"A man has one hundred dollars and you leave him with two dollars, that's subtraction." - Mae West

What is the Costco Return Policy?

By , June 16th, 2015 | 26 Comments »

Besides being able to buy all of your favorite foods and household items in bulk, Costco is known for another amazing thing that impresses its customers: its unbeatable return policy. Although most retail stores offer some type of return policy, very few are able to compare to the one offered by Costco.

What’s Costco’s return policy?

Costco’s return policy allows customers to return all items purchased at the warehouse (except certain electronics) at any time. This has been Costco’s policy for quite some time, and most customers have been pleased.

What’s Costco’s return policy on electronics?

Costco updated its return policy in 2007 to be a bit more specific on certain items to curb abuse. In reference to electronic items, Costco now says these may only be returned within ninety days from the date of purchase. All other non-electronic items, however, are still under the umbrella of Costco’s generous allowance for returns.

What’s Costco’s return policy without a receipt?

To return an item, it doesn’t matter if you no longer have the receipt as long as you have the same membership you had when you made the purchase. This allows Costco customer service to look up under your membership purchase history to confirm you purchased the item you’re returning. If it is there, you can return it even without the receipt. If you shop at Costco without a membership and lose your receipt, you’re out of luck.

What’s Costco’s return policy for online purchases?

Costco offers full refunds on all purchases, either made online or in a store location. You can receive the refund or exchange simply by visiting one of Costco’s warehouse locations. Even if you are not able to physically visit a store for a return, there is no need to worry. Costco has a customer service phone number which you can call and make arrangements for the return to be scheduled via United Parcel Service (UPS). All you need to do is take your merchandise, in its original packing material, to the closest UPS shipment center.

Is the Costco Return Policy Unlimited?

Besides the limit 90-day return limit on electronics, many wonder if the Costco return policy is unlimited. For anything reasonable, the answer is “yes.” In the strict sense, the answer is “no” for those who are trying to abuse the system.

Costco states its return policy aims for a “100% guarantee on all merchandise.” Costco is also quick to clarify the return policy is left up to the individual discretion of each location’s manager. This is necessary, because like any good thing, it seems there will always be those people out there who decide to take advantage of the generous return policy. There are stories online of customers attempting to return ten-year-old products, just to test whether or not Costco will honor the return policy. Apparently, even Costco has limits, and that’s why managers are given the discretion to decide on an individual basis whether or not to accept a return.

Like most retail establishments today, Costco is aware that customers demand satisfaction, and it goes out of its way to please its customers with a highly-regarded return policy. As long as you aren’t trying to abuse the system, you should be able to return any product you aren’t satisfied with without any issues at all.

For more on Costco and what you should and shouldn’t get there, check out these articles:

Does Costco Accept Manufacturer Coupons?
Creating a Costco Grocery List
A Review of Costco Cakes
Things You Should Never Buy At Costco
Costco Comparison: How Does It Rank Among Competitors?
Does Costco Offer A Free Trial Membership?
Ten Favorite Things to Buy at Costco


(Photo courtesy of Jeepers Media)

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  • Mary says:

    I LOVE the Costco return process. I’ve never had a problem returning anything there. I even had to return a coffee make I purchased 6 months later when it broke and they didn’t even bat an eye. It’s so refreshing not to have to feel bad or protest loudly to return something when it doesn’t work correctly…

    • chinese says:

      if costco ever opens stores in china, i would advise them not to adopt this generous return policy. I am pretty certain, it will be abused there by far more people than it gets here in the US.

      • Jane says:

        I’m with you on that.

      • josh ronciak says:

        No. Just no, I am ‘Murican, I took advantage of the Costco’s generous return policy many many times over the years. And this is exactly why Costco is so successful. Because of their long term vision and focus on customer orientation.

        May Chinese or any other shoppers for that matter enjoy Costco way God intended! 🙂

  • Carl says:

    I work at the returns desk at Costco. The retUrn policy is fantastic, and members tell us that all the time. I have seen a manager have to return a $3,000 tv purchased back in 2004. The guy was so persistent it was annoying. Six times within a week he would show up and argue he purchased the TV before we updated the policy. Evened he got his way, walked out with a 75′ Sony and cash to sport. It’s insane the cost and energy we put out just to keep members happy.

    On a side note, not necessarily abuse but outright wasteful…. If you ever return meat to Costco, it goes IN THE TRASH. After the item has left the store, WE CAN NOT resell or even donate the item. So if you buy the wrong $120 piece of meat, please think twice in returning it. I have to say that is the most depressing part of my job is all the waste.

  • James says:

    Dude – I kinda feel like Costco is going to be less likely to accept produce or other perishables. That stuff can go bad quickly and it doesn’t make sense from a business standpoint for Costco to accept that type of merchandise.

    • Vic says:


      One day I was making a return. The customer in front of me returned about 6 packages of bakery products, which like the meat went directly into the trash. They ere fine, she just overbought and didn’t want to keep them. Yes, there policy is overly generous… I would be fine if they didn’t accept perishable items, unless defective.

  • Victoria says:

    I’ve heard of people wearing Costco pants for 10 years and then returning them. I guess Costco just does whatever makes people happy! I love the store.

  • Chris oszczakiewicz says:

    I was at Costco Vaudreuil-Dorion October 21, during my visit I had picked up a certain item for my son in law as a Christmas gift, as I approach the cashier to pay for my purchases I did mention to him that the item was a Christmas gift and was only going to return after Christmas if need be. I asked if that would be a problem he did not know so he asked the gentleman that was packing the merchandise he did not know either, he then asked the cashier behind him what the policy for returning “Christmas” items were she then replied (30days) that is when I told them to keep there merchandise. So…what is it? Now I realize that this store has only been opened for a week or two however shouldn’t the employees know their own store policy before employment?

  • Jamie says:

    Does the 90 day return policy apply to purchases made online?

    Thank you. This article has been helpful.

  • zillah says:

    Dear All

    I was fan of Coacto because I heard about it from a friend and relative in USA and I did membership the second month (Aug) when Costco opened at Sydney July 2011.

    The trick that most of you mightn’t be aware of it once you refund (it is doesn’t matter if it faulty product,or change of mind for a brand new item ) still it will be counted on your record.

    Means if your refunds 15% (not sure exactly what is the percentage) of your purchases they will tag your name and they will question you next time when you return an item.

    Yes If you buy mainly groceries and few appliances or furniture then no worries, but if it is other way around you need to think about it.

    Means for instance if you bought a laptop for $2000 and fridge $1500 and your groceries shop during the whole year of your membership is $9000.

    Your total purchases was $12,500 , your refund was 3500 divided by 12500 = 28% bad luck (don’t believe try it and see)

    And say your returned the fridge because it didn’t fit into your kitchen and your returned the laptop because There is a problem with it.

    Since Costco doesn’t have a replacement they need to refund both of them.

    In their system they don’t distinguish between returning a brand new item or returning a used item or a faulty item.

    A shit manager his name is Nathen at Costco Casula tagged my membership whenever I do a purchase system says : “Information needed”

    I am very disappointed, now I am buying most of my appliances from Goodguys, officeworks , Bunnings , Myer…..etc


  • Dodos says:

    I bought a Microsoft surface laptop last February and I didn’t use it that much I wanted to return it on December after the 90 days that I didn’t pay attention to it , but they refused because it passed 90 days although it is a brand new condition even in its box . It’s so annoying because after I bought it I didn’t like how it was .
    I don’t know if I asked the manager would he return it as I will be stuck with a laptop I’m not really enjoying at all .

  • Jane says:

    I was trying to return a Burberry wallet I purchased last Oct 28, was a bit reluctant at a time as seems to have a little dent on the leather part. The salesperson who helped me said it will probably go away maybe due to packaging and I could return it anytime if I’m not satisfied. The lady on the desk said they need to send it to be verified and I’m surprised by that. I took a picture of the wallet the day after I purchased it with the date. I showed her the little dent and explained that was the reason Im returning it. I know they do that for diamonds but not for other goods. I’m so frustrated because I was told some people done it in the past that they return a different one- like a fake one? So annoyed. I have been a member of Costco for years and only once I did return something. They should know their policy on returns as they work there.

  • Beverly Copeland says:

    Going to return Vizio tv, at same time also bought Square Trade Protection Plan.

    Just talked to Square Trade, to cancel plan, and they instructed me to get this handled through store.

    My Son will be handling this for me and I am trying to do as much as I can ahead of that return to facilitate his time there.

    Thank you so much, Bevery Copeland

  • Jim says:

    What about returns of electronics other than what they list as restricted to 90 days? The policy states ‘Electronics: Costco will accept returns within 90 days from the date of purchase for televisions, major appliances, projectors, computers, cameras, tablets, camcorders, MP3 players, cellular phones and other electronic products identified by Costco from time to time.’. I am looking at getting an expensive driving wheel for a Playstation 4 and would like to know if it will be covered for more than just 90 days. Its a great wheel, but people have had problems with it lasting.

    I emailed them, but no response and I don’t know what this covers: “…and other electronic products identified by Costco from time to time.”

    • Alexa Mason says:


      Thanks for reading and leaving such a great question! We reached out to Costco and got the following response:

      Gaming consoles and accessories do not fall under our electronics return policy. Our 90 days return policy include: Televisions, Tuner-Free Displays, Projectors, Major Appliances (refrigerators above 10 cu. ft., freezers, ranges, cooktops, over-the-range microwaves, dishwashers, washers and dryers), Computers, Touchscreen Tablets, Cameras, Aerial Cameras (drones), Camcorders, MP3 players and Cellular Phones (return details will vary by carrier service contract).

      We hope this helps!


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