Costco Return Policy: The Must-Knows Before You Shop

Updated March 21, 2024 by Kyle James

The return policy at Costco is so darn good that it deserves its own article. While I’ve talked about some of the better return policies in the past, Costco’s return policy is arguably the best of them all. Here is exactly how it works and everything you need to know to take full advantage.

Update: I originally wrote this article back in 2016 but I do my absolute best to keep it updated. The 200+ comments are great as they help me keep it updated with all the newest information. I hope you still find this resource helpful.

Costco Return Policy: The Must-Knows Before You Shop

What Exactly is the Costco Return Policy?

Costco calls it their “Risk-Free 100% Satisfaction Guarantee” and with very few product exceptions, they’ll refund you the purchase price if not completely satisfied.

Pretty much everything in the warehouse is returnable with no time limit.

No questions asked.

This guarantee also includes your Costco membership. You have 364 days from the date you sign-up to try out the membership and see if it works for you.

If not completely satisfied, you can get a full refund on your membership cost.

See Also: How to Essentially Get a $60 Costco Membership for Free

Can Product Packaging Be Opened or Missing?


You do NOT need the original packaging or product manual in order to return the product to Costco.

But, you do need all of the parts and accessories that came with the product.

This is a wonderful feature, especially when you’ve had a product for a while and no longer have any of the original packaging.

Permanent COVID-19 Changes

Costco was limiting the return of items that people tend to hoard, but in recent months their return policy has returned to normal.

But with that said, unfortunately for the Costco food court lovers out there, they’ve limited the food court menu and have permanently eliminated a few things including the combination pizza, chicken Caesar salad, and the turkey and cheese wrap.

Can You Return Food to Costco?


You can return produce, food (opened or unopened), and anything else you’d put in your mouth, to your local Costco.

No questions asked. Makes for a great reason to try new products and see if your family likes them.

Just be aware that Costco is tracking all of your returns and if they think you’re abusing the return policy they might flag your account.

Update: A comment came in saying that a lady was refused her return of unopened buns that she bought the day before.

So it seems your mileage may vary when it comes to returning food.

Keep in mind that most food items will be discarded by Costco, even though they’ll get reimbursed.

If you’re buying bakery items you can always freeze them for later use if you overbuy.

Bottom line, don’t abuse their return policy as it’ll eventually go away, and hurt all members, if more and more folks abuse it.

90-Day Return Policy on Electronics

Due to some abuse from shoppers in recent years, Costco has shortened their return window on electronics from unlimited days to 90 days.

You now have 90 days from date of purchase to return televisions, tuner-free displays, projectors, computers, tablets, cameras, camcorders, MP3 players and cell phones.

The 90-day policy is still fairly liberal and simply keeps Costco members from bringing back 5 year-old HDTV’s that now have a yellow picture. (For example)

Tip on Buying Apple Products: If you can avoid it, DO NOT buy your next iPhone or iPad from an Apple Store or you’ll be stuck with their measly 14-day return window.

Instead, buy it from the kiosk within Costco and you’ll get the 90-day “electronics” return policy and the return process will be simple if you need to bring it back.

All that Costco asks you to do before you return your Apple device is to Unlock it and perform a Factory Reset.

What’s the Policy on Major Appliances?

90 days.

Unlike Lowe’s and Home Depot, who have both recently shortened their return policy on appliances to a measly 48 hours, Costco still offers a very generous 90 days.

This includes refrigerators over 10 cubic feet, washers, dryers, freezers, ranges, dishwashers, and even hot water heaters.

Do You Need Your Costco Receipt?


You don’t need your receipt to return anything to Costco.

Simply take your Costco membership card (or number), and the item you want to return, to the customer service desk.

They’ll be able to look up all of your past purchases and quickly find evidence of your purchase and issue your refund.

See Also: 12 Things You Should NEVER Buy at Costco

Can You Get Cash When Returning Items Bought with a Debit Card?

Thanks to reader Olivia for this information: If you buy items with your ATM card you might be stuck with a Costco cash card when returning something.

This is especially true if the item is a gift and the person returning it has the original receipt but not the ATM card.

Great information if you regularly buy gifts with your ATM card as you might want to use a credit card or cash to make returns easier.

What Items Can’t Be Returned to Costco?

Here are the handful of items that you can’t return to Costco for a full refund.

Alcohol – Bottoms up on any wine, beer, or liquor as you can’t return them to most states in the U.S. and thus all sales are final. Opened or unopened, it doesn’t matter.

See Also: Costco Liquor: 4 Things You Gotta Know Before You Buy

Cigarettes – Light ’em up, or throw them away, as you can’t return them to any Costco location.

Diamonds – Any diamonds 1 carat or larger must be returned with all original paperwork and has to be verified via the Costco fulfillment center before you get your refund.

A Costco Graduate Gemologist will inspect the diamond and issue a jewelry credit memo that allows you to purchase a different diamond or get your money back. Could take up to 5 business days.

Limited Lifetime Products – Think car tires and batteries. These are sold with a product-specific limited warranty.

Sanitizing Wipes – During COVID you could NOT return Lysol wipes, but I think this has changed and you can now return them again. Leave a comment if you know.

Special Order Kiosk – While you can’t return special orders, you can get a warranty repair or replacement due to failure to meet product specs.

Custom Installed Programs – The same as above.

Pretty limited list when you consider the thousands of products Costco stocks on a daily basis.

Can You Return Items Bought Online to Costco?


Just bring in the item and your receipt to your local store and they’ll process your refund.

Also, Costco now has a handy Online Return Form to make your purchases even easier to return.

What About Returning Furniture That I Bought Online?

I started a live chat session with Costco and asked about their furniture return policy.

I used a couch as my example and was told the following, “Our returns for couches are quite easy. We do everything for you! The same way the couch gets delivered, would be the same way it would get picked up. Our carrier would call you once a return is requested and they would set up an appointment that works best for you.”

I then asked, “Even like 2 years later when the couch starts sagging?”

I was then told, “Yes, if for any reason you become unsatisfied with this item, you can return it!”

Pretty amazing. Why would you buy furniture anywhere else?

Can I Return a Casket I Bought From Costco?

First of all, YES, Costco sells caskets and people in-the-know say they’re a good value.

Secondly, you can ONLY return a casket to Costco if there is damage during delivery.

So always try to be home, and examine the casket closely, before signing-off on the delivery.

Otherwise, you can call Costco to get a return authorization on your coffin, the number to call is 1 (800) 955-2292.

You CANNOT show up at the Costco returns desk with your casket on an orange flatbed shopping cart and try to return it, they WILL NOT take it back.

How About Returning Gifts to Costco?

Yes, you can return items to Costco that were given to you as a gift.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a member or not, you can walk in and return stuff.

But keep in mind that if you DON’T have the receipt you’ll need the membership number of the person who purchased the gift for you.

See Also: 5 Brilliant Money-Savings Hacks for Buying Costco Meats

Can Someone Else Make a Return For You?

If they are not listed on your membership then NO they will not be able to make the return on your behalf.

You’ll have to find the time to make the return yourself.

Can You Make a Return Beyond the Manufacturer’s Warranty?

From some recent comments I have received, it seems Costco will not take back an item if it has gone beyond the manufacturer’s warranty.

The example in the comments section was HP printer ink that had “expired”.

In this case, Costco would not take it back.

Can You Return Something If Your Membership has Expired?


Costco will ONLY let you return items if you have an active (and paid) membership.

Can You Return a Mattress to Costco?

Yes, but if you try and return a mattress that you’ve had over a year you’re going to end up dealing with the store manager.

The manager will take a look at your buying history to decide if you spend enough at Costco to make the return worthwhile.

It’s been suggested that you return it to a Costco out of your hometown as you might make some enemies returning a nasty old mattress.

Can You Return Car Tires?


Costco gives you 30 days to test out your new tires.

If you don’t like them for any reason, they will let you return or exchange them for a new set.

If there’s a problem with the tire, and you want a new set after 30 days, they will prorate them based on a tread depth measurement.

See Also: Here’s How Costco Tire Prices Stack Up to the Competition

Strangest Items Ever Returned to Costco…

I loved this article from that breaks down some of the strangest returns that Costco employees have seen over the years.

Some of my favorites include an empty bottle of wine that gave the lady a headache, a bag of cat food without the bag, a package of opened underwear, a used chicken coop, and a broken 15-year old pressure washer.

Also, a woman was able to return a dead Christmas tree in January and get a full refund. Crazy.

Moral of the story? Be smart and don’t abuse Costco’s liberal return policy as it’ll end up costing us all.

Ask the Reader: How often do you use their return policy? Any smart Costco tips I may have neglected to mention?

By Kyle James


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As of 1/29.2023 Costco refused to refund me for a Samsung Galaxy Tab that I’ve had for less than a year and that I paid for with my Costco credit card. Their return policy is NOT “darn good”. It’s not even average any more. BE WARNED. COSTCO IS NO LONGER OFFERING RETURNS AFTER 90 DAYS ON ANYTHING!


I am in Washington state and I would really like to return my couch to Costco. A little about me and my Costco relationship: I have been a member since 2010 and I have only made 1 single return the next day and even then it was just an exchange for a different size pants. I shop there a lot for so many random things and I have the executive membership with a Costco cash back check each year between $80-$120.

So yeah I love Costco and I think I am just nervous to return my couch cuz it’s like some employees know my face…or I at least know theirs and a girl from my high school works at customer service now lol. So I think I’m just embarrassed and awkward. Also, I worked at Nordstrom for a while at the same sort of CS desk…more like the returns department. We took EVERYTHING. The only time we would say no is if it’s an obvious situation of stolen items wanting cash. But yeah once “rich” ppls’ credit card bill is due, they would come and return allllll their expensive VERY MUCH USED items of clothing/shoes. It was a gross job bagging used items after returns but that was my job. I got used to always saying yes and just trying to give them their satisfaction.

And now this time it’s me trying to return a used couch bought 3-years ago to Costco lol. I am only doing this because Costco is giving me the opportunity. If they say they’ll take it back for a full refund, I think I would be stupid to not do that. My couch will be thrown away if they don’t want to take it back. The “washable covers” zippers ALL broke. I’ve lived with them all broken all these years and I just try to cover it up with the back cushions but every week we have to push the foams back because they ride down obviously. So yeah it sucks because it just looks like a crappy couch but with nice clean outside.

I don’t know how else to explain it lol but my husband told me about the return policy and so instead of dumping it, I’m tempted to try this return lol I’m just a bit nervous and embarrassed because of it being 3 yrs old. It doesn’t look dirty, it just looks lumpy from broken zippers that don’t keep the insides straight. Anyways, I know this is long but I wanted to explain myself b4 ppl yell at me haha cuz some of the comments on here seem a bit harsh.

But I must mention again: just like Nordstrom- if they didn’t have that policy of theirs, no one would be doing these returns so I feel like Costco is the same. Do I take advantage of their return policy? No absolutely not. But should I try my couch return since the zippers all broke after only 1 & 1/2 years? (Not from sitting but from washing I think is my guess). If they have this policy I’m really hoping they’ll take it back especially if it says 100% guarantee. What do u guys think?


You are way overthinking this. Just return the damn couch lol

Alex B

Pls do not post a War and Peace novel. Return the couch to your nearest Costco and they will gladly give you a store credit as long as it’s within a 12 month. I have bought expensive diamond jewelry from Costco where my wife has not liked it and I have gotten either a store credit or my card credited back with no issue at all. Nothing like Costco and I pray that people do not abuse their return policy.

Daniel Myers

As long as you describe the situation you should get a refund. The only problem I have ever run into is if the Costco item is no longer available in rare cases they do charge a small fee so they (Cosco) can return the item to the manufacturer. But most cases they give you a full refund.

Mom H

I then asked, “Even like 2 years later when the couch starts sagging?”

I was then told, “Yes, if for any reason you become unsatisfied with this item, you can return it!”

Pretty amazing. Why would you buy furniture anywhere else?

Jasmine winkler

Would u mind if I used your Costco member number to return something, I don’t go to Costco very much and I lost my member card and I’d, I’ve been a loyal customer I just don’t wanna have to re-apply bc I don’t have the time and I’m in a rush doing a million things at one time, I’m like really appreciate it and I won’t tell anyone, I will only use it 1 time and that’s it, I won’t give your information to anyone either.

Alex B

if you order furniture online from Costco and deliver to your house and you are not happy with the quality or for whatever other reason, the furniture must be delivered by you to the your nearest Costco store. Do not expect them to pick it up by the delivery service as they will not pick up furniture that has already been signed for and excepted. However, they will kindly except and refund at your nearest Costco.


Today 3/13/23 I was told that Costco return policy is only good for 1 year. They did not want to accept my LG vacuum cleaner back I purchased 2 years ago.
I asked for manager and still got the same story about 1 year limit on anything (except those 90 days items).

So Costco might not be as good as it used to be.


But I’m thinking that’s because the manufacturers warranty on the vacuum is only one year. I believe I saw that as a note in this article, that if it’s outside the manufacturer’s warranty, that’s the time limit to return it.


Costco should declare explicitly that they follows manufacturers warranty

KD Fergus

I returned rotten boneless chicken thighs today. Went to Costco, came straight home and opened the package to put into freezer bags and the smell was horrific. Put them in the freezer…Went back in 1 hr to return them and when I opened the freezer the smell hit me like a lead balloon. The man at the return counter said they smelled horrid and they were in sealed freezer bags . Can’t believe they are selling bad meat. Never had to return bad meat before there.


its last April I purchased a Roland digital piano online. It was delivered to me. I now feel it’s not the right piano for me 15 months later. The size does not work. It came to almost 3000 Canadian inc tax. I listed it on Facebook marketplace for 1500 and had 2 interests that wanted to offer 1000. My friend told me to check with Costco.

My return has been approved. The email they sent me stated the delivery company will contact me in 3-4 weeks to schedule a pick up. I have mixed emotions. I’m thrilled they have approved the return but feel it’s a bit sketchy on my part. My friend said not to worry. It’s the first return I’ve ever made and will likely buy other expensive ticket items that DO work for me in the future from costco and this is exactly their business plan and the possibility of aa return was already factored into the price.


I purchase women’s jacket a little less than 3 years ago on the website.

As of 8/2/2023, I was trying to return them because i’m not satisfy with the quality (nice design but made my skin quite itchy).

It’s unworn and all the tags are attached in the original package but the customer service told me that the return department has to review the return request before approval because of the period time passed. They said 2 years is the limit! Where can I find this? I never seen nor heard about this.

Costco doesn’t post this important return policy with the customers. It seems there is no time limit for return so I didn’t feel the pressure to return quickly but apparently they do have the time limit! So deceiving!!

They should clarify their return policy. BE AWARE! There generous return policy can gets you!

Ana T

Can you return the Kirkland shopping cart?


Costco refused me to return for REPAIR a pair of prescription eye glasses. They told me their “Customer 100% Satisfaction Guarantee” only applies to On LINE purchases of eye glasses but not glasses purchased at an optical counter in a Costco store.

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