Bottom line: Fortunately, it didn't take an act of Congress for Apple to realize its existing policy wasn't feasible for watch bands and make the appropriate changes to better assist buyers with exchanges.
Apple's latest wearables can be configured with a new style of clasp-free stretch band, the Solo Loop or the Braided Solo Loop. Apple provides a printable size chart to help ensure buyers order the correct size but even still, some users experienced fitment issues when their watch arrived.
When reaching out to swap their bands with a more appropriate size, buyers learned they would need to send back the entire watch - not just the band - since Apple policy considers it a "configure to order purchase." Some were quoted wait times of weeks or months to complete the full exchange.
Currently on the phone with Apple Support. They're swapping out my band and prioritizing replacements so they will ship way faster than the store shows. They're even letting me order a third band to try and return, just keeping whatever size between between 6, 7, and 8 fits best.--- Eli Hodapp (@hodapp) September 24, 2020
According to recent first-hand reports, Apple has rectified the error of its ways and is now allowing buyers to return ill-fitting bands without having to send in the watch itself.
Eli Hodapp said his rep prioritized his replacement so it will ship faster, let him order a third band to try and tossed in a free Sport Band to make up for the hassle.
Others are reporting similar experiences in trying to get their bands replaced.