Costco’s Incredible Return Policy

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I know a lot of folks love Costco, I’m one of them. Did you know that their return policy permits you to return ANYTHING (except computers) with or without the receipt whenever you want as long as you still have the same membership. If you bought a pair of pants, as I did, and found that you didn’t really like them but tossed the receipt already… no fear, just go back and they have it all on record. Yes, I bought these pants two months ago and had been meaning to return them for two months. You can also use this as a (semi-free) extended warranty – buy a TV or DVD player and if/when it stops working after four or five years, just return it! The only exception to this rule is a computer purchase and that return period expires after six months.

Update: Costco recently amended their return policy. Televisions, projectors, computers, cameras, camcorders, iPOD / MP3 players and cellular phones can only be returned within 90 days of purchase.

Don’t believe me? My friend David bought a mattress from Costco and emailed them to find out their return policy on mattresses. In short, he could return at any time, at no cost, to a store or arrange with customer service for pickup if you can’t get it to the store because of size and weight. Pretty sweet.

{ 749 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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749 Responses to “Costco’s Incredible Return Policy”

  1. JoeJoe says:

    If it was possible to returned melted ice, I would return it.
    And say it wasn’t that cold as I expected.

  2. paul says:

    i called costco today to see if i can return a gps i bought in 2006, the alhambra store manager says i cannot. i thought they changed the policy in 2007. please confirm and advise.


    • David says:

      Good. Be a decent person and realize that after 5 years of owning something, it is yours and you should not return it.

      I will confirm and advise:
      Confirm: I confirm that you are manipulative and exploitive. You might as well go steal a GPS, you are doing the same thing when you are returning it.

      Advise: Be more of a decent human being and get some dignity for yourself.

      There is a big difference for those who bought something, used it a little to realize that it was not worth the money, broken, etc. But using it for half a decade and getting the money back to gain the ability to just buy an brand new one; un ethical.

      • Anonymous says:

        Who cares?! That’s their policy. Unethical?? I’m sure the amount of money Costco makes is more than enough to cover a measly GPS. I guess that their return policy is unethical. If Costco had a problem with it, they’d change it. Who made you the ethical king of ethics?

  3. Alisha says:

    i have a question. i bought my dad a sleep innovations bed (the memory foam type for $600) 2 years ago. hes an older man, and i don’t live with him. recently i went to go and visit him and while fixing his bed i noticed that there is a crease in the middle of the bed where it was folded in the box it came in. the problem is, i no longer have that costco card member account, when mine closed we opened a new one a few months later under my husbands name. also, my dad cannot remember where he put the receipt. i dont want my money back, i just want to get the same bed. i also have the same bed and the crease went away in mine, so im thinking my dads malfunctioned or something. do you think they will let me exchange it?

    • Bobby says:

      Alisha, I work at Costco.

      What you can do is go to any Costco location and explain to them exactly what you just told us.

      If I was handling your return, I would:

      1)Look up your old account
      2)Verify your Identification
      3)Look at your shopping history and find the item
      4)Refund your money on a Costco Cash Card (which works the same as cash) and have you buy the same item again with that Cash Card because Costco doesn’t actually do exchanges. You would also have the option to do receive cash for your return instead.

      The reason I would give you a Cash Card is because Costco cannot put money back on debit cards, only American Express credit cards (due to our agreement with American Express) and chances are that many of us do not use AMEX. Also, a Cash Card is more convenient to carry than a bunch of cash (especially $600 worth).

      All you need to bring is your I.D and the item you want to return. Costco can find your old account even if it is closed by a multitude of ways. These ways include by your full name, phone number, address, etc that you used at the time that you used this membership. I hope this helps! Figured it was my duty to help as a proud Costco employee.

      Take care and good luck!

  4. Gem says:

    Does anyone know if it’s possible to return a mattress back to Costco even if it’s been after 1 year? The mattress doesn’t hold up very well anymore and it causes my husband and I to get backache every night.

  5. Costco has the best return policy. Six months ago I returned an office chair that I had for approximately eight months and Costco returned it with no questions. I love the Costco return policy I shop their at least twice a month. I have been going to Costco since I was a child with my parents. My parents are still members and I will be a member for life as well.

    Hopefully they do not change their return policy to 30-days like they did with all electronics.

  6. Sarah says:

    I bought a tv from costco under the old return rules. The tv gave out 2 1/2 years later, and we treid to get it fixed but found that it was un-fixable. does anyone know if Costco will take it back? its been 4 years now.

  7. JoeJoe says:

    Most of you folks sound like children. ” I bought “blank” in 2006 will they take it back?….
    My mattress has a crease , will they take it back?.. Oh Im not a member anymore.
    People like this should shop at Sams instead. Stick with your Walmart quality life

    • ShellsBells says:

      Oh my God. Thank You for that post!! Do people just think Costco eats the cost(no pun), every time someone decides 4 years later that they don’t “like” something they bought? Uh…Hello? That cost gets transferred to you and all the other Costco shoppers in the form of higher prices on their products. C’mon people…do you really believe Costco can survive for much longer with this policy as long as people continue to abuse it? We’ve already seen the change in their electronics return policy. This country has become a melting pot for the “entitled ones” who cannot seem to take responsibility for their actions. If something breaks or malfunctions after 90 days, you should be seeking restitution from the manufacturers warranty, not Costco, who has for too long now, catered to these abusers of good will.
      You read it here. When Costco just can’t maintain supporting all the whiners, cry-babies, and greedy folk, and change their return policy for all products purchased, don’t go looking for a refund for your membership fee!

      • Anonymous says:

        I wouldn’t return anything unless it was unused. I couldn’t imagine returning a bed or t.v. After 4 yrs. Come on people! It’s time to buy something new, At Costco! Don’t take advantage of these policies.

        • David says:

          Really? That is why you PAY for a membership! It is for Costco to act on your behalf and to negotiate prices. This includes their return policy!

          I am not one to take advantage, but when you expect something to last 5+ years and it only lasts 2-3, you should be able to take it back!

      • Torra says:

        Amen, I am with you on that, tired of these people trying to return everything after they used it for a few years!!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        I guess if Costco thought like you, they would be you and if you thought like Costco you would be them,so they are crushing the competition without our advise! I can tell you that if they listened to me they would certainly not be where they are at today. Look at what you and I have and look at what they have.If they are more successful, that means they are smarter at running business but it is so hard for our mom pop mentality to understand that their policies wins customers.

      • Stable says:

        Just wanted to comment on this one. I am not addressing the length of time to return, but your comment on other members absorbing the cost is incorrect. In order for a company to sell goods in such a large quantity at Costco, they must first agree to take back products according to Costco’s lenient policy and no questions asked, no box, etc. Costco simply send the item back to the company with no extra cost to absorb. When commenting, just make sure you are referring to Costco and not a retail generalization.

        • greg says:

          you are right. my friend works at costco and every manufacturer they feature agrees to take back any returned item with no cost to costo itself. that’s why they are so easy on returns. The manufacturers make out because they sell more product than they would have otherwise and make a huge profit.

      • Anonymous says:

        The way I look at it, regardless of your personal views. I am paying a membership to shop at their stores. Part of this membership is the return policy they have set forth. If Costco wants to change their policy thats fine, but as long as I am a member and as a member that benefit of their return policy is available its not abuse, its exercising your rights under your membership aggrement.

    • Melody says:

      This Is perfect!

    • Mr.J says:

      Joe joe I agree with you returning stuff years later is wal mart mentality
      Stick with SAMs Clubs people.I don’t have stock in them!

  8. John says:

    You can always call Costco corporate for returns:

    As far as I know they will allow all returns even if the local stores will not… but best not to abuse this as they might change their policy!!

  9. Seriously? says:

    I cannot believe some of you people would consider taking something back to a store after you had used it for months? What gall! What lack of self respect do you people have? I’m sure you feel entitled because you “can” or they “will” but have you no shame? I’ve had this ______ for 6 months now, I’d like to return it. Really? People like that make the rest of us lose faith in humanity.

    Luckily, people like that make up a very, very small minority of people who will take advantage, whenever they can, to selfishly & greedily take what they can to feather their own nests, even if it means hurting the greater good. They see the world through a narrow lens of what’s good for their interests and not beyond. I’m sure they justify it to themselves a million ways too. But Karma is a bitch and unfortunately, they know deep down what they’re doing is wrong and so I’ve seen these types of people cave themselves in, in other ways… they commit their petty crime at Costco and then wonder why their car breaks down or the water heater in the house blows or this or that happens in their life. Coincidence? I think not. It’s what a person does to himself when he knows deep down he’s ripping others off or harming the greater good. Don’t do it. Do the right thing – the morally, grown up, proper thing. You shouldn’t have to be told what that is or ask what that is. Use your own native common sense and good judgement and the answer is clear.

    • David says:

      Do you really think that Costco passes this on the their customer? Costco buys in bulk, that is how discounts are created. Costco also has agreements with its vendors to take back product if its customers are not satisfied! With the amount of business that Costco has, they have the strength to do this. When you pay $50 for a MR. Coffee machine and it goes out in 3 years, when you could have paid $20 for a simular machine, of course Costco should take it back. If you were not satisfied with the length of time you got out of it. That is another reason for over paying for simular products. With your logic, you should never take advantage of car battery policies. Costco has a 3 year no questions asked replacement policy. If my battery goes bad in two years (common in AZ heat), Costco will refund my money to allow me to buy a new battery. You pay for your Costco membership for a reason. Part of that is the return policy!

    • matt says:

      Any store who offers a warranty like that is asking for people to return stuff, and saying that people have no morals because they do it is stupid…take Sears for example…Craftsmen tools warranty states that “for as long as you own it, if it breaks or becomes unuseable you can return it for a brand new item.” People bought tools at Sears for THIS EXACT reason, so you are saying that if a Store gives that warranty that you would not use it? Bollocks! If the store offers that kind of warranty, people will return their items when they are no longer usueable, and so would you. Hypocrite…Yes I know the post is old, but it still rings true…!

      • G Man says:

        You’re an idiot Matt. You know damn well that is not the same thing dumb ass.

      • greg says:

        That’s why it is a membership store. “most” people who are going to spend 50-100 dollars on a membership aren’t going to be the people that are going to use and abuse the policy. They are also probably going to spend a whole lot more than they will every return. Don’t worry Costco always returns a dividend to their stockholders every year, just like Nordstroms. Nordstroms has the same exact policy and they always come out ahead every year. You don’t see them being bought out and going broke like all the rest of the clothing retailers have in the past few years.

    • G Man says:

      Well Said!!!!
      I also beleive that people have no moral compass nowadays. It is all about how they can get over on someone. Personally, it makes me sick. People know better than to try to get over on a well-seasoned New Yorker like me. I will tell them to hit the friggin pike!!!

      • greg says:

        That’s probably why you’re living paycheck to paycheck. The CEO and founder of Costco is a multimillionare, probably a little more dough than you have. Obviously he knows something you don’t.

  10. Keith says:

    For those of you arguing that it isn’t ok to return something to Costco after you’ve been using it for months, consider the following: I bought two $160.00 Keurig coffee makers that I gave as Christmas gifts in 2010. Both failed within a couple of weeks of each other just prior to Christmas 2011. Do you think that a $160.00 coffee maker should only last a year? By the way, Costco won’t eat the cost, they’ll return them to Keurig and be credited. Return them for a replacement? You bet I will!

  11. Mike says:

    I worked for Costco before they changed the return policy. I was told by managers that they take anything back no matter how old and whether its working or not. That was the policy. Taking something back that is 3 years old is not wrong if its under their policy guidelines.

  12. goatladyinva says:

    Inside the L.L.Bean catalog cover, it states:
    “Our products are guaranteed to give 100% satisfaction in every way. Return anything purchased from us at any time if it proves otherwise. We do not want you to have anything from L.L.Bean that is not completely satisfactory.”
    Not only that, the shipping is free. They repaired a hole in a favorite sweater of mine that was 10 yrs. old. No receipt, no questions asked and shipping was free both ways. They have earned the reputation for satisfying their customers.

  13. buzz says:

    I bought a Whirlpool washer, dryer and could not stand the sound of the washer during the washing cycle. I called Costco Customer Service to return the washer and dryer 2 weeks ago and have not heard back from them. I have made 4 calls and they keep telling me they have to get clearance! They also said it could be 15 business days (3 weeks) for the shipping company to call me to set up a time from the to come and pick up the washer/dryer.
    And they can take another 2 weeks to do that.
    Poor policy. I do not recommend.

    • gha says:

      Yea, try doing that at sears. You wont even find people to talk to. And if you find, they will look at you with amusement ? Does sears sell washer ?

  14. joe camel says:

    Try to return a carton of Cigarettes. I was told you can if never left the store with them otherwise no deal.

  15. Doug says:

    Returning a bed used by some sweaty carcass is just plain wrong. Especially after 2 years. Even after 2 months. I watched another guy who bought a giant propane bbq who obviously used it at his baseball tourney or party of the century. Absolutely filthy and covered in grease from the grease burgers he cooked on it. They gave him a refund. A vacuum cleaner returned from another guy who said it had no suction. They pulled the bag which was ripped to shreds from the dryall and nails that were in it. Gave him a refund. Something has to be wrong with these losers.

  16. Joe joe says:

    Only in America

  17. Mike says:

    Can I return a pair of sunglasses I bought if their out of the package?

  18. Tania says:

    Can I return a tablet without a reciept? Got it as a gift but want something different .

  19. Nick Manning says:

    I am planning on returning a nearly 7 year old vacuum to Costco. Was about to buy a new one, but then remembered their policy. Sure people will take advantage. But many people have legitimate returns. My vacuum broke, and since it is covered under their policy, I will use it. That’s why they have this policy, they stand behind all their products. This is why they are one of the top warehouse club and retailer.

  20. steve says:

    How much is “too much” for Costco? I am leaving to move to the UK. Voltage is differnt so I want to return some electronics (not the ones covered by the new return policy) DVD Player, heater, fan, etc???

  21. Kurt says:

    I respect the Costco Return Policy. I will not return the MTD snow blower I purchased six years ago because I was happy with the purchase.

    BUT, I am frustrated to learn Costco cannot/will not help me find a replacement tire without which the machine cannot not be used. MTD cannot/will not help. Any ideas ?

  22. Asia says:

    Costco totally suckers me in because of their return policy. Realistically I have only returned one item in 3 years however, knowing I have the option is peace of mind. We have been renovating our house and could buy cheaper price and quality appliances somewhere else however, we are buying them from Costco because of the return policy. I basically try to buy everything there. I have been Costcofied but I am totally fine with it.

    • cathy says:

      I totally agree with you. This is why my husband and I purchase everything at Costco, b/c of their return policy…Good luck with the renovations

  23. Kenton says:

    For those whom have a problem with the return policy at Costco, there is a surefire way for it not to affect you: DO NOT SHOP THERE, HENCE YOU WILL NOT BE INCLINED TO RETURN ANYTHING THERE… If you are as richeous and you make yourself out to be, you would realize that what Cosco is doing is a very good business practice. Chris Farley said it best in Tommy Boy when he told the man that a guarantee is only as good as the man whom writes it. But why write guarantee on the box then? Chris Farley’s reply was “because the other guy knows he has just sold you a guaranteed piece of crap” “But for now, why not buy a reliable part from me before someone gets hurt?” The same holds true here. If you think that the returns after a few years after the sale are the majority of shoppers at Cosco, you are sadly mistaken. Here it is from another viewpoint. If you hear that Cosco will take a return 5 years down the line, no receipt, even if not found on their records, after Cosco Giving you your money back, even if you did not purchase the item there, would you not be inclined to give them your future business, especially where a receipt may not be necessary for 6 or 8 years down the road. Not only on electronics, small appliances, large appliances, but for your everyday shopping? Food, Detergent, beverages, pet food, etc… Once you win a customers loyalty, the best form of a reference is word of mouth. If a friend hears of your satisfaction with Cosco, will they begin to shop there, or will they direct their friends to continue shop at HANKS or buy food from the BURGER BARN? Even if the item gets returned, todays manufacturers are happy to replace the older item with a new one. It just makes good business sense. This brings into play the 2 rules of Business:
    Rule # 1: The Customer is always right.
    Rule # 2: If the Customer is wrong, see Rule # 1.

    Any salesman will agree to this statement. The more of what you sell, whether it be a BarB Que or lawnmower, If you have purchased and are using one, you have become a salesman for that company. The more that are in use, the lower the cost of parts and services. Whenever you buy and use something made by another company, you now represent that company.

    Another experience I had along these lines was the release of the advantix photo system. Buy 10 rolls of film and you get the Camera Free. This Camera took photo’s equivalent to that of a Digital Camera, however there was a side kick to the deal. The Camera accepted only Advantix film. This was one of the low budget cameras to offer 3×5, 4×6, and panoramic photos. A panoramic photo was usually in the range of 4×10 or 4×12. All full color, matte or glossy finish. A panoramic photo would let you take a picture of 360 degrees in 3 shots, and as long as you have lined the photo’s up and at the right angle, like my experience, I was able to take 3 photos and captured my father’s property on Whidby Island, Wa. from the Puget Sound all the way around till you capture the road leading up to the main Highway. With not a car in sight, pastoral decor, and a few row boats lining the edge of the Sound, It was as if you had stepped back in time by at least 150 years. Only God’s unwavering hand could capture such beauty and tranquility while maintaining degree of perception that only the Masters hand can do.

  24. Win says:

    How is Mitt going to explain what happened to the 1% ers.

  25. Mia says:

    can I return a tv I purchased from Costco in 2005? Hardly used, but it doesn’t turn on now.

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