Personal Finance, Shopping 

Costco Accepts Returns from Expired Members

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Esther recently commented about how a lawnmower her mom purchased two years ago stopped working, a day out of warranty. On James’ urging, she took the lawnmower back and Costco gave her a full refund. That, however, is not the interesting part of the story because Costco’s liberal return policy is a well known and often debated fact, the interesting part is that her mom’s membership had lapsed/expired and they still accepted the return, no questions asked! That’s amazing!

{ 6 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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6 Responses to “Costco Accepts Returns from Expired Members”

  1. Tim MMF says:

    That’s a surprisingly customer friendly policy. I remember when I was a kid my mom used to have to argue for a long time to get something returned. I’m glad to see how things have changed. I’m a Costco member and I’ve been happy with their service too.

  2. ziggy3339 says:

    When I was a kid (many many years ago) stores truly CARED about their patrons. If people returned something it was because it faulty or wasn’t what was expected. No one returned something after years and out of warranty. That was when everyone had some sense of “doing the right thing” . Times have perhaps changed. That return policy of Costco’s was set up for members to operate on an honor system (remember honor?). It’s a courtesy extended to members (most of which probably wouldn’t do this). As a business owner do you think Costco should eat the cost of the lawnmower? I don’t understand the logic (much less financially prosperous nature) of resorting to this type of behavior as something that can be justified. Gosh, I hope I don’t have to pay the ultimate price (change in return policies) because of this type of conduct. Thanks for letting me share my perspective here.

    • Anna says:

      Excellent comments Ziggy and I could not agree with you more! Wish more people were like you.

      By the way, Jim Wang is incorrect in his above assertion that Costco’s policy is to accept returns from former (membership expired) members. They do not. Is it possible for some returns clerk somewhere to make a mistake and process a return such as this? Or for a manager to be bullied into taking an item back in order to preserve Costco’s stellar reputation? Yes, but it is definitely not “policy,” and it is not the norm.

  3. costcomom says:

    Ha! Not at my location! Not a member, not returning anything! The sign states that they will refund a “members” money if they aren’t completely satisfied.

  4. Po says:

    Costco will accept returns on items in a “reasonable amount of time”. That doesn’t mean that you return your vaccum cleaner that you bought 5 years ago because all of a sudden it died through use. It’s a different story if you returned it within 3 months because you didn’t like it. Don’t ABUSE the policy for those of us who shop at COSTCO.

  5. Amy says:

    So Costco’s Return policy is based on the whim of whatever manager is there that day. It’s now called the “Whim Policy”. Target 90 day policy is better than that. I think I will start making all my major purchases at KOHLS, Bed Bath and Beyond, and JCP for their rock solid return policy. There is no point in going to Costco anymore when you can get the same price point on food items at Aldi and you don’t have to buy in bulk or pay a membership fee. Sorry Costco you lose.

    Dear Amy,

    We appreciate you taking the time to email Costco Wholesale.

    We apologize for the confusion. Our full return policy is this:

    “With few exceptions, Costco has a 100% guarantee on all of our merchandise.
    If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, simply return the product and packaging, along with the receipt, if possible, to your local Costco warehouse.


    Televisions, projectors, computers, cameras, camcorders, touch screen tablets, iPod/MP3 players, cellular phones, and any item that is restricted by law. Please visit your local membership counter for details.”

    What Lorinda is referring to is that while our policy is obviously liberal in it’s scope, there are times when the location will exersize descretion on some returns when needed based on the context of the return itself. In other words, our local warehouse managers are vested with substantial discretion to accommodate member requests in a wide variety of contexts based on the facts and circumstances. Our policies help guide the exercise of that discretion but do not strictly dictate all outcomes.

    I hope this helps.

    Thank you,

    Costco Wholesale Corporation

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