were hoarding, you are out of luck.

The new approach significantly departs from the company’s long-standing return policy, which provides full refunds with no questions when you present a receipt.

Costco established a “no refunds” policy on some of the more popular items that have been flying off the shelves since the outbreak of the COVID-19 – from toilet paper and hand sanitizers to wipes and Lysol.

Like most grocery businesses, Trader Joe’s has gone to considerable pains to ensure the safety of its personnel and customers. To prevent the spread of the virus, Trader Joe’s is also requesting customers not to bring their own reusable bags.


It’s a good thing to have a good return policy. It allows you to shop without fear of being stuck with something you don’t require or desire. However, just because Trader Joe’s has a generous return policy does not mean you should take advantage of it.

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