If there’s a return policy that other stores should copy, it’s Costco’s return policy. It’s a policy other stores should be insanely jealous of because it’s so forgiving.
Sure there are time constraints on certain returned items, but overall, you can return anything at any time. You might not even need the original package or receipt. When they say they offer a ‘Risk-Free 100% Satisfaction Guarantee,’ they stand by what they say.
Receipts aren’t Necessary for Costco Returns
Would Costco prefer it if you had your receipt for a return? Sure, but it’s not required. If you don’t have your receipt, they can look up the purchase using your membership card.
Let’s take it a step further. The product doesn’t even need to be in its original package but it must have all the pieces or accessories.
Just because receipts aren’t necessary though, it’s not a good idea to return too often. Costco does track it and if you are abusing the system, they would cancel your membership.
There are no Shipping Fees for Online Returns
If you’re returning a product you bought online, you have two options. You can return the item at any Costo location or you can process the return online and ship it back. They may even help you set up a pickup appointment for large items.
To return an online purchase, you’ll print out a free printing label and drop it off for shipping. Your refund will include the cost of the item plus all shipping and handling charges you paid.
If you return an item in-store, even one you bought online, you’ll receive a refund immediately.
You can Return Opened Food
If that bag of chocolate chip cookies or macadamia nuts didn’t suit your fancy, you can return them. That’s right, you can open food, try it, and if you decide you and your family don’t like it, you can return it to Costco for a full refund, no questions asked.
This certainly takes the risk out of trying new foods in bulk that you think your family will love. If it turns out it’s a total flop, there’s no risk – you can get your money back.
You Get 90 Days to Return Electronics
You have 90 days from the date you received electronic items to return them. This includes computers, TVs, projectors, appliances, tablets, cameras, and smartwatches. If you bought a cell phone, how you return it and what you’re charged will depend on the contract with the carrier. Some carriers have prepayment penalties, so be careful before taking on a cell phone contract.
Mattress Returns don’t have a Timeline
Yes, you can buy a mattress from Costco, sleep on it for weeks or months and return it. Crazy, I know, but most mattress companies allow this too.
Mattresses don’t have a special return policy at Costco. If you are unsatisfied, you can return it. You don’t even need a receipt!
If you’d feel too awkward returning a mattress in person, buy it online and schedule the return online too. They’ll even come to pick it up from you so really, there’s no risk on your end.
You can Even Return Diamonds
You can even return diamonds bought at Costco. However, if the diamond is more than 1.0ct, you must include all the original paperwork with it. This includes the IGI and GIA report. A Costco gemologist will review the diamond within 48 hours to ensure its validity.
To return a diamond, you must visit the jewelry counter at your local Costco and provide your name, order number, phone number, the reason you no longer want the diamond, and the credit card you used to purchase it.
Alcohol and Cigarette Returns vary by State
Costco accepts alcohol and cigarette returns where it’s allowed by law. In states where it’s prohibited, Costco will not accept returns.
Some Products Have Warranties Rather than being Returnable
Products that have limited use, like tires or car batteries may not be returned, but instead, have specific limited-time warranties.
This is one of those ‘it depends on the store’ categories. Yes, some stores will accept returns on things like tires and batteries, but most won’t. It is solely up to the store manager.
If you can’t return them, but they are defective, your limited-time warranty may help. Make sure you understand your options before buying just because this is one of those purchases that fall within a gray area.
You can Even Return your Membership
Costco lives up to its mission of ‘100% satisfaction guarantee’ with this one. If you find you aren’t satisfied with your Costco membership, you can cancel it and get your money back.
This also applies to the Executive Membership. If you upgrade your membership to get the 2% cashback on your purchases and find that the upgrade wasn’t worth it at the end of your membership year, you can cancel it and get your money back.
That’s the most risk-free membership I’ve ever heard of! You get to use the membership and its benefits all year and if you decide it wasn’t worth it, you get your money back. It’s a win-win.
You can Get Price Adjustments at Costco
If you buy something at Costco (in-store or online) and find that the price drops within 30 days, just head to the customer service desk and let them know. You’ll fill out a quick form and receive the difference in price in cash on the spot. This way you don’t have to go through the hassle of returning the item and buying it again at a lower price.
How to Make Returns at Costco
So now we know that Costco has the most flexible return policy out of any store today, how do you make the returns?
If you bought the item in-store, just head to your local Costco customer service desk and let them know you want to return an item. If you have the receipt, that’s great. If not, they’ll look it up and refund your money.
If you bought the item online, you have two options – return in-the store or ship the items back.
Return Costco.com Purchases In-Store
You can return anything you bought online at Costco.com at any Costco warehouse. Just make sure you have all pieces and accessories and bring the item with your receipt or order form to Costco. If you don’t have your receipt, though, don’t worry.
Return Costco.com Purchases Through Costco Self-Service
If you’d rather send your items back, use these simple steps.
- Log into your Costco account
- Choose Orders/Returns
- Select Return next to the other you want to return
- Answer the prompts
- Print out your shipping label
You can drop your item off for shipping or schedule a pickup if the item is too large for you to bring in for shipping.
Most refunds happen as soon as Costco receives the item back, but a few items may require a couple of extra days for processing.
Costco Return Policy FAQs
How long is the Costco return policy?
Technically, Costco doesn’t have a specific time frame for its return policy. Each store can have its own policy, but overall they are pretty generous with what and how you return items. Unless it’s something on the list of restricted returns like electronics, you pretty much can return anything at any time.
What is the Costco return policy on computers?
Costco is even generous with their return policies on computers. Most stores give you a short window, like 10 days, but Costco gives you 90 days to make up your mind. If you don’t like it, you can return the computer back to Costco either in-store or schedule a return online.
Can I return something to Costco without a receipt?
Yes, this is one of the nice things about Costco’s return policy. You can return items without a receipt without issue. Some stores only give you store credit or will give you the lowest price for the item if you don’t have a receipt, but not Costco. They will look up your purchase using your membership card and give you the full price that you paid.
Can you return worn clothes to Costco?
Costco has the most liberal return policy out of any store, including on their clothing. If you wear something and decide you don’t like it, most Costco warehouses will take the return. Like any store, there might be a store or two that will decline the request, though it varies by location and manager.
Final Thoughts – Costco Return Policy
Costco has the most flexible return policy out of any store. While you shouldn’t take advantage of it, you can definitely return products you aren’t happy with or changed your mind about.
Costco doesn’t ask a lot of questions and you don’t even need a receipt. It’s easy enough to get your money back if there’s something that just doesn’t suit your needs.