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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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1. The official Costco return policy gives you a “Risk-Free, 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.”

someone holding up a 8 pack of oral b toothbrushes

This means you can return (almost) anything, anytime to Costco as a card-holding member.

The Costco return policy is liberal, and they’re 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.

TIP: Not a Costco member yet? Get a basic membership for $60 a year.


2. What is Costco’s return policy without a receipt?

scanning costco membership card at self checkout

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. 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 canceled 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.


3. Costco offers price adjustments for Costco.com orders.

scotch tape price adjustment price tag

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.


4. What is Costco’s food return policy?

costco returns kirkland trail mix and receipt at merchandise return

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.


5. What is Costco’s electronics return policy?

costco electronics and tvs section in warehouse

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:

  • Televisions
  • Projectors
  • Major appliances
  • Computers and tablets
  • Smart watches
  • Cameras
  • Aerial cameras (drones)
  • Camcorders
  • MP3 players
  • Cell phones (get your return processed through your specific carrier instead of Costco)



6. What is Costco’s mattress return policy?

costco mattresses in warehouse

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).


7. How about the Costco sofa return policy?

costco warehouse furniture and couch selection

For furniture, like sofas, the answer is ditto from the above mattress 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.


8. Costco’s jewelry return policy is quite the process — especially for diamonds.

costco jewelry section with shop costco.com sign and covid sign

You can return jewelry, like diamonds, but for any diamonds over one carat, 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 48 hours.

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?


9. The craziest Costco return I read about was a used chicken coop.

Return merchandise counter at Costco

I usually feel a mix of awe and pity when I read about Costco’s craziest returns. This one was all pity.

Here it is, from a Reddit user who claimed to work returns for eight months:

“The thing was covered in chicken ****. Everyone stared as the guy and his family brought it in…Naturally, the front-end manager gave him a full refund.”

Honorable mentions:

  • Someone returned vitamins they had bought four years ago; vitamins have a shelf-life of two years.
  • Hawaiian Costco workers report tourists returning beach chairs, umbrellas, ice chests, and boogie boards en route to the airport.
  • A classic: The woman who returned a six-year-old printer.


10. Returning contacts? Avoid standing in line when you use Costco’s Optical return policy.

cotact lenses held up at costco optical department

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.



11. You can even return your Costco membership, believe it or not.

costco membership being held up to membership counter sign

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 canceled 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.

Related: On the fence about your membership? Check out my list of the best things to buy at Costco.


12. Alcohol and cigarettes make a very short list of things you cannot return at all.

alcohol bottles in costco cart

Don’t bother trying with alcohol and cigarettes — it’ll be a no-go at Costco.

TIP: Some Sam’s Club warehouses will let you return alcohol and cigarettes. Here’s how we compared Sam’s Club vs. Costco.


13. Where do I return my Costco.com purchases?

A woman pulling gold fish crackers and tide from a Costco.com shipping box.

Anything you order from Costco online 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.


14. Costco Travel returns are possible, but it’s up to specific airlines, hotels, and cruise lines.

hand holding costco travel pamphlets in front of travel kiosk in warehouse

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.

Plus, no-shows are always nonrefundable, no exceptions.

Costco Return Policy: Here's Exactly What You Can and Can't Do