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 — it has an 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 offers a “risk-free 100% returns policy”. Costco’s return policy allows customers to return all items purchased at the warehouse (except certain electronics, jewelry and some special order kiosk items) at any time. This has been Costco’s policy for quite some time, and most customers have been pleased.  Per, here are the exact specifics of their return policy.

what is costcos return policy

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.

In some cases, people have financial hardship and take advantage of the Costco return policy.  From reddit:

costco return policy, accessed 7/21/2021

While unconfirmed, it may be the case that returns go back to the vendor who sold the product to Costco.  So, abusive returns could cause a great deal of financial trouble for both Costco and its vendors.  Per this comment on Quora:

costco return policy abuse, accessed 7/21/2021.


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.  Costco can and does cancel memberships based on unreasonable return behavior.  This is increasingly the case as larger retailers are increasingly using third-party vendors to monitor customers who make unreasonable returns (per Business Insider).

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?
A Review of Costco Cakes
Costco Comparison: How Does It Rank Among Competitors?
Does Costco Offer A Free Trial Membership?


(Photo courtesy of Jeepers Media)