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Can You Return Baby Formula? (Return and Exchange Policies for Walmart, Amazon, Target, and More)

Buying baby formula in advance is a great idea! However, it can come back to bite you if you wind up purchasing baby formula that you can’t return. This was the case with the littlest in the house.

He’s been on a few different formulas (it was a trial and error process to find one that worked well for him.) Ultimately, I wound up donating almost $200 worth of formula to other people.

It was great to help someone else out that was in a rough situation, but I could have really used the money from returning it. So it’s important to know, can you return baby formula, and are there specific rules?

Since then, I’ve carefully calculated how much formula we will need, and make sure to stay ahead of the game. I usually buy in bulk on Amazon now, but I have shopped other places. I always make sure to check out the return policy just in case. 

Most Stores Will Not Allow You To Return Opened Formula

Some stores will let you return or exchange formula if you accidentally bought the wrong brand once. However, I have never heard of a store allowing a person to return a can of opened formula.

This is because there could be something in the formula making it unsafe. Another reason is that retailers will not be able to re-sell a can of opened formula, so they will automatically have to take a loss. 

You’ll More Than Likely Need A Receipt To Return Formula

Not only does the can need to be unopened, but most stores will also require a receipt. This is for a couple of reasons. First, the store needs to make sure that you purchased the formula from them.

Second, you’ll need to receive a refund the proper way. If you paid with SNAP benefits, the refund will have to be applied to your SNAP card, for example.

Last, people aren’t allowed to return the formula that they received on WIC.

There are a lot of people that receive free formula from WIC, and there are plenty of people that have tried to turn this into a scam by attempting to sell or return the formula that they do not need, which is fraud and is illegal.

Make sure you have a receipt before trying to return the formula.

Woman paying on credit card

If You Don’t Have A Receipt, Take Your Original Method Of Payment With You

Most stores, like Walmart, can look up purchases made in the store with your original method of payment. However, they have to have the card to do this. If you don’t have a receipt, try to return the item anyway.

Take the debit or SNAP card used to buy the formula with you to the customer service desk.

Once they are able to look up the purchase on the computer, they can see that it was not purchased with WIC. They can then issue a refund on your original payment method. If you paid with cash, this won’t help you. 

Most Stores Will Make Exceptions For Damaged Or Expired Items

If you purchased an item, got home, and realized that it was already open or past the expiration date, most stores will make a one-time exception for you if the company allows them to.

If you don’t have a receipt, you can expect to receive a gift card back or only be allowed to exchange the item for a new one. 

If They Say You Can’t Return Formula, Ask To Speak With The Manager

There are quite a few stores that will allow returns at the manager’s discretion. Sometimes, a manager will make an exception for people based on the belief that you should always try to keep the customer happy.

For example, at Dollar General, they can occasionally call corporate to get a return approved in the computer, but a manager at the store can only do this so many times.

If you return items often, they probably won’t do it for you, and the policy states that they can refuse returns. (I used to be a manager at Dollar General.)

Get mad. Ask to talk to the manager. It might get you somewhere. Avoid cursing or threatening because they can, and might, call the police to have you removed from the store. 

Can You Return Baby Formula To Amazon?

Amazon has an awesome return policy. I buy a lot of household things, gifts, and order groceries from there.

I also like buying formula on Amazon because it’s cheaper, I can buy six cans at a time, and occasionally they have really generous coupons for Gerber Soothe.

Despite their awesome return policy, they do not accept returns on groceries. If you’d like to return the formula once, they might make an exception and have you send in the unopened can first.

Some third-party sellers on Amazon do not accept returns at all, so pay attention to the fine print on the screen before buying. 

Amazon does offer a refund for grocery items that are damaged or have spilled. For example, I ordered a few different things from Amazon Pantry about a week ago. (This is a great service to use if you have Amazon Prime.)

The bottle of syrup wasn’t sealed properly, and it leaked all over everything. They gave me a refund for the syrup and a few things that were simply covered in syrup. They’ll probably do the same if you have a problem with a can of formula that they sent. 

Return Baby Formula To Target

Target doesn’t make have any specifications for returning formula listed in their return policy.

I did call and ask a local Target, where the manager stated that they did not accept a formula for returns, but that this is on a store by store basis.

They are less likely to accept it online, where chat agents specifically said they did not accept it. Store managers might still let you return it or give you store credit, though. 

Costco Return Policy For Baby Formula

Costco is a membership-only store that is known for selling bulk items. This makes it a great place to shop for baby items, like diapers, wipes, formula, and anything else you’ll need in large quantities.

Along with your membership price, you get access to the awesome Costco return policy. You shouldn’t have any problems returning your unopened formula. 

Returning Baby Formula At Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club, much like Costco, is a warehouse styled store that is known for selling things in large quantities. You can pick up anything in bulk here as well, including formula.

They do accept returns on items, including formulas. Because some of Sam’s Club stores accept SNAP benefits, you should try to make sure that you have your receipt with you.

However, they have been known to provide a refund via a store gift card for members that do not have their receipt. 

Does Walmart Take Back Baby Formula?

returning baby formula

Yes, you can return the formula at Walmart as long as you have the receipt.

Stores that do not have a high problem with theft or individuals attempting to return formula they got on WIC may still give you store credit for formula if you do not have the receipt.

However, this is on a store by store basis. If you don’t have the receipt, contact your local store and ask them. 

Can I Take Formula Back To Kroger?

Kroger is a grocery only store that sells standard-sized items. They also have one of the strictest return policies.

They do not accept returns on most items unless it is bought by mistake, damaged or sold after the expiration date. You will more than likely not be able to return the formula without a receipt. 

Can You Return Formula To CVS?

CVS is known for being a pharmacy, but they do have plenty of other items available, including baby formula. If the can is unopened, has not expired, and you have the receipt, you won’t have any problem returning it. 

Returning Formula To Walgreens

Walgreens has a pretty simple return policy, just like CVS. As long as the container has not been opened and you have your receipt, you won’t have a problem returning the product.

However, keep in mind that managers can refuse to accept returns for their own reasons, such as if they no longer carry the item so they know it was not purchased recently. 

Can I Return Baby Formula To Dollar General?

Dollar General will allow you to return anything that you have purchased within the last thirty days provided that it is unopened and you have the receipt.

They can also let you return things without the receipt. Dollar General does not take WIC, so you shouldn’t have a problem returning the formula if you lost the receipt. 

Does Meijer Let Customers Return Baby Formula?

Meijer will only let you return baby formula if it is not WIC eligible. WIC only allows participants to purchase a specific sized can of formula, so if yours is a different size you should be able to return it.

If it’s an item that someone may have used WIC to purchase, you cannot return it. Some managers may make an exception if you have a receipt to prove that you did not purchase it on WIC, but this is rare.

Woman next to cash register

Returning Formula To Aldi

You can return the formula to Aldi provided that you have the receipt and it has not been opened. If you cannot provide proof of purchase, most store managers will not let you return it. If the product has been opened, you cannot return it. 

Publix Lets You Return Almost Anything

Publix has a pretty great return policy. You can return just about anything, and they might even give you store credit if something has been opened.

Having a receipt can be helpful, but you can usually still get a refund without one. It’s up to the store associate whether they give a refund, though. 

Can You Return Baby Formula At Whole Foods?

You can return anything from whole foods as long as it has not been opened, and you have a receipt.

This includes any formula that was purchased within the past ninety days. You’ll receive a refund the same way that you paid for the formula. 

Giant Eagle Return Policy For Baby Formula

Giant Eagle is not as popular as the other stores on the list, but they do still wind up selling their fair share of baby formula.

If you’d like to return the formula that you purchased at Giant Eagle, it shouldn’t be a problem. If you have a receipt you can receive a refund. If not, you’ll more than likely receive a gift card for the amount of the purchase. 

Can You Return Formula At Safeway?

Safeway will let customers return items purchased to the original store that they purchased them from, but this does not apply to baby formula. Baby formula is not a returnable item at Safeway stores. 

What Else Can You Do With Unused Formula?

If you have plenty of formula (which we did when the grandbaby switched from Neosure to Gerber), it can be a pain having twenty cans of formula that you know you aren’t going to use taking up space in your kitchen.

baby formula

If you can’t return it because you don’t have the receipt or it’s past the 90 days, you still have some options. You can: 

  • Join a blessing group on Facebook and give it to someone that is in need of formula
  • Donate unopened formula to a local food pantry or church
  • Give it to a soon-to-be mom in case they wind up using the same brand
  • Take it to Babies R Us for cash or store credit
  • Sell it online
  • Mix it with the new brand you’re using to make sure it doesn’t go to waste
  • Donate it to a hospital or doctor’s office in case someone needs it
  • Contact children’s services to inquire about places to donate unopened formula

Baby formula is expensive, and I hate wasting things that I know other people could use, so I always try to donate what I can.

I donated all of the extra Similac Neosure to a mother whose baby was on it, and she hadn’t received WIC yet so she had no formula. This is always an option.

In Conclusion

Most stores can make exceptions to their return policy, but will only do so if they can verify that the item was not purchased using WIC, the can of formula is unopened, and it is not past the expiration date.

If you simply cannot convince them to let you return it, consider helping someone else by donating it to who you can.