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One of the simple pleasures of retail life is doing a Costco run. The free samples, the giant carts, and the camaraderie with fellow shoppers all make it a great experience. One bonus that people love about shopping at Costco is the generous Costco return policy, which we are breaking down for you.

Check Out: This Month’s Costco’s Coupon Book

What is Costco’s return policy?


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Costco has a 100% risk-free satisfaction guarantee on its membership and merchandise. If you are not satisfied with either for any reason, you can request a refund or replace the item.
You can request a refund for almost any reason, including:

  • You don’t want the item anymore
  • You bought it by mistake
  • You’re not happy with the item
  • There is an issue with the item

This applies to both in-store and online purchases.

How do I return an item at Costco?

costco in store return

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In-store purchases:

Inside every Costco Warehouse is a returns counter, usually located near the main exit. Just bring your item there and present your Costco card to the customer service associate to initiate the return.

Online orders:

If you ordered the item online you can return it to a warehouse or you can initiate the return process online.

  1. Sign into your Costco account online.
  2. Choose Orders & Returns
  3. Select the item you want to return or replace
  4. You’ll receive a return label to send the item back, or you can schedule a pickup for the package (there is no charge for return shipping).

Some online orders cannot be returned via shipping. You’ll have to go to a warehouse if you want to return the following items:

  • Special Order Kiosk Items (like custom flooring or garage doors, for example)
  • Eyewear
  • Digital goods like tickets
  • Tires
  • iTunes & Google Play
  • Jewelry
  • Perishable items
  • All Apple products

If you placed an order online and realize you don’t want it, you might be able to cancel the order instead of waiting for it to arrive and then returning it.
For more details, check out the full Costco Return Policy.

Can you return items without a receipt at Costco?

costco membership cards

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Yes, you can return items purchased from Costco without a receipt. While you don’t need a receipt for any Costco return, you will need to bring your Costco membership card. All the information of past purchases is stored there. You can also return online purchases to a brick-and-mortar store.

Can you return gifts at Costco without a receipt?

Yes. If you received a Costco item as a gift but don’t have the receipt, you will need the membership number of the gift giver who made the purchase. Most gifts are refunded onto a Costco cash card and can be returned at any time.

What’s the return window for purchases at Costco?

For most products, there isn’t a time limit on how long you have to return the item at Costco. There are some exceptions for products that have a return time limit of 90 days, which include most electronics such as:

  • Televisions
  • Projectors
  • Major Appliances
  • Computers
  • Touchscreen Tablets
  • Smart Watches
  • Cameras
  • Drones
  • Camcorders
  • MP3 players
  • Cellular Phones

Does Costco offer price matching or adjustments?

Costco will not price match or give refunds for items purchased from other retailers.
If an item is purchased at Costco and the price drops within 30 days of purchase, you can get a price adjustment for the difference.
Is the 30-day policy a hard and fast rule? It looks like it, but there are reports from customers of being allowed to go past that deadline, so it can’t hurt to ask.
If you purchased the item online from Costco, you can request a refund using this form. If you purchased it in a store, go to the returns counter at your favorite Costco Warehouse.

Shopping Hack: Purchase your items within 30 days of Black Friday, and then if the product gets a deeper discount you can ask for an adjustment and avoid the Black Friday crowds.

What is the Costco Diamond Return policy?

diamond in tweezers for inspection

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If you buy diamonds from Costco, the Diamond return policy takes a little bit of extra leg work on both ends. If the diamond is 1.00 ct or larger, bring the item, and all paperwork you received with the item. The paperwork would include an IGI or GIA certificate. A Costco gemologist needs to inspect the diamond to make sure it’s legit. This takes about 48 hours.

What items cannot be returned to Costco?

As generous as Costco’s return policy is, there are several exceptions to what they will accept:

  • Alcohol and cigarettes: Think twice before buying alcohol or cigarettes, because there are very little places that will accept those returns.
  • Special order items: If you purchased an item that was designed or built to your preferences, you might not be able to return that either unless there was a manufacturer error.
  • Expired food: When it comes to Costco’s return policy for food, be aware you cannot return items past their expiration date. In most cases, Costco may accept opened food if you’re dissatisfied with it for whatever reason. So if you try a new snack and hate it, you need to make sure to return it pronto or you might end up eating the cost if you wait too long.

Does Costco charge a restocking fee for returned items?

No. Never. Ever. This is one of the benefits of having a Costco membership since many other retailers will charge for restocking, especially on large items like televisions and furniture.

Does Costco’s online return cover shipping fees?

Return shipping fees are covered by Costco as part of their 100% satisfaction guarantee. if you are returning a large item, you’ll get an email with information about how to arrange to ship it back. Otherwise, you can print the return label online and either drop off the item at the appropriate shipper or schedule a pickup.
If you purchased an item and chose same-day delivery by Instacart, you won’t be getting a refund from the fee for using that service.

What happens if you abuse Costco’s return policy?

In the rare event someone crosses the line and returns too many used items or waits a decade to return an item, there could be ramifications that could include membership revocation.
Costco issued a statement to Business Insider that read, in part, “In the event a member is not satisfied with Costco merchandise, the membership fees may be refunded and the membership canceled. This decision is made on a case-by-case basis and is at the discretion of each location manager. Additionally, memberships may be canceled due to abuse of the Member Privileges and Conditions.”
While the company is extremely lenient on returns, don’t push it.

Can I return cigarettes and alcohol at Costco?

wine at costco

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Cigarettes can never be returned and alcohol is usually a “no” as well. This isn’t just a Costco return policy, this is the law. You can check with the beverage control board in your state to see what the applicable laws are, or just call your local Costco Warehouse for the information.

What happens to returns at Costco?

Costco realizes in its financial plan there will be losses from returns because some items simply can’t be returned to the sales floor, like food products. However, it’s not all tossed out in the trash. If an item is unopened it can be returned to the sales floor. Returned items will also be inspected for damage. If there is a product not fit for the sales floor, but could still be usable, it could be auctioned off through a liquidation process.

Enjoy Costco’s Unbeatable Return Policy

Costco wants to make sure you are 100% happy with your membership and purchases and proves it with one of the best return policies. You can even get a refund for your membership if you aren’t satisfied.
When it comes to returning items, the key is to not abuse the policy. Costco workers have incredible stories to tell of Christmas trees being returned in January or half-eaten meat returned because the person “didn’t like it.” Costco will go above and beyond to take any product you are not 100% satisfied with, but know the rules before you return for an easy experience.
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