Sam's Club Return Policy: How It Works and Tips to Hack It


Up until recently, I hadn't needed to know anything about the Sam's Club return policy. But I bought a new detergent at Sam’s Club that my sensitive skin just didn’t agree with — so I figured I’d better learn the ropes about how their returns work to get my money back.

Spoiler alert: The Sam's Club return policy is pretty great, even for opened items! They give you unlimited time to make returns for most things you buy, and returning online orders isn't overly painful. Use our insider tips below to hack the returns policy if you find yourself needing to get your money back at Sam’s Club.

Before we get into it, make sure you download the KCL app for even more deals, coupons, and money-saving tips.

Sam's Club Return Policy


Sam’s Club offers an unlimited return window for most items — even for memberships. A full refund is typically issued back to the original payment method. But there are a few exceptions to the return policy that you should keep in mind, as the return window shortens for certain items.

For example, cell phones must be returned within 14 days of purchase, and commercial heavy equipment and motorsports equipment (like ATVs) must be returned within 30 days. And the return window for most major appliances and electronics (including TVs, movies, video games, and more) is 90 days.

There are no time restrictions on jewelry or watch returns, but you’ll need to return those items to the Jewelry counter located inside the club, rather than at the Member Services desk.

A few items can never be returned to Sam’s Club, including gift cards, prepaid cards, tickets, prescriptions, travel services, and custom-made items (like photo prints).

Depending on where you live, you may also face restrictions when attempting to return alcohol, tires, car batteries, tobacco, eyeglasses, and hearing aids. Contact your local club for specific policies if you need to return those items.

How to Return an Item to Sam's Club


In-Store Returns

To return an item in-store, just tell the associate at the front entrance that you need to make a return. They’ll ask how many items you’re returning and then will place a special returns sticker on each item before directing you to visit the Member Services desk.

KCL TIP: Prepare for a short wait in line, as every time I’ve visited the Member Services desk, there are at least a few shoppers ahead of me.

You’ll need your receipt (if you have it) and membership card to make a return. You may also need a valid photo ID (but on my recent visit, I wasn’t asked to show mine). An associate will process your return and issue your refund back to your original form of payment. In some cases, the refund will be issued on a store gift card or in the form of Sam’s Cash.

Online Returns

For online purchases, start a return by logging into your Sam's Club account and navigating to “My Account,” then “Order History,” then selecting the item you wish to return. Sam's Club will provide you with a prepaid shipping label during this process.

You can also call the Member Service Center at 888-746-7726 to start an online return.

Online Returns In-Store

You also have the option of returning online purchases to any Sam’s Club location. Just bring the item along with your packing slip (or order confirmation email) to the Member Services desk. This option avoids any return shipping charges, and you’ll receive a faster refund or exchange. Keep in mind that online cake orders require an in-store return.

KCL TIP: Be sure to include any packaging that came with your item, like boxes, manuals, extra parts, or warranty information. In some cases, they may deny your return if something is missing.

Tips to Hack the Sam's Club Return Policy

1. Make online returns in person to get your refund faster.

Just bring your online return back to any Sam's Club warehouse location, and they'll refund your purchase immediately. But remember — shipping and handling fees are typically not refunded.

2. Return your membership at any time if you're not happy with it.

Just like the Costco return policy allows, you can actually return your Sam's Club membership if you're not satisfied with it for any reason. According to their 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can cancel your Sam's Club membership at any time and get a full refund of the amount you paid for your current year's fee. So on day 364 of your membership, you could technically get a refund for the entire year.

3. Cancel or downgrade your Plus membership for a full refund.

Under the 100% Membership Satisfaction guarantee, they’ll also let you get a refund for the cost to upgrade to Plus membership if you don’t end up liking it.

They do limit this to one Plus membership cancellation or downgrade refund per household (or per business year), though. So don’t think you can upgrade and downgrade throughout the year, just to game the system.

4. Ask to get your shipping and delivery fees refunded if your item arrives damaged or by mistake.

Shipping and delivery charges are typically not refundable, but there’s an exception for items that arrive damaged or need to be returned as a result of an error by Sam’s Club. Just be sure to report the damage or error as soon as your item arrives.