Shoppers at John Lewis now have just 35 days to return unwanted goods, after the high street retailer cut its generous 90-day returns policy.

The shop changed its policy on returning items bought in-store or online on 1 February, with the new 35-day period applying to items bought on or after that date.

Anyone who bought items before 1 February will still have 90 days to return them, and John Lewis says there'll be a "grace period" to help some customers if they're caught out by the changes.

What is the John Lewis returns policy?

John Lewis's new policy still goes beyond what you're legally entitled to under your statutory rights. But it's now similar to other high street retailers such as M&S.

You can return an unused and unwanted item up to 35 days after you bought it, whether you bought it online or in-store, as long as you still have your receipt or proof of purchase (without that you'll get a gift card to the value of the item's current selling price).

The only exceptions are personalised, made-to-measure or perishable goods, and opened software or iTunes vouchers.

It's free to return items bought online via post, Collect Plus or a Hermes courier, unless the items weigh more than 15kg. You can also return items to any John Lewis store. See the John Lewis refunds page for more info.

Why has it changed its policy?

A John Lewis spokesperson says: "Our 35-day, no-quibble returns policy for unwanted items is one of the best returns policies of all UK retailers.

"Before we made the change, we asked our customers about our policy and found that over 85% were unaware of our policy for unwanted items and over 90% of customers who change their mind about a product bring it back within 35 days.

"Today our product ranges, particularly clothing, change much more frequently than they used to and bringing items back once products are out of stock can lead to disappointment."

John Lewis slashes 90-day returns policy
John Lewis's new policy still goes beyond what you're legally entitled to under your statutory rights

What are my legal return rights?

Your basic return rights which are set in consumer law vary depending on whether you bought the items in-store or online. It's worth remembering many stores will go above and beyond these so always check before you buy.

  • In-store – Unless it's faulty, you haven't the right to change your mind. You'll have to rely on the store's policy.
  • Online – You've 14 days after your order is delivered to cancel your items, and then a further 14 days to send them back. The cost of basic postage should also be refunded, but you might have to pay to return items.

With faulty items, you've more rights. Whether you bought something in-store or online, you've 30 days to get a full refund. After that the item can be repaired or replaced before refunds are given – see our Consumer Rights guide for full info.