What Does Walmart Do With Returns? [Full Explanation]

Curious about what Walmart truly does with the items that are returned by customers?

Many people often wonder what happens to the items they return, while other customers may wonder if the item they’re buying has been returned or not.

In this article, we will cover what happens to returned items at Walmart.

What Does Walmart Do With Returns?

Walmart may reshelve items that are returned if they are unopened and in good condition. Items such as food, over-the-counter medications, and swimwear are never returned. Whether items are reshelved or not depends on the specific item and the condition it’s in.


  • Walmart reshelves unopened, undamaged returned items.
  • Walmart never, under any circumstance, reshelves returned food, over-the-counter medications, or swimwear, as well as other items.
  • For damaged items or items that can never return to the shelves, Walmart either sends them back to the manufacturer for credit or destroys or throws away the items.

Keep reading to learn more about what happens to returned items at Walmart, including whether you can buy returned items for a discount!

What Happens to Returned Items at Walmart?

Walmart’s policy on returned items varies depending on what, exactly, was returned. If the returned item has never been opened and used, it will often be reshelved (with some exceptions).

Meanwhile, if the item returns damaged or opened, Walmart may not readily put that item back on the shelf. It really just depends on what the item is, what condition it is in, and whether someone could buy it in the shape it’s in.

Now, some items will never end up back on the shelves for sale. For example, food (opened or unopened), swimwear, and over-the-counter medications are just some examples of items that never will be put back on the shelves.

Let’s analyze specific items to better understand Walmart’s return policy. First, let’s discuss returned items such as computers or TVs.

As long as the items remain in good, usable condition, Walmart will resell returned computers and TVs — even if the package was opened. The package must often still be in the original packaging, however.

Walmart will sell these used electronics often at a discounted price or put them on clearance.

As we discussed above, Walmart will never reshelve or resell returned food. The same goes for returned baby formula.  

Walmart will reshelve returned diapers — as long as these diapers remain unopened. They will also reshelve some returned clothes. Underwear and swimwear will never end up back on the shelves, as Walmart will instead send them back to the manufacturer or destroy them.

Meanwhile, Walmart may also put undamaged bikes back on the shelf for sale.

Finally, makeup and other health and beauty items will also never be put back on the shelf.

Does Walmart Put Returned Items Back on the Shelf?

Walmart puts some returned items back on the shelf for resale. This all depends on the specific returned item. Some items, such as food or anything consumable, will never return to the shelf.

If the store can once again sell the returned item in good condition, such as a returned TV or computer, then they will put it back on the shelf.

Sometimes, Walmart will put clearly returned items back on the shelf at a discounted price!

Never-worn clothing with the tag still attached will also return to the store’s floor. But it likely won’t be discounted — unless it is damaged.

Does Walmart Sell Their Returned Items?

Yes, Walmart will sometimes sell their returned items. This all depends on the specific returned item, as well as its condition.

If the returned item has any sort of damage, it might end up back on the shelf at a discounted price. Severely damaged items won’t end up on the shelves at all. Instead, Walmart will send it back to the manufacturer or destroy it.

Can Private People Buy Returned Items From Walmart?

Yes, you can buy returned items from Walmart. Sometimes, you can find returned items in the clearance section at Walmart. You can easily buy these discounted items.

Does Walmart Throw Away Returned Items?

Walmart does throw away or destroy certain returned items that they do not put back on the shelves for resale. For example, Walmart will always throw away returned food, regardless of its condition.

Walmart will also throw away any type of consumable returned item, such as food or baby formula.

The store will throw away anything that someone could have tampered with. As a result, health and beauty items such as makeup and lotion will often result in Walmart throwing them away upon return.

Does Walmart Open Returned Items Even if They Are Returned Unopened?

Occasionally, Walmart may open returned items that were returned unopened. If the item isn’t very expensive, they may not do this.

However, if a customer returns an unopened computer, things may change. Walmart will likely open this package to ensure that the specific computer still resides within the packaging!


In conclusion, Walmart treats every returned item differently. Sometimes, they will immediately reshelve the items for resale. Other times, they will immediately dispose of the item, as they cannot put it back up for resale.

Customers can also often find returned items for sale, at a discount, within the store!