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Costco’s Crazy Return Policy

Costco's crazy return policyI’m going to get a lot of flack for this one - I can feel it in my bones.

You’re waiting to judge me…aren’t you?

Ok here it goes.

In case you aren’t aware, Costco has the most amazing return policy in the history of return policies.

They will allow you to return practically anything, for almost any reason, with no time limit on when you can make the return. There’s only a few reasonable exceptions.

Sounds insane, right? How can this be profitable?

It’s actually a genius marketing and psychological play that gives customers a huge sense of security and trust in the products Costco carries. They open their wallets without thinking about it or even checking the reviews.

Much of the time Costco can charge back any returns to the manufacturer anyway - and the sheer volume of sales they do and annual membership fees makes up for the rest of the potential losses.

In short…it’s why I shop at Costco.

I’m always pressed for time. The draw of that warm security blanket return policy and reasonable prices is just too hard to resist.

I'm not the only one who can't resist either - here's a blogger who lists her favourite Costco buys.

My $1,000 Costco Return

When I know I have forever to return something - I tend to procrastinate.

The priority level drops dramatically when there is no deadline. That suits my lifestyle perfectly.

But, it can make for some pretty embarrassing returns when I’ve let things go just a little too long...

Before our recent move, we were living in a temporary house and had accumulated plenty of things from Costco that had either broken or weren’t quite right. The fact that we were moving - with all the expense that entails - finally motivated me to dig up the receipts and make those returns.

Related: Capital One Trying To Appease Disgruntled Costco Members

Exercise Bike Blunder - $500

First, there’s the recumbent exercise bike that cost nearly $500. I bought it to work out from home while playing a free online game, Hearthstone, on my tablet. Two birds, one stone - am I right?

Well, within the first year I started noticing the resistance was really weak. I fooled myself into thinking I was either getting stronger or that it was always that way. Soon after though it became clear that it was just broken.

I stopped using the bike, but it was really heavy and big, so it just sat in the basement unused for 2 more years.

With our move date looming, I called my Dad and asked him if he could help me return it to Costco with his trailer. Boy was I nervous going to the return counter carting that 3 year old monster…

The result: I explained what happened truthfully along with the reason for my delay and they gave me my $500 back no questions asked - success!

Bicycle Garage Ornament - $300

Growing up my wife, Maria, never had the opportunity to learn how to ride a bicycle and it is something she’s always wanted to do.

One day, walking through Costco we spotted a nice ladies bicycle - this was her chance to finally learn. We walked out, bike in tow, and found a way to stuff it into our SUV.

What happened next?

Life with two young kids and changing careers took over of course and it basically just sat in the garage unused. It sure looked nice sitting there - but unfortunately it was way too expensive as a garage ornament.

The tags were still on this one so they didn’t bat an eyelash when I rolled it back into the store along with most of my other stuff.

Everything But The Kitchen Sink - $200

Here are the other returns they gladly took back - most of them were at least 1 year old:

  • Fruit stand - we forced ourselves to try and like it for a couple of years, but really didn’t.
  • Cushioned floor mats - we bought way more than we ended up needing so we returned some.
  • Snorkel kit - another impulse purchase we thought would be fun but didn’t take out of the package.
  • Towel holder 2-pack - never got around to installing it on our bathroom doors and no longer needed with the move.
  • Frying pans - they were supposed to be professional grade but warped quickly and didn’t hold up.

They did reject a couple of things though:

  • Walnuts - I had an unopened bag that I didn’t realize had expired. They said they don’t take back expired food which makes sense.
  • Shoes - I used a pair of slip on hiking shoes as slippers and they basically disintegrated. I figured for strictly indoor use they should last a lot longer but they said they were too old and it was regular wear and tear.

Related: Sneaky Grocery Store Tricks (And How To Avoid Them)

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Policy Abuse?

I could have forced the issue on these two items if I really wanted to, but I don’t want to abuse the system. In my view I’m just taking advantage of a policy that keeps me shopping there…

It’s win-win.

They get a regular customer who makes a lot of big purchases there and talks up their brand at every opportunity (this article - case in point). I get a time-efficient shopping experience that allows me to make purchasing mistakes without any consequence.

After all, I just bought a new living room set and mattress for my new house without seriously considering the competition - I think they’re doing OK.

Costco Horror Stories

You might think my big return is pretty crazy … but really it’s only the tip of the iceberg. I try to keep it reasonable. Some people will shamelessly return used and abused items and then walk out of the store with a brand new replacement.

The 10 Year Old TV

Costco finally changed their policy so old electronics can’t be returned for a full refund allowing people to simply “upgrade” to the latest technology at no cost.

That didn’t stop this guy from returning a 10 year old TV because he was technically grandfathered under the old policy.

The Outgrown Baby Stroller

This onlooker saw a parent return a battered baby stroller that was apparently no longer needed by their grown up kid:

I saw somebody returning a baby stroller, which was in a very poor shape. All tires wobbly, full of hairs, seat dirty with stains, handle acting all funky and all that. Funniest part is there was a kid along with them who was walking all over the place and was quite grownup, so don’t know how long did they used/abused this stroller before finally deciding to return it.

‘Borrowing’ Electronics

Here’s an example of a guy who ‘borrowed’ a GPS from Costco for his road trip. Another common one is for people to ‘borrow’ big screen TVs for the Superbowl and then return them shortly afterwards.

Unearthed Plants

Some people will even buy plants, put them in the ground, dig them up later and return them to the store. Here’s an example.

Related: Which Grocery Store Has The Lowest Prices?

And So Much More…

The crazy return stories just keep on coming. People will return anything from half-eaten pie to decades old fish.

Where Do You Draw The Line?

I’m curious…

Where do you draw the line when it comes to a return...

  • Would you return something without the packaging?
  • Would you return something more than 1 year old?
  • Would you return something without a receipt?
  • Would you return clothing you’ve already washed and worn?

There’s no clear line in the sand - what is clear is that Costco wants your business and they are willing to overlook some pretty crazy consumer behaviour to ensure they get it!

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links. We're letting you know because it's the right thing to do. Here’s a more detailed disclosure on how HTS makes money.

Comments

Tom
Tom's picture

Here's a little flack. I bought a gym quality exercise bike, and regular bicycle each for under $20. Two items that probably should never be bought new. That might be the takeaway on this. Maybe that would be a good article in future, "Things smart savers should probably always buy pre-owned".

January 17, 2017 @ 9:25 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Good point - I don't buy used as much as I should. Finding good things used at a great price is definitely a time investment though. Time is one thing I value more than money.

January 17, 2017 @ 9:41 am
Carey Vandenberg's picture

your website is named "how to save money" not how to save time. Money you save is time saved because it means less time you have to spend working. Exercise equipment bought for $100 that sold new for $1,000 that can be found on CL in an hour or 2 is $450 to $900 / hour in TAX FREE income. I deal with a lot of clients and the wealthy ones, the ones being able to quit working earlier than everyone else are the ones who know the value of this and they do it by taking advantage of the people who don't by buying their barely used goods.

February 01, 2017 @ 1:01 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

That's assuming the goal is to "quit working early". I'm an entrepreneur and I wear so many hats that time becomes infinitely more precious. But as I admitted above, I don't buy used as often as I should. No one handles their money perfectly, and that definitely includes me.

Every piece of advice needs to be filtered through each individual's reality. I try to provide a menu of options fo people to explore and apply if and when it makes sense for them. I gave up thinking a long time ago that there is one "right way" for everyone.

February 01, 2017 @ 3:34 pm
Delia
Delia's picture

It's interesting this popped up in my email right as I was thinking I should return the Ninja Blender I bought from Costco almost 3 yrs ago. The blades are nicked and we rarely use it. We just moved into a much smaller apartment and it will only take up valuable space, plus I could use the cash from it instead. So perhaps back to Costco it goes. I've kept all boxes and packaging from my Costco purchases for this reason. My TV from there isn't a year old yet and I'm contemplating returning that! We'll see if I'm brave enough, but hey they can't fault people for using the system if it's in place. Times are tough.

January 17, 2017 @ 10:16 am
Marpy
Marpy's picture

Sorry but I have to disagree with you Delia. Costco has a good return policy and I am sure most members want to keep it that way. At the end of the day Costco like any other retailer has to make money. Abusing their return policy just means the costs get spread out to all the other members and eventually if to many people do it, the return policy will get watered down making it worse for everyone. Costco has already tightened up on their return policies because of this. For example - return on electronics (tv) is now 90 days. Sorry to be so harsh but the fact that someone needs money is not the problem of Costco or its members. If something breaks or there is a legitimate reason for returning, I am all for it. to abuse it will just drive up prices and eventually ruin a good thing for all members.

January 17, 2017 @ 11:03 am
Expatnzer
Expatnzer's picture

In most countries you only get to return items if they're faulty. In Canada the returns-policies are abused. Put yourself in the retailer's shoes would you expect to be giving refunds for used-items years after they were purchased? Buying something and having it stop working within a reasonable life-expectancy is a completely different story.

About 30 years ago I had a secretary who would buy a very expensive dress at The Bay and have it altered to fit. She'd wear it to a function and then return it the following week. It's called "Wardrobing". Or fraud. Take your pick.

January 17, 2017 @ 1:49 pm
Amandeep Singh
Amandeep Singh's picture

Do you think retailers don't count this in their cost? I used to work at a retail in sales, and we used the return policy as number 1 sales tactic. Imagine those impulsive buyers who want to buy a thing but don't want to spend that money. Well we used to say "hey in case you change your mind we have this return policy, bring it back." eventually when the customer goes home, and opens their product, they never want to return it, even if they can't afford it. Moral of the story, be smart when you make a purchase, negotiate the best deal. If you can't then take someone who can do that for you, and if you still don't like it just return it who cares what would happen.

February 01, 2017 @ 11:48 am
Dogmum
Dogmum's picture

I agree with you Marpy - its the poor choices of others abusing a good policy that forces companies to change their policies to the detriment of those of us who don't abuse it.

January 17, 2017 @ 5:57 pm
Carey Vandenberg's picture

Think like a child or think like an adult.. sorry but that is childish thinking.

February 01, 2017 @ 1:03 pm
Jack
Jack's picture

It's people like YOU who make me sick. If you are too CHEAP to OWN it than DON'T BUY IT!!!

May 07, 2017 @ 12:50 pm
Jack
Jack's picture

DELIA it's people like YOU who make me SICK. If you are too damn CHEAP to OWN it then DON'T BUY IT!!!

May 07, 2017 @ 12:51 pm
Marpy
Marpy's picture

Costco's return policy is one of the main reasons I shop their. having said this, I try not to abuse it and only return items that legitimately should be returned. I believe that their return policy is win/win and makes them money while protecting the consumer. my latest example of this was my recent purchase of a big screen 4k tv. I was thinking of purchasing a Samsung model on Black Friday. I checked out the area retailers for price and warranty and then went to Costco to see what they had. they had a special on a Vizzio model - 65", 4k smart TV for under $1000. I did not know much about Vizzio and if it were any other retailer i would jhave passed on it. Being Costco and being familiar with the return policy, I bought it with the thought that i will do some research and can always return it if I do not like what I find. Anyway, liked what I found, $500 cheaper than a comparable Samsung set, 2 year Warranty (twice the industry standard), 90 day return (3 times the industry standard), $60 dollars to extend the warranty to 5 years (way cheaper than any other place) - All around, they were just way ahead of the competition.
I suspect that a lot of this does not cost Costco much money as its what they negotiate with the manufactures and distributors that want to get their products into Costco. This also filters out a lot of the poor quality products as the returns come out of the manufacturers/ distributors pockets which means that those models get sent to the lower warranties and high price extended warranties. This is just my opinion based on the fact that in the end manufacturers and retailers have to make money and someone pays.
Anyway - Ido not work for Costco and am in no way associated with it other than having a membership and due to their return policy, good customer service, better employee pay, good prices on many items and return policy, I do like shopping at Costco.

January 17, 2017 @ 10:48 am
Maryanne
Maryanne's picture

I bought a cement picnic table for $500. After the second winter, it had disintegrated so bad, all the seats were broken and large parts of the table had flaked off. Note: this isn't something to be brought inside for the winter, it weighed hundreds of pounds.i expected it to last many year's!!!

I went in and spoke to the manager before hand because it weighed too much to just bring in. She ok'd the return.

January 17, 2017 @ 11:11 am
Michael
Michael's picture

I shop a lot at Costco and do a good number of returns but try not to abuse the policy. Most items I return are unused and still in the box (e.g. changed my mind after doing more research, wife didn't like it, etc.) and expect they can still put those ones out on the floor to sell again. My personal policy with bigger ticket items that break are to return if is within the warranty period. Though I sometimes wonder how Costco handles those that abuse or if they track this at all.. do they put a note and flag your profile impacting the ability to do returns in future?

January 17, 2017 @ 11:33 am
Tom Drake's picture

I once returned a Christmas tree five years after buying it. It was pre-lit with LED bulbs.

Every year, more and more lights were going out, and changing bulbs wasn't helping, though they shouldn't have been dying that quick anyways. I would just kind of hide the unlit area, but it got worse each year I'd bring out the tree.

So I returned it and they didn't even question it. I told them I tried to live with it but it was going downhill fast. Plus, since it was just out for Christmas, even 5 years is really only 5 months of use. They took the return with no questions asked!

January 17, 2017 @ 11:46 am
Michele
Michele's picture

I only use the return policy for clothes. Because you can't try them on in the store, I sometimes get home and find they don't fit. Other than that, I always weigh all my decisions before I purchase. Returning stuff just takes up my time, which I can never get back.

January 17, 2017 @ 1:18 pm
Expatnzer
Expatnzer's picture

Here's the opposite end of the spectrum and why you should think twice before buying anything expensive from Factory Direct:

Stores issuing "Customer Cards" when faulty goods are returned; refusing to refund cash.

Some companies (Factory Direct for example) refuse to refund your money when a item is faulty (we bought a metal dandelion weeder which crumpled on first use. On returning it the clerk admitted there had been other such complaints - but the item was still being offered for sale).

I don't expect a refund if I change my mind, but when the item's faulty I should be able to get a refund.

One "unique" feature of the "Customer Card" is also that expires after a year (non-expiry is legislated on gift cards). This store was also selling refurbished cell phones for several hundred dollars. I can't imagine too many people would be impressed - not getting a refund on a clearly faulty item so they could go elsewhere - and maybe having to purchase hundreds of dollars of items that they didn't want or need in order to work off the "Customer Card".

I contacted the Consumer Protection branch and they told me that the vendor gets to decide the refund method - even if the item's not of "merchantable quality" and fit for the purpose" as required by The Sale of Goods Act/Consumer Protection Act. In my case I figured I had a good argument that it wasn't of merchantable quality when there had been multiple returns. (I think the Consumer Protection branch is wrong, and a couple of my decades-old law profs. agreed with me)

January 17, 2017 @ 1:40 pm
Gerard Shayne
Gerard Shayne's picture

Hey all....what about mattresses? I want to get one here but who knows if you are going to like it until you sleep on it for a while. Obviously, if you pee all over it, you can't return it. But if it clean, can you return for a full refund? Do you have to get it back to them yourself? I can't find any information on it. Wondered if anyone had experience? Thanks!

January 17, 2017 @ 2:00 pm
Anne
Anne's picture

We returned a mattress last year after having it for 3 months and it was not a full refund. I can't remember the exact percentage we got back but they did deduct a percentage.

January 17, 2017 @ 2:11 pm
KittyFoe
KittyFoe's picture

Our neighbors returned their mattress set to Zcostco 5yrs after they bought it and "upgraded "to a new mattress set. They used the return to upgrade to a newer model for free! I was shocked they were willing to that it back and that the store allowed it.

May 11, 2017 @ 11:11 pm
Gary
Gary's picture

Costco gets rid of their returned merchandise through resellers. Since a majority of the goods returned are from buyer's remorse resellers pay top dollar for Costco returns, which are usually brand new and unused. The small percentage of "used" goods isn't a big deal to Costco and are just included in the reseller's pallet.

OpenBox gets a lot of their electronics from Costco returns and you often can get really great deals on TVs, audio equipment, tablets, etc. As with any refurbished products if you buy from resellers, make sure you check it out thoroughly as there are typically no refunds unless the store has a policy for returns of defective units. I've bought iPads and TVs from them and haven't had any problems and saved hundreds.

January 17, 2017 @ 4:28 pm
Tara
Tara's picture

From the comments posted, it appears that most people have a good conscience when it comes to Costco's return policy. I've heard only a couple of people over the past few yers who are willing to abuse the policy. They pat themselves on the back as if they had discovered some hidden treasure nobody else has figured out. I'm quite sure that Costco is well aware that these people are out there, but like this forum, the vast majority of people understand marketing better than that. If a couple percent more people were to start abusing it, the policies would change, affecting everyone. Costco knows how to play the game. I'm happy I've been able to return a few items myself so I hope the 'good' majority of people continue to weigh the consequences of their actions.

January 18, 2017 @ 10:04 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I'm not sure marketing is something everyone understands all that well - but I am glad people veer towards not abusing policies. I try to use them to my advantage as much as possible without crossing the line into abuse. If you want to woo me as a customer with your policy, them I'm definitely going to take full advantage of it.

January 19, 2017 @ 9:05 am
Money Beagle's picture

I look at that if I get expected use out of something, I'm not going to consider taking it back. But if I don't, I will return the product. Case in point, we bought a baby monitor when we had our first. It was out of warranty but after about 1.5 years the place where the electrical cord plugged in the back fell apart. It was obviously not supposed to do that so we returned it. We bought another one which lasted a long time and even though there are now some issues, it's stuff I would normally expect with something that old, so we won't even consider returning it.

January 18, 2017 @ 2:56 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

That pretty much sums up my thinking on the matter as well.

January 19, 2017 @ 9:06 am
Ed
Ed's picture

Sorry but I tried to return a vacuum that was purchased towards the end of 2011 and the manager said no. It is the managers discretion

January 18, 2017 @ 6:05 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Managers try not to follow policies all the time - it's up to you how hard you push to get them to follow what's written. Involving their head office or regional managers can sometimes help.

But, if you got 5 years out of your vacuum then at least that's half-decent.

January 19, 2017 @ 9:08 am
Scott M
Scott M's picture

We purchased an e-bike from Costco 4 years ago. There was a problem with a part - electronic - so we went to the manufacturer and bought a new one.

We attached it and *pzzt*! It fried a whole bunch of other parts. They had shipped the wrong part - they admitted the mistake themselves. But all they were willing to do was ship replacement parts and we'd have to basically re-assemble the bike from scratch.

I went onto Twitter and expressed my dismay -- Costco quickly contacted me and told me to return the bike. It sounds like they have a way to get the money back from the manufacturer so they're not out. Bike returned, all money refunded ($800).

We purchased another ebike, it was too tall for my wife, returned within a week of getting it - no problem ($1200).

*That's* the reason we went with Costco for our beds, living room set, barbecue, much of our clothing, roomba, car seat liners, etc. I know they have our back when the product isn't up to snuff.

January 23, 2017 @ 8:28 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Exactly this - I got my $1000 back but they aren't crying themselves to sleep every night because they get so much more of my business.

January 23, 2017 @ 9:08 pm
Ashlee
Ashlee's picture

Last summer we got stopped in Costco by a wonderful salesman selling a particular brand of Smoker BBQ's. Before I knew it, my usually frugal partner (and the salesman) had me convinced that this was the best purchase ever. I agreed to, impulse buy a BBQ... A BBQ!! Well, after a few meals (chicken, Ribs and Nachos) I was almost convinced that it was a good idea... Oh those ribs... But then, one evening after the BBQ finished it's cool down cycle, the fire smouldered back through the wood pellets in the auger and into the hopper... I was so upset that our new friend tried to burn our deck down... Unaware of the return policy, I was terrified that we were stuck with this purchase... We dragged that BBQ back in and had no problems with the return. We were happy, yet sad... Those ribs... But, like Stephen has expressed, we will continue to shop at Costco, especially bigger purchases, because of that added sense of "security".

January 23, 2017 @ 11:01 pm
Jodi Mitrovic
Jodi Mitrovic's picture

I love Costco! With our growing family and great sales it's quickly become our go-to store. I did however try to return one of their huge homemade apple pies and they refused because it had an expiry date (which had passed) so definitely understandable. The funniest return I witnessed was a 3/4 eaten box of oranges and they actually took them. There's no way I could have done that one lol Great article! I loved reading all of the comments. Cheers!

January 25, 2017 @ 11:50 pm
Alisa Petrisch
Alisa Petrisch 's picture

Just curious what reason was it that you returned the delicious pie?

May 01, 2017 @ 7:05 pm
Mike
Mike's picture

Thank you for this wonderful article. I am a new Costco member - just join two weeks ago for the first time. I went with a friend to Costco and he convinced me to signup just so we could each get a $10 gift card. I was told that I could get a full refund on my membership fee if I am not satisfied. Which is why I decided to give Costco a try.

I am beginning to like shopping at Costco because they sell some unique stuff that's not easily available elsewhere (e.g. 100% Avocado Oil). My only problem is that when I used my Tangerine Mastercard to pay for my grocery at Costco, I was given a 1% cashback instead of the 2% I was getting from shopping at other grocery stores. Does anybody know of a way to pump up the cashback to 2% when shopping at Costco?

January 29, 2017 @ 2:22 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Glad you found the article helpful. I've heard multiple people report that there is no category that that applies to Costco with Tangerine - wish there was.

January 30, 2017 @ 9:27 am
Gregg
Gregg's picture

I'm a frequent Costco shopper, and a lot of it is because of the return policy. I don't abuse it. As I write this, I can look at the couches, TV, picture frames, ladders, patio set and even the clothes I'm wearing, - all coming from Costco and staying here. The ability to buy with confidence that "purchases will work as expected" makes Costco my preferred stop for all major purchases and many routine things we find while looking at the big stuff. My only regret so far is the inability to test a mattress before buying. But I kept it anyway. My wife has decided it should be softer, but I'm OK with it firmer. If we had decided in the first month or so, I would have returned it, but we didn't.

February 01, 2017 @ 12:08 pm
Suzy
Suzy's picture

This is a tangerine thing not a Costco issue. I too was disappointed because I buy groceries and home improvement there. However I like my tangerine card and I absolutely love Costco precisely due to the return policy which I would never, never misuse. However being disabled makes it difficult for me to deal with difficult merchandisers. So I buy absolutely everything I can at Costco because as people have said, I know they have my back. Also, most products that I have purchased there are very high quality and the manufacturers are eager to please and not have you return their product. Love Costco! Shame on those who perpetrate fraudulent returns!

February 02, 2017 @ 10:17 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

People do make fraudulent returns at stores all the time, but it is pretty hard to make a fraudulent return at Costco because some form of deception has to be involved. They will already take back almost anything, for any reason, after any amount of time - so that makes it pretty hard to be fraudulent when you do a return.

As several commenters have suggested, it could be considered unethical to use their policy in certain ways. Everyone's line in the sand is different for what is ethical or not. The way marketers of big companies subtly play with peoples emotions to influence their behaviour could easily be considered just as unethical.

February 02, 2017 @ 10:36 pm
mitch
mitch's picture

Several years ago my daughter's expensive stroller was broken by Air Canada on a flight from Vancouver to Toronto. It was over 3 years old. She needed the sale price so that Air Canada would partially pay for the damage so she phoned Costco and explained the situation. The Coquitlam Costco Manager said, if you can be at the store before my shift ends I will refund the full price to you, just bring in the stroller. My daughter could not believe what the manager had said. But Costco did refund the full price (not a store credit either), as my grandson had outgrown the stroller and my daughter didn't need a new one. I have shopped at Costco ever since and I tell everyone this story.

February 01, 2017 @ 10:21 am
Dave
Dave's picture

I really think a lot of this is taking advantage and therefore unethical. I'm fairly sure that the store's return policy was never meant to be a warranty substitute.

A half-eaten box of oranges? Clearly, many of you have never run your own business, because if you did, you'd understand what this does to the bottom line. Can Costco afford it financially? Yes. Does Costco account for it on their balance sheet? Yes. But that doesn't make it right.

The fact that this article was written suggests to me that deep down, people are questioning the behaviour, which is the only thing here that gives me hope.

February 01, 2017 @ 12:52 pm
Nancy B
Nancy B's picture

I totally agree with you. they cant have cost with out passing it onto the consumer like theft. Like they say a few bad apples ruin the bunch

June 10, 2017 @ 10:12 pm
Samantha's picture

Costco has the greatest return policy - that's why when I need to buy something I always go to their site to check if they offer it. I still remember when they didn't have the 90-day return policy on electronics, but I guess lots of people were abusing it, and they had to change it. Still if you buy a product and it breaks in a few months or a year you don't have to deal with company's customer service to get it repaired (if you are lucky to still be in warranty), instead you just drop it at one of the Costco's warehouses and you are done.

February 03, 2017 @ 11:46 am
LitLeafCity's picture

Does the return policy applies to all types of membership?

February 10, 2017 @ 5:58 am
Samantha's picture

Yes, I believe it does. I think with the executive membership you just get more cashback and discounts on services offered by Costco.

February 14, 2017 @ 9:52 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes, it definitely applies to all types of membership.

May 15, 2017 @ 9:25 am
Iscostcostupid
Iscostcostupid's picture

I know someone who returned an eight year old snow blower - the head gasket broke. Got all her money back. 2000 bucks!

April 17, 2017 @ 2:53 am
Nancy B
Nancy B's picture

I have been reading all these comments ... WOW people. Ok I shop there and have been since I could get in early for my membership before everyone could. They change there policy (electronics ) because yes people as they usually do take advantage. They track your returns , hence you dont need a receipt and can see if you are abusing.
I would not take something back if it was not broken.
Today someone returned a toilet... used and smelly and the employee didnt even want to check the box... ahh general public

June 10, 2017 @ 9:33 pm
Tommy A
Tommy A's picture

For about 5 years I buy a prelim Christmas tree and then return it after the holiday. Each year I check with the manager first and am told it is no problem. I do not feel guilty after all I spend thousands of dollars there and there return policy builds loyalty; like Nordstrom used to be.
Home Depot is also good for "renting" power equipment......

July 10, 2017 @ 11:33 pm
Sivan
Sivan's picture

I bought a carpet steam cleaner at Costco. Used it a couple of times, realized it wasn't worth holding onto, and returned within a month. I've known Costco's that don't let you return unopened food even if they didn't expire. My local one also wouldn't give me a price adjustment in the form of a gift card for something that went on sale for $40 less within 2 weeks of when I bought it. They told me I would have to return it first, rather to have them just give me a credit. That pissed me off.

October 14, 2017 @ 11:02 pm
Mark D's picture

Costco's return policy is second to none. I returned a burnt out kettle a year after i purchased it! No issues at all from CS. They have made some tweaks recently, you can see more from priceadjust dot ca website

October 24, 2017 @ 12:13 am
Obee
Obee's picture

I bought a 65 inch tv. While setting it up, my wife tripped and dropped it, damaging the casing. Although it seems to work just fine, it appears the screen could eventually become detached. At any rate, I called Costco customer service and explained exactly what happened, that the damage was caused by us. They assured us we could return it as long as it was within 90 days. So this brings up an interesting dilemma. If feels odd to take it back, but on the other hand Costco could have written its return policy to easily exclude damage caused by the customer, but it didn't. I'm not trying to hoodwink anyone, and, in fact, could easily return it and claim the damage was caused elsewhere. So it seems as though Costco's policy is meant to protect clumsy customers from themselves. Seems like a great way to retain customer loyalty.

December 22, 2017 @ 8:56 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes indeed, it's all about making a loyal customer out of you and hoping you won't get too extreme with it.

January 07, 2018 @ 11:26 pm
celine
celine's picture

I have an espresso machine i ordered online from Costco, about 25 days ago. Last week the on off button got jammed in. So it now does not turn off unless you unplug it. I want to return it, but knowing they only sell it online, i'm still using it this week first.
The problem is that I bought it for 229, now it's 299. They don't put the model on it, so i don't know if it's now a newer model.
So I can return it in store, but how does the replacement work? Am i stuck now paying 299 for a new one?
I can't seem to find these answers on their website, so hoping someone has the experience here. :)

December 25, 2017 @ 5:15 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Just return it with no questions asked and buy a new one from them or anywhere else. No problem at all.

January 07, 2018 @ 11:26 pm
Lux
Lux's picture

I just bought a dining table from Costco, don't like it, can I return it?

January 01, 2018 @ 9:08 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yup, they accept returns for any reason.

January 07, 2018 @ 11:27 pm
Collin
Collin's picture

I love shopping at Costco. I have returned many items, including electronics, just because I did not like it. They have returned each one of it. But there are often long lines for returns. It takes a lot of time, minimum 15 min to 30 mins. So reach on a weekday early.
But their choice of items are very poor. Maximum two or three choices. Even food and cleaning chemicals, I found the price same as walmart or similar store which has five times more choices. Most food items purchased are large quantities which eventually perish as I have a small family. If you spend 250 bucks or more each month, then their upper level membership fees are worth it. Weekend crowds are crazy in store and at the parking lot. I have checked out many stores in Toronto. Each store has many items that are unique to that store.

January 06, 2018 @ 7:33 am
Justin
Justin's picture

I purchased a recliner just over 3 years ago. In thr past year I've had to tighten the footrest to the point where the holes have worn down too much. One of the main springs under the seat has popped out. One of the arms is loose. And there is some pretty ugly deterioration of the top grain leather. All this despite fairly infrequent use (pretty much only on weekends). It's all about the product and how long you expect it to last. Would I return a sock after 3 years because it's got a hole in it? No way. We have furniture in our home that is decades old, so this recliner is going back.

January 13, 2018 @ 12:16 pm
Jim
Jim's picture

Just want to throw out there that I had a similar exp w/ Canadian Tire. It was over a stupid thing- a garden hose nozzle I paid about $15.00 or so for. Bought it last summer, and kept it in the shed. This spring I went to use it (almost a year after purchase) the handle snapped off. I said, 'WTH, let's see what happens...'

No reciept, no packaging.. they confirmed my purchase by searching my debit card and gave me $ refund. I'm still open mouthed about it.

CANADIAN TIRE???

Awesome.

May 08, 2018 @ 1:11 pm
Suzanne Black
Suzanne Black's picture

Shame on you and others of your ilk who are stiffing Costco. I love shopping at Costco, but would be pleased if they tightened up their return policy for greedy cheapskates like you. People who think the world owes them a living are responsible for Costco and others having to clamp down on returns. Just how do you think it's okay to scam Costco just because they can return it for credit to the manufacturer? That's cheating yet another company.

August 17, 2018 @ 7:21 pm

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