The Costco return policy is so generous that abuse of it has been the stuff of legend. We’ve all heard of people trying to return a broken printer Costco hasn’t sold for eight years. Or trying to return a dead Christmas tree in January. Or how about the person who tried to return steak packaging — without the steak?!
I’m not suggesting you be like these people. But I do think it helps to know what you can and can’t do when it comes to Costco’s return policy. While you can return most things, anytime, I’ll also tell you about items you can never return and items that, temporarily at least, you can’t return.
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Costco’s official return policy is “Risk-Free, 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.”
This means you can return (almost) anything, anytime.
With such a liberal return policy, Costco is trying to nudge you off the fence of buying with the promise that if you get home and regret your purchase, decide you don’t like it, find it doesn’t fit — whatever — you can bring it back for a return.
But due to COVID-19, Costco is not accepting returns on toilet paper right now.
In fact, there’s a whole list of items for which Costco is currently not allowing returns. The intent is to curb panic buying and hoarding and to discourage people from attempting to return cart fulls of this stuff after the pandemic is over.
- Toilet paper
- Bottled water
- Sanitizing wipes
- Paper towels
- Disinfecting spray
Also, some items, like these BYD Single-Use Face Masks, aren’t listed on Costco’s COVID-19 return policy, but they’re called out on Costco.com as non-returnable. Always read the full Costco.com listing!
What is Costco’s return policy without a receipt?
Same as with a receipt. No joke — you don’t need a receipt in order to make a Costco return. You don’t even need the original packaging.
Sure, it helps if you have the receipt or original packaging, and you do need all the parts and pieces that came with the item, but receipts aren’t necessary to process your return, because Costco tracks your purchases on your membership account. You’ll need your membership card or member number to complete the return.
I’ve heard of memberships getting cancelled for too many returns, although there’s no hard and fast number of returns that will jeopardize your membership. Yet another reason not to abuse the system.
What is Costco’s electronics return policy?
Remember that exception to the rule I mentioned? Electronics only have a 90-day return period. However, if you have a manufacturer warranty that extends beyond that, Costco will honor it.
Here’s the list of items classified under the 90-day electronics return policy:
- Major appliances
- Computers and tablets
- Smart watches
- MP3 players
- Cell phones (get your return processed through your specific carrier instead of Costco)
What is Costco’s mattress return policy?
Mattresses fall under the “return it anytime” category. But a few thoughts — first, mattress return stories at Costco are the stuff of Reddit lore. Costco employees and managers hate it when people return mattresses that have been clearly used and they’re not shy about their feelings on the interwebs.
That said, it’s still fair play to return a mattress, and literally every mattress seller in the U.S. lets you try out a mattress for at least 30 days (some up to a year). How many of us buy a mattress, sleep on it once, and wake up knowing we can’t put a ring on it? It happens! So chill out, Costco.
If you want to buy a Costco mattress, but you’d be shy to return it, buy it from Costco.com so you can process the return online instead of going into a store. Costco will pick the mattress up at your house. Rule of thumb: If your item was delivered by a freight carrier, it’ll be picked up the same way it was delivered (curbside, threshold, or white glove).
What is Costco’s food return policy?
In Costco world, you can return food for a refund. Yes, even opened food.
So, next time you try a Costco sample and want to buy it, you’ll have literally nothing to lose.
You can’t return expired food, so be sure to return any food right away if you decide you don’t like it or want it.
How about Costco’s furniture return policy?
For furniture, the answer is ditto from the above tip and for all the same reasons.
Sure, it’s hard to tell in the warehouse if you’re going to love that couch for ever and ever, but if you need to return a piece of furniture, try to do it as soon as you know you can’t live with it anymore.
Costco’s jewelry return policy is quite the process — especially for diamonds.
You can return jewelry, like diamonds, but you’ll need the IGI and GIA reports if they came with your order.
Costco sends any jewelry weighing more than one carat out to a fulfillment center for verification before they can process your return, and verification can take up to five days.
To start this process, take your jewelry to a Costco warehouse, or contact Costco at (800) 774-2678 with this information:
- Your name
- Order confirmation number
- Phone number
- Reason for your return
- Is the credit card you used to purchase the item still active?
Returning contacts? Avoid standing in line when you use Costco’s Optical return policy.
Walk right on by the general returns line at the warehouse if you need to return a contact lens order. Instead, take your return to Costco’s Optical department where the line is much shorter. They can process any optical returns.
You can even return your Costco membership, believe it or not.
If you’re not satisfied with your Costco membership, “return” it for a full refund. You’ll lose any points you earned (say you have an Executive Membership where you earn 2% back on all your purchases).
Also, if you have a Costco credit card, it’ll be cancelled when you cancel your membership. I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t cancel your membership, but know that you’ll lose access to those cash-back benefits too and your credit score will take a hit.
Alcohol and cigarettes make a very short list of things you cannot return at all.
Don’t bother trying with alcohol and cigarettes — it’ll be a no-go.
Where do I return my Costco.com purchases?
Anything you order at Costco.com can be returned through the website, or you can bring it into a warehouse to return it.
Items you buy in the warehouse can only be returned in warehouses; it doesn’t have to be the same store you bought the item from, but you can’t return it through Costco.com.
Costco offers price adjustments for Costco.com orders.
If you’re shopping at Costco.com and you notice that the price of something you bought has gone down within 30 days of your purchase, you can fill out a price adjustment form at Costco.com and request a price adjustment. You’ll receive a Costco credit toward your next purchase.
Costco Travel returns are possible, but it’s up to specific airlines, hotels, and cruise lines.
Costco Travel will help you cancel your trip if you need to and they won’t charge you a fee to cancel. But you’re still subject to cancellation policies and fees of specific airlines, hotels, and cruise lines.
Thanks to COVID-19, this is kind of a hairy thing right now and not a guarantee. But, if you need to cancel a trip you booked through Costco Travel, contact them and see what they can do for you.
Check out information on specific cruise lines and resorts at Costco Travel’s COVID Cancellation FAQs.
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