There are many great reasons to become a Costco member. Members get access to lower-than-average prices on food, household goods, furniture, and more, plus access to things like Costco Gas, Costco Tire Center, and Costco Optical.
But one of the best parts of being a Costco member by far is their risk-free, 100% satisfaction guaranteed return policy.
This policy applies to almost everything Costco sells, with a small handful of exceptions, and enables customers to complete returns and receive full refunds even without their receipt.
If you’re wondering why Costco doesn’t expect its customers to provide receipts for returns, the answer is actually pretty simple. Since all Costco purchases are verified through a Costco Membership, Costco can pull up your purchase history through your account to process your return. This is why you always need to bring your Costco Membership card with you when you are returning an item.
Can You Look Up Your Costco Receipts Online?
Another benefit to being a Costco member is that Costco allows customers access to a 2-year record of their purchase history online. This includes orders placed through Costco.com as well as purchases made in-warehouse.
If you would like to reference your past purchases, simply follow these steps:
- Make sure your Costco membership is verified. If not, you will need to verify it before you can access your purchase history online.
- After your account is verified, log in to your Costco.com account. If you don’t have an account set up, you can do so here.
- Once you’re signed into your account, select “Orders & Returns” in the upper right corner of the page.
- From there, select the “Orders & Purchases” option.
- At this point, you will be given the option to select either “Online” or “In-Warehouse” which correspond to your purchases made either through Costco.com or in person at Costco Warehouse locations. Select the option that applies to the order you are trying to find.
- Receipts will be displayed in six-month increments. To change the time frame, select a different period from the “Showing” dropdown menu.
- Purchases made through Instacart or other food delivery services will not show up on your Costco purchase history.
- Purchases made through Costco Optical, Costco Gas, Costco Tire Center, Costco Travel, or the Costco Food Court will not show up on your purchase history.
If you need to look up an order or purchase made longer than 2 years ago, please visit the membership desk at your local Costco Warehouse.
90-Day Return Policy At Costco
On most items purchased by Costco members, Costco’s return policy effectively allows for a lifetime guarantee, meaning that there is no time limit on how long a customer has to return their item. However, for all electronic items sold at Costco, including TVs, Apple products, computers, cell phones, etc., returns must be completed within 90 days. Returns on electronic items will not be accepted by Costco after the 90-day return window has passed.
Are There Exceptions To The Costco Return Policy?
Costco’s return policy covers almost everything sold in their stores; however, there are a few exceptions.
The exceptions to returning items to Costco are:
- Costco does not accept returns on cigarettes or alcohol where it is prohibited by law.
- Costco does not accept returns on customized items, such as items purchased through a special order kiosk, unless the items did not fulfill a stated warranty or failed to meet stated expectations.
- Items with a product-specific limited warranty such as batteries or tires cannot be returned once warranties expire.
- When returning diamonds that are 1.00ct or larger, the customer must provide all original purchase paperwork and be willing to wait 48 hours while a Costco Graduate Gemologist examines the diamonds for authenticity. The customer will be given a Jewelry Credit Memo for the duration until the return can be processed.
How To Return Items Bought At Costco
If you’d like to return something to Costco, there are a couple of different ways you can do it. Just remember that you’ll need to provide your Costco Membership card or member number to complete the return regardless of which method you choose.
To return an item to Costco in person at a Costco Warehouse location (applies to all purchases)…
- Bring your item and your membership card to any Costco Warehouse location.
- If you have your original receipt, bring that as well, although it is not necessary to complete your return.
- Bring your item, including all original accessories, manuals, etc. if applicable to the returns counter at Costco.
- The employee at the returns counter will walk you through the rest of the process and refund you the cost of the mattress.
You will not be able to return items via the self-checkout counters. For more information about how to return items to Costco Warehouse, click here.
If you made your original purchase through Costco.com and would like to complete your return online, follow these steps…
- Log in to your Costco.com account.
- Select “Orders & Returns.”
- Click the “Return Items” button next to the order you would like to return and follow the prompts.
- The prompts will walk you through the process of printing a return label, preparing your item for shipping, and shipping your item.
- Once your return is accepted, you will receive a refund to your original form of payment.
For more information about returning items online, including a full list of items that cannot be returned online, click here.
Please note that Costco does not have a separate exchange policy. If you would like to exchange an item, it will need to be processed as a return, at which point you can use the money you received as a refund to purchase a different item.
How Do You Get Your Costco Refund?
How you receive your Costco refund will depend on your original form of payment. For example, if you paid with cash and are returning your item in-store, then you will receive your refund in cash immediately. If you paid with a card, then your refund will be credited back to your account and may take 1-3 business days to process.
Returns processed through Costco.com will generally mean a longer wait time to actually receive your refund due to shipping and processing times.
5 Ways Costco Minimizes Return Expenses And Return Fraud
You might be wondering how a company like Costco can afford to offer such a generous, no-questions-asked return policy. It might seem a little over-the-top, but it actually makes a lot of sense when you look at all the ways Costco minimizes return expenses and fraud.
Costco sells high-quality items
The foundation of Costco’s system for minimizing return expenses is the fact that they sell high-quality items to begin with. By providing their customers with items that are not likely to break or malfunction, Costco reduces the likelihood that customers will end up wanting a refund.
All transactions are linked to a member account
Costco memberships aren’t just a genius way for the company to cultivate customer loyalty and generate income. They also help the company ensure that their return and refund system functions fairly and justly. Some companies that accept returns without receipts end up losing a lot of money to return and exchange fraud; however, at Costco, it’s not so easy to cheat the system. Because all transactions are tracked and linked to member accounts, Costco can make sure that a purchase was valid and paid for before they agree to process a return and issue a refund.
Costco offers tech support to mitigate the need for returns
If a customer wants to return an item because it’s malfunctioning, Costco has a system for issuing repairs and replacements that can mitigate the need for returns in some situations. Especially when customers purchase electronics through Costco, they will have access to Costco’s tech support to help them resolve issues with their items instead of having to resort to seeking a refund.
Friendly and helpful staff
One of the biggest ways Costco is able to reduce their return expenses is by employing friendly and helpful staff at all of their warehouse locations. By providing people who are able to answer questions and help customers feel confident that they’re making wise purchases, Costco cuts down on the likelihood that their customers will be dissatisfied with their purchases and end up seeking refunds.
Returns on certain items are limited
Even with all these great methods in place, Costco still has to limit their return policy on certain items to cut down on the money they lose to returns and refunds. The main way they do this is by limiting the return window on electronics to 90 days and restricting certain items from returns all together. Still, the vast majority of items sold at Costco remain eligible for their lifetime-guarantee return policy.
Can someone else make a return for you?
Yes. If the person who brings the item in for return can provide the membership card of the original purchaser, then the return can be processed by someone else.
Can you make a return beyond the manufacturer’s warranty?
Yes. Costco accepts returns on most items sold in their stores and online regardless of how long it’s been since the purchase was made. However, this does not apply to electronic items, which must be returned within 90 days.
Can you return something if your membership has expired?
Unfortunately, no. Costco’s return policy only applies to people who have active and fully paid Costco Memberships.
Does Costco accept returned gifts?
Yes. As long as the person submitting the item for return can provide the Costco Membership card or number of the person who made the purchase originally, Costco will accept returned gifts.
Can you return something to Costco after 2 years?
Yes. Costco does not place a time limit on their return policy for most items. However, electronics are the big exception to this and can only be returned for up to 90 days after the customer receives the item.
As always, we are so impressed by Costco’s generous return policy. The risk-free factor alone makes the idea of paying for a Costco Membership seem like a deal that can’t be passed up, especially since memberships start at just $60 per year!